How do i know....

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by John_G posted 01-12-2012 05:50 PM 1324 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View John_G's profile


165 posts in 2928 days

01-12-2012 05:50 PM

Hey everyone, i recently purchased about 100bf of QSWO from a guy who has had it in a garage for well over a year i think. I got it home and it’s stacked in my basement. How do i know wether it’s ready to be milled yet? I do not own a moisture meter and would prefer to not buy one. The boards are all 10’ long and have a slight < 1/2” curve over that 10’, so in my opinion there flat. To the touch they feel very dry. Is there a way to tell w/o a moisture meter? If there ready to be used…..

-- John Gray

11 replies so far

View RogerM's profile


799 posts in 2636 days

#1 posted 01-12-2012 06:33 PM

I really dislike acronyms. Generally, if this lumber is all quarter sawn and has relatively straight grain with few knots it will already be relatively stable. If it is four quarter lumber (1 to 1.25 inches thick) and has been stickered in a dry garage for one year it is probably ready to go. Since a moisture meter is not available I would keep this wood stickered since it’s condition is still unknown. I live in the deep south and buy a lot of freshly cut green lumber from a local mill. Most of the time, I sticker this wood and store it in a car port. Four quarter wood generally is dry enough to work in about a year. I hope that this answers your question.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3885 days

#2 posted 01-12-2012 06:50 PM

without a moisture meter there really is not way to tell and the only way to go about it is to guess based on thickness of wood and how long it has been stickered in current location – 1 year per inch thickness, I would probably go over just to be on the safe side.

as for QS vs plain sawn, while QS is a “more stable” material this only refers to the fact that it will be subjected to less pronounced seasonal movements (movements will be smaller), but it still needs to dry properly as it can still warp somewhat during drying process at which case your project could be twisted out of square

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TheDane's profile


5575 posts in 3900 days

#3 posted 01-12-2012 07:00 PM

John—Were the ends sealed with paint/wax/etc.? I ask because sealing the end grain has a major effect on the drying process.

Also, do you know if it had been kiln-dried first, or was it green when the guy you bought it from moved it into his garage?


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Don Carrier's profile

Don Carrier

114 posts in 2613 days

#4 posted 01-12-2012 07:00 PM

I don’t know the exact formula but you can google wood mositure test and find it. Basically all you have to do is cut a block of the wood off, weigh it, bake it, yes I said bake it, and then weigh again. More accurate than a moisture meter. If you can’t find it easy PM me and I’ll find it.

-- Don

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3311 days

#5 posted 01-12-2012 07:01 PM

The rule of thumb I have heard is the lumber needs to air dry for 1 year plus another year for every inch of thickness (i.e. one inch thick lumber needs 2 years to dry, 2 inch thick needs 3 years, etc.).

Of course, there are variations based on heat, humidity and what kind of wood it is. Also, how the lumber was stored is a factor. The boards in the garage should have been separated by slates so air could circulate all around the boards. If not, the lumber will take much longer to dry.

I advise caution. No harm will come from the lumber drying longer than needed. Harm can come from working with it too early.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View John_G's profile


165 posts in 2928 days

#6 posted 01-12-2012 07:08 PM

Thanks for all the responces everyone. So i looked into it a bit further and the wood is kiln dried and stacked as shown by there picture on this page. i bought it from one of the garages shown. Also if you wanna see the actual wood in my basement here is the link to that picture. Maybe these will help everyone…. Thanks again all…..

-- John Gray

View TheDane's profile


5575 posts in 3900 days

#7 posted 01-12-2012 07:49 PM

Wow … nice catch! If it was kiln-dried, I would just coat the ends, sticker it, and start using it!


-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2592 days

#8 posted 01-12-2012 07:50 PM

moisture meters are about 15 bucks at harbor freight.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View John_G's profile


165 posts in 2928 days

#9 posted 01-12-2012 08:12 PM

well if there only 15.00 i can totally swing that….. may just have to look into it….

-- John Gray

View John_G's profile


165 posts in 2928 days

#10 posted 01-12-2012 09:00 PM

If i do get a moisture meter is there a chart somewhere that give the adiquit moisture levels for different species of wood for working with it?

-- John Gray

View GregD's profile


788 posts in 3373 days

#11 posted 01-12-2012 09:06 PM

Measuring moisture without a moisture meter:

Haven’t tried it myself.

-- Greg D.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics