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Moisture level in wood


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I have a some wood right now that is a little over the 8% moisture level that is often advised for guitar building. Some ash and some olive wood, both for use as bodies. The ash that in certain spots is 13 percent (mostly 12) and others 8 percent. The olive wood ranges from 12-13 percent. Its a bit frustrating having all this stuff that I cant use! Just how essential is this? As an aside, will the addition of a thick maple top minimise any warping/swelling concerns? Cheers.

Edited by ShatnersBassoon
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Dryness is definitely important, but it does matter more with some woods than others. Before I use some wood, I tend to look it up on the wood-database and find out it's characteristics. 

But dryness is much more important if you're working with a 1-piece body than a 2 or 3-piece body. A thick maple cap will always help stability and dryness is most critical with your necks. Again, a neck laminated from several pieces will always be more stable than a 1-piece neck. 

Something I've found lately, moisture content in wood can fluctuate quite significantly in a short time when taken from one place to another, I've got a plank of walnut that I've split up into several pieces to make a throughneck laminate construction. When the plank was delivered, it was kiln-dried and registered 6% on my moisture meter, I left it out in the garage for 2 days and it registered at 13%. It's now been back inside for 2 weeks and registers at 6% again.

So If you've got your wood in a cold place, bring it in  - I see you're in England also and it's damn cold at the moment!

Something you could do, if you want your wood to dry out more quickly and you know specifically what you're using for, is rough cut it out but leave it slightly oversized so there is less wood to dry, but you've got some leeway if it does move on you. 

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2 hours ago, ADFinlayson said:

Dryness is definitely important, but it does matter more with some woods than others. Before I use some wood, I tend to look it up on the wood-database and find out it's characteristics. 

But dryness is much more important if you're working with a 1-piece body than a 2 or 3-piece body. A thick maple cap will always help stability and dryness is most critical with your necks. Again, a neck laminated from several pieces will always be more stable than a 1-piece neck. 

Something I've found lately, moisture content in wood can fluctuate quite significantly in a short time when taken from one place to another, I've got a plank of walnut that I've split up into several pieces to make a throughneck laminate construction. When the plank was delivered, it was kiln-dried and registered 6% on my moisture meter, I left it out in the garage for 2 days and it registered at 13%. It's now been back inside for 2 weeks and registers at 6% again.

So If you've got your wood in a cold place, bring it in  - I see you're in England also and it's damn cold at the moment!

Something you could do, if you want your wood to dry out more quickly and you know specifically what you're using for, is rough cut it out but leave it slightly oversized so there is less wood to dry, but you've got some leeway if it does move on you. 

Thanks for the reply! So it’s certainly not a clear cut thing.  It’s mainly all been in my bedroom. Thankfully I only have a few pieces that are slightly on the high side. 

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