Wood Moisture Solutions
Solving your wood moisture problems
Do I really need a moisture meter for my woodworking project?
It’s your gamble, but industry experts agree that 75% of all wood quality or manufacturing problems are related to improper moisture content. Inadequate moisture levels in wood can affect the overall integrity and durability of a product. Without a moisture detector to verify the moisture content, costly mistakes are likely.
Wood is a cellulosic material, continually losing or gaining water to match the surrounding environment. Knowing the moisture content of the wood compared to the environment can make or break a project by causing:
- Shrinkage or swelling
- Cupping, warping, cracking or crowning
- Surface finishing problems
To avoid these issues, all wood received by a manufacturing facility must be immediately checked with a moisture meter before any other value-added manufacturing is done. Improper moisture content in the manufacturing process causes excessive product waste and possibly customer product liability claims.
For woodworkers, flooring installers and inspectors, improper wood moisture content can cause costly, time-consuming problems with a project or jobsite. It’s imperative to know how the type of wood being used will eventually equalize with the surrounding air’s moisture content.
How to Choose the Right Wood Moisture Meter
When choosing a moisture meter for your woodworking or wood flooring project, consider the following criteria:
Versatility: The meter must be able to read the true moisture content in the wood regardless of surface moisture or temperature changes.
Species to be measured: Most meters are not designed to measure every type of wood product. Hardwood moisture content is measured differently than in softwood, so make sure the type of meter you choose is appropriate for your materials.
Since each species will react slightly differently, make sure you select a meter that has the settings necessary for the kind(s) of wood you’ll be using.
Destructive or non-destructive: If the holes will not show, then a pin-type meter can suffice for your project. However, a good quality meter is a long-term investment and it’s worth considering future projects. A pinless meter that uses electromagnetic field (EMF) technology can be a better choice for measuring moisture in a variety of project types.
With these 3 things in mind, your search will be off to a good start.