Today I started what, for me, is my most challenging project to date: a wardrobe for my son. I tried to keep it simple; just frame and panel construction with four long posts at the corners. It’s a ton of mortise and tenon work, and you always hope your lumber is the right moisture content so your newly surfaced boards don’t warp beyond usefulness.
Moisture content has been an ongoing life’s lesson for me. When is it dry enough? When you cut your own lumber it really is a heavy consideration. If I’m lucky, I can wait 2 years; one for air drying outside and one for air drying in the shop. Luckily, the red oak I’m using now came from an enormous tree I felled about 4 years ago. I kept 300 bdft., burned 300 bdft., and sold 600 bdft. That’s right–this idiot sold 600 bdft. of the prettiest straight-grained red oak you ever saw. I’m still kicking myself. Anyway, I stacked it outside for a year and then brought it in the shop. I picked at the pile here and there for awhile, but it mostly just stayed there and dried for a couple more years before I got serious with it.
I did recently buy a Wagner 210 moisture meter because I got tired of guessing at MC. Equilibrium in my shop seems to be around 8%, but I usually cut lumber to rough size and stack it in the basement for at least 2 weeks before milling. My basement is pretty dry. The wood for this wardrobe was actually stacked in my bedroom for around a month before I got started.