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Author Topic: Moisture meter  (Read 1342 times)

Offline Crusarius

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Moisture meter
« on: June 27, 2018, 02:27:39 PM »
What is everyone using? I just started looking at getting one so I can decide when to dead stack my lumber and save space.


I see $10 ones and up well over $1000. I don't need anything crazy. I see on the other forum everyone badmouthing cheap meters.


What I want to know is since moisture meters use resistance between 2 fixed points how can a more expensive one be more accurate than a cheap one. Resistance is resistance.


And why would I need to buy a really expensive one?

Offline Stevem

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2018, 10:56:07 PM »
I use one I got from Harbor Freight.  Cheap for sure.  Rugged it is not.  Accurate I doubt (but I don't need that).  But it does what I want it to do.  If it breaks I'll buy a new one.  If I need  a close answer it's OK.
Accuracy and ruggedness in test equipment costs. 
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Offline Kojba

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2018, 06:26:42 PM »
For finished projects, most of my friends (the woodworkers), weigh their lumber green, then weigh it until the weight stabilizes.  Once stable, the theory is the wood has dried as far as it can.  They all complain about he inaccuracy of moisture meters, so I'm guessing it is only a "iffy" situation when using one.   Mine was purchased off of e-bay a few years ago, and still works okay. 
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2018, 07:00:10 AM »
I still can't grasp how measuring resistance across 2 pins in wet wood could vary so much from a $10 gauge to a $600 one. I could do the same thing with my multi-meter. I just need to know what resistance equals what moisture. Unfortunately I would think each species would be a difference resistance.

I wonder if I can find a cross reference chart online somewhere?

Or maybe I should just try my luck with one of the cheap ones. I wonder if having a cheap one that is not totally reliable is better than not having one at all?

Offline Ox

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2018, 09:17:00 AM »
I don't have a moisture meter.  I'll saw out what I think I need for the next project and hopefully it gets to sit, stickered and covered, for around a year.  Porches and decks don't need to be perfect moisture wise building in my style and where I live.  I'm not doing a $20,000 deck or porch for some rich dude up on snob's knob, it's just little old me and mine here on the mountain.

If you aren't doing high end cabinetry or anything, why worry about a moisture meter?  K.I.S.S.  principles might apply here.  The way I see it, chasing around every little thing different individuals worry or obsess about will drive you up the wall, so I keep it very simple and everything just always works out nice and slow and calm like.  ^-^
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2018, 10:58:10 AM »
My primary reason is wanting to know when the lumber is dry enough I can dead stack it in the shop. I am already finding out that the next 3 full trees I take down should be stickers. I tried really hard to find stickers for the first short pine logs I cut.

Offline Kojba

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2018, 09:50:00 PM »
My primary reason is wanting to know when the lumber is dry enough I can dead stack it in the shop. I am already finding out that the next 3 full trees I take down should be stickers. I tried really hard to find stickers for the first short pine logs I cut.

I can understand where you're coming from.  When lumber is used for interior furniture, it has to be stable.  If I could, I would want the furniture lumber to be stored in as near, "interior conditions" as possible.  As I said before, the finish furniture guy I know, weigh their lumber when green, and then continue to check, until stable weight is found.  Like most sawyers and farmers, I'm a lot less picky about the stuff I work with.  I'm usually building barns, fences and chicken coops.  When the day is done, if you're happy, the customer is happy, all is well.
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Offline Kojba

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2018, 09:52:03 PM »
P.S.

So far my chickens and goats are happy.  Wife maybe not so much... but that's life! ^-^
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2018, 06:21:04 AM »
Yea. right now my plans are for furniture and cabinets. My biggest problem is my steel shop and wood shop share the same space. It is a real pain to switch over to do a wood project and then switch back. Especially if you want to do steel frame with a nice wooden table.

Offline Ox

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2018, 09:00:45 AM »
I know the pain.  My shop has to be mechanical repair, steel fab and wood shop all in one.  Sucks.

I have plans to build a wood shop though.  This means a whole lot of sawmilling because my framing lumber stacks are about gone.  We'll see if it comes to fruition.
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2018, 09:32:00 AM »
the total reason I built the sawmill was to build my shop. Since where I want to put my shop is all trees I was planning on taking them down milling them then putting them back up in a more orderly fashion.

Unfortunately I then had a realization with rodent #2 on the way I probably can't afford to build the shop right now. So now I have a sawmill. So maybe I can make some side cash with it and afford to build the shop.

Either way. I at least need to do an addition on my current shop to make my life a lot easier.

Offline Kojba

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2018, 03:12:54 PM »
I've found that "craft" lumber, wide boards from cherry/walnut/hickory, sell very well.  People like to make their own coffee tables, and simple furniture.  It's difficult to make cash with framing lumber.  If you have to pay for the log,,, milling costs,,, the big box store is hard to beat.  I use framing lumber for myself, building everything with green wood.  It shrinks, dries hard, and grips the nails very well. 
I'm building a wood working shop now for myself.  It will take me a year to complete, but it will be worth it.  Once finished, then I'll try and build rustic furniture and other junk to sell to the tourists of Fredericksburg!  You can turn nice lumber into furniture, and turn a good profit doing so. 
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2018, 04:11:42 PM »
I have a bunch of spalted maple slabs logs I need to mill. thinking coffee tables or end tables. Should come out pretty amazing if I do it right. But thats another reason I need a moisture meter. I just can't get a feel for it by hand.

Offline Kojba

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2018, 09:16:23 PM »
Do you have a kiln?  You can build one pretty easily, and if done properly, will allow the slabs to dry more quickly.  This is one of those times where Time Is Money!  Probably something you might do fairly quickly.  If you are cutting 8 foot slabs, just build a 6x9 foot base and put up some slanted side walls.  You can use thick plastic, or buy some plastic sheets for roof cover.  If you insulate the sides, and keep the doors tight, you should be able to  dry slabs in four to six months.  Be sure to face the roof to the south, for maximum light/heat absorption.  There are some good videos on you-tube for solar kilns.
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2018, 08:53:58 AM »
The solar kiln is in the plans for the future. I was also doing some research and contemplating vacuum. I put a pile of cookies in the vacuum chamber here at work. It dried them really well. Only took 6 hours. Was surprised how much water was left in the chamber when we finished.

The maple had been cut down and just piled up at my house for at least 3 years. I thought it was dry till we opened up the vacuum chamber and it was full of water. The primary reason I put it in the chamber was to kill all the bugs that had infested it. But it did nice drying to which is what got me interested in vacuum drying.

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2018, 11:48:09 AM »
So I ordered this moisture meter the other day.

https://www.amazon.com/Calculated-Industries-7440-AccuMASTER-Moisture/dp/B06XGJDVFV/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1531845974&sr=8-7&keywords=moisture+meter

Rceived it last night. Tested it on a couple 3/8" thick slabs I had in the house for several months. The readings ranged from 6-7%. right about where I would expect with the AC on.

Will try some more tests on other stuff. Unfortunately I do not have anything to compare it against so I have no idea how accurate it is.

Offline Ox

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2018, 09:26:34 AM »
Stick the ends into a tree.  There's your comparative measuring point.  lol   Do you have a scrap of wood that's been sitting out in ambient temps/weather?  Try that too.
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2018, 11:16:29 AM »
tried all sorts of stuff last night. Seems to be pretty accurate. the walnut that was just cut was coming in 25-30% The walnut was cut sunday about 7:00p and I checked it Tuesday around 6p. I end sealed it after checking the moisture

Offline Stevem

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #18 on: July 29, 2018, 09:29:28 AM »
Just learned that the moisture of studs used in house framing has to have the moisture checked before they apply sheet rock.  If not low enough (12%) the sheet rock molds which is not a good thing in a living space.
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2018, 12:29:00 PM »
Thats interesting. good to know. especially with the quality of some of the lumber available.

Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Moisture meter
« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2018, 11:52:43 AM »
I have heard that the moisture content for "kiln dried" construction lumber is "below 19%", no wonder new homes creak through the first few seasons.  I wouldn't trust any meter that claimed accuracy above 36%, just that the moisture content was "over 36%.  For those high contents, oven-drying is the reliable method.

I normally use a Lignomat, handheld moisture meter (pin type), I have had it for 30 years or so.  On a whim I bought an HF version, the first one didn't work and was returned but the second one is usually within 2% of the Lignomat, often within 1%.  If I had to certify a delivered load of lumber I would depend on the more expensive, accuracy certified, meters.  For most woodworking decisions, a percent or two isn't going to change anything.  The HF (or General, etc.) meters certainly meet those requirements. 
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