Adding moisture to old pine?

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Forum topic by Bieser posted 03-31-2014 12:37 AM 776 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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176 posts in 1455 days

03-31-2014 12:37 AM

I have recovered some pine lumber from a house I would say is at least 110 years old. I think it will be useable for some furniture that I want to build. I would like to add some moisture back into the wood as it is very very dry. Some of it has began to split in places. Could I do this with just putting it in the steam box for several hours (this is my first thought}. Anyone else got any Ideas

Thanks Brandon

4 replies so far

View Luke2220's profile


23 posts in 965 days

#1 posted 04-06-2014 05:29 AM

Set it in your shop/storage with some buckets of water next to it. Let them evaporate next to the wood. It will take a long time but it seems that you wouldn’t want it to get too much moisture too quickly. Might make the wood warp and bend.

Maybe set them outside under a tarp (unless you’re living in the desert). Make sure they’re not touching the ground.

Just a couple of ideas.

I wouldn’t put them in a steam box, that seems a bit much for 100+ year old wood that has been drying out very slowly for a long time.

View mahdee's profile


3462 posts in 1188 days

#2 posted 04-06-2014 07:48 PM

I don’t think the lack of moisture that makes wood brittle; just age. I tried to recover a bunch of (over 100 years old) wood flooring but they just cracked into pieces trying to get them out. Wonder if brushing then with oil would be a better solution.


View Don W's profile

Don W

17877 posts in 1988 days

#3 posted 04-06-2014 08:56 PM

wood will not dry dryer than its surroundings. I would think adding moisture would make it worse, and then its just going to dry out again. I’d try some oil as well.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1140 posts in 1055 days

#4 posted 04-07-2014 01:51 AM

Don W is correct, and the wood you have is at equilibrium, why try to add moisture, and then have it dry again which may cause more harm to the wood (warpage, uneven swelling, checking at the ends while drying again), steaming is a bad, very bad idea.

Try to work the wood as best you can.

It might be that the surface wood is most brittle, it might be that all of it is brittle. Good luck.

-- Jeff NJ

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