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View Ian S's profile

Storing lumber outside - do's and don'ts

by Ian S
posted 01-24-2017 03:53 PM


26 replies so far

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

1011 posts in 1094 days


#1 posted 01-24-2017 04:10 PM

I’m interested in hearing what folks hav to say on this cause I’m in the same situation as u are except I only hav around a foot of over hang. Where I live at tho I figured on extending that to at least 4-5 foot since rain doesn’t always blow I need from the same direction.

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5810 posts in 3037 days


#2 posted 01-24-2017 04:52 PM

I think you want to keep it dry, and that might mean some kind of curtain for at least part of the year. Freezing and thawing wouldn’t be a problem no matter where you are, most lumber isn’t stored in a controlled room. But you will have to be sure to “acclimate” your wood before working with it…..not a bad idea regardless of where it was stored.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 1241 days


#3 posted 01-24-2017 05:12 PM

That sounds good so far Fred. I guess what I’m trying to judge is, how dry is “dry”? As far as wind-driven rain, we might get a storm of that seriousness here only 2-3 times a year, and I would guess the rest is just a straight vertical drizzle or sprinkle. It’s also somewhat rare that we see more than ~1 week of continuous moisture and overcast skies—usually the sun comes out and dries stuff out pretty reliably.

That said, could just 1 week of high humidity and a touch of direct moisture be enough to permanently warp or damage some of my lumber? That’s the kind of thing I’m trying to figure out.

View TObenhuber's profile

TObenhuber

185 posts in 2136 days


#4 posted 01-24-2017 05:24 PM

I don’t know what your set up is exactly. Maybe under a deck where you can hang the curtain. “Water proofing” will hardly be seen under there and save you precious shop space.

Some people storing wood outside put a tarp over it and call it a day. Depends on how permanent you want it to be. Either way, keep it as far off the ground as you can as plenty of moisture will come from there.

-- Travis, Virginia, www.facebook.com/CreativeWoodworksHybla

View dannmarks's profile

dannmarks

1006 posts in 1125 days


#5 posted 01-24-2017 05:33 PM

I looked at the design. you can easily put on sides, and doors for the front that will protect your wood from the direct elements. You could even go so far as to add a dehumidifier and make it a part time kiln. I think you are doing the right thing making the wood shelves on the side of the building. You could do the same thing on the other side for a miter saw and/or outside work space. My shop is much bigger than yours and I am working outside frequently because it is so big and I get some fresh air.

View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 1241 days


#6 posted 01-24-2017 05:36 PM



I don t know what your set up is exactly. Maybe under a deck where you can hang the curtain. “Water proofing” will hardly be seen under there and save you precious shop space.

Some people storing wood outside put a tarp over it and call it a day. Depends on how permanent you want it to be. Either way, keep it as far off the ground as you can as plenty of moisture will come from there.

- TObenhuber

Good point about the tarp—I guess I’ve seen that work for some people.

My setup is illustrated (crudely) in the link I provided in the OP. I’m hanging some (strong) adjustable shelves off the outside wall of my shop to use as a lumber rack, and all this will be sheltered under the eave of the roof.

From what I’m hearing so far, it sounds like I’ll probably be fine. Maybe the exception would be if I have really nice (or really dry) wood that ought to be kept in a low-humidity and low-exposure setting.

View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 1241 days


#7 posted 01-24-2017 05:40 PM



I looked at the design. you can easily put on sides, and doors for the front that will protect your wood from the direct elements. You could even go so far as to add a dehumidifier and make it a part time kiln. I think you are doing the right thing making the wood shelves on the side of the building. You could do the same thing on the other side for a miter saw and/or outside work space. My shop is much bigger than yours and I am working outside frequently because it is so big and I get some fresh air.

- dannmarks

Very interesting ideas. I haven’t built something that large before (a full enclosure would be something like 7’ tall X 15’ wide) but I suppose it’s doable. Although, enclosing it more assertively like that might create a space that’s ideal for insects or mold (dark, cool, etc.) so I’m not sure that’s the right way either. Dehumidifier or even a fan would be interesting though.

I actually love the idea of an exterior-mounted miter saw station. Might have to see what I can figure out in that regard. Good idea!

View papadan's profile

papadan

3584 posts in 3912 days


#8 posted 01-24-2017 06:15 PM

Place your wood on slightly angled brackets so that any rain that gets it will run off quick instead of soaking in. Also sticker the wood so air can circulate between the pieces. It should not take more that a day or 2 inside for the wood to be usable when needed.

View ScottM's profile

ScottM

745 posts in 2690 days


#9 posted 01-24-2017 06:20 PM

Don’t forget about bugs.

View papadan's profile

papadan

3584 posts in 3912 days


#10 posted 01-24-2017 06:26 PM



Don t forget about bugs.

- ScottM


Another reason to sticker your boards.

View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 1241 days


#11 posted 01-24-2017 07:15 PM

Today I learned what stickers are! Good suggestion. I have enough scrap lying around that that shouldn’t be too hard.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5810 posts in 3037 days


#12 posted 01-24-2017 07:57 PM

I guess by “dry”, I would aim for no more than just sprinkles hitting the wood. If it gets downright wet, it might cup/bow/twist or something else that’s undesirable.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1801 posts in 3403 days


#13 posted 01-24-2017 08:57 PM



...

Some people storing wood outside put a tarp over it and call it a day. Depends on how permanent you want it to be. ...

Nope, depends on how quickly you want mold, mildew and other fungus growths to form and ruin your lumber. The tarp traps rising moisture from the ground creates and a greenhouse environment encouraging the growth of undesirable funguses (fungi?).

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 1241 days


#14 posted 01-24-2017 10:10 PM


Nope, depends on how quickly you want mold, mildew and other fungus growths to form and ruin your lumber. The tarp traps rising moisture from the ground creates and a greenhouse environment encouraging the growth of undesirable funguses (fungi?).
- HerbC

Right, I started thinking about the hazards of a vapor barrier shortly after I thought about that shower curtain idea. At minimum, I think I’ll make sure that my setup can breathe adequately. At most I will create something to block moisture rising from the ground and/or set up enough space to vent at the top via convection.

I think I’ve probly got this sorted out. Will post pics of the progress once I put something into action.

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1368 posts in 1464 days


#15 posted 01-24-2017 10:34 PM

Ian S,

I like dannmarks’ idea of enclosing the space to keep rain and what little snow you may get off the lumber. Additionally it would protect the lumber from direct sun light. The heat of the sun on portions of the lumber could cause a lot of undesirable wood movement.

Rather than a solid enclosure, a ventilated enclosure with a moisture barrier on the ground would be my approach. The ends and the access doors could be made from two layers of pressure treated lattice. The layers of lattice could be separated by 1×3 furring strips vertically mounted with the lattice sheets screwed to each side of the furring strips and offset from one another. The offset would block rain and snow from entering the enclosure. The open but offset open squares in the lattice would allow the enclosure to breath.

I have found that the propylene tarps and shower curtains last only about a year in Ohio before the ultraviolet light from sunlight cause them to become brittle, causing tears and disintegration.

View dannmarks's profile

dannmarks

1006 posts in 1125 days


#16 posted 01-25-2017 01:07 AM

I lived in Waco Texas and the wind/rain can be plane old sideways. People who do not live there just will not understand what wind is like in Texas.
It is all good though. Be no mold or bugs that matter if you keep everything dry. The other thing you could do is what I do a lot and that is in front of my wood shop is my open space cement driveway. I roll my work bench out there or the jointer and plainer and leave the work bench in the shade to work outside. I know in Texas it is more than hot sometimes but the mornings can be great. Anyway, I have most everything on wheels so that I can arrange the working conditions as required.
My grand kid and I rolled out the work bench on a Saturday morning and put together some sort of Robot that just tickled him. It was nice to work together outside and just have fun. I am just saying your confined shop space does have to be small at all. Just a great place to kept things organized and safe. I think it is a great start.

View smeyer's profile

smeyer

7 posts in 1833 days


#17 posted 01-25-2017 01:54 PM

Another thing to be aware of is boards exposed to direct sunlight will darken. You may end up with ‘shadows’ on your boards if part of the board is covered and part exposed to light.

View GreenIsle's profile

GreenIsle

7 posts in 1036 days


#18 posted 01-25-2017 02:14 PM

Currently I just use an old tarpaulin to keep mine dry. It works to some extent, but living in the UK it’s far from ideal. Does the job for fire wood.

View trevor7428's profile

trevor7428

266 posts in 1505 days


#19 posted 01-25-2017 11:33 PM

On the TV Show, Rough Cut on PBS (I think). I can’t remember his name, but he just built a new shop on his property (maybe North Carolina)(probably wrong about state) but similar weather conditions.

Anyways, the point is. His lumber rack is outside too. On the side of the building there is about 2ft of roof over the lumber storage. Then he just built some fold away doors to keep the lumber from the elements. As far as I’m aware, there is no seal or anything.

So I’m sure anything similar should be fine.

-- Thank You Trevor OBrion

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

6002 posts in 3357 days


#20 posted 01-25-2017 11:40 PM

The lumber will weather eventually, even if it’s covered. That’s okay if it’s all rough sawn lumber. I think the bigger problem will be the natural swing in moisture content. I air dry green lumber in a three-sided shed with the boards carefully stacked and stickered. They are exposed to the wind, but sheltered from the rain. Then I kiln dry them and either keep them in the kiln, or inside the shop until they are used.

I wouldn’t feel comfortable pulling lumber directly in from outside, unless you have fans and a dehumidifier in the shop and let it acclimate for a while.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 1241 days


#21 posted 01-29-2017 07:48 PM

Thanks again for all the feedback, folks. I went ahead with my initial plan and here are the results:

Pictures of the new lumber rack!

I’m very happy with how it’s going so far. These John Sterling uprights are rock-solid and haven’t moved or flexed a bit. By this point I think I have somewhere between 400 – 600 lbs loaded on here. It’s REAL nice to have this out of the way.

As you can see, everything is pretty well covered under the overhang. It’s also far enough off the ground that I doubt any rain spatters would reach up high enough to hit the wood. There’s also good airflow and enough of a daily sunshine-window that I think everything should dry out pretty quickly if it does happen to gather moisture during a big storm.

I am not sure it’s going to be practical to build some kind of enclosure around all this, given the size, and also given the fact that I still have more material to add. Which of course also highlights the fact that I need to get to USING UP some of this wood for some kind of actual project. But we’ll get there :-D

Anyway, I’m real happy with the initial results. Any feedback or comments are welcome as always, but thanks for providing tips up to this point.

View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 1241 days


#22 posted 01-29-2017 07:51 PM

Also I’ll add that the photos may not show the size clearly, but this wall is a good 20’ in length, and the stockpile here is taking up the majority of that real estate even while being pretty densely packed. Some of these pieces are quite large. Not full size 4×8’s (bc I have no real way to get those home) but still pretty large scraps and craigslist finds.

View papadan's profile

papadan

3584 posts in 3912 days


#23 posted 01-29-2017 10:18 PM

I can’t see any stickers. Any wood against wood will hold moisture and will also house bugs.

View eflanders's profile

eflanders

326 posts in 2394 days


#24 posted 01-30-2017 12:22 AM

You may want to hang a screen to shade the boards as well as to avoid rain & snow from setting on the boards from the eave.

View Ian S's profile

Ian S

33 posts in 1241 days


#25 posted 01-30-2017 02:05 PM



I can t see any stickers. Any wood against wood will hold moisture and will also house bugs.
- papadan

In the short term I just don’t have enough space. On the right side I’m using 2×2s as stickers. On the left side I just have too many sheets to arrange these horizontally, and/or the sheets are too wide to be protected under the eave of the roof. I’ll have to figure out something better in the long term. I might try extending an awning out further, and then I’ll be able to have enough space to build proper flat storage for all these sheets, with proper stickers in between. Not sure what other option I have, before that, though.


You may want to hang a screen to shade the boards as well as to avoid rain & snow from setting on the boards from the eave.
- eflanders

If you see my original post you’ll note that snow isn’t a problem here in central TX. Rain is only occasional and I’m betting on air circulation and a little bit of sun to quickly dry out any moisture that accumulates from the uncommon wind-driven storm here.

View papadan's profile

papadan

3584 posts in 3912 days


#26 posted 01-30-2017 08:11 PM

OK, now I see your stickers. You need to rip them in half and cut them into short pieces and place them cross ways to the lumber, As they are now they will hold water in between the boards.

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