Q: How do I know if the kiln-dried lumber I order from out of state needs to acclimate to my shop before use? Joseph Zeh, Worthington, MA A: First, you need a moisture meter, so buy one if you don’t have one already. Then, find a piece of lumber that has been in your shop for at least a year and use the meter to determine its moisture content. Next, determine the moisture content of the delivered wood. If the difference between them is more than 2% to 3%, the delivered wood needs to be acclimated to your shop. How long depends on how great the difference is. A difference around 5% should disappear in just a few weeks. Check the wood weekly, and use it when the difference is around 2% to 3%. However, if you work in less-than-ideal conditions, like a damp basement or unheated garage, you should use the new wood immediately and get the finished piece into a kinder environment (like an air-conditioned house). Letting wood acclimate to a damp space with 12% to 14% MC will only make things worse in the long run.
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