Turning Archive 2007
>I use a very crude moisture meter. I always drill out the center of a piece of wood, and immediately stick my finger in the hole. If it feels dry, it is. If it feels moist, it is. Works every time and hasn't failed me yet.
Another way to tell the wood moisture is to grab a handful of shavings, and squeeze them in your hand. If they feel just warm, the wood is dry. If they feel warm and moist, then the wood still has a way to go and we can treat it appropriately. With a little practice, we can tell whether the wood is dry, slightly moist, a little moist, moist, very moist, or wet; and that is close enough for most woodturning.
Another moisture meter for exterior surfaces is our cheek. Yep, that part of our face. It is the most sensitive part of our vody to temperature. With the wood at room temperature, if it feels cool on our cheek, it is still moist. If it feels neutral, neither warm nor cool, then it is at equiligrium. I would guess this is accurate to within 1% moisture content because it is close enough to tell me whether a tightly fitted box lid will still fit the same way tomorrow or next week.
If you think I'm nuts, that's OK too. I will just go on squeezing the shavings.