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Forum topic by McGriff posted 05-12-2019 03:16 AM 552 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View McGriff's profile


35 posts in 1417 days

05-12-2019 03:16 AM

I recently watched a Stupmy video that spoke about kiln dried lumber and moister content. I attempted to leave a comment, but I either screwed it up or someone didn’t like it and had it removed. It appeared on my screen as if it was posted, but maybe someone thought I was being a wise guy and didn’t realize I am just a new woodworker.

To point out how new of a woodworker I am: I just made my first table saw cut today after working on putting together and tuning my table saw and Jointer that I received around the same time a month ago, and had to set up the new dust collector. I also sharpened my first chisels the night before. I had those Narex Chisels for two years before knowing about the entire sharpening techniques. Wow, sharp chisels really cut! Narex chisels are also supposed to be really hard steel, so it took me two hours to sharpen four chisels. the Paul sellers videos really helped.

So, my question is about acclimating lumber. I have a garage shop and cannot do much in the way of work in the house. I have about 200 board feet stacked in various spots in my garage. I bought a well regarded budget moisture meter and tested most of my wood. the numbers came back with about 90 percent of my wood under 11% moisture, 75% of it was 9 1/2% or less. It was all originally kiln dried, except for a couple pieces of Ash.

Do I need to carry everything I am going to build for inside my house inside to acclimate it. If so, then I have to bring it out into my garage to mill, drag it back into my house to let it sit for a few days? drag it back to the shop for final dimensions, carry it back in while not working on it, carry back out to do the joinery, carry it back in, back out for finishing and finally back in?

I have made a few things in the past with my miter saw, circular saw, sander and router. Mostly the stuff you see that people call rustic and 4 million people have built the same coffee table and write about it. I built all of that stuff in my garage and none of it moves when it comes in the house. at least, none has moved enough to make a difference. the humidity levels are very close between my house and garage as I can walk in my garage when it’s raining, and it feels dry in there. My garage is not insulated, but it’s usually just feels dry, except in the winter when it feels warmer and a bit more damp.

As a side note, I think I am going to have some fun with woodworking. It’s a wild experience when you get these big tools to put together and you never did anything like that before. I have read hundreds of posts but none of them really prepared me for a lot of what I was dealing with. I think many new woodworkers have had some experience with people who showed them how to do something when they were young and it’s a very different experience for people who never had any of that.

Thanks for your time and now I am going to start working on this Stanley 4 smoothing plane. It has plenty of rust, but it looks like it’s in good shape otherwise.

Edit: my first cut was with the stock blade and the second cut was with a Ridge Carbide 24 tooth ripping blade. Wow! Amazing difference.

9 replies so far

View Lazyman's profile


6300 posts in 2353 days

#1 posted 05-12-2019 03:53 AM

As usual the answer is it depends. Where you live, what sort of heating and cooling you use, what the swings in humidity are inside versus outside or in your shop and ultimately what you are making and how it is designed are all factors that you would have to consider, not to mention what species and dimensions of lumber you will use and how it was milled (quarter sawn vs. rift sawn for example). It is probably a good idea in general to acclimate the lumber but good designs and build techniques will minimize the negative impact that moisture swings will cause. As to whether you need to take it in and out of the house, that will depend on how long it takes you to build it. If you can finish in a week or so and it is not really rainy during that time, you probably do not need to move it back and forth, but if the build may take several weeks for example or you go have some really wet weather for a while, it might be a good idea .

One thing that you can explore is getting a dehumidifier to help keep your shop humidity relatively constant, though, if you park cars in there, especially wet, or frequently open and close the garage door, that might not help much. You might want to get yourself a digital temperature with hygrometer and monitor it for awhile just to see what kind of swings you get. If you get a wireless one that has both indoor and outdoor readings you can see how different the 2 environments are. Some even allow you to upload the readings to your computers so you can more easily evaluate over time.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View McGriff's profile


35 posts in 1417 days

#2 posted 05-12-2019 04:27 AM

thanks Lazyman. I will look into those devices. fortunately, the first thing i plan to build will be in the plant room that tends to be more humid than the rest of the house due to the large number of plants that are watered regularly.

View therealSteveN's profile


6956 posts in 1540 days

#3 posted 05-12-2019 05:12 AM

Moisture changes as the seasons come and go, as we heat, air condition, and live with the widows open, so inside the house isn’t some Temple that is immune to RH and moisture changes in wood. This is why you need to understand wood movement, and build to accept that movement.

Imagine a famous woodworker, Sam Maloof for instance. He had built chairs for people all over the world. sent from his shop in California. The wood didn’t quit being wood after he built something with it. It was still susceptible to wood movement.

Just know the boards don’t get longer, just wider. Unless they are getting narrower. Just find a nice spot in the garage you can acclimate it to your neighborhood. Somewhere out of the way, and not under foot. Also consider concrete is one big wet spot, that gets cold, and hardly ever warm, so maybe a couple of 2×4’s under it to keep it off the ground. No sense asking your lumber to take on moisture.

-- Think safe, be safe

View McGriff's profile


35 posts in 1417 days

#4 posted 05-12-2019 07:27 AM

Thanks therealSteveN. I watched a Paul Sellers video where he mentioned something about using Joinery to help control movement. Considering I have a couple hundred BF of wood I got inexpensively, I may as well just make some things and see what happens. I plan to do a lot of mortise and tenon joinery, so I will plan things in order to speed up the build to minimize climate switching. Maybe I will bring a few of the nicer boards in and see how their moisture content changes. I have all of my boards up off the ground in order to avoid moisture transfer.

I can put some time into the workbench. I have 140 bf of Red Maple that would make for a nice laminated top and as I mill it, I can pull the nicer boards for something else. I can put some Hickory aside for the vises and maybe just use big box pine for the legs.

Sadly, I don’t really have an eye for how things will look once finished and may just be guessing about the quality of a board. I thought there was something wrong with the jointer blades when I ran the only maple board I have milled over it. At first I thought it was the scalloping people talked about with Shelix heads. Turns out it was just quilting and the surface was smooth.

I probably should have recorded some of my attempts at installing that jointer head. It would probably have made a lot of new wood workers feel good about themselves.

Thanks again.

Also, Lazyman, I ordered some inexpensive meters. I’ll just put the in several places and jot down the numbers as the weather patterns change. That was a great Idea, Thanks.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


3981 posts in 2460 days

#5 posted 05-12-2019 09:52 AM

Wood moisture levels and acclimation time vary due regional differences.
Rather than type a long answer explaining everything, here are some references:

Simple explanation of moisture in wood:

US government Dept of Agriculture – Chapter 12 of Wood handbook on Moisture Content:

Dept of Agriculture reference on equilibrium moisture for wood used outdoors:


-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View 4wood's profile


73 posts in 919 days

#6 posted 05-12-2019 01:12 PM

Below is a link to a EMC calculator app that you can load on your cell phone. just put in the relative humidity and the ambient temperature and it will calculate the EMC for you . This is very useful for me when going into a clients home for an estimate. If I get the job I know what EMC I should try to achieve. I use the Caliber IV hygrometer which sells for about $25

View McGriff's profile


35 posts in 1417 days

#7 posted 05-12-2019 05:35 PM

Thank you CaptainKlutz. I will read all of those.

4wood, that looks great. Thanks a bunch.

View WoodenDreams's profile


1218 posts in 877 days

#8 posted 05-13-2019 04:00 AM

For a experiment, you could glue-up a test board. 1”x24”x12” using eight 1”x3”x12” pieces. Then measure the 24” wideth twice a month or once a month, and write down the date and exact width (not proximate), and temperature. You’ll have a close record in your area for movement. Some months you’ll record the same results, and other months may be another result.

View McGriff's profile


35 posts in 1417 days

#9 posted 05-14-2019 02:43 AM

Thanks for the idea WoodenDreams, but that’s one thing I don’t need to obsess over. knowing me I would have to get out of bed at 2am to make sure I put down the day’s readings. I would probably wake up at 4am wondering if the 2am trip was a dream and have to get up again. I need my sleep man! :)

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