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Moisture Meter Selection... HELP!

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Forum topic by Zachariah posted 03-02-2016 03:45 PM 552 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Zachariah

3 posts in 275 days


03-02-2016 03:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: moisture warping cracking stability question tip resource trick

Gentlemen – I am trying to make a decision on what moisture meter to purchase. I do a lot of large glue up projects for tables, wall hangings and the like and I have had slight issues with projects cracking and moving. I think the weak link in the process is not checking moisture content. What is your opinion on the best meter on the market for a small professional shop? Thanks in advance!


10 replies so far

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Fred Hargis

3925 posts in 1952 days


#1 posted 03-02-2016 03:55 PM

You may have misdiagnosed the problem (or the solution), but on to the question. I know a woodworking pro who swears the only reasonable MM to own is this Wagner. Those of us who are more realistic probably think a Lignomat is a very good affordable model. My personal one is a General, which usually runs $30 or so at the blue box, but I got mine on a clearance deal for $10. I was able to compare my cheapie to a “pro” model once, and it was dead on in agreement. This “pro” was a ServiceMaster guy who was called into out house for a slight water mishap, the comparison measurements were taken on the sheet rock and carpet.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View AZWoody's profile

AZWoody

693 posts in 683 days


#2 posted 03-02-2016 04:06 PM



You may have misdiagnosed the problem (or the solution), but on to the question. I know a woodworking pro who swears the only reasonable MM to own is this Wagner. Those of us who are more realistic probably think a Lignomat is a very good affordable model. My personal one is a General, which usually runs $30 or so at the blue box, but I got mine on a clearance deal for $10. I was able to compare my cheapie to a “pro” model once, and it was dead on in agreement. This “pro” was a ServiceMaster guy who was called into out house for a slight water mishap, the comparison measurements were taken on the sheet rock and carpet.

- Fred Hargis

Is yours a pinless model? I have a mini ligno but was wondering if I get a pinless type, I can check deeper into my thicker slabs.

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Fred Hargis

3925 posts in 1952 days


#3 posted 03-02-2016 04:11 PM

No, mine has pins…and I would guess most of the cheaper models would have. If you want to check deeper, cut a piece off the end and check the ares exposed; at least that’s what i do. I guess that’s not always possible but so far it’s worked for me.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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pintodeluxe

4852 posts in 2272 days


#4 posted 03-02-2016 04:50 PM

I use the Mini Lignomat E/D with good results. The cheaper meters I have owned would give readings that varied by as much as 10% in the same spot of the same board! I changed the batteries and had the same results.

The Mini Ligno is a solid, reliable unit that gives consistent readings that match what I am seeing in terms of board temperature and weight. It also correlates well with the amount of water being pulled off by the dehumidifier in my DIY kiln. For instance when the dehumidifier water tank is collecting little or no water in a 24 hour period, I start seeing moisture readings in the 6-8% range.

When the moisture content of lumber is above 10% it reads in whole numbers, and below 10% it reads to the tenth of a percent. The readout is digital, and was easy for me to read in low light settings.

I prefer pin type meters because I am normally measuring rough lumber. With scanning type meters, you often have to plane a section of the board smooth to take an accurate reading. I always wondered why people even bother mentioning the pin holes. It is rough lumber, and will never be an issue. If you are drying lumber that has already been milled, then I fear you have bigger problems. Obviously the best scenario is to dry lumber in its rough state. After the lumber moves and stabilizes, then it can be properly milled.

With the Mini Ligno there is a species chart, and you identify if your lumber is in group 2 or 3. For instance oak is in group 2, so I set the meter for 2 and take a reading. Then I do a quick temperature correction. Add 1% for every 10 degrees colder than 70 degrees. For example a reading of 7% taken at a temperature of 50 degrees would be corrected to approx. 9% actual moisture content.

For me I wanted something very accurate and reliable. The settings and corrections are very easy to do. Sure, it doesn’t have a thermometer, or fancy features. It is just a simple moisture meter that works.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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Zachariah

3 posts in 275 days


#5 posted 03-02-2016 04:58 PM

Thanks for your input guys! I am leaning towards the Mini- Ligno, this one to be exact:

http://www.lignomatusa.com/product_accessories/package-d-4p/

I will post a picture of the glue-up that we are working on right now if I can figure out how!

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Zachariah

3 posts in 275 days


#6 posted 03-02-2016 05:28 PM

View lew's profile (online now)

lew

11326 posts in 3214 days


#7 posted 03-03-2016 04:32 PM

I also have the E/D model. Great quality and does everything I need.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Logboy's profile

Logboy

43 posts in 2689 days


#8 posted 03-04-2016 05:05 AM

Unless youre ok with your MC readings being up to 4% off, avoid the Mini Ligno. I have one and used it for years. But when I started operating my own kiln I knew something was off. It gives you incorrect readings at different temperature readings even using their temperature correction chart. It would say stuff was dry in the kiln (6-8%), but two days later at room temperature (again, using their temp correction chart) it would say it wasnt dry (10+). A far better meter is the Delmhorst J-2000. Its not cheap, but then again you get what you pay for. I checked it against the Ligno and found a lot of the readings to be at least 2% off. You can also get an external hammer probe for checking thick woods. The nice thing about the Delmhorst is everything is changed on the meter. Set the temp and wood species and take your reading, thats it.

http://www.amazon.com/Delmhorst-J-2000-Digital-Moisture-Meter/dp/B0000224D3/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1457067651&sr=8-5&keywords=moisture+meter+wood+delmhorst

-- No log is too big to saw! www.logboy.com

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2187 posts in 940 days


#9 posted 03-04-2016 10:45 AM



You may have misdiagnosed the problem (or the solution), but on to the question. I know a woodworking pro who swears the only reasonable MM to own is this Wagner. Those of us who are more realistic probably think a Lignomat is a very good affordable model. My personal one is a General, which usually runs $30 or so at the blue box, but I got mine on a clearance deal for $10. I was able to compare my cheapie to a “pro” model once, and it was dead on in agreement. This “pro” was a ServiceMaster guy who was called into out house for a slight water mishap, the comparison measurements were taken on the sheet rock and carpet.

- Fred Hargis

When I noticed my sawmill guy pull out a mm, i was surprised to see him using one of these cheaper models. He claims they work well enough. I don’t/have never used one and seemed to have gotten by OK but I probably need one.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View WDHLT15's profile

WDHLT15

1571 posts in 1935 days


#10 posted 03-05-2016 04:29 PM

There are no free rides with moisture meters. Like logboy, I run a kiln, and have the Delmhorst 2000X with the slide hammer, and I have a Wagner pinless MMC-210. Both of these cost about $400. It all depends on how important it is to have the correct moisture content. Running a kiln, it is critical. If I sold you kiln dried hardwood lumber that I told you was 8% moisture content, but it was really 13%, shrunk some more, and ruined your project, you would not be happy and I would be blasted on this Forum.

Again, it is all about how important it is to be right. I am not trying to convince you to buy an expensive moisture meter, just trying to ask you what is your tolerance for error and variability? The really cheap moisture meters may be in the high variability group, and that can be OK, or maybe it isn’t. All depends on your objective. However, even a cheap one is probably better than nothing.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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