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How does humidity affect wood properties?

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Forum topic by AaronK posted 06-10-2009 03:20 PM 1426 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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AaronK

1440 posts in 2926 days


06-10-2009 03:20 PM

It’s been extremely humid here in WV for the past two weeks or so. The lap joints I’m making in my walnut lamp pieces have furry whisker edges on them that need to be cleaned up – been using a chisel to do that. It works great, but I notice a bit of variability in how those “whiskers” shave off, and I don’t know if its the wood or if its the humidity. Seems like they’re harder, more brittle, and easier to shave when the RH is low, and softer, more pliable and difficult to shave off when the RH is high. just me, or is this for real?


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Julian

880 posts in 2987 days


#1 posted 06-10-2009 03:33 PM

Dried wood can pick up a percent or two of moisture during the humid months. You are probably seeing that now that the humid midwest months are upon us. Also watch out for panels made during this time, as they will most definitely shrink up in the heated/dry winter months.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

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AaronK

1440 posts in 2926 days


#2 posted 06-10-2009 03:41 PM

right… but does humidity affect how it cuts?

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Julian

880 posts in 2987 days


#3 posted 06-10-2009 04:02 PM

Yes. Think of it as if you were to plane end grain, and you spray it down to help keep the plane from chattering. Moisture makes the wood a little more pliable.

-- Julian, Park Forest, IL

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AaronK

1440 posts in 2926 days


#4 posted 06-10-2009 04:06 PM

huh! i hadn’t heard of doing that to end grain. I’ll have to give that a shot. thanks for that inadvertent tip!

actually for cleaning up the whiskers I got cleaner looking results easier with low humidity… the fibers tend to bend as opposed to shear when “wet”.

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