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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Default Stuck at 22%

I have some 8/4 thick, 9 foot long, live edge slabs which are air drying in my basement. The slabs came from walnut logs which had been down for almost a year (but had not been cut into lumber). My basement has central heat & air, and typically has a humidity level of 45-55% and the temperature stays steady at 70-72. I have sticks separating the slabs and a box fan that blows on them continuously.

When I put the slabs in my basement a couple of months ago, they had a moisture content of 28-30% and the MC declined steadily for the first month. For the last few weeks the moisture content hasn't moved from 22-24%.

Is the MC going to just creep down now for the next year, or do I need to lower the humidity in my basement in order to decrease the MC of the slabs?

Regards,
Mark
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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 10:12 AM
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Those are still pretty fresh, Mark. Normally hardwood is air-dried for at least 2-3 years before it's used.
Is it possible that you have an old concrete floor in your basement, that doesn't have a vapour barrier? Perhaps that's the source of excess water vapour in the storage area?
You could try re-piling the stack with more ground clearance...better air circulation all around the stack.
As a last resort, you could put a portable DE-humidifyer in your basement...heading into Summer, the relative humidity in the basement will likely rise considerably (It'll be cooler down there than the rest of the house.
(The fan sounds like a really good idea).
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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 02:23 PM Thread Starter
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Those are still pretty fresh, Mark. Normally hardwood is air-dried for at least 2-3 years before it's used.
Is it possible that you have an old concrete floor in your basement, that doesn't have a vapour barrier? Perhaps that's the source of excess water vapour in the storage area?
You could try re-piling the stack with more ground clearance...better air circulation all around the stack.
As a last resort, you could put a portable DE-humidifyer in your basement...heading into Summer, the relative humidity in the basement will likely rise considerably (It'll be cooler down there than the rest of the house.
(The fan sounds like a really good idea).
Dan,
The basement is dry as far as basements go. I've never had a leak in 16 years. The house is 16 years old, so I suppose there is a pretty good vapor barrier on the other side of the poured concrete wall. There's no musty smell, mold, or anything like that growing down here.


Ack...2-3 years is too long!! I'm patient, but not like that ( I need an emoji of a little guy tapping his foot).

I'm thinking of buying a dehumidifier and planting it right next to the stack of lumber. But I'm not sure how much a dehumidifier will bring down the basement's humidity level.
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 02:48 PM
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" But I'm not sure how much a dehumidifier will bring down the basement's humidity level."
A LOT, Mark.
Do you keep the furnace fan on during the Summer? It'll certainly keep the mainfloor cooler, but it'll also bring more water vapour from the relatively warmer higher humidity air upstairs. Not saying that's a bad thing, but certainly a consideration.
You could poly off the area of the basement where the lumber is stacked, and run the dehumidifier just in there(?)...
Still, a couple of years, eh?
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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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" But I'm not sure how much a dehumidifier will bring down the basement's humidity level."
A LOT, Mark.
Do you keep the furnace fan on during the Summer? It'll certainly keep the mainfloor cooler, but it'll also bring more water vapour from the relatively warmer higher humidity air upstairs. Not saying that's a bad thing, but certainly a consideration.
You could poly off the area of the basement where the lumber is stacked, and run the dehumidifier just in there(?)...
Still, a couple of years, eh?
Now there's an idea! I could build a "drying box" out of plywood around the stack, and put a fairly small dehumidifier in the box. I don't want to dry it too fast for obvious reasons, but this "stuck on 22" is tough on my tapping foot.
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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 06:36 PM
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I run a dehumidifier 24/7 in my basement shop,remember in the summer ac is working as a dehumidifier but water is dripping out of ac unit so make sure it drain properly.
Patience is the answer
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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 06:37 PM
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I was thinking about what you'd said previously, and it occured to me that I should have mentioned testing the basement floor for water vapour.
Take a new piece of poly, say 2' x 2', lay it flat on the floor and tape all four sides down to the concrete. Watch it for a few days and see if any condensation shows up under it. It shouldn't. If it does, that's another way that humidity will build in the basement (and we haven't even mentioned Radon gas...).
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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-15-2014, 10:16 PM
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The rule I've heard is one year per inch of thickness minimum. You really can't depend on counting the year the wood was still in log form. I had a bunch of birch logs sawed for me and all the old timers around told me 5 years. Some of it is now 20 years old or more. Whether you want to hear it or not, patience is a virtue in this case. The fact that you have central heating doesn't necessarily help unless you have air returns and outlets in the basement and even then unless you have fresh air coming from somewhere in the house you may just be recycling the moisture.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 02:45 PM
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Mark, Question: will you be using the wood in the full 8/4 thickness? You can cut drying time in half by halving the wood's thickness - just an idea, but not knowing what your use plans are for the lumber; it might be a consideration. Sometimes to get the most out of hard-to-obtain quality hardwoods, one will only use thin pieces as a veneer - depending on what you're going to build. I remember you have access to a sawmill.

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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 05-16-2014, 03:24 PM
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Mark there's a lot that your post does not say, about how many boards there are and if you have a secure yard, I think that your basement is the wrong place as there is not enough natural air flow and the humidity will never let the wood dry out, as least while you are alive, it is very common for timber to be dried outside so if you have a place where you could stack them, where they would not be stolen then outside is the place, prepare a platform with 4 or 5 inches of air space under the lowest board, stack them up with 1 inch strips in between and more strips above the top most board, then cover with sheet metal, this will work the quickest, a humid basement is not the place to air dry wood. Also Otis is correct, if your wood is in sections that are thicker than you will use then spitting the wood on a band saw now will help but I would not go smaller than 1 inch. N

Last edited by neville9999; 05-16-2014 at 03:28 PM.
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