Storing My Wood Scraps

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    Trey Caron

    Hello Everyone –

    So I’m just starting my journey into woodworking and have a question. I’m in the process of building up a wood pile to work with and practice/build. Here are a couple issues I’m contending with at the moment. I live in townhome community that has a shared covered, but open air garage. I have roughly zero storage space behind my vehicle and my basement is a fully finished living area that my wife is not willing to giving up to look at chunks of wood that doesn’t have a purpose yet. So, that leaves me with my last resort space, the attic. I live in the Mid-Atlantic region (Virginia to be exact) so summers are hot and somewhat humid. Winters can be brutally cold and spring and fall can be considerably wet. Our attic does have a fan that kicks on when the temps hit 120 degrees fehrenhiet. The wood I’m considering put up there is stock that has already been dried since it was bought from the big box stores or has been used in homes before being gifted to me. I know there could be some concern about weight, but I’m storing hundreds of pounds of lumber. It’ll be less than a 100lbs total. I’m going to check the spacing of the joists before fully considering using this as storage. Plus, I’d have to put plywood down to keep my stock from being in contact with the insulation.

    Okay, so my question is this. If I’m able to use the attic as storage, what concerns about the elements should I be aware of since I’m not trying to dry wet lumber.

    Michael Evans

    Hi Trey,
    Many great projects are produced from lumber stored in less than optimal conditions. Temperature fluctuations shouldn’t be a major issue. Kiln dried lumber is generally not only dried but is also heated, and that changes the resins in the lumber so that the moisture content (MC) will fluctuate less than it would in air dried lumber. The main thing to remember is to bring it into an area that approximates the MC present in the area where the finished item will “live” before working it into the finished size and shape. One option is to temporarily store the material stickered or on end under your bed or in the closet for a week or so (old timers used to say a year for air dried lumber) prior to using it. You should always follow the practice of selecting stock for each piece of the project to minimize the effect of swelling and shrinking from changes in MC. Coating the ends of raw stock should also help to equalize MC throughout the piece and slow MC changes in the wood. Sticker the stock if possible to try and equalize the MC throughout the stock to minimize warping and checking. Small pieces of stock are less of an issue simply because of the smaller physical changes from MC changes.

    Have fun.

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