Choosing and buying cabinet quality lumber - Understanding MoistureContent

All cabinet-grade lumber begins as a "green" board (hat's been mill-sawed from a freshly felled tree - the moisture content of a green board will be 28 percent or greater, making it unsuitable for diy woodworking, since all wood shrinks, warps, and splits as it dries.understanding wood moisture content

To remove moisture from green boards, most manufacturers air-dry and kiln-dry them. Air drying reduces the moisture content naturally - workers stack the slabs in such a way that air circulates between the separated layers of boards. Air-drying lowers the moisture content level to between 12 and 17 percent. (This is acceptable for outdoor construction, but don't make any interior projects using air- dried material.)

Kiln-drying takes over where air-drying leaves off. Large ovenlike kilns with carefully controlled temperatures reduce the moisture content to between 6 and 9 percent, the ideal range for interior projects.

With few exceptions, such as dense woods like ebony, which usually are air-dried, retail hardwood dealers sell only kiln-dried lumber. It's stored, and sold, indoors under roof where the elements won't affect it.

When you purchase kiln-dried cabinet quality lumber, store it indoors lying flat on dry sticks of scrap or hardboard. Never lay it directly on concrete because it will absorb excessive moisture. If left exposed to the elements outdoors, kiln-dried lumber can become useless for fine cabinetry. In most cases, though, moisture content absorbed will be of the surface type.