Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, Noel, Charley, CHJ

By RedMist
I'm new to this woodworking lark :)

I got some rough wood that I was curious to know the moisture content of. So I grabbed a highly reviewed "Wood Moisture Meter" from Amazon and stabbed the wood with it. I was getting readings between 1 and 4 percent.

I was surprised how low this is. Is this normal? Is my meter working ok?

I want `stable` wood so I'm hoping this is legit.
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By Woodmonkey
That does sound low, I think around 12-14 is considered "normal" for an acclimatised bit of wood, although it will vary with humidity, seasons, central heating etc
By Glynne
There is something seriously wrong there.
As Woodmonkey said, you would normally be looking at the 10 - 14 mark depending on how the wood was stored. You can normally air dry timber to about 14% and then most people will bring it indoors to acclimatise to where it will eventually be housed. So a modern CH house would be around 11% and an old damp drafts Victorian one maybe 13 / 14%.
I've never come across timber that dry (even when I tried to microwave a turning blank) so it is either down to your moisture meter or how you are using it. If it's genuinely that dry (which I doubt it is), don't make anything out of it as it will distort / crack / spilt.
By Giff
Sounds like an inaccurate reading from the meter. If it has probes try drilling a small hole (or 2 if it has 2 probes) and
try then as it may just reading from the surface.
By worn thumbs
I've yet to find timber with a moisture content below 14%.I don't own a moisture meter and have no plans to acquire one as I don't believe they are based on principles that relate to real world results.Measuring resistance between probes on the surface of the wood may tell you a bit about the moisture content at the surface,but can you rely on it to take account of any variation of moisture content with distance from the surface?If I want to know the moisture content of a sample I use a well controlled oven and a set of accurate digital scales.Weigh the sample and then give it an hour and a half in an oven at around 105 deg C and then reweigh.A few moments of calculating tells me the real moisture content.
By mugginsNO1
The better, more accurate moisture meters seem to be the ones using microwaves rather than pin contact to achieve a reading. But they're not cheap. As has already been looks like your Amazon kit could be faulty.
By xy mosian
I have posted about my efforts with an inexpensive meter here:-

Woodgears site, has some interesting reading.
The relavent bit being tests done at a depth of 8mm.

By tomatwark
I have a cheap moisture meter from Lidl

If I touch it to the surface it will give the readings you suggest.

What I normally do is cut the end off the board and test the centre, that way I get a better idea of the moisture content.

It won't be spot on but has helped prove that we have had some wet timber supplied, when the moisture content was 17% in the middle.
By sawdust1
Once working for a client who had just taken delivery of some logs.
He was boasting that with his meter they were 18%, i said now chop a log in half
and take another reading, 50% in the centre !