The Process Matters
Lumber is prepared differently for different applications, particularly in how it is dried. When trees are cut they retain a high moisture content. When logs are milled into boards those boards are then dried according to their future application. Wood can twist, warp and crack as it dries, so there is a scientific process to control those effects. Construction grade lumber like 2×4’s you’ll find at your local home improvement store are dried to around 19% Equilibrium Moisture Content (EMC). Using this type of lumber for furniture is a recipe for disaster because the air in most homes is much dryer than the wood. This will cause the wood to shrink and crack as it acclimates.
This is why we use furniture grade lumber for all of our pieces. Furniture grade lumber is milled differently and dried to about 10% EMC making it much more stable. In Southeastern Pennsylvania 10% EMC is considered an acceptable level for pieces of furniture in your home. We also take wood movement into consideration in how we assemble furniture to mitigate any potential issues down the road. Even when taking all of these steps to prevent issues, about 10% of tables will experience a problem related to wood movement. It is possible that the relative humidity in your home is different enough from what the wood has acclimated to that issues may arise, especially during the winter months. Having a humidifier or a way to control the humidity in your home is a great way to protect all the wood furniture and flooring in your home. While these issues are out of our control we want to do what we can to help resolve problems that arise within a reasonable timeframe. Please contact us if you notice a problem with your piece of furniture that you would like to bring to our attention.