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  • Cherry acclimation time

    I picked up some 6/4 cherry on the weekend to build a tabletop for my kitchen island project.

    But I don't want the top to warp like my last project - a maple tabletop. I milled the maple within a few days of getting it from the lumberyard. I don't think I waited long enough for the maple to acclimate.

    How long do I wait before I mill rough cherry lumber? After this wait time do I partially mill the lumber or fully mill it to final dimension? Some people rough mill, wait to relieve the internal stresses before final milling. What is the wait time between rough milling and final milling?

    Thanks in advance.
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  • #2

    Re: Cherry acclimation time

    I take it that this cherry has been kiln dried and it "should" be dry enough to use. However, the absolute way to determine if it's dry is to measure the moisture with a moisture meter. You would be looking for readings of 8 to 10%. Any higher and the wood could potentially move on you. Any suggestion that a few weeks or months wait to let it dry is just guessing that it will be dry enough.
    Measure twice, cut once ... and if that doesn't work try again

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    • #3

      Re: Cherry acclimation time

      another concern is what the humidity levels are where it will be milled, cut and assembled -vs- where it will spend the rest of its time.

      in a climate controlled home with levels between 50% - 75% may be very different than what your shop will be during the same times of year.
      My shop can get into high 80's for weeks at a time in summer, or low 30's in winter.
      [insert something witty here]

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      • #4

        Re: Cherry acclimation time

        I think the cherry is kiln dried but will contact the supplier to confirm. Regardless checking the MC is important. Time to buy a moisture meter. Pin or pinless? Make and model?

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        • #5

          Re: Cherry acclimation time

          The lumber will be milled and cut in a climate controlled shop at another location (not my home). The dressed lumber will be assembled in my basement.

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          • #6

            Re: Cherry acclimation time

            Says right on the lumber it's kiln dried (KD).
            KD moves less than air dried, but it still moves unless the air moisture and temperature are kept at the same level year round. The amount of movement may or may not matter depending on the actual piece you use the wood for. I have a 16 inch wide top made of cherry. It hradly moves (not visually noticeable). A 42" wide table top moved (shrank) abut 1/2"
            In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion

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            • #7

              Re: Cherry acclimation time

              My lumber never says whether its kiln dried (my furniture lumber that is; my construction lumber always says).

              Don't waste your money on a moisture meter. What really matters are the swings, so the difference between the humidity level when you got it and the humidity level that it will attain in your shop. If you work fast enough it matters less. Then there's the difference between the humidity level in your shop and the one where the piece of furniture will be used; finishing can help attenuate this.

              So sure you can buy a moisture meter, but what will it tell you? if the moisture is 8% and you don't work quickly in your humid shop, then it's better to wait until the wood's moisture level rises a bit before working on it. If the wood's humidity is at 14% and you bring it into your heated shop in the middle of winter, then it's better to let it dry out a bit before starting.

              This said, as a hobbyist, I've found there are two ways of working that work for me. Give it as much time as you can before starting. Then 1. work as quickly sa you can to finish the project, or 2. take your time between each step and give the wood time to move if it has to. And as always, build with moisture swings and wood movement in mind. No moisture meter needed.
              Frank
              SPCHT

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              • #8

                Re: Cherry acclimation time

                Originally posted by Nelson in Markham View Post
                I think the cherry is kiln dried but will contact the supplier to confirm. Regardless checking the MC is important. Time to buy a moisture meter. Pin or pinless? Make and model?
                As mentioned your cherry is kiln dried, so should be good to go. Something else to keep in mind, is that movement can occur from relieving the stress or tension the wood may be under as it is cut or milled to size. This is why, as you know, some woodworkers cut to rough dimensions and let the wood rest for a while (depending on the size, could be a month or two) before final finishing. This all depends on the project and if the design is able to "absorb" some movement so that it won't be noticeable.

                Having said all that, I do check the MC on kiln dried wood, and have found it can vary from 10 to 20% MC. It can be typically down to the level ready to work, but that all depends on unknown factors; such as, how long the wood has been stored before purchase and the conditions of the storage (outside?). When you have a MM there's no guessing and I find I use my quite often. Wagner (and there are others) make a nice meter, the MMC220.
                Measure twice, cut once ... and if that doesn't work try again

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                • #9

                  Re: Cherry acclimation time

                  I use to use this calculator https://www.woodworkerssource.com/shop/move.html but I can't get it to calculate anymore.
                  Jerome
                  Canada's South Coast

                  Port Colborne On.
                  “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite,” Nelson Mandela

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                  • #10

                    Re: Cherry acclimation time

                    I buy a lot of KD lumber that gets stored in the garage of my house. My shop is next door and have never had the time to let something acclimatize and never felt it was necessary. My own experience is that when milling that you take the same amount from each side as you run it through the planer and apply equal finish to both sides.

                    That is real nice looking cherry but I rather doubt it is 6/4. Looks closer to 10/4.

                    Brian
                    If your dreams don't scare you, you are not dreaming big enough

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                    • #11

                      Re: Cherry acclimation time

                      I usually wait a couple of weeks before cutting any lumber in my shop. I found that lumber will move less if I do it that way. Not only that but I would rather have the lumber in my shop for months before using them and I do have some Maple, Oak and birch that have been in my shop more than a year. If it's going to be used in an other shop than it should be in that shop for a couple of weeks before you even start working on it. General rule for me is that I will not even start a job for 3 weeks. In that time I will have bought the wood and let it acclimatize to my shop. With thick lumber like yours I might add a week.

                      One thing is for sure. Lumber takes time to adjust to the shop in where you work in and if you just go at it you will have more warping than if you wait. Especially on project that can tale longer. In fact I will even wait a day or two after skim planing boards before I move along. It really doesn't matter what kind of Climate control system you have it will not be the same as the lumber yard.


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                      • #12

                        Re: Cherry acclimation time

                        Brian,

                        If you compare the thickness of the lumber to the size of the plug on the wall, you'll see that it's close to 6/4.

                        [QUOTE=Brian @ Muir;

                        That is real nice looking cherry but I rather doubt it is 6/4. Looks closer to 10/4.

                        Brian
                        [/QUOTE]

                        All the best,

                        Marty

                        President of Kingston Wood Artisans (formerly Kingston Woodworkers Ass'n) Website: https://kwoodartca.wordpress.com/
                        & member of the Kingston Woodturners Association

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                        • #13

                          Re: Cherry acclimation time

                          Still not convinced Marty but you could be right lol. Maybe Nelson could measure it and prove me wrong.

                          Brian
                          If your dreams don't scare you, you are not dreaming big enough

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                          • #14

                            Re: Cherry acclimation time

                            Here is my 1-2-3 block stacked with a 1/2 block for reference.

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                            • #15

                              Re: Cherry acclimation time

                              Thanks for measuring. Still is nice looking cherry lol

                              Brian
                              If your dreams don't scare you, you are not dreaming big enough

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