What Do I Do With This Pile of Wood?

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A Guide to Lumber Storage

 Half the fun of woodworking is finding just the right wood for your next project or two. But, once you get home, where are you going to put it?  A great deal on wood at your local Woodcraft can lead to one big mess once you get back without a little bit of careful planning.

Organizing and storing your wood properly will help you spend more time on your project and less time tripping, falling or finding the right piece.  Generally speaking, the type of wood pieces you have lying around will determine what type of storage solution you need.

Lumber and long pieces

Lumber and longer planed pieces are best stored using a lumber rack or racking system that mounts to a wall.  Your only limitation is how much wall space you have available. This gets the wood up off the floor and makes it easy to see what you have.  All the while, producing that one board isn’t a big ordeal, as you have a limited amount of pieces per shelf to maneuver.

Make sure you use the right fasteners to attach the rack to the wall, as drywall and masonry walls require different fasteners. Most racks don’t include the fasteners for this reason. Also be cognizant of the weight capacity for the system.  You don’t want to load up your rack only to overload it and find a big pile of wood on the floor and holes in your wall.

Turning Stock

Small pieces of turning stock do well in a bin system or cubbies. You can pick up totes or cubby systems fairly inexpensively anywhere – or use those woodworking skills to build a few.  Simply sort the turning stock by size or by species, whichever works best with how you build projects.

Thin Stock, Dowels & More

Thin stock, dowels and other smaller, but still long pieces can be stored standing on end.  Be sure to understand what they are standing on though.  If the floor can get wet, you may want to incorporate a floor or raised landing for the wood pieces to sit on to ensure that they stay dry. You can utilize tall trash cans or build a grid that will support some of the pieces, making it easy to sort through.

Plywood and Sheet Goods

Plywood and other large sheet goods need special handling as well.  If you have a lot of space you can store these 4x8 sheets flat.  If not, try building a basic frame that puts pairs of vertical standards every 12" to 18".  This will allow you to store your sheet goods on end and still pull them out easily.

Unpiling your wood is like a treasure hunt, but one you’d rather do while organizing it than trying to find what you need. You might just find that treasured piece for your next project while you’re picking up your pile.

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