these have to go somewhere

Wood storage in a small shop is a challenge. When I brought home all that quartersawn oak last week, I had to dedicate some time to sorting and sifting it and tucking it out of the way so I could get back to work. I had a question about it, not a terribly exciting subject, but here’s how I tackle it.

First – I sort the piles into the best stuff, lesser so, etc. Some of the things I’m looking at is how straight is it? Is it quartersawn or riftsawn? Defects? Here’s two really wide boards, 15″ or more. About 5′ long. I need this sort of stock for the tops of both cases to the cupboard. These tops end up about 23″ x 50″ – I’ll glue them up from 3 or 4 boards. You can see in the photo that these two boards have large knots and cracks near the inner part of the log. I split that stuff off – I’m never going to use it, so why store it? Get rid of it now.

as they came off the saw

Here is one of them with its split section detached. The good stuff runs about 10″-11″ wide, straight & clear. That it tapers in width doesn’t matter. The glued-up top will be evened out, the individual bits don’t need to be.

better now

I do the same sort of culling on lengths too. Looking for knots, curved grain and other problems. The board below I crosscut before splitting off the inner wavy bit. A large knot an the end would make that splitting a hassle. So I cut it first, then split it. Got rid of the rough end cut too, where there can be checks and splits from when the board was stacked outside.

crosscut at the green line

so it goes on & on. There were 30 pieces I think. They had been cut to different lengths to fit in my car, I have no truck. Nor do I want one. I like to mark the position of the growth rings on the end grain so I can look in the stack and see right away the orientation of each board.

good ones

I also took off the sapwood edge, it can be buggy and rotten. Same principle applies, I don’t want to store something I’m not going to use. I don’t have the room.

got my exercise

Then where does it go? Some went in the loft, stickered. Some was even labeled for its use. I don’t like to add too much weight up there, most of these will get used within a couple of months. This wood was sawn well over a year ago, but has been outdoors all that time. And it was wet in southeastern New England this summer. So these need some time to settle before I use them.

first stack

Over near the eaves of the building, but in the loft, I store dry wide stuff on edge. Some walnut up there, some wide pine that just came in and some leftover butternut.

dry stuff

The worst place to stack some is under the 2nd bench in the shop – but it takes up no floor space. This will be boxes later in the year and next winter.

under the bench

I lied. That’s the 2nd worst place. The worst is standing in the corner. I’m guilty of that too, but I’ve got it down to one corner this summer. That’s progress.

6 thoughts on “storage

  1. I am curious about the part about storing wood on end being a bad thing. I acknowledge being a novice to wood working so pardon my ignorance, what is it about end storage that’s the worst part? Currently i have all of mine standing vertically, mostly for lack of space.

    • Karl
      Don’t apologize for asking questions – that’s how we learn. Storing wood on end is not necessarily bad. In my case, the reason I don’t like storing wood in the corner is because it gathers more and more bits & pieces and begins to sprawl further into the room. Depending on the condition of the wood, storing it on end can be fine. If it were freshly-sawn then there could be a problem with bowing if it were not vertical enough – and cupping across the boards could be trouble as well. If it’s good & dry it should be mostly fine I would bet. I have often done it when I had a much bigger shop.

      • i have learned from (painful) errors that it helps when storing not-completely-dry wood vertically to put it on a lattice of some sort (in my case i use one of those aluminum grates people have in front of their doors to let water drip off boots in the winter) so the water can drain from the wood without creating a pool the wood then sits in and rots the end. i’m not sure how much of a problem this is for anyone else but i figured i’d share in case it’s useful. i don’t always store wood vertically but it’s definitely convenient, especially the next few dozen boards i’m going to use, while the rest stays elsewhere out of sight (though not, i hope, out of mind or it’ll be lost forever…).

  2. I store all of my wood (either kiln or air dried) vertically, with the edges (not the faces) facing the room, as it is much easier to access them when picking through them. They tilt or slide out for inspection and slide back into place without having to unstack a pile to see what’s at the bottom. I have spacers mounted along the wall 16″ apart to minimize how many can be leaning against each other. The spacers are black iron pipe screwed into flanges mounted to the wall studs. No shelves at all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s