Wood storage in humid climate


JohnG
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I'm fairly new to woodworking, other than some plywood projects and 2x4 construction projects over the years (if you can call those woodworking). I just bought a bunch of lumber from a lumber yard in the area and I am starting to worry myself about storing it. I don't often have access to a truck so I bought more than enough for the few projects I have immediately planned. It will be stored in an unconditioned garage (except for a small heater or fan when I am currently working in the garage). I live in an area with average humidity of about 65-75% and average temperatures ranging from 50-90 (highs).

The lumber is kiln dried and a mix of species but mostly poplar, cherry, and maple. It's all S3S, as I currently don't have a jointer and don't have enough spare time to want to flatten by hand.  I ran out of time to finish making my lumber racks before I got the lumber so it is currently dead stacked on the floor of my garage. I did lay down some 1x4s to keep the wood off of the concrete floor, but that is all I have done so far. Is it going to be important for me to sticker and/or strap it? How quickly do I need to restack it if needed? Any tips or advice would be much appreciated.

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Your best bet would be to sticker the load.  You may get some movement as the wood equalizes to the surroundings.  The amount of movement will be based on how well the lumber was kiln dried, most hardwoods are dried slowly in moisture conditioning kilns down to around 7% moisture content.  The other factor will be the internal stresses due to how the tree grew which you may discover when you cut the boards.  Not much you can do about this.  Most woodworkers only buy rough sawn kiln dried lumber, store it stickered and surface when they are ready to work on a project.  Unfortunately you do need a thickness planer and preferably a jointer.  You can get buy without the jointer by skip planing (take light passes on both sides of your boards) or using a flat planer sled.  At this point your best bet is to sticker your wood.

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It should definitely be stickered, or you could consider storing it vertically until you can get the racks finished. A lot of it depends on the difference in relative humidity between where it's been and where it's stored now. It needs to reach equilibrium before use and getting it off the floor, or at minimum, stickering it until it's off the floor is important. If your shop is climate controlled and the garage isn't, it will need to sit in your shop for a few days also before use.

 

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Thanks for the quick replies! I'll make some stickers and restack it as soon as possible.

My shop and the garage are the same space, so I am relatively motivated to get the stacks off the ground to free up space. I have a lunchbox planer, so I can skip plane if needed, and will eventually make a jointer sled for it unless I buy a jointer first. Woodworking is just a hobby for me, so my time in the shop can be pretty limited at times.

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I’m in VA near the coast. 

I have 8-10bf maple from the same source that I bought last summer, and it seems to have stayed straight and true, but I wasn’t sure if I just got lucky with it. 

 

I was able to sneak out to the garage at lunchtime to cut some stickers and restack the wood. I put the nicer and wider boards at the bottom, hoping the weight will keep it flat.  But if not, it will be a good excuse to buy a jointer.  

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  • 2 months later...

Virginia humidity always great. I'm in the blue ridge mountains and my boards are 10 to 12% moisture content, and that is the boards that was kiln dried and stacked for three years in my conditioned basement with a dehumidifier which I don't empty enough obviously. I fill the 5 gallon tank in one night if its bad out.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On ‎3‎/‎30‎/‎2018 at 9:35 AM, AnonymousAccountant said:

and will eventually make a jointer sled for it unless I buy a jointer first

You'd probably need that sled unless you get a huge jointer. The more motivation to make one.

 

There another sled you can use to joint the edges on the TS, and the same sled can also help you cut tapers on the TS, so there's no reason to skip it either, especially if you have a lunchbox planer and no jointer like me :D 

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In that kind of humility and temperature swings (I have the same here in Texas) Store your material stickered in your shop for at least two weeks. This will give the material time to accumulate to the conditions and move. Then rough the material leaving finishing stock, it will move some more. From here, during the humid months, I bring my material inside the house to a back room and sticker for at lease a week since this is the environment the finished product will reside in. I will then take a few pieces at a time and finish cut to size and return them back inside ASAP so the outside elements don’t take effect. Yea, it a painfully slow process but when spring turns to summer around here that’s what I have to do to keep everything straight and flat.

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