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Author Topic: Moisture content reading...  (Read 881 times)

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Offline Hooterspfld

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Moisture content reading...
« on: May 05, 2019, 01:52:04 PM »
Ok got a quick question about getting accurate moisture content readings. I have some 3 ĺĒ slabs of unknown wood that have been drying for 10 months in a spare bedroom. Right now using my General MMD4E moisture meter I get a reading of 14-16% on the end grain. I envision using a router sled to smooth these down to 2-2 1/2Ē thickness for the seat and back of a chair I recently built. The question then is am I getting an accurate reading by poking this meter in ľĒ? Obviously probably not, so if I were to cut an inch of the end of the slab and retest, will that be a fairly accurate reading? Also, should I go ahead and cut these down to closer to the size intended to expedite the drying process?  Also if I do cut them down, should I reapply Anchorseal on the ends? These will be used in an outdoor setting, and will be sealed with a marine grade spar urethane. Thanks in advance!

 

 

 

Offline doc henderson

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2019, 02:30:32 PM »
was this slab cut green?  Does it feel significantly lighter, does it make a sharp sound when you rap on it or dull.  In the future with a small piece you could weigh the whole thing and compare later wt. to know how much water was lost.  I assume you are testing the end grain so you do not put holes in the face.  the end grain will be dryer than the rest.  if it was green when you started, 10 months is not too long for such a thickness.  If you planed it down, it may help reduce surface check but if too wet, may still get some cupping.  It would also speed things up by making it overall thinner.  If it is going outside, then it could dry on the project.  you could use a pin-less meter but it only goes so deep, and in the white (sap) wood it will be less due to wood density not just MC.  a shot of the bark may help identify the wood, and if it is still heavy, help with general wood type.  i.e. very dense or a softwood.

Offline doc henderson

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2019, 02:34:01 PM »
ps if you are going to finish with spar poly, I think I would apply that to the end grain so it does not interfere with the eventual finish.  could just build the chair and finish it and let nature take its course, as long as it is not so wet as to cloud the finish.  If these are just bolted to a metal frame, they could always be taken off and refinished later.

Offline Hooterspfld

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2019, 03:15:38 PM »
Good point's Doc, 

It is significantly lighter now after drying. Itís definitely a hardwood, all that was left when I got it was a standing trunk. Despite being dead for a year, it was full of water when I took it down. I was thinking maple, because of the bark and some spalting in some of the wood, but others have said possibly hickory. I think Iíll attempt to remove some wood and get it closer to final thickness and finish. I do like the idea of installing it now and letting it dry installed on the chair. Worst case scenario, I have plenty left so It wonít be the end of the world if some is wasted, nailing down the process. In the end Iíd like to end up with 4 chairs to go around my fire pit. Which means I still need to find the time to build 3 more chairs. So perhaps I'm jumping the gun on chair number 1, but patience is not my strongest trait.

Offline doc henderson

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2019, 03:34:18 PM »
If it is all in fun, then have a good time.  send pics when they are done.  Is that the frame it is leaning against?  Rustic out door slab bolted on is more forgiving than dovetailed joinery ect.  the only prob. is if it was too wet, it could cloud the finish.  You can make a temp cheap kiln with plastic, look at you tube timber green farm simple solar cycle kiln.  or make a foam board box with a heat lamp and fan.

Offline Hooterspfld

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2019, 04:19:51 PM »
Yeah thatís the frame itís leaning on. Itís kind of an Adirondack/Industrial design that I saw someone build on youtube. I didnít have any plans so I built it using the dimensions of a cheap plastic Adirondack chair on my patio, which this will replace. It should be pretty forgiving as far as the wood goes, simply thick rectangle slab for the base and seat. 
Iíve thought about a foam kiln, I just donít have the space for it. I live in the city, and yard space is at the minimum. Plus Iím not keen on running one in my garage being that its right underneath our bedrooms.


 

Offline Hooterspfld

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2019, 04:21:02 PM »
BTW this is my "I'm teaching myself how to weld project" so all things said, I'm pretty happy with the results so far!

Offline doc henderson

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2019, 04:35:28 PM »
I was going to ask, as I had reviewed your prev. posts.  good job.  See if aunt Bertha will test it out at the family reunion!   :D :D  just saw the pic. looks good.  if you use a lot of square tubing it is worth buying some plastic insets.  I bout a case of 72 for 1.5 x 1.5 inch tube and now that is what I use cause I have scraps and the plastic plugs.  you can find them at some stores like lowes ect.  it is a bit of work to make nice welds to plug up the ends.

Offline Hooterspfld

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2019, 04:58:46 PM »
It's funny you should mention that Doc, cause I'm working on that right now. For my own chairs, I'll weld, but if I build any for friends or family in the future, I'll probably use the plugs you suggested! As far as aunt Bertha goes, I'm pretty sure she's safe. I'm about 235# and i can jump up and down on these with no issue. Plus welding these plugs is extra practice. By the time I get to the 4th chair I'll be a pro!

 

 

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2019, 05:28:59 PM »
looks great.  and you have never met my aunt Bertha!!!  just kidding...not her real name. :o :)

Offline Hooterspfld

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2019, 10:43:50 PM »
Well I was pleasantly surprised after taking my slabs down to finish thickness. I was getting consistent reading between 11 and 14%. I tested some 2x4ís that have been in my garage for year and a half plus and got similar readings.  So I slabbed it up with the router sled and after 1 coat of urethane, Iím really happy with the results! (This is the back of the chair, still finishing up on the seat) 


 

 

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2019, 10:34:52 PM »
looks really good. and if they degrade or warp or loose finish, they are thick enough you can plane them or sand them down and refinish.  carry on!

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2019, 07:39:32 AM »
It's looking good, I really like the welded frame. One thing with pin location, they should be aligned going with the grain from the face or an edge rather than in end grain. You can cut out a sample piece then cut it in half to get the pins in with the grain at the core or somewhere along the way.
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Offline Downstream

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2019, 08:47:52 AM »
I like everything you have done so far with wood and frame except one thing you have to be careful with on welded tube frames that will sit outside.  If you cap them with welded end plugs and create fully enclosed frame then you MUST add water drain holes.  If you don't and it freezes where you live I guarantee they will get water in them and then when they freeze they will expand and blow up like a balloon until the tubes warp/split.  I have worked with tube frames in a number of different industries and it is a painful lesson learned early for anything used outside.  You might think you have perfect welds but there always seems to be a small crack/void that will leak in or weep water in as the temps rise/fall.  Experience tells me the only welds immune from leaking are the ones on the bottom that will hold the water in.  :laugh:  Once again nice project.  Makes me want to get the welder out of the corner and put it to work.
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Offline Hooterspfld

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2019, 01:47:02 PM »
Thanks for the advice Downstream! I had thought about drainholes where the slabs set, but hadn't thought about the sealed tubing. I'll add a couple drain holes on the underside of the arm rests which sit slightly sloped from ground level. I can also hide a couple drain holes on the underside of the legs as well. 

Offline boonesyard

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2019, 02:00:06 PM »
Wood and finish looks good, sure looks like elm.
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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2019, 02:10:05 PM »
Thanks Don P,

Don P,

As far as pin location, I was planning on screwing the slabs from the back face. Itís hard to tell, but there's a 2" flat steel seat that the slabs sit on. I was planned on screwing through that into the back face of the slab. Therefore the screws will go into the slabs perpendicular to the grain. Is that what you are suggesting or should I come up with something else?

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2019, 02:13:01 PM »
Boonesyard,

I think you might be right! I'm new to all this, but looked up some pics of elm wood grain. It sure looks like what I've got, and there are tons of elm trees around here!

Thanks for the identification!


Offline Ianab

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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2019, 04:04:47 PM »
I was planning on screwing the slabs from the back face. Itís hard to tell, but there's a 2" flat steel seat that the slabs sit on. I was planned on screwing through that into the back face of the slab.


Nothing to do with measuring the moisture content, but you should slot the holes in the steel, then use washers on the screw heads. This lets the piece of wood move as it's moisture changes with the seasons. A wide board like that can change width noticeably over the seasons, and if it's attached solidly, it's almost certain to split at some point.
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Re: Moisture content reading...
« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2019, 08:38:32 PM »
Thanks Don P,

Don P,

As far as pin location, I was planning on screwing the slabs from the back face. Itís hard to tell, but there's a 2" flat steel seat that the slabs sit on. I was planned on screwing through that into the back face of the slab. Therefore the screws will go into the slabs perpendicular to the grain. Is that what you are suggesting or should I come up with something else?
It looks like you better check the instructions for your meter.

Gene pm'ed me this;
Lignomat suggests that the pins run across the grain with their meters.
Under 15% MC it does not seem to make a difference.

To be honest it's been so long I don't know if I got what I told you from directions or OJT. I've just about always been around Delmhorst meters. I googled their instructions and it was what I posted above. I've never played around to see how much difference it makes. This is Delmhorst's instructions;

To take a test, connect the electrode to the meter and turn the meter on. Align
the contact pins parallel to the grain of the wood. Drive the pins into the wood
and read the moisture content on the meter scale. Make sure the readings are
taken on the scale range at which the selector switch is set. When using
uninsulated pins, drive them to their full length into the wood. This will give you
the highest measured reading. Insulated pins read only at the uninsulated tip
and can be driven to a desired depth to gather shell and core (gradient)
information.
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