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Why does wood shrink?

Updated: 9/17/2023
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12y ago

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Wood shrinks due to loss of water within the wood cells as it dries out, making the cells thinner, and therefore reducing the total volume of the cells.

When furniture is made properly, the wood is pre-dried to about 7 percent moisture content (freshly cut live wood is 25 percent moisture content or more) before made into furniture.

Throughout the moist summer seasons and the dry winter seasons, wood can expand and contract from absorbing and releasing moisture from the air. Applying finish to the wood helps to reduce the amount the wood absorbs and releases, and constructing furniture so that it can expand and contract throughout the seasons helps furniture last longer.

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