Is Your Wood Dry Enough?

Is it dry enough?

turned green wood bowl

A warped natural-edge bowl turned from green wood.

One of the most important things for a woodturner to know is the moisture content of their wood. When making bowls or more artistic projects, a certain amount of warping is acceptable.  But, if you ever want to make fitting parts for chairs, stair rails, tiles, or lids for boxes, it is critical that the wood is dry enough.

Moisture content (MC)  is wood is the weight of water in the wood as a percentage of it when completely dry.

MC used to be obtained by baking the wood you were going to turn in the oven; and then doing this crude equation (and you had to weigh it at intervals until there was no further loss of water-weight!):

MC%  =   (weight before baking - oven dry weight) x 100 
	         oven dry weight

If you accidentally didn’t bake it long enough, or baked it too hot, or weighed it wrong, or did your fractions wrong, you could ruin your project entirely. Luckily, moisture content can be found with the aid of a meter and thanks to technology, relatively inexpensive models are available. I use this moisture meter myself and recommend using them, especially for checking if your wood has reached equilibrium and it good for turning. I hate to see beautiful wood and whole projects ruined because the wood was turned too soon, even though the woodworker thought he’d waited long enough.

Turned Lidded Pear Ring Box

Turned Pear Ring Box by Tom Andreas on etsy.com

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