What is "dry"?

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Forum topic by AndyB posted 03-28-2012 06:29 PM 1290 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 2587 days

03-28-2012 06:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: pecan moisture table tops milling question

My local wood yard has some 6/4 pecan that is air dryed to a moisture content of 17%. This was made from a surface measurement and not a core. Although the supplier assures me that this moisture content is ok, I have my doubts especially as the boards will be used exclusively for six table tops and will have to be milled to around 4/4. I have always assumed that wood moisture should be in the range of 8-12%.

-- Andy, Texas,

7 replies so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5807 posts in 3161 days

#1 posted 03-28-2012 06:40 PM


Don’t listen to that guy…the moisture content is way too high, and the wood is still too wet….It needs to be about 6—7 %......8—12% is still a little too high in my book….If you get wood in that 17 % range, the wood will twist, bow, cup, or whatever…..Buy wood with the lowest moisture content you can find… kiln dried wood, if possible….

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View pintodeluxe's profile


5622 posts in 2780 days

#2 posted 03-28-2012 06:48 PM

You can dry wood from 15-17% down to 6-8% in two weeks with a home dehumidifier, some fans, and a heater. Interestingly, wood will never get dryer that about 15% when stored outside or in a barn.
(of course this can vary by location ie: Arizona etc)
If you don’t have a means to dry the lumber yourself, I would buy kiln dried lumber.

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

View WDHLT15's profile


1732 posts in 2443 days

#3 posted 03-29-2012 12:36 AM

In Georgia, air dried pecan will equilibrate to about 14% moisture content when air dry. In use moisture content in this climate will be 9 – 10% moisture content. So wood at 17% moisture content here will shrink some from your 17% to 10%. Like has been posted, ideally, you should bring it inside and let it dry in a climate controlled environment for about a month. I did a test on air dried oak. I skip planed it to 7/8”, brought it inside last March and stickered it behind the couch. It began at 13.5% moisture content. I noted the moisture content on the top boards of the stack with a pencil, and continued to measure the moisture content periodically. After 3 weeks, it reached 9.8%, and it stayed that way until August when I finish planed it and installed it as waisncott in a bathroom.

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

View AndyB's profile


12 posts in 2587 days

#4 posted 03-29-2012 01:41 AM

I have got several stacks of oak that have been air drying in a barn (we are in Texas) for about twelve months and it has got to an average moisture of 10%. I always bring this wood into my air-conditioned workshop and let it acclimate for a month or so before using it and have had good results. Unfortunetly I don’t have the luxury of time with the pecan. I appreciate your comments and it looks like I’ll have to make the three hour round trip into the big city to pick up a load of kiln dried lumber! One question for WDHLT15 – what is “skip planing”?

-- Andy, Texas,

View WDHLT15's profile


1732 posts in 2443 days

#5 posted 03-29-2012 11:39 AM

Reducing the thickness without making sure that each face is perfectly smooth. Skip planing gets the wood flat, but is an intermediate step. You can call it partial planing. Reducing the thickness reduces the drying time.

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

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3204 days

#6 posted 03-29-2012 12:28 PM

Here’s a pdf file that explains how to determine the moisture content of your wood without a moisture meter. It’s also a more accurate way to calculate moisture content than a meter. 17% is a very good starting place to air dry wood before it’s kiln dried. I air dry my lumber to somewhere below 20%. In East Tennessee it takes about 30 days when the weather is 80 degrees or warmer. Then I move it to the 2nd floor of my old two story farm house. (I can dry a little over 500 bft without too much weight on the beams. It takes another 30 days to get between 6 – 12%.

After air drying, I plane the wood before I move it inside. WDHLT15 is right, it dries quicker after it’s planed.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View treaterryan's profile


109 posts in 2254 days

#7 posted 03-29-2012 05:25 PM

Conditions in most of the US limit drying to about 12% (slightly less for hot, arid areas – 10/11%). Indoors in climate controlled conditions, you can get to your 8%. If you buy Kiln Dried Wood, pretty much anywhere under roof, except for straight out of the kilns, it’ll be in the 12-15% range. This wood is fine if you have a month or so.

The oven dry method, linked by HalDougherty, is an exceptional method for checking %MC. We use it for measuring %MC on industrial timber products at work. And for anyone’s future reference, the beloved moisture meter is simply are not accurate above 25%.

-- Ryan - Bethel Park, PA

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