Lee Rasi

How do you transport your wood?

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Hello everyone, 

I wanted to tap into the minds of all you astute woodworkers. Sorry for the unintended Bart Simpson nature of my title, but it is in fact a serious question that I am hoping you will provide insight on. 

I have not found much discussion on this topic, other than purchase a pick-up truck. Let me stop you there, as a fond truck lover myself, owning a truck to be used once in a while to transport plywood and rough cut lumber is no longer a practical option for me as fuel prices, insurance cost, and the skyrocketing price tag of even  compact trucks takes this out of contention at the moment. 

Moving on, I would like to know how the non-pickup truck, or prior non-pickup truck owners, have modified their vehicles or trailers to safely transport materials from the lumber yard to their place of work. 

We own a SUV, Ford Escape, which has a good payload. But my almost one year old daugher's high standards for travel omit much of the vehicles capacity. 

I am considering purchasing a utility trailer, thinking about 10 foot in length, to fulfill my needs. Also considering making a rack on the trailer for sheet goods so they stand vertically. Making it easier on myself. One benefit vs. a truck is I will have the material low to the ground and have much less risk for shoulder injuries. 

Have any of you done this or perhaps have a better solution? Feel free to share photos of your wood transportation processes. It would be much appreciated. 

Thank you for reading. 

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Hey Lee, welcome aboard. I recently went to a local non usual supply place on a whim and brought back a 5’ x 5’  Baltic Birch piece of ply, strapped to the top of my Suburban, looking like the Beverly Hill Billy’s. You have to make do. A couple of years ago, I commissioned a trailer company to make me a 5’ wide X 8’ long utility trailer so I could transport 8’ lengths. They made it 8’ total, inside to outside so now I take the friggin tailgate off to transport 8’ pieces. Specify before you buy. Having said that, most wood suppliers will make your first cut free and additional at a nonimal cost. 

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I'll still stick with the get a truck option as you can get great fuel mileage with them these days.  I get 30 in my eco diesel.

Now, that also comes with a serious price tag so, understand that front as well.  A utility trailer is a great way to go especially if you're a home owner as it will come in handy for a lot of other stuff as well.

Another option, if you don't make a lot of trips, would be to go rent a U-Haul truck for a day for 20 bucks and haul what you need.

And, one last option..  Places like Bell Forest will deliver to your door.  So, maybe your local has some delivery options as well.

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I had a Jeep Wrangler from 2012 -15 and I used a 5’x10 utility trailer it worked fine but full disclosure I went back to a pickup in 2015. I just got tired of hooking it up even though it was only a couple times a year. When I started I had a ford escort hatchback that I could pack pretty good :)

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I have a SUV as well a 4runner.  With the back window down I can haul 8" stock fairly well.  Sheet goods and the 10 ft stuff my supplier has, I use a 5 x 8 trailer .  I don't own the trailer, but my friendly redneck neighbor tells me to take it when ever I need to.  But I live out in the boonies as does my supplier. So for you I'd consider not buying a trailer unless you have a place to keep it safe from those that want to borrow it when you're not looking.  U-haul is a way to kill two birds with one stone. so to speak. It does add to the cost of timber, but it'll get what you need done.

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How much are you really transporting at once? I have easily fit 100 bd ft in my small sedan, as long as I have no other passengers with me.  Just lay down the back seat and the front passenger seat, and lay the boards down from the trunk up to the dashboard  Then I would buckle them in with the seat belt and tie them together so they don't move around and hit me or try to exit thru the window while I drive.  8' boards fit quite easily, I even had a couple 10' boards in an accord once.  You do have to make sure they don't obstruct your side view mirror or your blind-spot though, so don't try to pack too much in.  Obviously this isn't something I would do if I had to drive with passengers, especially not children, and when I do this I stay on surface streets and accelerate slowly, so keep in mind that it's not completely risk-free. But it is a cheap option.

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The trailer, to avoid purchasing a new vehicle, is a good idea. And as @K Cooper mentioned, 8' trailers don't quite cut it, so your choice of 5x10 is good. I wouldn't try to carry sheet goods vertically, though. They become a sail that can cause you a tremendous amount of trouble in a cross wind.

Perhaps you could lay a couple of 2x4 across the side rails of the trailer, strap your sheet goods to that for extra elevation, and slip the board stock underneath.

But I'd still prefer a truck.

 

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I agree with all the good advice given above.  I will add a couple of comments. 

A trailer you own has to park somewhere safe from theft,  but also out of the way and where the spouse isn't going to complain about it. 

Another option to renting from UHaul is to rent a pickup from the Home Despot or other big box.  These can be used to haul anything, not just store purchases and it's fast. It took me about 15 min to rent a full size pickup to move my kid's apt.  The price was very reasonable.

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I just use the roof rack on my CR-V, although I'm maxed out at about 100 bf. I'm lucky, though, since my hardwood dealer is only a couple km from my house, so I'm not usually going far. It does get a little dicey if you buy 12' lengths, as I did with my Roubo, because the distance between the roof rack rails is less than 4'. Usually if I really want to get more, I resign myself to removing the car seats and putting it inside with the end out the lift gate.

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I have this trailer: https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200660343_200660343 which I pull behind my SUV.  It's great because it folds up and fits nicely in the garage.  It's big enough for 4x8 sheets, not sure how it would handle 5x5 without some sort of rack or modification.  It's a great little trailer though.

That said, I hate it, and will be getting a truck (hopefully when the new 2019 GMs come out) soon.  I work about about 15 minutes north of my house and the one good hardwood dealer is east of my office.  I can't take the trailer to work so it's a pain if I want to get some wood during the week (which I would rather do and not waste my weekend shop time).  Also, HD and Lowes are on the way home form work and it would be great if I could stop by there to get things without having to deal with a trailer.

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I hate how much space carseats take up. I just used my wife's Mazda CX-5 to bring home a board slightly longer than 8' because I didn't feel like driving my old truck with no AC. 

I've been thinking of getting rid of the truck and just renting a UHaul or Home Depot truck when I need a lot. For how often I use the truck and the cost of insurance it's just not worth the hassle. No place to store a trailer without it costing me a fortune. You can rent pickups from Turo depending on where you live.

If you can find a SUV where the window opens separately or the front passenger seat folds down flat you can greatly expand your range. Or throw a hitch on your Escape and rent a UHaul trailer for under $20 when you need a lot.

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2 hours ago, difalkner said:

Sometimes you just have to get creative.  Here's an exotic lumber haul back when we had a MINI Countryman -

That my friend is an impressive lumber stack in what appears to be a very nice MINI :)

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Or you could just invest in a vaguely truck shaped car:

new-2019-honda-ridgeline-rtleawd-8519-17

It works for me:D (Kidding of course, as these anything but cheap compared to the other options..)

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2 hours ago, pkinneb said:

That my friend is an impressive lumber stack in what appears to be a very nice MINI :)

It was a very nice MINI, loved it but having to go 200 miles to Dallas for service got old.  This was our second MINI and my guess is we went for service 20 times in about 7 years and I got stranded 3 times in small towns.  Our two MINI's had to be taken via flatbed back to the mother ship each of the 3 times I was stranded.  Finally had enough and switched to the Tacoma.  I still like MINI better, though! :lol:

And the exotic wood find was/is phenomenal.  Brazilian Rosewood, Canary Wood, Jatoba, Purpleheart, Bolivian Rosewood from a shop that was getting out of the business and moving into something else.  The man is 80 years old and starting his 4th business, didn't need the money, and had two CNC's costing north of $150k each, 52" wide belt sander, 24" planer, 16" jointer, 5 large dust collectors, all in an old outlet mall he bought.  His shop is about 30,000 sq. ft. I would guess and he rents out the rest of the mall.

Anyway, I'm rambling and chasing rabbits on someone else's thread... sorry! LOL!

David

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I've been considering a truck shaped car lately. Not even kidding, a Fiat Strada /Dodge RAM 700. Up to now, I carry lumber in and/or on (or even through) a chevy spark.

Image result for dodge ram 700
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That is very cool looking.  I don't know what a Dodge 700 is, but I gather it is based on a small car platform?

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56 minutes ago, kyokahn said:

I've been considering a truck shaped car lately. Not even kidding, a Fiat Strada /Dodge RAM 700. Up to now, I carry lumber in and/or on (or even through) a chevy spark.

Nice truck! Are the coming out soon or just concept? By the way isn't a Spark a 3 cyl engine? One board at a time :ph34r:

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