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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Posts
    1,973

    Question Can Wood Be Too Dry For Building Gear?

    I've cut and machined up a lot of wood for parts for things like bottom boards, boxes and covers. Some of it has shrunk a lot as it's been stored indoors, and I wondered if it can get too dry.

    The reason I ask is that I'm building bottoms out of tongue and groove, and I'm afraid that if it swells much, it might make the thing too wide, or it might begin to buckle.

    Thoughts?

    Adam

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Danbury, CT
    Posts
    2,887

    Default Re: Can Wood Be Too Dry For Building Gear?

    My thought is not to worry about it. Even if it did expand it would not be enough to make it dysfunctional, and if it did you just cull it and make replacements. That kinda goes along with Beekeeping.
    Always question Conventional Wisdom.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Huntington ,VT, USA
    Posts
    256

    Default Re: Can Wood Be Too Dry For Building Gear?

    Wood can get pretty bone dry in a heated shop in winter. If that is the case for you, it certainly could make problems when it swells back to equilibrium outdoors in summer. Working wood too dry can make as much headache as too green. A 50$ moisture meter would answer the question of how dry it is.

    If it is really dry, it is easy enough to gap the t+g boards a bit to allow swelling without buckling, there are also several construction styles for bottom boards that would allow the boards to swell up without distorting the perimeter. The one that comes to mind just sends all the movement to the front and lets the bottom "creep" out between two smaller pieces tying the sides together...no risk of popping sides and having the thing collapse when stacked up high and heavy.

    But really in pine, at the relatively small dimensions used in a hive, the wood would need to be wicked dry for any big issues to develop

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    havana fl
    Posts
    1,352

    Default Re: Can Wood Be Too Dry For Building Gear?

    Leave it outside for awhile before ya build.
    Im really not that serious

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Strafford, NH, USA
    Posts
    345

    Default Re: Can Wood Be Too Dry For Building Gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Foster Collins View Post
    ...I'm afraid that if it swells much, it might make the thing too wide, or it might begin to buckle.
    Adam
    A whole room of T&G flooring only requires ~1/4" of gap at the edge to allow for movement, I can't imagine the small amount you would use could be that much of an issue.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Princeton Illinois USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Can Wood Be Too Dry For Building Gear?

    If all the wood has the same moisture content I have not had a problem. I accomplish this by bringing wood into my shop and allowing it to sit for a couple days before working. The wood will reach a Moisture content equilibrium. Once painted and placed back outside it has stood up well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Enfield,Ct.
    Posts
    469

    Default Re: Can Wood Be Too Dry For Building Gear?

    Cut your parts and assemble your piece in the same day and you won' have any problems.
    If you cut and then store in a dry basement,nothing seems to fit right.
    I try not to store any woodenware in my basement.
    Woodstove.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Olean,New York, USA
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Can Wood Be Too Dry For Building Gear?

    I concur with windfall and would not draw the horizontal boards tight during assembly. I agree that interior flooring only requires 1/4" gap for potential expansion but these boards will be outside and exposed to moisture levels and conditions not usually found indoors. The vertical boards will not be a problem.

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