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Thread: Moisture Content?

  1. #1

    Moisture Content?

    I've been turning green wood for some time now and use the 'pack it in its own shavings in a paper bag' routine. It works, but I'm never sure if I have waited too long or not long enough other than by weighing the rough-turned piece from time to time to see when it has stabilized. I just ordered a General Tools MMD4E Digital Moisture Meter from Amazon (btw - it was $29.98 with free shipping there vs. Woodcraft at $49.99 plus shipping) and should have it next week. Once I get it, what moisture content/percentage am I looking for?

    Thanks all.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Olalla, WA
    In my shop, stable/dry is about 10-12% and in the house, closer to 6-7% (winter). Your results may vary, depending on basement shop or not and region of the country.

  3. #3
    When you have done enough bowls, you can pick them up and 'feel' if they are dry. The ones that aren't ready will feel cooler than the dry ones, no matter what the shop temps are. If you are sensitive enough, you can feel when the 'weight' is about right as well. Other than that, just turn a bunch of them, set them to dry, and forget about them. By the time you remember, you will be about right. So a turning day would be a couple of roughouts, and a couple of finish turnings. This is for twice turned bowls. For once turned, 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, about 10 to 14 days.

    robo hippy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Ft. Worth Tx.
    Reed, what would we do without you?Max

  5. #5
    Ron, the moisture meter you have purchased is a pin model, and they obviously leave holes in the wood - not a good plan for a piece where you may not be able to turn away the marks. In addition, they are designed really for flat work, where one cuts a board and gauges the center of the cut. There can be quite a difference in the surface and 3/8" toward the center of a 3/4" board - or turning, for that matter. I have owned a meter for several years, and while it comes in quite handy for flat work, I rarely use it in turning.

    Reed has turned more bowls this year (2013) than I will turn in a lifetime - I would go with his plan!

  6. #6
    In my shop, 12% is about as low as it will get. You can not "wait too long" when drying bowls, but once they stop getting more dry, you might as well turn them.
    When failure is not an option
    Mediocre is assured.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Brillion WI
    117 can also weigh the bowl every couple of days with a digital scale. When it stops loosing weigh it is dry and ready to re-turn or sand / finish. This works very well for me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Harrisburg, NC
    Iím not sure where you are but here is a link to equilibrium moisture content. State/cities start about page 11. For me equilibrium is 12-14% on a monthly basis so anything lower than 14% is good to go for me.
    This is for outdoors; inside a home would be lower typically.
    I bag also but never with shavings but you may need to depending on your area. I donít record the readings; I just stick the foot through the bag. So far no holes have show when finished. Canít say itís the best method but since you already have the meter orderedÖ..
    "I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity." - Edgar Allan Poe

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