A nickel in summer, a dime in winter is a seat of the pants method for figuring gaps around drawers and doors. If you’d like something more precise, and you’d like to be able to make calculations as you design a project in SketchUp, Joe Zeh has developed a plug-in that you should know about.
The plug-in is available as a free download from Joe’s blog, and after downloading you save it in the SketchUp Plug-Ins folder on your computer. After saving it, the calculator is available from the tools menu, and it’s easy to use. You enter the wood species and width and you can select your general geographic area. There are several options available based on the current known moisture content, or current relative humidity and differing placements of the material.
The results are comprehensive; you get an idea of the maximum and minimum widths over the course of the seasons, what size to cut to hit a maximum or an average size, and a warning if the environmental conditions are at an extreme. Visit Joe’s Chiefwoodworker’s Blog for complete details, and some good information about wood movement.
–Robert W. Lang
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