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Moisture Meter Recommendations

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Forum topic by mike02719 posted 07-23-2019 10:46 PM 368 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mike02719

128 posts in 4233 days


07-23-2019 10:46 PM

I am tired of guessing whether a turning blank is dry enough to proceed. If any LJ’s have knowledge of moisture meters, I would like to hear it. Storing blanks in shavings, microwaving blanks, or letting them sit for three or four months is where I am now. Get ready 21st century, here I come, if the LJ’s are willing.

-- Mike, Massachusetts


15 replies so far

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Kelly

2393 posts in 3391 days


#1 posted 07-23-2019 11:06 PM

Come on, come on, hurry up and get some answers the rest of us can use.

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Desert_Woodworker

1851 posts in 1661 days


#2 posted 07-24-2019 03:18 AM

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Lazyman

3661 posts in 1834 days


#3 posted 07-24-2019 03:46 AM

If owning a couple of moisture meters counts as knowledge here we go. I bought 2 different Dr Meter meters. One is a pronged meter the other is prongless. They were both pretty cheap and seem to be accurate enough for wood turning. I actually checked the calibration of the pronged one by comparing weight lose to the meter reading and it was pretty close. I used a microwave instead of the normal method of using an oven but the computed weight loss and meter reading seem to correlate well enough for my purposes. I got the pronged meter first and decided to try the prongless one but personally the pronged meter is much easier to use. You have to look up the density of the wood for the prongless one but not for the pronged ones, though I think that more expensive pronged meters may require you to look of the density of the wood. The prongless meter also requires a large enough flat area to get a good reading which can be tough on rough turned bowl. It is better suited for flat boards. IMO

Of course this doesn’t mean you don’t still need weight and dry the bowl blanks in a bag of shavings or the microwave, it just gives you a way to measure progress without weighing them, though frankly I still do. Since the Dr. Meter digital meters are cheap, it is handy to have around.

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

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Desert_Woodworker

1851 posts in 1661 days


#4 posted 07-24-2019 04:14 AM



If owning a couple of moisture meters counts as knowledge here we go. I bought 2 different Dr Meter meters. One is a pronged meter the other is prongless. They were both pretty cheap and seem to be accurate enough for wood turning. I actually checked the calibration of the pronged one by comparing weight lose to the meter reading and it was pretty close. I used a microwave instead of the normal method of using an oven but the computed weight loss and meter reading seem to correlate well enough for my purposes. I got the pronged meter first and decided to try the prongless one but personally the pronged meter is much easier to use. You have to look up the density of the wood for the prongless one but not for the pronged ones, though I think that more expensive pronged meters may require you to look of the density of the wood. The prongless meter also requires a large enough flat area to get a good reading which can be tough on rough turned bowl. It is better suited for flat boards. IMO

Of course this doesn t mean you don t still need weight and dry the bowl blanks in a bag of shavings or the microwave, it just gives you a way to measure progress without weighing them, though frankly I still do. Since the Dr. Meter digital meters are cheap, it is handy to have around.

- Lazyman


+1

-- Desert_Woodworker

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SMP

1302 posts in 353 days


#5 posted 07-24-2019 04:26 AM


If owning a couple of moisture meters counts as knowledge here we go. I bought 2 different Dr Meter meters. One is a pronged meter the other is prongless.

- Lazyman

So i guess you might say you took a two-pronged approach?

<badum tsssh*

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therealSteveN

3353 posts in 1021 days


#6 posted 07-24-2019 11:01 AM


If owning a couple of moisture meters counts as knowledge here we go. I bought 2 different Dr Meter meters. One is a pronged meter the other is prongless.

- Lazyman

So i guess you might say you took a two-pronged approach?

<badum>

It made me smile.

My thought on moisture meters is buy once, spend the money, and get it right the first time.

Pinless is a must, Pin meters are really antiquated school, they are just something to break off.

Wagner Orion is currently the one to get. Google for lowest price. I like the dual depth because for too long people have been measuring the surface only, and that only gives you part of the equation. Yes you are looking at 300 bux. Lifetime buy, provided you don’t keep dropping it. pinless so nothing to break. Quick, reliable readings.

If this is too much, then buy a decent unit, with good reviews, and cut a sample board so you can test the outside, and the inside. For that you need to go in further than 6” from the end. Best to go in the middle of a board. Which if you think about it, you are going to cut some stock in half on any project. So this isn’t some crazy thing to do, to get an accurate reading.

-- Think safe, be safe

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Wildwood

2688 posts in 2582 days


#7 posted 07-24-2019 08:16 PM

My take on moisture meter for a woodturner its a nice to have item but not really necessary. If you were building fine furniture from dimensional lumber buy the best you can afford. I have one but hardly use it cost me less than $10 at Lowes that same meter now runs about $35. Fun to play with though.

Lot depends upon where and how you get your wood for turning. If harvesting your own wood to process or buying turning blank. Whether you buy or harvest wood for turning need ball park moisture content numbers to work with depending upon wood to be used indoors or outside. See the charts on page 5 & figure 3-1 and table 13-2 will give you ball park moisture numbers for what you need.

https://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplgtr/fplgtr190/chapter_13.pdf

Before start turning wood from start to finish want wood to reach EMC (Equilibrium moisture content) for where you live. Talking about things like pens, fishing lures, pepper mills etc. Bowls are a little different in that rough turning to a uniform thickness and setting aside to dry for month or two. Depending upon size of the bowl might be anywhere from 5/8” to 1” or more thickness. As it shrinks will turn little oval so leaving it a uniform thickness will allow you to stick back on the lathe to finish turn, sand, & finish. On the other hand if turn your bowl thin 1/6” to 1/4” can sand & finish. Might not stop it from really going oval or cracking but if successful will have pretty interesting bowl.

Pretty good read:
http://customwooddesign.com/turninggreenwood-1.html

If buying wood for turning whether spindles or bowl blanks normally comes completely seal in wax. Wax does not allow moisture in or out. So scrap wax of sides leaving both ends sealed and allow to reach EMC for your area. Here is where scales (bathroom, mail, or baker/chef scales come in handy) Weigh the wood & weigh it until stops losing weight then should be at EMC and safe to turn. Depending upon dimensions might take week or month or so.

If harvest your own wood have to come up with a processing plan by size of the wood you get. Cutting logs little longer and larger than will need. End sealing with products like Anchor or Green wood sealer, paraffin wax, latex paint. Store out of the weather off the ground until ready to turn. Normally log 3” (sometimes 5” or 6” for me Dia) over than that will split and remove the pith. Use either electric or gas chain saw & saw buck.

Here on east coast only use plastic bag to cover a bowl blank while on the lathe & taking a short break. I use paper grocery bags or cardboard boxes for short time storing, then take them out and let air dry. While use chips for really wet wood never leave them in bag or box for more than week or two to prevent mildew/mold. Same reason don’t use plastic bag of any storage.

I don’t use micro wave, boiling, Liquid soap, PEG or Pentacryl due to time & effort, cost, & learning curve involved.

-- Bill

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pintodeluxe

5970 posts in 3260 days


#8 posted 07-24-2019 08:26 PM

Lignomat MD/C for me! It is a pin style meter that allows for remote probe use. You screw two probes into the lumber to get a true core reading. It works great to monitor the drying process in my small kiln.

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

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2380 posts in 2437 days


#9 posted 07-24-2019 09:26 PM

While I have a moisture meter I dont use it much for turning wood. Sometimes I check a blank just for grins, but Weighing is a better method. You know when wt loss stops its as dry as its gonna get, regardless of the drying method.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2393 posts in 3391 days


#10 posted 07-25-2019 04:12 AM

I’ve been looking at moisture meters for a long while. Like many, turning is just a part of my woodworking life. Too, nearly everything I do on a lathe, including bowls, is done with dry wood. Add to that, most of what I turn is spindle work. For me and those like me, a good quality meter is a good plan.

View ibewjon's profile

ibewjon

785 posts in 3240 days


#11 posted 07-25-2019 11:37 AM

I have a Lignomat pin style meter that can be used with different lengths of pins. This works nicely on curved surfaces. I don’t know how a pinless would work on a curved turning without the flat area needed to measure on.

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

2688 posts in 2582 days


#12 posted 07-25-2019 11:58 AM

Whether you have consumer pin or pin less MM they are useless on freshly cut down tree with MC of 100% or more. Most of those meters useless with tree fiber saturation point above (FSP) 28% to 30%. Depending on the meter only calibrate for range of 5 to 40% for wood. Take with grain of salt brands claiming to read higher percentages for wood.

Some meters will even come with a species correction chart, good luck with that. For more info see this bit of wisdom:
https://www.delmhorst.com/blog/bid/364312/Ensure-Proper-Moisture-Readings-with-Species-Corrections

You can find MM for less than $50 that will serve you well for ball park reading whether pin or pin less.
https://usefuldiary.com/best-wood-moisture-meter/

Have earlier version of this meter and works well for me. If read reviews will find it has more uses in the home.
https://www.lowes.com/pd/General-Tools-Instruments-Digital-Moisture-Meter/3136919

If you are a fussy butt and money to burn go ahead and buy an expensive meter.

Just remember whether pin or pin less they cannot read greater than 3/4”. This is important if harvest wood to turn or buy your turning squares or bowl blanks most of which greater than 1 1/2” of more. While great for 3/4” pen planks not great for thicker wood no matter how much you spend for a meter.

-- Bill

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bmerrill

54 posts in 520 days


#13 posted 07-25-2019 12:41 PM

Lignomat MD/C

-- "Do. Or do not. There is no try". Yoda

View mike02719's profile

mike02719

128 posts in 4233 days


#14 posted 07-25-2019 01:08 PM

Thanks for the recommendations, maybe I don’t need a meter from what the LJ’s say. Will likely try one at a reasonable cost.

-- Mike, Massachusetts

View Robert's profile

Robert

3468 posts in 1928 days


#15 posted 07-25-2019 04:42 PM

I bought a cheap pin meter on lightning deal on Amazon. Think it was $14. Seems to work fine.

I don’t like the pinless type because you have to refer to a chart.

But either way I don’t think you need a real expensive one.

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

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