Understanding Water and Wood
The problems of a difficult pair
Synopsis: Water is always present in wood so an understanding of the interrelationships between water and wood is fundamental to fine woodworking. In this article we’ll take a look at water or moisture content in wood and its relationship to relative humidity, and also its most important consequence to the woodworker-shrinkage and swelling.
What is the relative humidity in your workshop? Or in your garage where you are “seasoning” those carving blocks? Or in the spare room where you store your precious cabinet woods? Or for that matter, in any other room in your house or shop?
If you’re not sure, you may be having problems such as warp, checking, unsuccessful glue joints, or even stain and mold. For just as these problems are closely related to moisture content, so is moisture content a direct response to relative humidity. Water is always present in wood so an understanding of…