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Storing rough lumber

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  • Storing rough lumber


    I bought a bunch of rough sawn lumber recently and I'm not really sure how to store it or where to store it (basement, garage, outside, etc). Can you share your techniques?

    Also, what is the moisture content that wood should get to before it is planed and dimensioned?


  • #2
    Frank, inside, dry and with good air movement is best. I would not suggest a normal basement. If stored outside and stickered, do not cover it with a tarp. I did and the condensation ruined a lot of lumber while I was thinking it was dry. I now stack and sticker outside with tin or metal roofing covering the stack. Sticker the metal off the top of the stack.
    I also have Harbor Freight enclosed garages (pvc frame with a tarp cover) that I have stock stored in.

    Definitely get the MC below 10%, preferably 6-8%..
    Poplar Branch Wood Crafts


    • #3
      when I get green rough lumber, I place it in a well ventilated area, and put down a 2x4, and then stack it with space between boards, and then a sticker, 3x8" thick lath or 1/2" thick 2x stock or 1/2" x 1 1/2" stickers place on top and then another layer, of rough lumber, and continue until it is stacked and if wanted weight the top layer, with some cement block to help keeping it from twisting was it drys,

      if stored out side use a tarp over it but leave is so it can air,

      general rule of thumb is 1" a year, for drying in air,

      if place in an attic of a building you can speed or dry it out some extra, as the extra heat will dry it more,

      most cabinets lumber (if i remember correctly) should be in the 15% to 8% range.
      Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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      • #4
        Make sure the area where you stack and sticker your wood is level. If not your wood will dry in the shape that you laid it down in. Also if you choose to wood lathe to sticker your lumber, remember that wood lathe is dimensioned with a wide tolerance meaning that a 3/8" thick and a 3/16" thick piece of lathe are considered OK in the eyes of the lathe manufacturer QC dept. , but that difference does not lend itself well to someone who wants to stack lumber for drying.

        Stacking your lumber in your basement at first (initially when first sawn) does not sound like a good idea to me. You will be surprised at the amount of moisture in the wood, and the smell of some woods may be objectionable in an enclosed space too. I know my garage was smelling pretty strong of oak and walnut for a few months. Now that it has been about a year for the oak and 10 months for the walnut and the MC is below 14% for both, I would not have a problem moving the wood indoors, but I have enough room in the garage to store it.

        Go here and check out some of the bookmarks under Lumber Sawing and Drying for some additional on drying lumber.
        Last edited by Bob D.; 09-24-2006, 06:29 PM.
        "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006


        1/20/2017 - The Beginning of a new Error


        • #5
          Here is a good read posted by a member of another forum


          • #6
            Post-dry storage

            Thanks for all the info and links.

            So for the next step. How is the lumber stored after the target 8% ish moisture content has been reached?

            Also, any recommendations on a moisture meter would be great as well.



            • #7
              I don't have any experience in moisture reading, but a company that I've seen advertised is Wagner. It appears that they have models in various price ranges from "you've got to be kidding me" to "way out there" . I guess it's the nature of the beast. I'm sure some one will have alternatives for you.


              • #8
                Once the wood is dry it can stay in the same pile indefinitely. About a week before you intend to use it bring it into your shop and sticker it there to allow the wood to equalize to the inside environment.
                I use the CT33 from electrophysics


                • #9
                  Re: Storing rough lumber

                  I Have A Question On This. I Live In S. Ca Desert. Common Temp Out Side In The Summer Shade Is 110. I Have Heard (or Read) That Drying Too Fast Is Not Good Either. And I Don't Think The Wife Will Let Me Stack It In The Lvg Rm. (gee, Don't Know Why). Any Ideas Here?


                  • #10
                    Re: Storing rough lumber

                    Don't forget a good end sealer to prevent serious end splitting. It prevents the ends from drying much faster than the rest, as is natural. Check here:

                    And don't be tempted to use paint. It's just not worth the loss like my friend suffered. His beuatiful 6-8" cherry split for 12 to 14" - sometimes in the middle and sometimes in mutiple places. That left a lot of 'seconds' after miling.