Acclimating wood in Western WA garage

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Forum topic by optimusprimer92 posted 02-04-2018 04:56 AM 639 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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43 posts in 1336 days

02-04-2018 04:56 AM

So pretty soon I will be losing my lumber drying room to my youngest daughter. It’s finally time I take out all the wood and give my little girl a place to lay her head (at least that’s what I’ve been told for the past 6 months). I live in Western WA where humidity gets pretty high and temps swing daily, especially in the winter. My work space is in my unheated 3 car garage. So my question is for those who have a similar working arrangement. What do you do to acclimate your lumber to a workable and stable RH in an unheated garage? I am trying to not stack it in our home as it would just get annoying and dangerous for our kiddos. The RH of most of the wood in my garage hovers around 10-12% but everything I’ve built that is inside is around 5-8%. Also, if you just acclimate to your shop and then bring in after it is finished, how much do you find the wood move and warp? Any ideas are much appreciated.

3 replies so far

View ocean's profile


208 posts in 1607 days

#1 posted 02-04-2018 04:19 PM

I wish I had a solution for you but I live in the Florida Keys and even air conditioned air is RH 10-12% and outside 60-90% most of the year. This not that different than your area according to the web, maybe hot the heat. I’m thinking you are going to have to build a climate controlled area in your garage with either an air conditioner or dehumidifier for just the wood storage or the whole garage. Wood in my shop is usually around mid to high 20’s and a low of high teens in winter. I air condition the whole shop while I am building a piece ($) and finish it then move indoors. To be truthful it is more for my comfort than the wood. Hard to bend to stop dripping sweat on everything in a 90-95 degree shop. Wood movement is a factor of the wood species you use. Talk to woodworker in your area to find out what they do.

-- Bob, FL Keys

View LesB's profile


2553 posts in 4217 days

#2 posted 02-04-2018 07:40 PM

You could insulate and possily heat your garage. That would benefit both you, your vehicles, and the wood, but a better solution might be to select the wood for a particular project, move it into the house (behind the couch or under a bed??) for a week or two before you start. Or only work on big items in the summer and leave small stuff for the wet season.

-- Les B, Oregon

View ArtMann's profile


1480 posts in 1590 days

#3 posted 02-05-2018 04:07 AM

Just keep in mind that it is not the moisture content of wood that makes it expand and contract. It is the change in moisture content that causes what people call “movement”. There is no way I could maintain the moisture content of the wood in my shop to 7 or 8 percent. The kiln dried wood in stabilizes at about 11 or 12 percent. Even so, I have zero problems with seasonal changes because my house stays at about 50% humidity year round. I also take dimensional changes into account when I consider joinery.

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