Wood products expert witnesses may write reports and opine on lumber, plywood, saw mills, pressed wood products, and related topics. The Wood Shop Consultancy offers ways to avoid disputes in Wood: Avoiding the pitfalls – How a basic understanding of timber technology can help to avoid problems in use:
One of the most important and yet least understood factors, is that of moisture content. Timber contains a large amount of water when it is freshly felled and it needs to be dried so that it can be used without excessive shrinkage and distortion. The amount of water in a piece of wood is referred to as its moisture content. This is expressed as a percentage of the dry weight of the piece, not of the total weight; hence it is possible to have moisture contents in excess of 100%.
The amount of water in wood rises and falls in response to changes in temperature and humidity, so it is not possible to prevent wood from expanding and contracting in service. However, this movement can be minimised by drying the wood to a level that it is likely to achieve in service, referred to as its equilibrium moisture content. As an example, indoor furniture would be expected to have a moisture content of around 8-10%, whilst external decking can be expected to attain an equilibrium of around 16% moisture content; this level would be subject to seasonal variations, becoming slightly higher in winter and lower in the summer.
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