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moisture in thick slab?

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Forum topic by eastside posted 03-04-2010 05:27 PM 1404 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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eastside

97 posts in 2728 days


03-04-2010 05:27 PM

I plan on looking at some thick slabs this weekend and I was wondering what the moisture content on a slab would be acceptable. This is in someone’s barn and he clam’s it was air drying for 3 years. I have only bought lumber from outlets that is always kiln dried. Were talking about 3 inch thick slabs 18 inches wide and 12 feet long. I have a mini lingo but the prongs are only about 1/8 long so I’m thinking it will be useless to use it anyway. Any thoughts on the subject?

-- Mike, Westport MA.


7 replies so far

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3372 days


#1 posted 03-04-2010 05:33 PM

What species ? And what is your intended (if you have one) final use ? If you plan on using them whole, not resawing, I think 3 years is air dry enough for most species.

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Walt

30 posts in 2503 days


#2 posted 03-04-2010 05:44 PM

There are many variables to take into account. What is the average moisture content of the environment the wood will reside in? What are the moisture swings it will experience. What is the moisture content of the wood now? What type of wood is it? What is the grain pattern? If you want to be as safe as you can be plane the wood close to your desired thickness and store it in the environment the finished product will be in 1 year per inch of wood thickness. Three years of air drying outside will not prepare the wood to be in an environment in a house with radiator heat. I know from experience. Good luck.

-- Walt, Ohio

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eastside

97 posts in 2728 days


#3 posted 03-05-2010 12:11 AM

The wood is Cherry with a live edge. I plan on making a mantel with it so I will be only taking enough off the piece to clean it up. The mantel will be about 7 to 8 feet long and have that rustic look. After cutting it down to length the cut off piece will be cut in half length wise and the 2 pieces will be used to hold up the mantel as knees. I don’t have the fireplace in yet, I haven’t even bought it so the project will be this summer. I had planed on putting it in the house to start acclimating. I’m thinking that I should rough cut it to length now so the cut end can start drying. When it is cut to length then I can get a good read on the moisture at the fresh cut center. Would either of you have any feelings on an acceptable moisture content at that time or what could be expected for an air dried piece? Thanks Mike.

-- Mike, Westport MA.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4457 posts in 3427 days


#4 posted 03-05-2010 12:22 AM

6 to 8 %. Put rough stock in building to acclimate for several weeks. Hope for the best.
Heat from the fireplace will really make the wood move.
Good luck.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3372 days


#5 posted 03-05-2010 12:27 AM

For a mantel slab I see no problems. If you are sure of your exact length it will not hurt it to be cut. You may see a little end checking after you cut it, but maybe not either. Since there is no fine joinery involved anything under 10% will pretty much be safe, cherry, especially that thick is pretty stable air dried. It over years of service will see 6% or less, but like I said as a mantel slab I see no problems.

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eastside

97 posts in 2728 days


#6 posted 03-05-2010 12:52 AM

Thanks guys I guess I’ll know when I cut it. I didn’t think air dried lumber would get down to a low moisture content of 10 or 12 percent in a few years, now I know. Its good that we have a wide variety of talent here on lumber jocks. Thanks.

-- Mike, Westport MA.

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Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3372 days


#7 posted 03-05-2010 01:34 AM

4/4 cherry here in central Illinois can be air dried to 10-12 % in ~100 days (summer) very easily. I would guess Mass. where you live is a little more humid and the summer shorter, but I don’t know that for a fact.

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