Wood movement in different climates

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Forum topic by bjordan61 posted 12-10-2018 05:52 AM 422 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1599 days

12-10-2018 05:52 AM

Topic tags/keywords: joining finishing

I’m getting ready to build my first Roubo workbench here in Alaska and just got to thinking about wood movement. I’ll be moving back to Oklahoma in a few years and had planned to take the bench with me, but I started thinking about the difference in climate and how it affects wood movement. I am planning to build the bench out of Douglas Fir. If I build here in this dry climate what could I expect to happen to my bench when I move it to a much more humid area? I’m assuming that it will expand some but how much? Should I try to somehow compensate in my build now or maybe just think about leaving the bench here when I move and building a new one? I’ve also thought about how much I’d want to tackle a new build like this when I’m getting up in years….What do you guys think?

-- Bruce

2 replies so far

View therealSteveN's profile


5970 posts in 1385 days

#1 posted 12-10-2018 06:58 AM

Plenty of relative humidity maps online

Currently Ok looks like 40 to 60%, while Ak looks higher from the small part of it you can see, news says Anchorage is 79%. Monitor it for a while. Overall I would think the Southern states would be lower. I don’t think right now is average for year round.

You might refine your search and add specific locations to get more pinpoint info, almost everywhere has news channels, and they use National Weather info for their forecasts.

Knowing what to expect seasonally will let you know if you need to worry, but RH in woods is always moving, so once in a new climate it’s not too long to acclimate. Just use known woodworking joinery, and attachments particularly of tops if you allow for some movement typically you will be ok. Think about it, people move their belongings all over these states, some suffer a few casualties, but it’s not too drastic in the whole.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Phil32's profile


1084 posts in 714 days

#2 posted 12-10-2018 04:05 PM

If you build the bench from Douglas Fir that appears stabile you should have no trouble taking it to Oklahoma. Choose stock with straight grain, relatively dry. Follow SteveN’s advise on construction.

-- Phil Allin - There are mountain climbers and people who talk about climbing mountains. The climbers have "selfies" at the summit!

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