Woodworking Talk banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a bit confused abput what is considered the proper moisture content in wood for furniture construction.

I have been cutting and air drying wood for about 15 years, and never really thought about how dry it was. Most of my wood went to boat work as well as some trinkets such as candle holders, picture frames and cutting boards, but never for serious furniture or cabinet making.

I've been reading on this forum about kiln drying and 8% target moisture contents so I got curious about my own wood. I bought a moisture meter and did some testing.

I have a stock of lumber that I cut, including oak, cherry, ash, birch, maple and pine and spruce. This wood is between 18 and 60 months old and it all measured from 11-15% moisture content.

I also have a stock of commercial lumber including a lot of construcion material (Douglas Fir) mahogany (some old- a 1992 piece of 12/4X 12 as well as some newer stuff) and assorted pieces. (The company next door to where I work(ed) is a high end custom interior and mill work operation. I raid their dumpster every week. It is unbelievable what they throw away.) Everything I checked is in the 11-13% range. I found nothing approaching 8% MC.

What am I missing here? How important is 1 or 2% MC really?

My shop is an old 1870 era barn. I cut some pine trees in late July and I plan to mill them this fall. They will season over the winter, and I plan to re-side the barn/shop in the spring. Do you all think there will be a dryness problem with the wood?

Thanks in advance for any input.

Ken
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,651 Posts
Where do you live- Ideally the wood gets taken down into the single digits but if you live in a damp area like western washington-even kiln dried to 6-8% will end up with an EMC of 12-14. I live in a dry area- air dried right now is single digits but in the shop is 10-12. now in the winter it will be just the opposite. as far as the siding goes- if it has reaced EMC- you are good to go in my opinion which is worth considerably less then you paid....... :laughing::laughing::smile:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,028 Posts
GREAT read here. i live in Ft Valley GA and i have wood that was cut in march thats sat and air dried and when cut it pins 14-15%. i also have wood in the barn thats 2 years old and it also pins 14-15. the barn itself that dad built in 85 also pins somewhat the same....just saying. its pretty humid here tho. ive built and sold stuff with no customer complaints. now i have some stuff ive built in my house and it is low. i store my projects for sale in the living room sometimes for long periods of time and no issues...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
260 Posts
The wood should be worked at the same moisture content as where the completed piece will reside. If it's outdoors, 12% - 15% is ok. If it's indoors, in a heated/air-conditioned house, 8% is about in the middle of seasonal relative humidity swings.

Can one get by with working wetter wood...probably. But, if I put 100+ hours into a piece of furniture, I don't want to have problems because I didn't take the time or effort to dry the wood properly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks

Thanks to all who replied- you've been quite helpful.

I picked up a book called Understanding Wood by R. Bruce Hoadley. Excellent book. There is an entire chapter devoted moisture content as well as a thourogh explaination of EMC and the dynamics involved. Another chapter devoted to wood movement. (17 chapters in all). It discussed what mike1950 was talking about concerning EMC.

I've learned a lot, but a long way to go. Thanks again.

Ken
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,651 Posts
Don't feel bad -the more I learn -the more I know how little I know. There is plenty to learn.And once you think you have learned it all you are probably just about ready to get a hard lesson!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
470 Posts
The mortice and tenon joint will be one of the first to fail when furniture made at say 10-12 percent is subjected to 6-8 percent conditions. The mortice becomes larger and the tenon becomes smaller so the loose joint is inevitable. A dining chair is a good example of one of the first to fail because of their use and more importantly their misuse.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top