Moisture Content of White Oak

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Forum topic by BoilerUp21 posted 06-14-2021 11:40 PM 315 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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173 posts in 1932 days

06-14-2021 11:40 PM

So my inlaws had a huge white oak tree removed for construction of a new house. I was able to have the tree and had it milled into about 1,700BF of quarter sawn / rift sawn white oak.

This was air dried for 5 months after being cut into boards, and then was kiln dried for about a month.

Thicknesses vary from 4/4 to 8/4. I get 6% readings on my inexpensive moisture meter for the 4/4 and closer to 12% on the 8/4 (after i have planed boards down).

Regarding the 8/4, i am building my inlaws an 8’ long by 3.5’ wide bar top from this material. I have cut and planed both faces and stickers them in my garage with a dehumidifier. The material is all very straight grain and mostly rift sawn so it should be very stable.

With it having 12% moisture content and being glued up into a slab bar top surface, is there any real risk of this having 12% moisture and destined for a basement bar?

Not sure that it will get down below 10% even if i let it sit for months…

Just trying to get some input before i glue this up.

3 replies so far

View Robert's profile


4643 posts in 2646 days

#1 posted 06-15-2021 03:42 PM

Depends on the humidity of the environment somewhat, maybe 12% is as low as it goes? But if it goes to 6 or 8 further drying could cause issues.

A lot depends on the way you build it.

But once WO start moving, you’re pretty much history. I would move the material into the basement and let it acclimate for a few months.

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

View Aj2's profile (online now)


3955 posts in 2963 days

#2 posted 06-15-2021 03:53 PM

My guess from a thousand miles away is your build will be successful.
My experience is wood will warp cup of twist when it loses moisture fast. There’s so many different climates and woods we all have to be attentive to our area.
For instance my area can go from spring to summer very quickly sometimes as much as a 50 degree swing in a few days.
Since I have a open air shop I have to watch weather changes more then others I think ?
Sound like some awesome wood
Good Luck

-- Aj

View pintodeluxe's profile


6450 posts in 3978 days

#3 posted 06-15-2021 06:20 PM

I run a small scale kiln for personal use, and I’ve come to realize that “Kiln Dried” means a lot of things, depending on who you ask. To me it means the core of the wood has decreased to 6-8%. To get that measurement, you need to cut into the wood or use moisture probes to drill in and measure. Usually I just cut 8-10” off a board and measure core moisture. Then compare that to surface moisture readings.

Cheap moisture readings will give you bad information, which makes it hard to know how to proceed with the drying schedule.

I have a bunch of 8/4 white that is air drying, stacked and stickered in a 3-sided shed. Exposed to the wind, but sheltered from the rain. It will stay there for a total of 2 years before I move it into the kiln. Then 2-3 weeks in the kiln to get core moisture down to 6-8%. Then if the surface moisture readings are too low, I actually run a steam generator in the kiln (after sterilization heating phase) to reintroduce some surface moisture. This makes the lumber more stable.

I do all the drying before any planing and jointing. Otherwise if you do some milling, then dry it some more, you will need to mill it again to get it flat. Then you’ll lose that extra thickness.

I think a 40” wide solid wood top will warp / cup / twist some. No matter what you do it will move some. Make sure the end user knows to expect that.

Good luck with it!

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

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