A: Heat does indeed make the wood plastic, which is what we
need in order to bend wood and have it maintain its bent shape.
(If wood were only elastic, it would bend, but then when the
bending force was released, the wood would return to its
original shape.) Moisture extends the plastic range of wood. I
cannot say which factor, heat or moisture, is more critical;
both are important, but perhaps heat is a bit more important
than moisture. Note that at 0 percent MC, the wood is so
brittle that the plastic range is very small. Failure can occur
as soon as the wood bends a little bit even when using heat to
plasticize the wood.
Q: We are having a problem with shrinkage. We make furniture, but someone else sells and delivers it. This person claims he did everything correctly, including opening the furniture wrapping (we wrapped the furniture with shrink-wrap and it was fairly well sealed) and letting it acclimate to the house climate. When the customer moved in, they said the furniture looked really wonderful, but within a week, it started to warp, open joints and crack in a few places. We are so careful to keep our plant at 40 percent RH and check the MC of the lumber. This is frustrating! Can you help?
Q: Does moisture settle to the bottom of a piece of
lumber when the lumber is drying? If so, would it pay to flip the
lumber upside-down after a few weeks?
Understand the differences in appearance, behavior and price
Understanding wood density can be a factor in
Sycamore and wormy maple ranked highest in customer rankings of underutilized species.
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