How long to wait for lumber to acclimate

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Forum topic by Chelios posted 10-17-2010 02:26 AM 8716 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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568 posts in 3030 days

10-17-2010 02:26 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I see many of the more experienced woodworkers recommend to let new boards acclimate to the shop environment for some time. I just bought some hardwoods for a project, so how long do you all think it would be before I cut into it?


I assume the wood has been kiln dried

7 replies so far

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3725 days

#1 posted 10-17-2010 02:46 AM

Woodworking author Nick Engler states that the minimum is two weeks, with the caveat that more is better. Although there are those who think this is not very important, I’ve been “stung” twice when I have violated this rule.

Wood that has been stored exposed to the outside environment definitely needs climatization, especially if brought into a heated or air conditioned shop. Some wood, like dimensional 2×4’s ect., at lumberyards and big boxes has a moisture content as high as 30%.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18246 posts in 3640 days

#2 posted 10-17-2010 03:28 AM

They always let it be for 2 weeks on the jobs I have been on in the last 40+ yrs.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2922 days

#3 posted 10-18-2010 07:31 PM

I recommend a couple of weeks this time of year, maybe longer if the wood has been outside; a lot of it depends on its previous environment. If it is local wood purchased from an “inside” environment, you should be ok with a couple of weeks; if it is wood from a lean-to or outside environment, I’d wait a month.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Roper's profile


1389 posts in 3677 days

#4 posted 10-18-2010 07:54 PM

I go anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 years depending on what kind of wood it is and where it has been kept before I get it.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View Chelios's profile


568 posts in 3030 days

#5 posted 10-19-2010 01:20 AM

Thanks all, based on your recommendations I think I will go with the couple weeks based on the fact that this was sitting inside a climate controlled warehouse.


View 76winger's profile


151 posts in 3081 days

#6 posted 10-19-2010 01:40 AM

I think the finaly purpose and value of the final product is going to determine how long you let the peices aclimate as well. For example a couple weeks is probably OK for a simple wall shelf, step-stool and such, but wood for a nice bookcase or furniture would be worth a lot more time adjusting to it new environment before working it, so you don’t end up with a wobbly chair/table/bookshelf, etc.

-- Dave, See some of my creations at:

View a1Jim's profile


117061 posts in 3541 days

#7 posted 10-19-2010 02:28 AM

In all situations therefore are perfect ways to do things and must do ways to do things. In storing wood before use a couple weeks or more is great but not always realistic. So store it as long as possible then allow extra time and rough cut your material and let it acclimate to the shop another 24 hours or more and see if your material moves such as twist or cupping and then proceed to cut to final size. when letting wood acclimate make sure both sides have equal exposure to air other wise one side will dry quicker than the other.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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