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Author Topic: Moisture Meter  (Read 2682 times)

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Offline Doghouse

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Moisture Meter
« on: June 04, 2003, 09:37:41 AM »
I found someone to mill the tree I had, so now I am working on the drying part.  

I already know I mistakes will happen but here is where I am.  

Stacked the wood on pallets 2 wide by 2 long.  Each layer is stickered with 3/4" hardwood stickers. (leftovers from other projects.  assortment of Hickory, poplar, and pine)

Put down more stickers and 3/4 plywood as a "Roof" on which I stacked 2 layers of 40# bags of dirt.  

What have I done wrong so far?

Do I realy need a moisture meter?
If so can I get away with one of the $30-50 ones?

Thanks for the help

Offline Tom

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Re: Moisture Meter
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2003, 10:30:39 AM »
There's been a lot of wood stacked by neophytes that turned out ok so you don't have to go to college :D  I've even had some turn out ok and haven't paid a dime yet in Wood Drying tuition  :D

You mention pallets.  that raises the wood about 6 inches off of the ground.  I've seen folks do that successfully but favor more distance.  

I use a concrete block on the corners and sometimes in the interim, with 4x4's or even 6x6's longitudinally. Then 2x4's, on edge, at the same intervals that I will be stacking my stickers, so that the stickers will all line up with the 2x4 beneath it.  

A block is about 9" , plus 6x6, plus 2x4 on edge puts the wood about 19 or 20 inches above the ground which, I believe, helps to prevent ground water from wicking, provides a good air flow and allows room to clean out from under the stack.

You did good using dried stickers.  I've used green ones with a modicum of success but dry is definitely better.  Some will say to use specific woods for stickers to prevent stain.  I favor cypress and pine only because it is so handy here.  I've also mixed sticker species and not had a problem.  The biggest problem I incurr is when the moisture causes rot or stain at the sticker/lumber contact point.  A good roof inhibits that and it sounds like you have a good one.  You might make sure that you have liberal eaves to help keep blowing water from entering the stack.  I'd watch the bags of dirt too. their accumulation of water may affect the plywood and also may increase the humidity around the top of the stack.  It would probably be negligable but worth taking note.

I have a Mini-Ligno moisture meter, about $100, that I use successfully but you will learn that time is a great measure too.  Moving a stack from out-of-doors to inside of a barn or other enclosure for final air-drying Will provide better lumber in the absence of a kiln.

Sounds like you've done good.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Moisture Meter
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2003, 04:16:42 PM »
The only thing I would add is that the stickers should be at a maximum of 2' apart and stacked on top of each other.  

Also, the sticks should be at the end of the boards, not in a foot or so.  Any splitting from drying usually goes to where the board is stickered.

I'm not real nuts about the dirt on top either.  Why not use cinder blocks?  Something that can't retain water.

Those Mini-Ligno meters are up to $150 at Ben Meadows.  But there is a used one on Ebay.  http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2327135364&category=42291

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Online Furby

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Re: Moisture Meter
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2003, 04:38:21 PM »
Those blocks do retain water as well. ::) But not as much.

Offline Brian_Bailey

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Re: Moisture Meter
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2003, 10:30:44 PM »
Here is how I stack the lumber for air drying.  I don't have a shed so I have to protect the lumber with tarps. A real pain I might add!


WMLT40HDG35, Nyle L-150 DH Kiln, now all I need is some logs and someone to do the work :)

Offline Doghouse

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Re: Moisture Meter
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2003, 08:45:52 AM »
First times are often experiments in mistakes.   :(

1. Why the dirt? Well it was free.
2. Stickers are about 1' in and not perfectly aligned. but are 3/4 thick.
3. It may be too close to the ground (6")
4. It may be too close to a neighbors fence 2'.

Well I guess I will wait and see how it turns out and report back in about 6 mths.  I did paint the ends of the boards so that might help.  Maybe the weight of 1200# of dirt will help prevent cupping or twisting.  As I have $ i will start to change that out.

Thanks for the advise

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Moisture Meter
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2003, 10:37:42 AM »
With 1200# of dirt on top, you won't have to worry about the neighbor stealing any lumber.   :D

Let us know how things turn out.  
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Offline Tom

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Re: Moisture Meter
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2003, 05:18:01 PM »
I have put weight on stacks and have seen others do it and have come to the opinion that all it does is hold the roof on.  An oak board in the bottom of stack that is prone to cup will cup.  It may have to lift the stack to do it but it will cup.  I've had stacks of wood so tall that I had to get on my truck to add layers and the weight of the wood was still not enough to hold the bottom boards flat if they wanted to move.  

The best thing for flat boards is the proper drying rate and the alignment of stickers.   By putting stickers close to the ends of the boards it helps to stop end splitting.  By aligning stickers it keeps the weight of the top of the stack off of the one board that would be holding all  that weight if the sticker weren't aligned with one below.

We have termite problems here and 18" above the ground helps to deter termites.  It also lets me keep tall grasses and weeds cut from beneath the stack so that insects don't climb them into the stack.  When I have insecticide left from any project around the house, I spray it under and around the stacks to help keep the ants and roaches down. Termites and ants and roaches are food for lizards, skinks and snakes which are food for rats and other vermin.  Of course snakes seem to like the rats too. :)

Don't be discouraged if it doesn't come out the way you wanted but take notes to see if you can change it next time.
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Offline woodmills1

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Re: Moisture Meter
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2003, 06:11:06 PM »
hey brian, those are some nice lookin stacks
James Mills,Lovely wife,collect old tools,vacuuming fool,36 bdft/hr,oak paper cutter,ebonic yooper rapper nauga seller, Blue Ox? its not fast, 2 cat family, LT70,edger, 375 bd ft/hr, we like Bob,free heat,no oil 12 years,big splitter, baked stuffed lobster, still cuttin the logs dere IAM

Offline Brian_Bailey

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Re: Moisture Meter
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2003, 07:54:27 PM »
Woodmills1 -

Thanks, the pile bases are real easy to keep level as there are only 2 places that bare against the ground. I got the idea for them from an article in Fine Woodworking's book, "Wood and How to Dry It".

I agree with Tom about the weight. You can put all the weight possible on a pile and the wood is still gonna move one way or another.  It will either cup or crack.
WMLT40HDG35, Nyle L-150 DH Kiln, now all I need is some logs and someone to do the work :)

Offline Doghouse

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Re: Moisture Meter
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2003, 07:21:15 AM »
I must first start by saying that those stacks are beautiful.  

The reason I have the dirt there is 2 fold.  

1. I purchased the bags of dirt from HD for 5.00 a pallet.  2 pallet minimum.  So I ended up with 60 bags of good dirt for $10.  This is a good deal when you consider that my wife gardens a lot and most of it was brand name stuff.  The bags all had holes so they were duck taped.  Now that I had them I had to store them somewhere...

2. Better storage than the front yard and was able to have someone else help me move them instead of having to do it all by myself.



After listening to all that has been said here, I beleive that at some point in the neer future I will be restacking the whole pile.  When that is done I will post a pic of the new stack.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Moisture Meter
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2003, 07:28:57 AM »
Don't forget about the before pic as well.  Gives us a sense of the before and after.
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