12% moisture content

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Forum topic by M2D2 posted 04-02-2018 12:39 PM 804 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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26 posts in 663 days

04-02-2018 12:39 PM

Hey Everyone,

I never do small projects (LOL), so this isn’t really a large project, just creating a new desk for myself, that’s all. Dimensions are roughly 30×60 inch. I’m looking at a live edge slab, for it, I’ve found some locally, that indicate a 12% moisture content. I’ve been reading and apparently furniture wood could be 8 – 12%, framing 6 – 8% and wood flooring 6 – 9%.

I guess what I’d like to know is, aside from sanding the top of it, staining and sealing the piece, the underside would only have 4 screw holes per post (i’m gonna do a black pipe (cleaned up and possibly painted think sch 40 pipe – iron pipe)), do I need to get the moisture down to less than 12%, ie: 6%? I live in southern Ontario, Canada, the humidity is wild, 80% in summer, 10% in winter, it has done a number on my piano, trying to keep it in tune (45-55% relative humidity levels).

So I’m just wondering.

Thanks for your input.


6 replies so far

View LittleShaver's profile


609 posts in 1227 days

#1 posted 04-02-2018 12:55 PM

As long as your legs are not tied together so that they restrict the movement of he top, you should be OK. The slab will still dry and may move as it acclimates. 12% seems a bit high, but you’re in the range of success. You don’t say how thick the slab is or what it is, so specifics are limited.

-- Sawdust Maker

View Robert's profile


3602 posts in 2088 days

#2 posted 04-02-2018 01:36 PM

If your home isn’t climate controlled you’re quite possible going to have an issue with a slab just like your piano.

Slabs often appear flat, but I suggest you check for twist, flatten as needed, sticker & lnd let is acclimate for at least a month inside your house. Recheck and reflatten as needed in steps, allowing several weeks in between. The MC will be dictated by the climate and humidity. In your case, 12% maybe all you will get. The most important thing is stability.

If the inside of your house is fluctuating like you describe, chances are issue are likely to occur.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1089 posts in 3673 days

#3 posted 04-02-2018 01:36 PM

I would measure the MC of a few wood samples in your area that are known to be dry. In my shop 12% is too high. I air dry down to 7-9%, and I’ve tried using 12% and had problems.

-- Paul Mayer,

View avsmusic1's profile


564 posts in 1293 days

#4 posted 04-02-2018 07:39 PM

I’d want additional drying details on the wood. Sometimes people saw up 2.5” slabs and their $30 HD moisture meter reads 12% in the end grain after a yr. That is not a dry piece of wood though – the core is almost certainly too high.

I’d be looking for the general rule of thumb of 1yr per 1” of thickness. If you have someone who has a 2-2.5” slab that has been sitting with open air to it for 2-3yrs and is now getting a 12% read then I say it’s good to go. If you have a climate controlled house I’d put in the basement for a month or 2 with a dehumidifier (maybe a small fan) but then feel free to work thereafter.

Conversely, if it’s not as heavily climate controlled, pay extra close attention to designing to allow wood movement. A top that wide will move notably through the seasons

View Wildwood's profile


2793 posts in 2742 days

#5 posted 04-02-2018 08:04 PM

Since don’t know where you live would recommend going to page 5-20 and look at fig 13.1 and table 12-2 same page. Base upon where you live should get you in the ball park & MC you need. Don’t have a reference for Canada but depending upon where you live might find similar climate to work from.

Just bring the slab into home for week or two and check slab MC and go from that. May need to hang out more or might be good to go don’t know. You want you slab to reach EMC for where you live. Unless have very expensive MM best you will get from most hobby meters is a ball park MC percentage regardless if using pin or pinless meter.

That old wives tale of 1” year, per 1” thickness applies to some pine species but not all so not a very good rule of thumb! To many references to list if in doubt seek & you will see!

-- Bill

View M2D2's profile


26 posts in 663 days

#6 posted 04-05-2018 09:27 PM

Hey folks, thanks replies to the inquiry, sadly the climate of the place is not very stable, I dunno where everyone is, but here in southern Ontario aka the big smoke (think orange haze over city, but I digress), the humidity goes up to 80 – 90% in summer, the winter easily drops to 20% even 10%.

But it would appear as if most solid slabs 30inch width 2 inch thick are still on the pricey side of things. That said. HD has got 8” wide live slabs, with pre-drilled add on pieces. SO it’d run me about $280 CAD for the desk piece I’m considering, i could glue & screw, and sand n’ finish, the other live edge top, is the dining table, could apply same principal to that.

The thing for me, I don’t know what moisture content of HD wood is, I’m assuming its been kiln dried if they pre-done some pocket holes for retail sales.



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