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Wood Moisture Meter

Post in 'The Gear' started by Jbird560, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. Jbird560

    Jbird560 New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    Messages:
    62
    Loc:
    SW Arkansas
    Can you recommend what to buy and where to purchase? Sorry for all the basic questions
    but what is old info to you is very helpful to us newbies.
    Thanks,
    Jbird

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  2. Stump_Branch

    Stump_Branch Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2010
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    878
    Loc:
    MD
    picked mine up at lowes for something like 30 bucks. to be honest i dont use it much, i think i have a good handle on whats decent and whats not. every now and then i use it as a "bench mark" so if i questioned something later i can use it. for example good burning wood mine will read in the 11-14% range. poorly burning wood is in the 16-20% doesnt sound like much but its a huge difference inside that stove. again i use it more as a benchmark guess rather then reality. it sits in the draw with the long stem lighter and just before a piece goes in i will pull it out if im curious. most times it sleeps in the drawer.

    have heard that harbor fright has some cheap ones.
  3. Exmasonite

    Exmasonite Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Messages:
    287
    Loc:
    Northwest, CT
    well, as a novice here myself, can pass on what i've learned:

    1) The utility of a moisture meter is debatable... seems that the more experienced you are, less you need them.

    2) That being said, since it's my first season burning and this will be my first year getting my own wood, i bought this one at Harbor Freight for $13. Seems to be one that a lot of people get.

    Oh, remember when using it, to cut a fresh split to get an accurate reading from your wood.

    Good luck!
  4. dave11

    dave11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Messages:
    604
    Loc:
    Western PA
    They are helpful in the beginning, when you're new to burning, to teach you what is dry enough and what isn't. But I wouldn't spend a fortune on one.

    I bought a delmhorst, but mainly for woodworking. Came in handy just this week when I came across some small rounds of poplar sitting for two years unsplit. They felt pretty light, but the meter showed them to be 22%, so they went out to season, instead of inside to burn.
  5. Gark

    Gark Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2007
    Messages:
    808
    Loc:
    SW Michigan
    The cheap moisture meters aren't accurate. They don't know what species of log they're stuck into.
    The MM measures resistance but displays it in % moisture. On the attached page from the Forestry service,
    The column under 20% moisture for sugar maple is 2.24 megohms and for elm is .48 megohms. That's
    a big difference. If you can't tell the MM what species it is measuring, it can't apply a multiplier to arrive at
    an accurate reading. Might as well hold a fresh split surface against your cheek or judge by its weight.

    Attached Files:

  6. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2010
    Messages:
    5,486
    Loc:
    Southern IN
    Well, that's $30 I'll never get back.
    I suppose I can back-engineer it; Figure out what percentage each species reads when it's dry, in a trial by fire. Of course, by the time I get done handling and burning all that wood, I'll know weather it's ready just by feel.
    I bought the thing thinking it would help me get through 'til Spring on the dead stuff I'm finding. So much for that theory. Oh, well, maybe my roof will start leaking and I can use it to find the wet spot...
  7. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Richmond, VA
    Looks to me as though sugar maple and elm are +/- 5% moisture on the reading, which is good enough for my purposes.
  8. DonNC

    DonNC Member

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    Jan 3, 2011
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    Loc:
    Fayetteville, NC
    So I can do the same thing using my ohm meter?

    How far apart to the leads need to be?
  9. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,055
    Loc:
    Richmond, VA
    See the footnote at the bottom of the chart...use the megohm scale.

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