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Thread: aging hardwood b4 use

  1. #1

    aging hardwood b4 use

    Until now I have been buying various hardwood species local and on-line here and there, first to get some stock in and then to add some different woods and take advantage of some discounts. The wood to date that has hung around a number of months before being used after I got it and for the past couple of years have had a accumulated few hundred bf always on hand.

    Now though I am going through a couple hundred BF rather quickly of some species (every couple weeks) and not sure if I should worry about letting it sit. I just processed in a couple hundred bf of hard maple from a local wholesale source and really need to start using it next week if I can. The source is in Texas and they are in a large warehouse. The humidity in central Texas I don't consider that high by I think it runs on the high side of normal at 60ish and we have had an unusually wet May. Their warehouse is prob 40-50k large metal with a few loading dock bays. I know its all kiln dried and I know this place supplies a lot of the local cabinet shops and such. My shop is a 550' garage with a split AC and I keep my wood in a room in the house I have commandeered.

    So far I have not locally sourced any exotics so I'm mostly talking about Hard Maple, Walnut, Cherry and Mahogany. Should I be letting it acclimate for more than a day or two? It does seem perfectly dry and having to do this really then means suddenly having to have hundreds of BF sitting as I go not to mention much more tedious sorting it all out.

    Is this something any of you worry about? How do you handle the wood flow through in your shops?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    I’ve been making custom furniture and cabinetry full time for 40years and have never let wood acclimate in the shop. Always bought from suppliers selling kiln dried. No problems. you can see my location is McKinney TX.
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  3. #3
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    Get a moisture meter. Measure the MC of wood that's been in your shop for many months. Then measure the MC of wood that you buy. If the MC is more than maybe +/- 2% it would be best to let it acclimate until it's within that range. IMHO the worst thing you can do is to bring in wood with a MC that's 6% or more different than the wood in your shop, let it sit for one or two days, and then start resawing it. That's a recipe for some serious cupping - I have first hand knowledge with that hard learned lesson. It would be better to use it right away while the MC in the wood is still uniform from wherever it came from and take your chances on it behaving as the MC comes into equilibrium with your shop.

    Also, hang a RH meter in your shop. See how much it changes day-to-day, week-to-week, etc. Write it down and/or graph it. Is the MC of your wood consistent with those RH readings? How much does it lag? You'll start understanding why wood moves the way it does once you track how the RH in your shop varies.

    John

  4. #4
    What John said.

    I mostly work with wood that has been in my shop for a while, so time is on my side. When I bring in wood that I want to use right away I use a moisture meter to avoid problems down the road.
    Last edited by Kevin Jenness; 06-17-2021 at 5:27 PM.

  5. #5
    I mostly have used air dried walnut and cherry that I dried myself and it was usually out doors so I acclimated it. Had good luck with that. Had a few instances where I didn't acclimate and had more issues.

    Lately I have been buying from hardwood suppliers with kiln dried and haven't had any issues using right from the store. When someone like Steve who has been doing it for 40 years chimes in, that speaks volumes.
    Last edited by Ron Citerone; 06-17-2021 at 6:30 PM.

  6. #6
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    Location and local climate. Reading between the lines are you in Texas? 60% RH is soaking wet to me. Today is 14% rh outside right now.
    Bill D

  7. #7
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    I am not a moisture expert, but I buy wood from a local hardwood supplier in Houston that has open air bays and I put it in my non-air conditioned garage, and it does not seem to move much if at all regardless of whether I use it immediately or wait a few days/weeks. If your supplier is close by, but the split AC or spare room in your air conditioned house changes the humidity significantly, might be an issue.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ron Citerone View Post
    I mostly have used air dried walnut and cherry that I dried myself and it was usually out doors so I acclimated it. Had good luck with that. Had a few instances where I didn't acclimate and had more issues.

    Lately I have been buying from hardwood suppliers with kiln dried and haven't had any issues using right from the store. When someone like Steve who has been doing it for 40 years chimes in, that speaks volumes.
    Yes, definitely, and I'll bet Steve is not just using wood willy nilly. No one gets lucky for 40 years. In the OP's case, his shop and wood storage areas both have AC. The wood supplier's warehouse obviously does not. Taking wood straight from that warehouse and bringing it into an air conditioned shop is going to cause problems unless you use it immediately (and know how it's going to change) or let it acclimate.

    As a related footnote, everyone who works with wood should get and read Hoadley's book "Understanding Wood".

    John

  9. #9
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    So many factors at play here...MC of the material at purchase, shop environment, nature of the project, etc. I don't "routinely" acclimate material in any formal way, but I do check MC and make a determination if that's a good idea. I also do initial milling of material/components and let them sit with proper air circulation before taking them to final to help equalize MC and avoid "extra" movement.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    Location and local climate. Reading between the lines are you in Texas? 60% RH is soaking wet to me. Today is 14% rh outside right now.
    Bill D
    My jealousy shows no bounds. As I'm sitting indoors in my study, the RH is 60%. With the AC running. Normal day around here. Certainly in the summer. I'm thrilled when it's in the 50's.

    My workshop has a mini-split, and I try to delay working on wood to let it acclimate, but it has to acclimate from insanely humid to just very humid. Seems like an easier task than it might be in a climate like yours, Bill.
    - When God closes a door, he opens a window. Our heating bill is outrageous & six raccoons got in last night. Please God, this has to stop!
    - Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

  11. #11
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    I’ve been in the Dallas TX area the whole time in a no air conditioned shop so basically the same environment as my suppliers. My current shop has an ac unit ( 10 ton package unit) but it is expensive to run so I seldom do. Were I conditioned full time I’d monitor things closer.
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  12. #12
    Thanks everyone! Lots to consider. Since it is coming from a large warehouse with no AC to an 72 degree room I think I will make sure there is a week delay in using and I will get a moisture meter.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Lightstone View Post
    My jealousy shows no bounds. As I'm sitting indoors in my study, the RH is 60%. With the AC running. Normal day around here. Certainly in the summer. I'm thrilled when it's in the 50's.
    Yesterday it was 101 today it will be 111. It was 101 in the shop yesterday at head height at dinner time. We moved to a house with a uninsulated garage. I am working on the electrical and insulating, venting.
    We have the same average temperature as San Francisco. Just we are 20 degrees higher or lower most of the summer and winter, close to even in spring. and fall. Of course it only rains in winter.
    Bill D
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 06-18-2021 at 12:33 PM. Reason: Fixed quote tagging

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    Yesterday it was 101 today it will be 111. It was 101 in the shop yesterday at head height at dinner time. We moved to a house with a uninsulated garage. I am working on the electrical and insulating, venting.
    Bill D
    The record high temperature in Tampa is 99. It has never reached 100 there. St Petersburg's temperature record high temperature is exactly 100. And Clearwater's high was 98. I can't imagine 111.

    Now we get long bouts of 94-97 for months at a time, and the humidity here is always extremely high. So any wood I purchase (except from the local Woodcraft), is usually sitting out in brutal hot/humid temperatures. And if used immediately in my climate controlled shop, it definitely moves.
    - When God closes a door, he opens a window. Our heating bill is outrageous & six raccoons got in last night. Please God, this has to stop!
    - Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

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