This is a measure of a wood’s weight in relation to a preset volume. Usually it’s pounds per cubic foot (lbs/ft3), or in metric units: kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m3). However, a wood’s weight will also greatly depend on it’s moisture content (MC). For instance, a board that has just been freshly cut (called “green” wood) can weight more than double its oven-dry weight! Since there are so many sources of information on wood properties, and not all of them use the same standards and testing procedures, there can be a great variety in weight readings.

I’ve made every effort to standardize all readings to reflect the weight at a 12% moisture content; this is the most common standard of measurement for nearly all wood testing conducted worldwide. A moisture content of 12% is attained when a wood sample has reached equilibrium moisture content (EMC) with the surrounding air at a temperature of 70°F and a relative humidity of approximately 65%. Storing wood in areas where the relative humidity is lower than this will result in a lower moisture content, and therefore a correspondingly lower density.

density12mc

Take time to compare a density reading to another well-known wood, and see how it measures up. For instance Red Oak is about 45 pounds per cubic foot, (or 730 kilograms per cubic meter), which in and of itself isn’t too terribly useful, seeing as how you will most likely never encounter (or be required to lift) a piece of oak that is a perfect one-foot (or one-meter) cube. However, if you make a mental note of this weight, and use it to gauge other woods, you can quickly get an idea of how much things weigh. (For example, you can quickly see that Western Red Cedar weighs about half as much as Red Oak, but Lignum Vitae’s weight is almost double that of Red Oak!)

Additionally, in general terms, a wood’s density can be used to deduce a number of things about a wood’s properties; i.e., hardness, strength, etc. The heavier a wood is, the harder and stronger it is, in general.

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  • dennis venuto

    Hello,
    My friend ownes a named the Blue Goose Inn on Jefferson in Saint Clair Shores, MI 48081.
    This building was built on an island named Harsens on the Saint Clair River and in the late 1800s or early 1900s it was moved across Lake Saint Clair to its present location. Now, he is remodeling a portion of the builing and he had cut through a 2 x 4 and it was like going through butter. Now he gave me a piece, which is at true 2″x4″x 18″ and this piece is very light in weight and as strong as can be. He has asked me to try to find out what kind of wood it is.
    I am guessing it is White Pine, since Michigan, was going hard and heavy in this area with logging and mills.
    Do you have any ideas on how I could find out what I have?

    Thank You.
    Dennis

  • april

    i am trying to figure out what a cubic foot of dry oak weighs?

    • ejmeier

      About 45 pounds per cubic foot.

  • don shriver

    I am trying to find out what a 6×6 timber of black locust 26 feet long will weigh

    • ejmeier

      Assuming the wood is a full 6″ and not 5.5″, that comes out to 6.5 cubic feet of wood volume. So Black Locust is about 48 pounds per cubic foot, so it would weigh 312 pounds.

      But also note, if the moisture content is higher than 12%, it could easily weigh more than this.

      • don shriver

        thank- you for your answer this will be huge factor in my project

  • zach

    I would love to know how much a 6×6 of water soaked white line wood weigh as I deal with lifting that every day at work

  • Susie Eberhart

    How much would dry pineweigh that is one inch thick twelve inches wide sixteen feet long.