I have heard it said that one should always acclimate wood to one's woodshop before milling the lumber (so it can adjust to humidity and stabilize it's size). I've also heard that cutting/milling lumber releases the internal tension of the wood and that a woodworker should make rough cuts, then let the wood sit again before tackling the final project.

Does anyone know of a good rule of thumb for the number of days wood should acclimate and under what stages? Assuming the wood has already been properly dried, what would be the proper sequence of steps?

I'm guessing it should be something like this: After purchasing the lumber, let it sit in your shop for xx number of days. Then, rough cut all pieces and let sit for another xx days. Subsequently, mill and cut to final width then let sit in the environment it will reside for another xx days, then glue up.

Any thoughts?

  • 1
    I would think that all that would be weather dependent. Here in the mid-west, it can get pretty humid in the summer, so it could be XX^3 days to actually get wood to air dry to a stable state.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 16:10
  • Good point, @FreeMan.
    – dfife
    Commented Mar 31, 2015 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


I've heard a up to a week or so to let it acclimate for best results, but some of that could be related to the wood species and cut, and how much movement you can handle in your assembly.

As far as after the rough cut, if there are tensions in it, it should show up from almost immediately to a day or so.

Much more than that for either and really you are just dealing with what will be normal wood movement as weather changes.

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