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What to know about moisture content of wood

A well-known characteristic of wood is that it ‘moves’ even when it is manufactured and assembled in furniture. As a teak furniture manufacturer it is important to understand why and how wood moves.  The moisture content of wood is in fact what influences this process. It is our responsibility that the wood is dried properly and to have a good understanding of wood movement. Movement issues are controlled by using a high-tech moisture meter.

Moisture content of wood

Teak wood and in fact all kinds of solid wood are hygroscopic. This means wood tends to attract and hold water molecules from its surrounding environment. This process goes on even when wood is assembled in furniture. Therefore the MC level of a piece of wooden furniture fluctuates based on the relative humidity (RH) of the area it is placed in. When the humidity decreases, the MC decreases and the wood shrinks. If the humidity increases, the MC increases and the wood will expand. This relationship is called the Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC).

Equilibrium moisture content

The MC level of teak timber used for furniture is directly related to the humidity of the surrounding air. The teak wood used at Good Wood is always dried to a MC level between 10%-15%, what is consistent with an air humidity level of around 75%. Once this MC level is reached, the EMC relationship will be at its best. For instance, when the furniture is transported to other areas over the world and is exposed to a humidity level of for example 85% (a rainy day in Europe), the wood starts to attract water and expands slightly. The MC of the wood will rise to around 19% eventually, consistent with the humidity level and due to the EMC.

Having the right MC level is very important to avoid problems down the road. If the moisture content of wood is too low, the furniture has the risk to expand and bent. If the moisture content of the wood is too high, the furniture potentially cracks, shrink or show gaps.

Minimize problems for end customer

To minimize the risks of wood movement, Good Wood Interiors carefully analyses the width of the teak used, quality of the wood used, orientation of the grain, function of the furniture once in place, moisture content and future placement of the furniture. Our primary objective is to deliver high-quality furniture that lasts for at least a decade without any problems. The right construction and the right knowledge is key, two things we have accomplished with over 20 years of experience in the teak furniture industry,