Wood Water and Conditioning


and more, people are learning the joys of woodworking. Not only is it possible to make a much higher quality piece of furniture than your average store bought press-board type, but it also usually costs much less than if you were to go to a traditional manufacturer.

The desire and ability to work with wood and humans have been working with hand-tools to craft exquisite pieces of wood for thousands of years. Unfortunately, in many Western cultures, it is becoming a lost art.

Of course, woodworking is not simply restricted to making a set of dressers or a bed, but is also an integral part of building and construction.

Below are some basic woodworking concepts, which are important when seasoning and conditioning wood.

Water and Wood

Wood is a material that will either gain or loose moisture depending on where it is being used. In this regard wood is a hygroscopic material.

When wood becomes wet, it expands and when wood becomes dry, it shrinks, although in both cases this does not happen right away. For the woodworker, one of the biggest problems caused by this is when the wood changes environments too quickly. For example, bringing wood straight from a moist environment to a very dry one could cause cracking or warping.

Since wood changes in regard to the environment and moisture level, it doesn't really matter how long it has been since the lumber was cut, it can still change dramatically if not properly conditions. Aside from the risk of cracking, if the wood is used right away, it could change and warp the structure. For this reason, it is a good idea to store lumber in an environment similar to where it will ultimately reside.

Secondary Conditioning

One way that woodworkers get around woods properties is to apply a secondary conditioning. This helps prevent it from being as effected by moisture.

The process should begin by storing the wood in an environment that is similar to where it will be used. It is also a good idea to cut the wood to the size needed, as this will make it easier to handle and make the secondary conditioning process go quicker.

Next, stack the wood using laths, so that each piece of wood is surrounded by air. This will help make it dry faster. Laths should be placed every 15 inches to prevent sagging and they should be uniformly sized and placed.

Weights should be added to the top of the wood stack, directly above the laths on both sides of the stacks.

Usually thick softwoods take about 2/3 weeks to condition and thick hardwoods take 3/4 weeks to condition.

Getting the Shop Ready

A good woodworking shop does not need to be a very large space, but it should have a solid and level floor, with adequate light and ventilation. In large shops, fans are used to suck up dust, as if the shop is very active, wood dust will get everywhere.

A sturdy flat workbench is also required for efficient and effective woodworking.

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