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Moisture meters?

Post in 'The Gear' started by 1750, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. 1750

    1750 Feeling the Heat

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    It sounds like many of you measure moisture content. Do you have a favored meter?

    I've heard people say they tell by knocking the wood together. I'm sure this works for some, but to me this is like thumping a watermelon - which I also don't seem to be able to rely on either.

    Thanks for your suggestions.

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  2. Hills Hoard

    Hills Hoard Minister of Fire

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    i would love one just to confirm my own observations...
  3. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    I have used a few different ones, they all worked the same. I wouldn't go out and spend much money, there's no need to. A.W. Perkins has a pretty nice one.
    Knocking two pieces of wood together is as reliable as shaking the back of your car to see how much gas is in it. If you want to be accurate, get a meter.
    jeff_t likes this.
  4. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I paid $11 for mine from Harbor Freight. I don't put much faith in it, but most of the time I think it's pretty close. Different wood brings different readings, I believe. I have a hard time believing cherry that I split last summer is at 15%, but the oak I split a year and a half ago seems about right at 29-30%.

    I don't expect much from HF tools.
  5. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    I think they're most useful for helping you learn to recognize what dry firewood looks. feels and sounds like. Once you're handled a bunch of firewood at different stages of the seasoning process, and gotten familiar with the species that grow in your area, the meter will probably just gather dust, which is fine. Learn about the limitations of electronic meters (above 30% MC they are very inaccurate; readings are affected by species and temperature; readings reflect the highest MC that the pins are actually touching, i.e. they can't read the MC in the center of a split without either splitting it into 2 pieces to expose the center, or driving nails in as pin extensions). If you use a meter incorrectly, the results are meaningless.
  6. ddahlgren

    ddahlgren Feeling the Heat

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    I use mine every now and then but it depends on the size of the split and bark on or bark off. The whole pile will season at the same rate more or less so just grab a random one split it inhalf and use your moisture meter on the inside of the split. Lacking a meter just put the same spot to your cheek if it feels cold it is not ready. Nothing I invented but learned here and can not remember who told me but it does work well and fast.
  7. 1750

    1750 Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks to all of you who replied. It doesn't sound like there's a clear front-runner.
  8. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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  9. 1750

    1750 Feeling the Heat

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  10. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    I have these two and they both work the same http://www.harborfreight.com/digital-mini-moisture-meter-67143.html
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_78059-56005-MMD4E_0__

    If you split a piece and it reads 20 to 25% you know it will burn but not that great, If it reads 15% it will burn good,for firewood, doesn't matter what kind of wood it is.
    For me right now, it is a must have tool, and I will continue to use one, just not as much.
    For the firewood, I end up using the HF meter, it's small fits in pocket, powers on fast, turns it's self off, as does the General Tools meter.
    For $12.99 The HF meter works just fine for firewood.
    I checked splits at 15 and 25% can't tell any difference between the two by banging the wood together, at 35-40 % I could tell the difference, compared to 15%
  11. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Its just a $20 tool to give you a reference. Don't over think it.
    HDRock likes this.
  12. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Exactly
  13. 1750

    1750 Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks. I was just looking to see if there was a clear favorite for this application.
  14. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    That's what you see when a moderator moves it to a more appropriate forum.
  15. 1750

    1750 Feeling the Heat

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    Ah, "The Gear." I didn't even realized it had been moved.

    Thanks for helping me keep up!
  16. StihlHead

    StihlHead Guest

    I wood recommend a $12 unit on Ebay with a case and battery, free shipping. The grey ones with 2 buttons (on/off and hold) and large LCD display. Your choice, 2 or 4 pin. I bought a 2 pin, got a 4 pin in the mail, sent them an email about it, they refunded me $5 for the mix up. 4 pin works but its harder to get all the pins into the wood. Accurate enough for firewood though, they work fast and read easy with the large display. Simple enough.

    20% and less moisture wood burns just fine in my stoves. Below 20%, for every 1% more moisture it is only about 1% less heat. I take a random sample of several splits in the stacks and burn or wait, accordingly.

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