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Does construction lumber ever dry to 6-9% MC?

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Blog entry by airlyss posted 10-22-2016 04:24 PM 945 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi everyone,

Just had a quick question about moisture content on dimensional lumber! I’m building a small dining table for a friend and using 2×8 SPF boards for the tabletop. They have have been sitting in my climate controlled basement for about 10 weeks now and I’m measuring MC of 11-14% still. Just for fun, I measured the 2×6s that were used to frame our basement walls (our house is 5 years old) and they came in at 10-12%. I have some maple and walnut in the same basement that are registering at 7-9% after about a year.

Does construction lumber stay inherently wetter than other hardwoods, even after acclimating? What MC would you feel comfortable using construction lumber for simple furniture? This won’t be precision work by any means, but I’m most concerned about potential warping!

Thanks!



12 comments so far

View cajfiddle's profile

cajfiddle

23 posts in 646 days


#1 posted 10-22-2016 06:59 PM

As long as you build your projects with wood movement in mind, 11-14% is fine, at least in south Louisiana. I’ve never really had any lumber, construction or hardwood, that registers lower than 10% in my shop and nothing I’ve built has blown up yet…but again, I’m in a fairly humid climate year round.

View Grumpymike's profile

Grumpymike

2119 posts in 2071 days


#2 posted 10-22-2016 09:58 PM

Your profile doesn’t say where you live, and that will make all the difference in the world.
But like cajfiddle says, “As long as you build your projects with wood movement in mind”.
Softwoods seem to move a wee bit more than hardwoods in my experience, but that’s ok if you plan for it.

I live in Arizona, so achieving 6% moisture is no problem.

You also stated that your wood has been in your shop for 10 weeks … I would go ahead and mill the stock to rough size and sticker the stock in a stack with about 100 pounds of weight on top of it and let it set for about a week and then build your table … Your stock should be pretty stable.

The theory here is that construction lumber is usually “kiln dried” which (if you will) case hardens the lumber sealing in the moisture … (kinda sorta). So if you run it thru the planer or resaw it, be sure to sticker and stack it with weight or it will warp and twist on you.

Hope this helps … Oh, by the way, Welcome to LJ’s

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

4219 posts in 1960 days


#3 posted 10-22-2016 10:13 PM

No home
No Projects
No Constructive Blogs
No friends
Just another one of the hundreds of “members” on this site that never make anything never contribute anything never socialise, just a wandering gypsy preying on others.

-- Regards Robert

View smitdog's profile

smitdog

282 posts in 1861 days


#4 posted 10-23-2016 01:40 AM

Holy cow Robert, he just joined 13 days ago. Lambasting a guy that just joined because he hasn’t contributed enough? I wasn’t aware there were any requirements in order to become a member here. In fact I just checked the “Rules” page and it says:

Membership
1) You must be a member to post your own projects and comments and participate in LumberJocks events.
2) Membership is free and open to everyone of all ages and woodworking abilities.
Perhaps you should have read the “Reading and Commenting” section where it says:
What kinds of comments are okay to post?
As you will find, the LumberJocks are very supportive individuals who are also seeking to increase their woodworking knowledge. If you have a suggestion for a project, a tip, or different technique that can be used, feel free to post it in your comments. Just keep it constructive.

Remember that it’s not only the person who posted the blog/project/question who will be reading the comments but others as well. Commenting is an opportunity to support, inspire, clarify, and share skills with everyone – from the experienced professional to the beginning amateur.

airlyss, don’t let the trolls discourage you. Most of the people here are very helpful and most are courteous to new members and happy to offer their free advice. The two entries you’ve put in so far have been very valid questions and it looked like you got some good responses. I would suggest posting your next question in the forum rather than a blog entry though. Usually the blogs are for more in-depth descriptions of projects. Here’s a general guideline from the help page:

Projects – Showcase your completed projects of past and present.
Blogs – Journaling your woodworking journey, whether that is a project in process, some inspirations, challenges or days of frustrations. Read some of the other blogs to get a feel for the content. Pretty much anything goes.
Forums – if you have a specific question (or tip) regarding woodworking techniques or tools, this is where you go.

-- Jarrett - Mount Vernon, Ohio

View airlyss's profile

airlyss

8 posts in 351 days


#5 posted 10-23-2016 01:46 AM

cajfiddle and Grumpymike, thanks for your help! I’m in Minnesota where humidity goes from unbearably humid in the summers to chapstick all over your body dry in the winter! But it is reassuring to know that things should work as long as I plan for some movement. Never have stickered wood before, so will definitely do some research on that.

and robscastle, thanks for your warm welcome. I am just getting into woodworking and sorry if I don’t have any projects to share….or have any friends? Didn’t even know that was something you could do on this site! I have been lurking for a bit and haven’t posted much, but I also don’t have much expertise to share at these beginning stages of my woodworking journey. If you have suggestions on how I can improve my standing as a “wandering gypsy preying on others”, please do let me know.

Thanks!

View airlyss's profile

airlyss

8 posts in 351 days


#6 posted 10-23-2016 01:49 AM

Thanks smitdog! Sorry, I didn’t realize there was a difference between blog and forums….lumberjocks is unlike most forums i’ve been a part of!

Will post in the right place next time – thanks for your help!


Holy cow Robert, he just joined 13 days ago. Lambasting a guy that just joined because he hasn t contributed enough? I wasn t aware there were any requirements in order to become a member here. In fact I just checked the “Rules” page and it says:

Membership
1) You must be a member to post your own projects and comments and participate in LumberJocks events.
2) Membership is free and open to everyone of all ages and woodworking abilities.
Perhaps you should have read the “Reading and Commenting” section where it says:

What kinds of comments are okay to post?
As you will find, the LumberJocks are very supportive individuals who are also seeking to increase their woodworking knowledge. If you have a suggestion for a project, a tip, or different technique that can be used, feel free to post it in your comments. Just keep it constructive.

Remember that it s not only the person who posted the blog/project/question who will be reading the comments but others as well. Commenting is an opportunity to support, inspire, clarify, and share skills with everyone – from the experienced professional to the beginning amateur.
airlyss, don t let the trolls discourage you. Most of the people here are very helpful and most are courteous to new members and happy to offer their free advice. The two entries you ve put in so far have been very valid questions and it looked like you got some good responses. I would suggest posting your next question in the forum rather than a blog entry though. Usually the blogs are for more in-depth descriptions of projects. Here s a general guideline from the help page:

Projects – Showcase your completed projects of past and present.
Blogs – Journaling your woodworking journey, whether that is a project in process, some inspirations, challenges or days of frustrations. Read some of the other blogs to get a feel for the content. Pretty much anything goes.
Forums – if you have a specific question (or tip) regarding woodworking techniques or tools, this is where you go.

- smitdog


View robscastle's profile

robscastle

4219 posts in 1960 days


#7 posted 10-23-2016 07:38 AM

I hear you Smitty

-- Regards Robert

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

4219 posts in 1960 days


#8 posted 10-23-2016 08:25 AM

Airlyss.

I dont usually reply but as Smitdog has made the effort to jump in to defend you, read on.

I know of no well mannered LJs who just fronts up and asks a question without even introducing themselves.

The Gypsy is a form reply I use when reading info and do not recognise the LJ.
I checkout their credentials if they appear to be gypsies I tell them so, and its not just a single lack of a post, for obvious reasons.

So you may wish to do some work on your profiile add your home Minnesota so the LJs who wish to help can do so knowing where you are from first up and add a name use your name or any thing else for that matter, not just nothing!
There is nothing magical about it all, its all just normal social etiquette.

Have a look at it and you may have a withdrawal of the comment on the way.

-- Regards Robert

View Grumpymike's profile

Grumpymike

2119 posts in 2071 days


#9 posted 10-23-2016 07:14 PM

Airlyss Here is stickering 101 …

Sorry if I get a bit wordy now and then, but Stickering is the first step after a board is cut from a log.
The board is placed on 2×4 blocks about every 3 feet or so to keep it off the (flat and level) ground. then the stickers, (usually a 3/4” thick wood piece) as wide or wider than the board is placed on top and inline with the blocks, then the next board and so on up the pile.
Always place the stickers in a nice straight row one directly over the other so that the boards are evenly supported and no “sway spots” or you will get wavy stock.
Be sure all of the stickers in each course art the same thickness, again you don’t want wavy boards.
Now that you have a nice pile put weight on top and let the air flow through and around the wood … yeah, I hear your mind working … A fan will help, but think about even airflow not just on one end.

Congradulations, you have just become “Head Sticker”

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View airlyss's profile

airlyss

8 posts in 351 days


#10 posted 10-23-2016 09:06 PM

robcastle, thanks for the tips – I’ll do some work updating my profile. Don’t feel the need to remove your comment for my benefit. Nice to see that for every one individual that automatically thinks the worst of someone, there are a number of others that are genuinely helpful.

Grumpymike, thanks for the tutorial – looks like I’ve got some work to do to get a stickering setup up and running. Really look forward to making some progress! I’m building this for a good friend – wife found a style of table at the store with a $1500 price tag but they’re expecting their 3rd kid soon, so hoping we can save them about $1k! Will update soon.

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

4219 posts in 1960 days


#11 posted 10-23-2016 11:37 PM

In relation to seasoning or drying of timber measure the timber and for every 25mm or 1” plan on 12 months to season or dry
The readings should be taken in the center and not the ends as they will be dryest first.
Obtaining 6 to 9 EMC would be almost inpossible if not impractical at the average RH would need to be less han 20%, ...maybe achieavabe in an boneyard in Arizona or a climate controlled basement, but who lives there.

11 to 14% its time to get to work!... and take some pictures of the construction while you are at it.

-- Regards Robert

View airlyss's profile

airlyss

8 posts in 351 days


#12 posted 10-24-2016 01:30 AM

Thanks robcastle, this is helpful! I had been taking readings on the ends and center and did notice about 1-2% difference. Looks like it’s time to get the saw turned on….


In relation to seasoning or drying of timber measure the timber and for every 25mm or 1” plan on 12 months to season or dry
The readings should be taken in the center and not the ends as they will be dryest first.
Obtaining 6 to 9 EMC would be almost inpossible if not impractical at the average RH would need to be less han 20%, ...maybe achieavabe in an boneyard in Arizona or a climate controlled basement, but who lives there.

11 to 14% its time to get to work!... and take some pictures of the construction while you are at it.

- robscastle


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