There's no wood finish or surface application in the world that can compensate for the defects that occur when items made of wood are not sufficiently dried before production. In many cases, the conditions that contribute to the relative moisture content within any single piece of wood or lumber are often out of the control of the craftsman.
In this first of six articles demonstrating how modern moisture meter technology is having an impact across industries, you'll learn how critically important they are to today's woodworking, hardwood flooring, and lumber processing industries. The devices provide fast, accurate moisture content measurements on-site and on demand. With a Delmhorst Navigator™ moisture meter for wood in your hand, you are assured that the lumber you are building with today will remain true and stable throughout the life of the project.
DELMHORST'S NAVIGATOR™ JX-20 AND JX-30 MOISTURE METERS FOR WOOD
Many woodworking, lumber, and flooring professionals consider these two Delmhorst tools the "best in class" for the industry. The JX-20 and JX-30 have been modernized to bring cutting-edge technology into the production facilities of today’s wood manufacturing sector. They are redesigned and fully digitized, so they offer several notable improvements:
- Dozens of wood species corrections for typical domestic and exotic species.
- The backlit screen is easy to read in all lighting conditions..
- Intuitive design places the Read, Set, and Record buttons right where they should be.
- They both report in either °F or °C.
- An alarm will sound when the wood has reached the desired %MC.
- There is an internal calibration check, so you can trust their accuracy.
- They use the same industry-specific probes and electrodes you have for your other
- Delmhorst tools, so you won't be duplicating that stock.
Additionally, the JX-30 is compatible with the Delmhorst EDGE™ application that allows for meter customization and expanded species lists. Statistical data collected and stored in the app is easily shared to email or spreadsheets for use by everyone else on the project.
The design and functionality of the devices enhances their performance for any professional who works with wood. The JX-30 meter is invaluable to personnel from the sawmill and dry kiln to the finishing room of a furniture plant. At the push of a button, the meter records relevant data for quick and easy Bluetooth transmission.
APPROPRIATE MOISTURE CONTENT LEVELS ASSURE DIMENSIONAL STABILITY
The challenge for everyone in the woodworking trades is to ensure the longevity and value of the wood they use so they can pass that value on to their customers. Whether installing high-end hardwood floors, designing and building custom furniture, or processing raw lumber for use in these projects, all woodworkers must track moisture content to ensure the quality of the finished piece will remain stable and defect-free, and ultimately satisfy their client.
That's why Delmhorst modernized its Navigator™ series of moisture meters for wood to give its woodworking customers the tools they need to protect the quality of the products they create. Not only do the meters assess and record accurate %MC, but they also save you time and money by addressing the typical wood quality concerns that can crop up at almost any job site or production facility.
Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC)
Ambient humidity can significantly impact the %MC of any individual wooden board or lumber batch. In all climates, lumber materials expand or contract based on the moisture in the air around them. They'll continue the expansion or contraction processes until their internal moisture content comes into equilibrium with that of the environment.
That swelling and shrinking poses a problem because the relative moisture within any one piece of wood can dramatically affect the dimensional stability of the finished product. Wood with too high or too low %MC won't maintain its final size — it won't remain stable in its assembled form. Products with dimensional stability, on the other hand, won't warp, cup, or separate after construction. Dressers, for example, will remain square and level, keep their tight joints like new, and have drawers that glide freely.
The moisture meter can be a great tool in helping determine when the EMC level is reached. The best way to determine EMC is to check the moisture content over the course of a few days as it sits in the installation environment. Using a moisture meter, take a reading of the wood daily until the reading stops changing.
It can take a few days, even weeks, for wood to fully acclimate to a given environment, depending on the original moisture content of the wood, the temperature of the environment, and the relative humidity of the area. Generally speaking, the more significant the difference between the moisture content of the wood and the EMC point, the longer it will take to acclimate fully.
Variable Wood Species
Wood species matter, too. Different wood species read differently at the same moisture levels, and they all dry at their own pace. Woodworkers who use a variety of wood types will appreciate the Delmhorst meters’ extensive range of species corrections, so along with any necessary temperature and electrode ‘corrections,’ you have all the inputs needed for best accuracy, regardless of the application.
You want all your woodworking, flooring installation, and lumber processing projects to achieve their intended goal without worrying about errant moisture levels spoiling it. Delmhorst’s moisture meters for wood give you more control over your raw wood stock, so you'll always know when it has achieved its optimal %MC. Only then will it be ready for the finish of your choice.