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Moisture meters have been mentioned several times lately in JLC. When I bought a Lignomat mini-Ligno pin-type moisture meter years ago for architectural woodworking and finish carpentry, I also bought the hardcover book Understanding Wood and read it cover to cover.

First published by The Taunton Press in 1980, the book was revised in 2000 and is still in print. There’s an incredible amount of useful information in there about working with wood, but for me the chapters on water and wood and on coping with wood movement were worth the price of admission. After studying them, I could use the meter to predict the shrinkage and swelling of hardwoods and softwoods whether I was working in the arid mountains or on the humid coast. That was a game-changer. The book costs $40 at tauntonstore.com. —Bruce Greenlaw is a contributing editor to JLC.