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Wood Movement Experiment, Part Deux

The boards arrived a couple of days after my last post and I immediately measured them with a digital calipers. I recorded the thickness at each of the four corners of each board. I also charted the width of each board at four locations: across the top face and bottom face at both ends. Finally, I noted the length of each board at each edge on both the front and back face.

After recording all those dimensions, I took the boards home and placed them on top of my tablesaw in my garage shop, blocking them up on Painter’s Pyramids to ensure good airflow around all sides.

Then, I waited.

Got home from work Monday night and, using the same digital calipers I used on the initial measurements, I measured them again at all the same points.

Honestly, the results were a mixed bag. In all cases, the variance was only a few thousands of an inch at most. Sometimes, the boards were a few thou larger than when they arrived, in others, a few thou smaller.

In the few days it took to travel from muggy Florida to Iowa, did the boards acclimate enough in transit that the boards changed little if at all in dimension? Is wood movement not as much of an issue as we think? (Pretty sure that’s not the case…)

I mentioned my puzzlement to Tom Iovino (grand poobah of this little experiment, and a self-described weather geek) before sending him the final results spreadsheet. He checked climate data for Tampa and Des Moines and found surprisingly little humidity difference between the locales on the date measurements were taken. The difference between our humidities, though, and Phoenix, where the third set of boards were sent (to The Wood Whisperer) were drastically different.

Keep in mind, my data only showed the difference in the dimensions of my boards between arrival and now. We haven’t compared them to Tom’s Tampa boards or Marc’s Arizona boards. That’s next… Stay tuned!

Dave at WOOD magazine

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