There’s a saying that a craftsman is only as good as their tools. While that may not be exactly true, it’s certainly a fact that the right tools are essential for anyone working in the lumber industry. One of those key tools is a moisture meter for dealing with the often unpredictable moisture levels in a variety of wood species.
In this second article aimed at professionals working with wood, we’re looking at why it’s so essential to invest in a high-quality meter with up-to-date features relevant to anyone in the lumber industry. Accurately measuring the moisture content in lumber can mean the difference between success and failure of any project. The best tools can help ensure success every time.
Why Measuring Moisture Content in Lumber Is So Important
Our previous article took a more in-depth look at why the lumber industry and its professionals need moisture meters. Wood is hygroscopic. This means it readily absorbs and releases moisture depending on the local environment's relative humidity. Even a rainy day can affect some wood species, depending on how dramatically the humidity of the surrounding air or other materials changes.
Wood that is too wet or too dry will change dimension, crack, or warp upon or after installation. Moisture meters show woodworkers when the wood and surrounding materials are at optimum moisture content.
The Benefits of a High-Quality Moisture Meter
It's clear that the regular use of moisture meters is essential for lumber and woodworking, but why is it so vital to invest in high-quality meters? Is there really a difference in the value and quality of the moisture meters on the market? These are important questions, and the resounding answer is, “yes.” There are clear-cut differences between cheap, inaccurate moisture meters and finely tuned, professional-grade devices. Here are some of the key benefits for lumber and woodworking professionals.
Quality End Product
It’s critically important for a wood products operation to have lumber that is at the correct moisture content (MC). Failure to achieve this goal means losses in quality and potentially repairs or replacements of defective products- -flooring, cabinets, furniture, guitars, millwork, drumsticks and more.
If a moisture meter doesn’t give accurate readings, it can lead to woodworkers cutting, carving, or turning lumber that is too wet or too dry. This can lead to wood “movement,” which means it changes dimension by swelling or shrinking. Wood must be monitored for moisture levels from the time it enters the mill right through production and finishing. Frequent monitoring of moisture content in lumber helps prevent waste, which is fantastic for the environment and saves money.
Helps Prevent Warping, Cracking and Splitting
We just touched on the movement of wood caused by changes in the moisture. If the wood is processed at moisture levels not in line with the environmental conditions (EMC) defects can occur quickly - ruining a project and reputation, besides costing money.
High-End Moisture Meters Are Durable
One thing all lumber and woodworking professionals have in common is they work in environments where tools easily can get damaged. A mill, manufacturing plant, or job site are all environments that put tools at risk. Purchasing a high-end moisture meter means investing in a robust and durable device that can withstand shocks, knocks, and environmental factors. Delmhorst moisture meters all come with the company’s legendary customer support, including trained technicians at the end of a phone to troubleshoot most issues.
High-Quality Meters Have Relevant Features
Lumber and woodworking professionals typically work with many species, under all conditions, and require varying levels of accuracy. That’s why it’s critical that moisture meters include features that let the user make corrections to the readings, based on the demands of the application. These would include corrections for species, temperature, electrode type. Other relevant features include the ability to save and export readings for reports and record-keeping. The Delmhorst Navigator™ line includes the JX-30 and BDX-30, which connect to an intelligent, Bluetooth®- enabled app called EDGE™, the perfect companion for further analysis.
Technology and Nature Combined
Wood is the ideal raw material, a beautiful natural resource, and with the right tools in the right hands, wood products can be a sight to behold. Technology allows lumber and woodworking professionals to achieve consistency in their work, providing the best product and service to their own customers or clients. A high-quality, versatile, and accurate moisture meter enables woodworkers to combine the advances of modern technology with the natural attributes of wood for the best outcomes — whatever the type of project they’re working on.
In our next article, we’ll be moving on to the step of actually choosing the right moisture meter for your project. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the topics covered in this article or want to know more about moisture meters for the lumber industry, contact Delmhorst and speak to one of our knowledgeable and friendly technicians.