How to Store Lumber?

Old 03-05-03, 03:02 PM
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How to Store Lumber?

This seems like one of the dumbest questions I've ever posted, but if ya'll don't mind, because I'm about to buy quite a bit of lumber; I'd love to get some input.

I live in the desert and some pressure-treated pine that I bought in the fall has cracked and/or warped a bit more than I anticipated. Though for the most part, my green wood is fine and the damaged pt is mostly confined to the 4x4 posts, though an occasional stick of another dimension is warped.

Just after buying the stuff; I stacked it flat on the slab in my workshed with the idea that someday I'd get around to building a platform to hold it; Well, as the winter progressed and my workshed became more of a storage shed because I started doing all of my work in the house; I never got around to building a platform; So, I guess that is the subject about which I am seeking suggestions.

I realize that it shoud be able to get air underneath and I've noticed that the stores and lumberyards, either keep their wood on pallets or something like them and others use a floorless frame, essentially a couple of sticks at either end and perhaps one in the middle. Well, it'd be easy to lay to cut a couple of stud-grade 2x4's and lay them on their side; But, I'm perpetually trailed by a three year old and I'd worry about the stack possibly tumbling with her on it which causes me to want to actually frame-out a platform, but that would reduce the airflow unless I were to drill holes in the base.

If you were starting from scratch and it was a hundred miles to a lumber source, so you wanted to keep a supply on hand; What would you do and because my workshed is 15' tall; How would your suggestion change if you were to go multi-level?

Thanks in Advance;

PS) I am going to be storing both sheet goods and dimensional lumber; I guess the sheets should go on the bottom and the other at a higher level; I'm primarily concerned with reducing waste, so any and all suggestions would be appreciated.
Old 03-05-03, 04:37 PM
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Pressure treated wood is not really all that dry until it sits at your place for a while. How the wood performs as it dries after treating depends in part upon which grade it is and what happens to it. I know that sounds circular, but wood is as wood does. As I say it is a natural product yielding natural results. #1 grade PT wood would better less likely to warp and crack than #2. I don't expect much stability from lesser grades of pressure treated wood.

If you are wanting to store pressure treated wood and not have it warp or crack, you would have to let it dry completely, probably a couple of days, in order to see what is happening to it. Forcing the chemicals into the wood to treat it then having it dry in the ambient environment does little to control the rate of drying as it would in a kiln or even air drying because of the artificial nature of the forced moisture from the pressure treatment.

I have never worried about storing PT wood. I just stack it on the floor in the corner, after letting it dry in the sun for a couple of days.

Kiln dried wood I stack horizontally on a rack with arms about 32 inches apart for support, approximately 6 - 10 inches deep. The ambient moisture will not bother it much after it is dried, but if it is not supported, it will develop a bend from sagging. I have build these racks using cantilevered arms mounted to 2x4 in the walls as well as free standing racks.

Plywood I store standing on its sides in a rack which allows them to lean a bit so I can flip through them to select a sheet. Particle board or MDF, I would store flat on a flat surface because they have no grain structure to support them otherwise. I don't keep particle board or MDF around, because it is so heavy to move. I buy it when I need it and only what I need.

I used to buy rough cut wood several hundred board feet at a time and use it as I needed it.

One of the woodworking sites had a plan available for a roll around storage rack very similar to what I used to have in my othe shop. You can store plywood on its side, with some racks for boards. It would roll around so you cold put it out of the way and still be able to move the whole thing if needed

Pretty much like this:

Hope all this sage wisdom helps.
Old 03-05-03, 07:26 PM
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Chris; Once I get this place finished in a couple of years, you'll have pretty much earned an invitation to the Open House. Thanks;

I searched this forum and the other wood forum without finding anything relevant and had thought about a couple of options and yes, sagging was one of my fears; But once I pulled the 4x4's my wife had hand-picked from Lowes and found that not a single one of them was uncracked and at least one, I question it's usability because it is soooo cracked; I almost immediately poked my head in the door and posted the query, because once I exercise those coupons I've mentioned, theoretically I should have almost a year's supply of lumber.

I really like that design you linked; Of course, I'd have to adapt it some to fit my circumstance, but it certainly looks easy enough.

As for the grade of the cracked wood; I have no clue and the stapled thing seems to give no indication; All I know is that I went to Lowes with my wife and my child who was extremely whiny that day with a materials list for several projects and because they wanted to get my daughter out of earshot, the fellow led us from rack to rack though he did let my wife pick specific boards.

I'm going to end-up with wood from the box stores again, first of all because of those coupons, but also because there really isn't anywhere else in my neck of the woods. There is a small regional chain a little closer, but they won't seem to let me hand-pick the wood and there is a language barrier that prevents me from communicating what I'd like;

I guess, unless I can figure-out something else to do with these posts; I'm going to try and screw them back together and possibly coat them with some wood putty before painting. After all, unless I become convinced that they are worthless, I'm too cheap to just eat the cost...

Thanks Again;

PS Chris) I am going to be updating that other thread sometime in the middle of the night; I pretty much know now what needs to be done, but I had to clarify a couple of things this afternoon.
Old 03-20-03, 03:02 AM
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lee valley tools has a galv steel storage system, they recommend no more than 2' between supports. the shelf brackets hold around 1000 pounds apiece. impressive looking. if you have a good bit of ceiling, why not build a loft for storing other items, id keep the wood first floor, wood is heavy. -Josh

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