Please provide advice and comments on how you obtain 8% moisture content in your hardwoods before starting your projects. Watching the lumber dry in a rack is not very appealing.
If you live in the south along the coast will the lumber actually dry out to 8% moisture while sitting in a rack with stickers.
Thanks for your comments
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I have my lumber cut to 2"x8"x78". let that air dry with 1" stickers between the rows for 2yrs. then I bring the lumber in my shop for at least 2-3 months befor I machine it. my shop is heated and A.C. the RH. averages about 24-36 year round. this works for me. good luck
Your lumber may never reach 8% It can only dry to whatever the humidity in the air will allow it. There are tables that list the equilibrium moisture content for various cities.
Rushing the drying process can lead to splits, cracks, warps, etc.
We can't say much without knowing more. Did you buy it kiln dried? Air dried? Fresh off the sawmill?
Thanks for your response John. This is just a question in general.
I did just purchase some soft maple for the dog hole strip and vises on a Roubo Workbench. The maple was kiln dried to 12%. I will continue with the workbench but I am looking for feed back in general on how others get their lumber to 8% which I understand is the magic number.
The magic number is whatever is in equilibrium with your local conditions.
I never check, unless I've bought green lumber. I buy from the same suppliers, and by the time I'm ready to start building, it's been in my shop for a few weeks. I don't worry about it much.
By the time a piece is built, there isn't much room for it to move. The joinery keeps it all together.
Here is a chart from Woodworkers source that shows the lowest average air-dried moisture content you are likely to achieve in various parts of the US.
Note that these percentages are for lumber that's dried outdoors.
Unless you live in a desertic area, the best you will achieve outdoor is 12%. Then as one said, with hvac indoor it will eventually reach 8%. The only practical way I found to get the 6-8% moisture content for furniture grade wood is to buy it kiln dried.
In Upstate NY we can only get to 12% MC drying outside. I then bring as much as I’ll be using on a project into my shop or basement to further dry for 2-3 months.
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. My moisture meter for just about all my woods gets to the low teens and no lower. I have enough off cuts of the species I work with that have been here for years and that is also what they get to. I'd suggest you check some long term offcuts (ideally of the same wood species) that have been in your shop of the same wood type you are waiting on to see what they measure.
I'm going to echo what many have already said in that your pursuit of an 8% reading on a moisture meter is likely a fool's errand and will never be achieved.
I wish I could find the person who started this crazy myth that wood must be at some absolute number on a moisture meter before it is stable and usable. The only thing that moisture meters are good for is determining when the moisture level has stabilized and the wood is ready to use. The ONLY thing that matters is that the wood is at equilibrium for your local environment whether that be 8% or 15% nothing else matters. It can be just as bad to build with wood dried to 8% in an environment whose humidity is 15% as it is to do the opposite.
The solution is simple, bring your wood home stack and sticker it with good airflow and forget about it for about a month, then mill it in stages over a week or so then build to your hearts content.
PS. List the moisture meter on Ebay.
At the rate I work, I buy the wood and don't get to the project for six months to a year. Wish I was faster. Oh well. It's a good feeling to have a few big projects worth of wood stickered at home waiting. At that point, it almost always guarantees the wood will have reached equilibrium with my local environment.
Thanks everyone. Your comments have been very helpful.
I agree with all above.. I live in Maine and the EMC of my shop in the basement varies from 7% in the winter to 13% in the summer. Soooo.. the MC of my wood settles in with the ambient EMC after a couple of months. When constructing furniture I take this into account and provide ways for the wood to expand and contract with the seasons....This usually is important when constructing table tops, breadboard ends, and door panels.
Spreadsheets that show expansion coefficients for various woods are available and very useful to calculate anticipated movements by type of cut (Quartersawn, riff, or plain). My furniture resides in homes here and I anticipate most people don't humidify their houses, so the furniture is going to inevitably expand and contract.