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How to Properly Test Wood Moisture Content

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by thephotohound, Aug 20, 2007.

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  1. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    THE ANSWER IS BLOWIN' IN THE END (With no apolgies whatsoever to Bob Dylan)

    How many years must firewood dry
    Before it is ready burn
    Yes, 'n', how many months must white oak lay
    Before it reaches its turn
    Yes, 'n' how many days must Elm splits bask
    Before they are up to the task
    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the end
    The answer is blowin' in the end.

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  2. GeeWizMan

    GeeWizMan Member

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    Tiny Bubbles :cheese:

    Tiny bubbles in the wood,
    make me happy, make me feel good,
    tiny bubbles make me warm all over
    with a feeling that I'm gonna love you 'til the end of time.

    So here's to the golden moon,
    and here's to the silver sea,
    and mostly here's a toast to you and me!

    It worked! First I checked the moisture content with my handy-dandy Cen-Tech moisture meter from Harbor Freight and found a freshly split piece of wood to be 15% to 18%. Then, I applied the liquid soap to one end and blew like the dickens.
    After doing it a couple times tiny bubbles were quite visible. Next, I took a split that tested out between 27% and 35% (I don't know why they have such a jump at the end of their meter) and I could not get any bubbles to form even though I blew longer and harder.

    I felt like a total goofball doing it :p but my wife got a good laugh out of it. :roll:

    George
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Excellent! Time to create a Wiki with these KTel fireside classics.
  4. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I am very impressed. One, that you had the stones to try it and two, that it worked. It might be like a snipe hunt or something but I will have to see it to believe it. If I do grow enough jewels to try this and by some stroke of luck it works then I will have discovered the ultimate party trick. Here ladies, lets have a blowing contest, let me get my wood.
  5. jqgs214

    jqgs214 Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the info, I know that it works with dry wood. Just wondering at what moistue level it starts to work. Can ya try it once on month till that 27-35% wood dries out?? (man i'm too cheap to spend $20.00 buck on a moisture meter but I'm stupid enough to blow on my wood pile to see if its dry) go Figure!
  6. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Well, I make bubbles at 20%, and don't at 35%. Can't find any pieces in between those moisture contents. Damn white oak is still too wet and it's a good 1.5 years old split.
  7. Bill

    Bill Minister of Fire

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    I tried the experiment I used two pieces of wood, one 1x6" about 7 inches long, pine board. It had 10.5% moisture in the center. I could not blow through it, so I drilled a 1/4" hole and inch or so deep and used 2 psi and shoved the wood in water. The only air I could see is coming out of the sides about 2" deep by the air chuck. Then I tried a small split, very dry, nothing happened this time, the air just came back out the hole. So I turned up the compressor to 100 psi, it just blew in my face. I say myth busted.

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  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Morso never said it worked after a board had been mashed flat in a plainer at the mill. Cells could be heard screaming if they listened close enough.

    It does work with cord wood but I find that twenty bucks for the moisture meter was cheaper than Chap Stick on a five cord basis. And besides, I am gonna burn what I got no matter what the meter or the blow XXX says. Gotta have heat around here.
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Not sure I'd by your test board - I don't see bubbles in either photo, but if the hose is blowing in where it shows in the first photo I would think the grain seems to mostly be coming out the sides near the chuck. not to mention BB's objections. I would think that the split under test should be something with reasonably straight grain - unless you're a kid, who wants to play with a "Krazy Straw"?

    Gooserider
  10. GeeWizMan

    GeeWizMan Member

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    Well, all I can say is it did work with a regular piece of wood that I grabbed from the wood pile. My wife saw the bubbles form and I could still see them when I looked at the soaped end of the split. Regarding the test by Smokey, the pictures look like a piece of plywood was used — don't they use glue and several thin layers to make plywood? Im my mind that could prevent air from making it through the xylem and phloem cells of the wood. If I knew how to do pictures I'd take pictures and show you the tiny bubbles that formed. They really did, I am not just blowing smoke here. :lol:

    George
  11. Bill

    Bill Minister of Fire

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    That was a pine board with the grain, also used a split. My assumption is if you can blow through it when it's dry, an air chuck should easily have bubbles coming out of the bottom like an air-stone in a fish tank. Because this wood was dry it didn't work for me. This doesn't mean it doesn't work for your, in my mind it's not a reliable indication of dryness. I'll stick to my moisture meter.
  12. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    How big was the nozzle on the air gun, that may have had something to do with it.
    Also, putting the board in a tank means you have to exceed atmospheric pressue and that is more than 2 lbs.

    Morso doesnt have that little tip on their website any longer............ they now sell a Morso digital moisture meter ;)
  13. Bill

    Bill Minister of Fire

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    It was a rubber tip, so I could apply plenty of downforce. I also used 100 psi just to see what would happen. Might have alot to do with what kind of wood your testing.
  14. woodsie8

    woodsie8 Member

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    Any suggestions on a good moisture guage?
  15. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Kim, if you go over to "The Gear" forum on Hearth.com, and do a search for "moisture meter", you'll have a month's worth of reading about meters of all description and folks' experience with them. Good luck! Rick
  16. woodsie8

    woodsie8 Member

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    Oops, forgot about that other room :)
  17. woodjack

    woodjack Minister of Fire

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    I think it's been said here before. Make sure you're on your knees and get as much wood in your mouth as possible when blowing.
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