Moisture content question

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Forum topic by Jackietreehorn posted 02-04-2013 08:05 AM 1088 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Jackietreehorn's profile


150 posts in 2172 days

02-04-2013 08:05 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Ok, first post here, I’ve perused the forums before looking at all the crazy projects, but I’m way amatuer woodworker when it comes to real wood so I’ve never had any questions. Most things I build are melamine or mdf based and usually not in the form of furniture, but I’d like to get into the finer area of woodworking.
Anyways, my father in law brought me two tigerwood deck boards he had leftover (5/4×6”) and asked if I could cut them down, glue them together and then router them into a circle to replace a small end table he has.

My question is other than the boards feeling dry, are decking boards usually more wet than say ones you’d pick up from an exotic wood supply store? I think my old man has a moisture meter that I could check the wood with, is there a certain percentage that is acceptable to be able to use the wood without any kind of wacky twisting etc down the road?


6 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


12455 posts in 2613 days

#1 posted 02-04-2013 08:49 AM

You can take a piece, cut a U shape out so that what’s left over look like wood tongs. If they pull together it’s still wet.

-- Rick M,

View Marty5965's profile


158 posts in 2179 days

#2 posted 02-04-2013 12:37 PM

My understanding is that the wood will stabilize its mc based on the environment in which it finds itself. For example, you could buy a piece of kiln dried lumber with a mc of say 12% and put it in an area of higher humidity and, if it’s not sealed, it will take on moisture accordingly. Similarly, if you have a piece with 20% and leave it stickered in a very dry area it will season to match. Such fluctuations are really quite small from a dimensional standpoint and the more important question would be how long have the boards been in their current form? If they are pretty old, then the
Ikelihood is they are already “stable” ( as stable as any wood is of course). I would probably leave them in your house for a couple of weeks then mill and build the same day. Of course, you need to take in to account the grain too so the bracing on the underside may need to be finessed to reduce any curvature of the top plane.

-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....

View SamuraiSaw's profile


515 posts in 2198 days

#3 posted 02-04-2013 02:46 PM

Construction lumber typically has a higher moisture content than wood intended for interior use. For the usual “furniture” project you want a moisture content of 6-8%.

Is the table he wants for inside or outside? If inside, you’ll want to check the moisture content. If it is above 8%, leave it in your shop until it dries further. When I build furniture, I mill the wood in stages. Whenever possible, I let the wood “rest” for a day before I use it in final assembly. If the table is for the deck, using the lumber “as-is” will work but you’ll need to use different assembly methods. Exterior grade adhesives and fasteners will be needed since the wood will likely move.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas....

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2344 days

#4 posted 02-04-2013 02:55 PM

You can pick up a cheap moister meter.

I was resawing cedar 2×6 decking boards for a project. The outside tested around 10% but when I cut the boards into 3/4” thick the center was wet and the meter pinged at its highest rating of 34%.

If I understand correctly you plan to take 1.25 (5/4) thick boards and resaw them into half their thickness of .625” and then you will have to plane/sand for a finished surface. Ignoring the moisture issue, that does not sound like a very thick top.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Jackietreehorn's profile


150 posts in 2172 days

#5 posted 02-04-2013 04:51 PM

Thanks for the fast replies and suggestions, the table will be inside the house.
@jesse, by cutting them down I was referring to cutting a little off both sides to clean off the factory round over. The boards are 7 ft, and I cut them down to around 2ft as that’s the diameter of the table. I plan to run them through a buddy’s planer, but still trying to keep as thick as possible.


View Jackietreehorn's profile


150 posts in 2172 days

#6 posted 02-04-2013 09:53 PM

So I checked the moisture with a meter, it’s between 7 and high 10’s depending where I poked it. I guess I’ll wait a week and see what I get…


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