How to store lumber for woodworking?
Storing your unused lumber well is vital if you want to prevent it from warping and bowing. The straighter your lumber is, the less you'll have to plane or trim off when it's time to use it. Damaged lumber is many times unsalvageable, which means money down the drain on wood that started in good condition.
If space is not an issue, the best way to store lumber is by stacking it horizontally. Separate layers of boards, held apart by small, dry 1 x 1-inch strips of wood called stickers. These stickers should be placed at the end of each stack and roughly every 16 inches along the length of the wood to prevent the wood from sagging.
Keep it flat
When you lean a board against a wall, you expose each side of it to different temperatures, humidity, and air flows. Most likely, one side of the board will shrink and/or swell more than the other side. This will cause twisting, bowing, and cupping. This same thing can happen if you lay a single board flat on a table or the floor. One side of the board won’t be exposed to the same conditions as the other.
Keep it dry
It’s important to store your dry lumber in a place where it won’t get wet. Keep it directly off the floor with skids or store it on shelves where there are no roof leaks. This will drastically help keep your lumber at its top quality.
Storing dry lumber outdoors should be avoided at all costs. The outside elements include water and drastic changes in temperature.
However, there is no issue with storing green lumber outside. If going this route, use stickers between each course of lumber to help it dry. Some woodworkers make a lean to for storing lumber outside. A lean to will help keep rain and/or snow off the lumber which will increase the drying rate.
Keep it in your work shop
But if your lumber is stored in your shop, there’s no need to let it sit around and acclimate. This means when you’re ready to start a project, you don’t have to wait. And even better, it doesn’t sacrifice quality!
Many times, woodworkers are forced to store their lumber outside of their work shop due to the lack of space. Although it’s not ideal, this can still work. Many people will store their lumber in their basement. Most basements have a relatively dry environment for most of the year. This will help prevent the lumber from shrinking and swelling excessively over the season changes. While this isn’t the most ideal situation, it can work if it is your only option.
Keep it organized
When you buy top-quality lumber, you want to make sure it stays at the highest quality possible. These lumber storing tips will help you keep your lumber at its top quality.