Storing Lumber

You can save yourself a lot of frustration in the wood shop by setting up a system for storing lumber before you bring it home. Sure, there are plenty of woodworking plans out there for building storage racks, and plenty of articles about stacking lumber and letting wood dry before you cut it. But the kind of lumber storage I'm talking about is somewhat less obvious. It's the way you manage the lumber that you've already brought into the shop - for one project or another. It's the pieces that you have leaning up against the wall, boards you tuck under the workbench, the cutt offs sitting on the edge of your table saw. I'm talking about the boards that clutter up your shop, and end up making your workspace not only difficult to work in, but dangerous.

 

Convenience aside, the big issue in storing lumber is getting it off the floor. That open space under your workbench might seem like a perfect place to stash a few boards, but you're asking for trouble to put anything there. In most all basements and garages, the concrete floor can do some real damage to wood - sending moisture into the fibers during warm, humid months, or soaking moisture out of the boards during dry winters. This is an easy fix, though. If vertical lumber storage works best for you, just be sure to first put some type of platform on the floor under the boards. If you need to stack lumber horizontally on the floor, place your good lumber on top of a series of 2x4s.

Keep lumber close to the door.
There's really no need to drag all the lumber you buy off to some remote corner of your shop. Better to arrange your shop so your lumber storage area is as close to the back of your pickup as possible. That only makes sense. What's more, you'll avoid any mishaps trying to weave through your entire shop carrying an 8-foot board.


Put your cutoff tool by the cutoff bin
It's amazing how many people stash their cutoff bin in some out-of-the-way location that's hard to get to. That sort of defeats the purpose of a cutoff bin to begin with. Who wants to stop what they're doing to walk clear across the shop to drop the end of 2x4 into a box? A better solution is to set up a cut-off station of sorts, and have the cut off bin sitting there right by the saw. And since we're talking about rough cutting edges here, a cheap chop saw will do the job just fine - making a separate cut off station like I'm suggesting something that you can put together without spending a lot of money.

 

Stacking boards - vertical vs horizontal
In an unfinished basement or garage, you can use the exposed wall studs to help keep boards stacked vertically along the wall. And to make sure the boards won't tumble over (on to you or your tools) I like to stretch bungee cords across the studs about halfway up the wall. You can attach these to the studs with a few simple eyelet hooks. Keep in mind that anytime you store lumber vertically, you run the chance of the boards warping somewhat in the middle. Try to keep all your vertical boards stacked up snug against each other - perhaps with a sheet of plywood behind everything to help support the wood. And to be on the safe side, you might consider rotating or flipping the boards occassionally to avoid any bowing that might take place.

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Lumber Storage

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