I have some air dried cherry (18 months). I need to determine if I should send it to a kiln. What is the maximum acceptable MC for furniture making?
Are you going to use it yourself? If so, sticker it in your shop, and let it finish drying out. I prefer to work with air dried lumber. I never worried about MC of the wood, as long as it's the same as my shop. I always have lumber stickered ahead in my shop, and use whatever has been stickered inside the longest.
All wood moves, no matter how it is dried, but air-dried moves more to get to the equilibrium point. With flat sawn wood, the closer to the heart, the more it will cup when it dries out. Quartersawn cups much less, but does take a little longer to dry.
What are you making? If it is a chair leg and it shrinks, so what? It becomes a little smaller and maybe the end shrinks so it does not fit the hole well, but that is often okay, depending on the style of fastener. The holes for the stretchers will shrink and that is good. A tabletop that warps (especially one with a center joint and leaf) requires very close MC control. A floor that will be without cracks needs close MC control. So does a large door. Cabinet doors are also sensitive.
I consult with the wood industry weekly on corrections and trouble shooting for MC problems (among other things). Anyone who thinks that wood over 8% MC (often over 7% MC) can be used has a special case or narrow perspective on this industry.
Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor