Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Storing Lumber, Part 1
Here's the first of two weekly tips on storing lumber.

Small amounts of dry lumber are best stored just the way most of us do it -- in fairly neat piles. Probably the most important thing we can do with scraps and small pieces of stock is to keep them off the floor, especially a concrete basement or garage floor. It may look flat and dry, but concrete is moist and porous. Moisture can pass through the concrete and "wick" into your lumber. Under damp or wet conditions, wood can warp. And if left long enough, damp wood can rot. So I try to make a point of stacking wood high enough off the floor that air can move freely underneath.

There's no need to "sticker" these small amounts of wood as is done when air drying or kiln drying wood. ("Stickering" is the term used for stacking lumber with sticks or strips of wood carefully spaced between each board.) Stickering increases the air movement around the boards -- a good thing for green wood, but not necessary once it's been dried. Besides, it's a lot of trouble to do it right with small pieces of wood, and stickered wood takes up a lot more space.

Attics and lofts are often good, dry places to store wood. But you might have a problem if the attic is a lot drier than your shop. When you take the wood down and start to use it, it can expand as it adjusts to the extra moisture in its new, more humid environment.

This is much like the problem of bringing wood home from the lumberyard and starting to work with it right away. Sometimes conditions in the lumberyard are very different from your shop. No matter where we get our lumber, it's always best to let it adjust to the conditions of the shop for several days before working with it.

Go to Tip #60
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