Moisture Content of Freshly Sawn Wood

It's a lot. November 28, 2006

I am trying to get a range of what the moisture content would be of lumber sawn from trees cut down within two weeks of being sawn. Pine and local oaks here in Georgia are what I am interested in.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor P:
Here in NC, I have sawn fresh white oak and the MC is over 30%. After 1 year of air drying 1" stock, it drops to about 12-16%. Pine is usually very wet also and after 4 months air drying, it might be down to 12%.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Southern pine is often around 100% MC, although a few logs can be wetter. Red oak is around 75% to 80% MC; white oak is 65% MC, give or take. A log with bark on loses very little moisture in 2 weeks of storage.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. I was trying to get an idea of the weight of fresh sawn lumber to keep from overloading my pickup. It sure squats down loaded with 30 - 1"x10"x10's fresh off the mill. Using your info and WOODWEB's weight scale, I should be able to arrive at an approximate figure.

From contributor R:
Doc, I am a novice at this, but how could southern pine be 100% moisture? Wouldn't that mean it was all water and no wood? 100% of its weight is water? Please set me straight.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Moisture in lumber is calculated as the weight of water compared to the oven-dry weight of wood. So, at 100%, there is an equal amount of water and of oven-dry wood. Although half of the weight of the wet sample is water (making you think 50% MC, which is called the weight weight basis MC), the MC on the oven-dry basis is 100%.

From the original questioner:
Using 100% moisture content and loblolly as the pine type - the weight of 30 fresh sawn 1x10x10'6" boards came to about 1280 lbs. These numbers make me wonder what a typical portable sawmiller handles weight wise in one day counting the slabs and all. Thank you to all those that responded.