Monday, July 7, 2008

Climatizing Wood...and Other Excuses for Taking a Summer Holiday

Somewhere between the philosophical riddle of "If a tree falls in the forest, and there's no one around to hear it," and the idiom that "A watched pot never boils," lies our latest home renovation dilemma, climatizing wood.

Yes, in our latest installment of how the home renovation turns, we recently had our timeline derailed not due to mice gnawing at the electrical wiring or dangerous combinations of hot wires embedded in plastic sheets charring the home insulation, but by the failure of "one of the cooks in the kitchen" to get the wood into the house to begin the "climatizing" process.

"Climatizing wood," you ask? "What's that?" Well, that was precisely my question, and being new to this whole home ownership/reno thing, as well as being a jaded if not cynical New Yorker, when I heard about the climatizing thing, I damn near fell off the chair...we'd be losing two weeks while our cheap planks of pine settled their little two by five and two by seven butts into our home -- and got used to its level of humidity. Surely there had to be something more devious at play here. A contractor's vacation perhaps. Or even worse, perhaps a hint of contractor ennui.

But armed with my Google tool bar, answers came quickly. Within minutes I learned that wood, indeed, needs to be climatized. And while I've never seen wood climatize in any of those home reno shows I've been watching for the past four years (Flip This House, Flip That House, Property Ladder and my favorite, the BBC's Location, Location, Location) according to "The relative humidity where the lumber is purchased may be different than the humidity in your workshop area. You should climatize the lumber in the environment in which it is being worked to obtain the equilibrium moisture content of the wood. While 72 hours of climatizing is generally recommended, two weeks or longer tends to achieve better results."


And so, "the floor guy" is off galavanting about with other, less boring floor projects, or hanging with his kids at the Copake quarry, or perhaps even sipping wine in the South of France, all while we wait for the wood to work its magic.

In the meantime, our painter Bob and his crew who also did all the dry wall and sheetrocking is moving along with the painting at a furious pace. When we went up last Saturday, the first coat of paint had already been put on throughout the main floor along with the new bedrooms downstairs. Once its complete, I'll share the photos with the deets on the paint colors.


Late-Breaking News: The wood, apparently, has climatized. Our floor guy will be working away on Thursday and Friday this week to "get 'er done."


Photo captions above and right: Wood, climatizing.

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