Why does wood moisture content matter?

At Lively Lumber LLC, we are passionate about providing high-quality live edge wood slabs to our customers. One of the most important factors to consider when purchasing live edge wood slabs is the moisture content.

Why should I care about moisture content?

Here's why it's important to know the moisture content of the live edge wood slabs you buy:

  1. Prevent Warping and Cracking: Wood that has not been properly dried and has a high moisture content is prone to warping and cracking. This can be a significant problem for woodworking projects, as it can compromise the stability and integrity of the finished product.

  2. Ensure Stability: Wood that has a consistent and appropriate moisture content is more stable than wood that is too dry or too wet. This means that the wood will be less likely to shrink or expand, which can be a significant problem for furniture and other woodworking projects.

  3. Save Money: By purchasing live edge wood slabs with a known moisture content, you can avoid costly mistakes and prevent the need for rework. This can save you time and money in the long run.

Knowing the moisture content of the live edge wood slabs you buy is critical for ensuring the quality, stability, and longevity of your woodworking projects. At Lively Lumber LLC, we take thorough moisture content measurements of all of our live edge wood slabs to provide our customers with the highest quality products.

What should my wood's moisture content be?

Generally speaking, lumber moisture content ("MC") should be within 2% of the equilibrium MC ("EMC"), which is the moisture content of the wood that will be reached over time in a given environment. Because EMC is determined by atmospheric humidity, it is specific to the geographic region, time of year, and setting. We've added an easy-to-use calculator here so you can determine your EMC based on your local relative humidity and temperature.

Acceptable MC also depends on the final use for the lumber as well as the setting. Common guidelines suggest that outdoor furniture is more tolerant of higher MC; indoor settings tend to have lower EMC and this should be taken into account. Similarly, species of lumber is also an important factor. It is best practice to let lumber acclimate or come into balance with the EMC of the end-use location before project construction.

A common misconception is that wood is always drying. However, wood is a natural material that both absorbs and releases moisture depending on its current MC and the EMC. If MC is less than EMC then the wood will gain moisture until it stabilizes. This means that wood can be too dry for a given environment; this is more likely to happen if wood is kiln dried and used in a humid environment.