Help a newbie better understand moisture content in my work

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Forum topic by Rockytop posted 02-08-2017 06:56 PM 525 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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37 posts in 1472 days

02-08-2017 06:56 PM

I recently built a rustic kitchen island on casters with barn look doors. I built this for a friend of my Dad and is really my first true woodworking project. I mean I’ve always built small things and done construction style work on my home and even others, but this is my first “REAL” piece.
Anyway, it turned out really great. I posted it on Facebook ( yeah, I know…) and now I have a few people wanting other work. Long story short, I built it using pallet wood and the top is from my recent stash of barn wood, from a barn I tore down. I sanded it to a semi planed look and built, and polyurethane it. No kiln dry, just been sitting out beside my building. This build was mainly just to see if I could. But anyway, on to the new projects, I know there is always a risk of creepy crawly if I don’t kiln dry it, but I don’t see any evidence of critters at all. I’m more concerned about the moisture content. In the pallet wood that I used and according to my $12 HF MC meter, the MC was 12. I decided to build anyway. Now this next project, a lady is asking me to build a barn wood farm style table. She is wanting in this 2 weeks. If I kiln dry, I will have to rush to finish like that. But, my main question, I know this is probably elementary, but I’m struggling: Let’s say I do take it to a local kiln, after I pick it up, won’t it just re-acclimate very quickly? My workspace is an old metal building with a garage style door, no climate control and FAR from airtight! I have no where else to store the materials while the build is underway. I live in East Tn and so will the table. If I don’t kiln it and my MC is still around 12, Is that ok on a rustic build like this?

2 replies so far

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4216 days

#1 posted 02-08-2017 07:11 PM

Just build your table and don’t overthink the moisture issue. You’re using wood that was milled a long time ago and the moisture content changes every day with the weather. You best bet is keep the wood off the ground and out of the rain, but even then(rain) it will dry fast.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6204 posts in 3661 days

#2 posted 02-08-2017 07:18 PM

12 percent is too high for furniture that will be placed in a heated / air conditioned home.
You will see evidence of wood movement in the finished project.
Include a disclaimer that the wood has not been kiln dried and insect damage and self-destructive wood movement are possible due to the nature of this rustic furniture.

I kiln dry all my own lumber, and store it in an insulated (but often unheated) shop, and it stays around 8% moisture content.

Good luck with your project.

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

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