Wood Movement and Moisture Content
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One of the challenges that novice woodworkers soon discover it that working with wood means you need to understand it's properties, and one of the most rudimentary properties is the moisture content of wood.
Wood has the unique ability to absorb and release moisture. This is due to the cellular makeup of all types of wood, although different species of wood will absorb and release moisture at different rates. It is the coming and going of moisture that accounts for wood movement. If you were to grasp a handful of drinking straws in your hand, this is very similar to the structure wood. It is comprised of long microscopic tubes all bound together. It is these microscopic tubes that exchange nutrients up and down the tree as it is growing, and primarily moisture is gathered from the roots and distributed through the growth rings of the tree and on up into the leaves.
When a living tree is cut down, no matter what time of the year, there is always large moisture content in the tree, and a much higher one in the spring and summer. Depending on how the tree is milled, and how the wood is dried will also affect, to a degree, how that wood absorbs and releases moisture.