Moisture Meters for Bamboo

pin and pinless meters from Lignomat are set-up for bamboo

Bamboo can be measured with pin and pinless meters from Lignomat

Bamboo moisture meters from Lignomat have bamboo-specific calibrations. We have done extensive research to develop such specific calibration settings. They are  programmed in the pinless moisture meters Ligno-Scanners SDM, Ligno-DuoTec BW and Ligno-VersaTec. The pin moisture meters mini-Ligno DX, DX/C, Lignometer K and Ligno-VersaTec can also be used with the Electrode E14 for measuring moisture in bamboo, either flat boards or round pieces. 

Lignomat offers pin and pinless meters set-up to measure moisture in wood and bamboo. Measurements are easy and straight forward: You look up the setting on the wood group card which comes with each meter, set the number and you are ready to measure the moisture content in percent.

All wood species settings in Lignomat meters are determined by comparing moisture meter readings with moisture percentages established with an oven test. That worked very well for wood. For bamboo we established a different procedure.

When bamboo was introduced to the flooring industry years ago, we started extensive research to measure the moisture in bamboo. We found new “wood groups” for the pin meters. For the pinless meters, we had to add a new set of curves, which were different from corrections for wood species. We added those correction curves to our SDM, BW and VersaTec meters. As a special service, SDM, BW and VersaTec meters, which are not set up for Bamboo yet can be up-dated.

To establish correction factors for this new, non-wood bamboo flooring material, we acclimated bamboo sample boards to different relative humidity levels starting at 80% and going down to 25%.

Next, we performed oven tests on these samples. We used the same oven dry method for the bamboo samples as if we wanted to calibrate the meter for a new wood species. The moisture contents we calculated from the oven dry samples were always too low. Therefore, we did not base the calibration for bamboo on the oven-test results, but we choose to use the WME moisture percentages, which were coming from the relative humidity the samples were acclimated to.

For example, for a piece acclimated to 80% relative humidity, we contributed a moisture value of 16% to the sample piece. 16% is called the WME or wood moisture equivalent. Those values are listed in the EMC chart. For each relative humidity value a stable wood moisture content is listed.

The advantage of these WME moisture percentages for bamboo is, that the floor contractor knows from experience that wood floors are stable at 6-9 percent moisture content, which corresponds to a relative humidity of 30-50%. So, bamboo floors of 6-9% measured with one of Lignomat’s meters using the bamboo calibration were stable as well at 30-50%.

Summary: Using a meter with bamboo calibrations is easy. Find the right bamboo calibration setting on the wood group chart or from the bamboo manufacturer’s web-site. Dial the wood group and all moisture percentages can be directly compared to wood floor moisture percentages.

For instance, if our meters indicate 8.5% for a bamboo product, the product is stable in a 45% relative humidity environment just as if it were wood at 8.5%. (See EMC chart)

Lignomat offers to test solid and engineered bamboo products to determine a setting for Lignomat meters to obtain WME moisture percentages (percentages which can be compared to wood moisture percentages).