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Wet Slabs, Cut or Leave

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Osvaldd

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I received a few slabs of hardwood that were stored outside for God knows how long. I already have a project in mind, mostly table legs, and frame posts for chest of drawers etc.. Wonder should I leave them as is and let it dry or cut them to size now?
 

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MikeG.

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They will be drier on the outside than the inside, which means that if you were to, for instance, slice them in half, you would have 3 drier faces and one wet face. This will lead to differential rates of drying, and thus potentially to checking and excess movement (warping). Personally I would leave them un-cut somewhere under cover but outside, with a good air flow, and forget I've even got them. Mark them with today's date, and then not look at them again for at least a year.
 

Osvaldd

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MikeG.":1rgu1gpg said:
not look at them again for at least a year.
:cry: NOOOOO

I got them for a current project. I have no other timber to work with.. :cry:
 

ED65

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This is previously dry wood that then got wet from rain? If so there's a limit to how wet it can be (wood isn't a sponge). But on the other hand you intend to use the material for proper stuff, you won't regret erring on the side of caution! You might want to leave it a couple of weeks at least.
 

Osvaldd

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ED65":e2gbz2zz said:
This is previously dry wood that then got wet from rain?.
I actually don't know. The person I bought this from had no clue, he calls them railway sleepers but they are unused and in really good shape otherwise, just really wet.
I might have to buy a moisture meter.
I heard somewhere that it is best to process your wood down to its smallest components as soon as possible, which contradicts to what MikeG is saying, so now I am even more confused.
 

lurker

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Assuming you can see the logic in what Mike is saying, you have the answer that you need.

Buy more wood, not a moisture meter.
Soon you will be like the rest of us and have a stash of wood waiting for a project :wink:
 

ED65

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Osvaldd":lox119nk said:
I heard somewhere that it is best to process your wood down to its smallest components as soon as possible...
No that's not right, not with wet or green wood.

There's another saying which you will find very useful in the long term, keep wood as long as possible for as long as possible.
 

Osvaldd

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Is there a way to tell if wood is green or just wet/soaked?

@lurker, indeed, I really don't want to buy a meter, more wood is much more preferable.
 

MikeG.

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Osvalld, you've been given the best advice. I wouldn't question it, or try to get around it, or hope that the laws of physics don't apply in this particular case. Put the wood on one side and leave it for a year. That timber looks like tanalised fence posts to me, a low grade pine (not hardwood) which was never dried. Even when it's dry it will be poor.

You're at the start of your woodworking career, and are learning from people who are trying to save you the trouble of making the same huge mistakes we've made. You've tried to use inappropriate materials previously. You've honestly got to find yourself a source of decent dry timber in the right sizes before you've got any hope of success.
 

sunnybob

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If they are hardwood, they are very unlikely to be tanalised fence posts. But the right hand one looks blackened with wet.
A better picture will be informative for us, but even with my limited experience of woodworking, I dont think theyre fit for use for quite a while yet.
 

Osvaldd

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Thanks all, especially MikeG - tough but fair he is. I’ll store the boards in a dark corner of my shed for a year.
But you have me worried Mike, saying this is just treated pine. I have plenty of dry pine and other softwoods already.
There are no knots in these two boards at all and they are 2.5mtr long and 20-25cm wide. I haven't seen knot free pine boards ever.
 

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sunnybob

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c'mon man.... DECENT pictures. :roll:
dont need the whole length, just a side on and an end grain.
 

Osvaldd

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One final question, or two.
It's been said that it is best leave the boards outside for a while, I have some space under the canopy, its got decent protection from the rain but not the sun. Does it matter?
Also, is it OK to store them upright?
 

Chris152

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If you can, buy something like this:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brennenstuhl-1 ... 221&sr=8-5
Just looking at those pieces of wood doesn't tell (me) a lot - they could be seasoned (to my newbie eyes) but wet from rain. A moisture reader's really useful in woodworking, I've found - especially if you're getting wood from all kinds of sources.
If it is unseasoned, seal the ends with pva, wax or something and put to one side where it's under cover and the air can move across all sides til it reads a moisture content that's acceptable for the job you want it for - if it's for indoors, bring it inside once it gets to about 20% mc til it's down to whatever it reaches in your house before using. Well, that's my understanding.
 

Osvaldd

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MikeG.":39tm2dq3 said:
Keep them out of the sun. The sun is worse for timber than rain is, by a million miles.
oh blimey, didn't know that. cheers
 

Osvaldd

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Chris152":2x2ag52s said:
If you can, buy something like this:
I’m reading the forum here regarding moisture meters and I’m left wondering how accurate these things are though, not in terms of cheap vs expensive but regarding the differences in moisture near the surface vs at the center of the board. These meters only penetrate a few mm but the slabs are 5" thick.
I definitely would like to find out if they are green or not so I could take appropriate measures. alas :)
 

Chris152

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From what I've seen they can vary in accuracy at the cheap end, but at least it'll give a guide - check what some other bits of seasoned wood are in your house and use that as a guide for what you're aiming for. I'd let it stand til it looks dry, then cut some off one end and take a reading - ideally you cut a fair way in but that all depends how much wood you can afford to lose.

ps Richard Jones advised me a while back on checking mc using the microwave method - if you get a reading with the reader, then use that method, you can establish how far out (if at all) the moisture reader was in its reading. if that makes sense. From what I remember, some advice you get online isn't good as it recommends microwaving too hot - see if you can find the thread on UKW (I can't!)?
edit - it's here:
post1255509.html#p1255509 (scroll to top)
 

sunnybob

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looks mahogany pink to me?
Could well be old pallet woods. Stuff sent from foreign places often come in pallets of local scrap wood, which is exotic hardwood to us.

My first mahogany and walnut pieces were that way inclined.
 
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