Using a moisture meter

How and where to use a moisture meter. November 14, 2001

What surface is the best one to measure moisture content of lumber -- a face, an edge, an end? If you drive pins into the wood, will these "snake bite" holes eventually go away?

Forum Responses
What MC do you want to know? The maximum is in the core. The average is about 1/4 deep. Face is most often used; edge can be used.

Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor

You have to know if you have a US style moisture meter or European style. European moisture meters (Gann, etc) are calibrated to read across the grain and US meters are calibrated to read along the grain. Across grain readings are impossible from the edge. I verified this some time ago with Gann (German). Both Lignomat and Delmhorst told me their meters are calibrated for readings along the grain.

At very low MCs (under 12% MC), pin orientation will not affect the readings. When going into the lumber from the edge, go at the thickness midpoint if you want the core, and use the 1/4 points for average values.

Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor

The snake bites will never go away.