Sign in to follow this  
Mark J

Moisture meter suggestions

Recommended Posts

I guess I'm going to need a moisture meter.  

Do you folks have any specfic suggestions as to brand and model?  Did a quick search of the forum and I'm not seeing any specfic recommendations.

As to pin or pinless I'm not hearing a compelling arguement in favor of pinless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pinless doesn't damage the wood and it also supposedly has the ability to read into the center of the wood.

Pin types are less expensive and have the ability to leave probes in the middle of a stack with wires to the edge to read lumber in the center of a stack as it dries.

I have and use an electrophysics moisture meter based off suggestions i got from the forum. There are many different meters out there and i think the addage you get what you pay for runs true here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Wagner for 10 years now.    Its pinless.  Seems to work fine for the price and don't see the need to spend more. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Chestnut said:

Pinless doesn't damage the wood and it also supposedly has the ability to read into the center of the wood.

....

I have and use an electrophysics moisture meter based off suggestions i got from the forum. There are many different meters out there and i think the addage you get what you pay for runs true here.

Is electrophysics a brand or a type of meter?

Will a pinless meter work through a wax coating? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Mark J said:

Is electrophysics a brand or a type of meter?

Will a pinless meter work through a wax coating? 

Brand

I don't know how wax would work. Pin meters work on electrical resistance so it would depend on that. I"m sure there is information on this in turning forums or other places. But for small itmes turners seem to go with the weighing method. Weigh it until it stops losing weight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made some inquiries with Wagner and Lignomat.  They both say their meters should read through the wax. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind pinless meters have a fixed scanning depth, if you are planning to scan very thick slabs, you need to understand it might not be catching moisture at the very core, which is of course the last spot to dry out. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

O and far as brand, Professionally I use Delmhorst and Moisture Encounter Plus meters, both of which are high end and costly. I'm not sure of your demands, but I suspect cheaper meters would still be useful, especially if you are just looking for a general sense of the moisture content. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it true that if you drill small holes into the board and drive small finishing nails into the holes, that a pin meter will give a more accurate reading against the nails? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, K Cooper said:

Is it true that if you drill small holes into the board and drive small finishing nails into the holes, that a pin meter will give a more accurate reading against the nails? 

Not necessarily more accurate, but that WILL give you a better idea of the core moisture, which can be a great deal higher than the surface. 

Next time you cut into a thick piece, try taking a reading from the original surface, then the freshly-exposed surface. If they are pretty close, then your wood actually is dry. More likely, the fresh surface will read several percent higher.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a pinless (Wagner) and a  20$ pin model. 

It seems I always struggle a lot to get the pin in to test for moisture, but I also only work with hardwood(maple, cherry).

I bought the pin model as a carry-on, as I was worry to forget the pinless somewhere.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Isaac said:

Keep in mind pinless meters have a fixed scanning depth, if you are planning to scan very thick slabs, you need to understand it might not be catching moisture at the very core, which is of course the last spot to dry out. 

Yes, this is a good point.  The application I have in mind is to measure moisture in turning blocks sold in stores

both before and after sale.  The blocks are frequently waxed on 6 sides.  So the ability to get past the wax w/o puncturing the wood is valuable.

Also a waxed block that has been sitting there for a month has probably equilibrated internally, so the measurement is reasonably representative.

8 hours ago, K Cooper said:

Is it true that if you drill small holes into the board and drive small finishing nails into the holes, that a pin meter will give a more accurate reading against the nails? 

From what I read people use this techique to get measurements deeper into a thick board (deeper than ordinary pins will go).  Or when kiln drying a load of lumber the nails can be placed in a central board in the stack and wires run to the end of the stack.  Then periodic measurements can be made easily.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Martin-IT said:

I have a pinless (Wagner) and a  20$ pin model. 

It seems I always struggle a lot to get the pin in to test for moisture, but I also only work with hardwood(maple, cherry).

....

 

How do you feel the performance of your Wagner and your cheap pinned model compare?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MIne is so old, there are no electronics in it, at least as we know electronics today.  It still works because I don't keep batteries in it, or anything else that I use so seldom.  I would do the same with one of the electronic ones, just like my metal detector that gets used even less often than the Moisture Meter. 

 There is no struggle to get the pins in.  The slide hammer weighs about three pounds.

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My pin model, is only a 30$ wood meter : http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=71986&cat=1,43513,45788

It seems I always struggle to get the pin in the wood. It is small, making it harder to really push on it and the  body does not feel like it could take must force.

I have never compare the reading on both,  I bought the pin model as working around a stack of lumber, I would prefer lost/break the 30$ meter,  than the 200$ pinless.

The wagner I have, is pinless and work fine.  It is not their most expensive model. I stack green wood to air dry, and sometime you want to test board within the stack, to check how the edge vs center boards are drying.  The model I have, does not keep its reading, once you pull it off the wood, it reset itself to 0.  In some cases I can reach to set the meter between boards in the stack, but I do not have a direct line of sight to see the reading. It also has a limited range of reading (max at 20% humidity).  The max at 20% does not bother me.  If it is over 20%, I must keep the board on the stack anyway and most likely, it has been drying for only a few days/weeks, and it is to be expected.  

The size of the pin model, makes it harder for me to drive the pin inside the lumber, more expensive model have bigger body which should help. But also, it was only 30$.

The wagner, I do not understand why you have to pay extra to have the meter retain its reading for a few seconds, it seems to be a packaging to have a more expensive model 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I looked into moisture meters a bit here and there, but,  pun intended it's a dry topic.  Didn't really see a lot of difference from one box to another.  Wanted to adjust for wood species and figured I wanted pinless, but pins might have some advantages.  Didn't see any discounted pricing.  

Finally got around to looking at the Electrophysics brand that Chestnut recommended.  Well hot dog they have a combined pin and pinless model (CMT 908) which is much more reasonably priced and then on top of that it's on sale so even more reasonable.  $203 including shipping.

http://www.electrophysics.on.ca/order_online_mobile.htm

http://www.electrophysics.on.ca/cmt908_mobile.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Huh prices have come down. I paid 190 for my CT808 it's not 155. I worked with them a bit and they were very nice to deal with and responded quickly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

 Keep in mind pinless meters have a fixed scanning depth, if you are planning to scan very thick slabs, you need to understand it might not be catching moisture at the very core, which is of course the last spot to dry out.

Good to know. I'm not sure how the pinless ones work.

Quote

Is it true that if you drill small holes into the board and drive small finishing nails into the holes, that a pin meter will give a more accurate reading against the nails?

I was told by a company rep (don't remember which one) that pin type meters take readings by an electrical current that takes the path of least resistance (as you would expect). So, if you barely stick the pins into the surface, your reading will only give you surface moisture. If you drive some small brads through to the center of the piece you are measuring, you will get readings of where ever it is wettest; usually the center. Of course, that becomes more difficult as the thickness increases and may preclude taking any measurements before you buy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine is the el cheapo from lowes. Is it 100% accurate I would bet not even close. What concerns me though is relative moisture. Is what I'm measuring reads the same as something I know is dry I consider it good to go. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine is a simple ancient pin meter. 2 led's and a rotary switch plus a chart to adjust for different species of wood.  I have a similar attitude if all the boards for the project read alike and close to stock I know is dry that's good enough to me. Checking the endgrain of a fresh cut doesn't leave holes in a good face.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/25/2017 at 9:58 PM, wdwerker said:

 Checking the endgrain of a fresh cut doesn't leave holes in a good face.

How much do you need to cut off to get a good reading? And, how many times will you need to make a new cut for a new measurement? I'm not trying to take issue. Just wondering how you do it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I cut a long plank into an oversized blank big enough for the longest part I would need. So for a true center of the board reading the minimum length to cut off would be the width of the board . But cutting about 4" to 6" longer than a part needed seems so much less wasteful.  I have also checked the fresh cut after I trimmed off the sniped & checked end. 

If the wood is a recent purchase or is air dried stock I test more. If the boards are kiln dried and have been in the shop for weeks, months, years I might not check at all.  

If boards are cupped, twisted etc I check just to make sure. I always cut parts from those boards oversized and clean them up then sticker overnight at a minimum to see if it's going to move some more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/22/2017 at 2:36 PM, Wimayo said:

I was told by a company rep (don't remember which one) that pin type meters take readings by an electrical current that takes the path of least resistance (as you would expect). So, if you barely stick the pins into the surface, your reading will only give you surface moisture. If you drive some small brads through to the center of the piece you are measuring, you will get readings of where ever it is wettest; usually the center. Of course, that becomes more difficult as the thickness increases and may preclude taking any measurements before you buy.

Also, be aware that the various species of wood all have different inherent resistance values.  So a lump of maple will give a different reading than a a lump of say oak.  The better meters have a table built into them so that you can specify the species and it will adjust the reading accordingly.  IIRC though, its only a few percent different, aside from a couple weird species, so the difference in a reading of 10% to 12% doesn't mean much, especially if it's been at that level for a while. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/27/2017 at 1:25 PM, wdwerker said:

So for a true center of the board reading the minimum length to cut off would be the width of the board .

Why? My thought is that 1/2 the width would be the most needed. Actually, my first thought was 1/2 the thickness unless measuring end grain has an effect. I assume the very end of a board dries faster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just my thoughts, no science or anything. After boards have cracked, warped or twisted on you caution becomes second nature. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this