View Full Version : Moisture % on a wood block before stabilizing

05-02-2013, 12:07 PM
For a special project; I've picked up a beautiful piece of Cocobolo which it currently reads at 16% in the moisture meter. Would like to ask some questions to make sure I'm going in the right direction

My questions are:

1. For this type of wood what moisture % is the most desirable before stabilizing?
1A. If it needs to dry further, assuming in a Kiln, how long before it gets to that "desirable" moisture?
B. Is stabilizing needed? (There will be metal spacers)

While the maker of this handle/project will probably dictate what to do here, and I'm sure this varies from maker to maker, I would like to hear what other experts have to say.

Thank you

Dream Burls
05-02-2013, 12:52 PM
1. Stabilization would typically need the piece to be 10% MC or lower.
2. There are all kinds of kilns and they can operate at different temperatures and humidity levels. I would suggest you take an MC reading, put it in the kiln for a couple of hours and take another reading. You can then calculate about how long it will take to get to the MC level you require.
3. For me, Cocobolo is on the cusp of needing to be stabilized. If you don't want to have to worry about it go ahead and stabilize it, but it might be okay if you don't. I'd take the maker's lead in this regard.

05-02-2013, 02:56 PM
1. Stabilization would typically need the piece to be 10% MC or lower.

yeah yeah, that's what they say... ;) But true, generally it should be 10% or lower, but I have no chance to get it that dry in Hawaii except when I take it out of a kiln and ship it right away. Mine is usually 12-14% and I never had problems with stabilizing. As for cocobolo, I agree with Myron - you can stabilize it but you don't have to. To be honest, I never had it stabilized but I understand that an oily wood like cocobolo can seep out oil for weeks after stabilizing, so you may want to rest it for a while. Among the
few handles I made from cocobolo there also were some with metal spacers and I cannot remember any issues. Of course, I would hope to hear back from buyers if there were any later when the handle has adapted to a different climate zone.


05-02-2013, 05:58 PM
Great feedback - thank you very much! At the end of the day I know the maker will do what will produce the best product, but it never hurts to get additional expert feedback.

Burl Source
05-03-2013, 02:41 PM
Many of the rosewoods will bleed for weeks, months or ???? after being stabilized.
16% moisture is too high to use right away in my opinion.
I may be over cautious, but I would set it aside for another year before using.
A lot of the denser woods will pull themselves apart if forced to dry to quickly.

Marko Tsourkan
05-03-2013, 09:04 PM
I would seal it in a plastic bag with some saw dust and let it dry for 3 months and then you should be fine. In the summer when moisture content in the air increases, most dry woods would read 10-12%.

Burl Source
05-03-2013, 10:17 PM
I don't want to get argumentive.
All rosewoods dry very slowly.
They are very prone to cracking until dry.
After they are dry they are very durable.
This shows what Cocobolo does when it dries to quickly. I selected this piece because the cracking was more visible.
For Rosewood, 16% is too high.
I suggest setting it aside for at least another year.
If you are making a wa handle you might be able to use it before then.
But scales you you want to be extra cautious.