10 Tips to Store Wood
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like most of us, when you're busy on a project and stop to
take a look around your shop, you probably see more lumber
cluttering things up than anything else. The lumber and scraps
for your current project . . . the cut-offs from your last
project . . . and the stock you're planning to use for your
next project. Lumber, lumber and more lumber -- and no place
to put it where it'll be out of the way.
like this when you realize that efficient lumber storage is
every bit as important as efficient tool storage. Here are
a few important factors to keep in mind when planning your
the place or places you choose to store your lumber should
be well ventilated with plenty of opportunities for air circulation.
Next, all wood should be stored in a dry area, out of direct
sunlight and elevated about a foot off the ground to prevent
direct contact with moisture. If you're planning to use lumber
that's been stored outside or in a shed, barn or detached
garage where the humidity and temperature are uncontrolled,
you should bring it into your shop area (assuming that your
shop is temperature and humidity controlled) a couple of weeks
before you start working on your project to give it a chance
to stabilize before work begins.
other hand, if you haven't purchased the lumber you'll be
using for your project, and you're planning to buy it from
a mill or other source that sells kiln dried lumber from a
controlled storage environment (where you know the moisture
content will be 8% or less), it's best to wait until you're
ready to start work to buy your lumber.
dried lumber has reached it's equilibrium moisture content,
it's as dry as it will ever be (unless you live in Phoenix
AZ or other arid desert location). If kiln dried wood sits
in a damp environment (I.E. summer in the midwest), the wood
will start to pick up moisture as it sits around. Shortly,
the outside of the board will have a higher moisture content
than the inside of the board. This will cause sawing problems.
The wood will probably pinch the blade as it's cut and warp
after the cut is complete. After a few months the wood will
stabilize and again be usable.
wood you plan to use “someday” (that has been in the loft
of your garage in your basement for several years), is still
wonderful, it just is no longer at 6% moisture content, but
has reached its own equilibrium at more like 12% - 15%. This
is still plenty dry for cabinet or furniture making (The early
Philadelphia master craftsmen didn't have kilns), you just
have to remember and plan for the fact that ALL wood will
expand and contract every year through the seasons.
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