Saturday, 16 February 2008

My own R2 unit

Lucas has turned into a bit of a Star Wars nut - almost as bad as me really. We have this funny little game we have been playing for at least a year now - Lucas recites a line from any of the movies (except episode 3 - we heavily censor that one!) and I have to guess who said it. When we started - it was your basic stuff;

“I'd rather kiss a wookie”

“Laugh it up fuzzball” and,

“Blep-bloop-bloop bleep” (in the voice of Lucas - his best R2 impression).

But with each rerun, he is getting more sophisticated in his lines - he has actually stumped me! The other day he observed that R2 is one of the few characters that is in every movie and that R2 is always saving everyone. It was a good observation - and I decided to rename a recent purchase “R2”.

I recently purchased a moisture meter which is capable of accurate readings in exotic woods. I know what all of you are thinking... how has a planemaker gone on this long without one? I will get to that - and the meter really just confirmed what I already knew (I will admit, there was a slight sigh of relief though). I have wanted a good moisture meter for a very long time now - but I could never find one that had all the right stuff. Here are some of the issues. Firstly - I could not use a pin style meter - try getting those pins 1/2" into African Blackwood... heck... try getting them out then! So I needed a pinless meter - but most of them are pre-calibrated for domestic woods and will not work with Exotics. The problem is the specific gravity of most exotic woods is so much higher than even our hardest domestic hardwood that the readings will not be accurate. Enter the CT808 pinless meter from Electrophysics!

This meter allows the user to compensate for specific gravity - from 0.2 up to 1.5. This changed everything! Take cherry for example; the specific gravity of black cherry is .50 roughly half the density of water (which is 1.0 - and the reason it floats). I set the gravity setting on the meter to .50 and took a reading in a cherry board - 7% moisture. I then took the meter to a piece of African Blackwood - 15%. The trouble is - when I adjust the specific gravity to 1.2 (the correct gravity for Blackwood) - I get 7% moisture. The ability to adjust the relative gravity was the key I needed.

So I ran around the shop checking everything. The first piece I checked was an old piece of Rosewood. Specific gravity of 0.8... moisture content... 6%? That can't be right. Changed the gravity to 1.0 to check my recent Ebony purchase - 8%... Blackwood - 1.2... moisture content 7%... ok... is this meter even working? So I adjusted the gravity back to .50 to test a piece of cherry I know is wet... phew... 18%.

All is right with the world - my wood really is that dry.

Thanks R2.

Blep-bloop-bloop bleep


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