Lumber storage ---moving lumber from unconditioned space to conditioned space

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Forum topic by Okie72 posted 08-08-2019 02:02 PM 1347 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 700 days

08-08-2019 02:02 PM

Hi all.

I just recently had ac installed into my woodshop. The bulk of my lumber has been stored in an outdoor enclosed lean to. I brought in two pieces of walnut into the woodshop. After 24 hours, one piece twisted…the 2nd piece did not.

I am aware that humidity changes and moisture content changes can wreak havoc on wood..just not sure how to proceed so that my outside stored wood can be brought inside my shop.

So the question is…how can i bring in wood from my outside storage that is not conditioned to my ac conditioned workshop and avoid twisting, etc?

Thanks for the input.

10 replies so far

View controlfreak's profile


112 posts in 56 days

#1 posted 08-08-2019 02:21 PM

This is going to be a problem anytime the moisture content changes rapidly. The interior of the wood is still wet while the exterior is drying fast causing differing expansion and contraction. I would be tempted to control how many air changes the wood storage area has if it is enclosed and place a dehumidifier if the space to get the humidity closer to the shop %. You may want to raise the shop temperature a bit to raise the humidity a bit as well. I know this sucks now that you can make if totally cool in there.

View avsmusic1's profile


477 posts in 1140 days

#2 posted 08-08-2019 03:25 PM

a few questions:
1. Was the walnut kiln dried or air dried? (if air, how long?)
2. How long was it in the lean to?
3. Did you sticker it in the shop?
4. How long has it been in the shop?
5. Where do you live? (looking for climate details)

View jdh122's profile


1089 posts in 3273 days

#3 posted 08-08-2019 03:43 PM

Given how humid it can be in Oklahoma (guessing this is your location from your name), I think you need to treat the wood as if you were finishing air-drying it when you bring it inside. So make sure you sticker it and if possible strap it together or put some weight on it.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

View DS's profile


3237 posts in 2875 days

#4 posted 08-08-2019 03:54 PM

Generally speaking, you want to stack the wood stable with stickers while it is acclimatizing to the new environment.

As the moisture content changes, the tendency is for the wood to move.

It needs to be stacked flat and stickered for even air flow and weighted, or otherwise restricted from movement, so that it can dry out and maintain its form without twisting, etc.

If you can band clamp a stack together, that would provide some stability during acclimation as well.

Looking on the bright side, this is a good problem to have, versus, say, not having any wood.
Good luck.


-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View pintodeluxe's profile


5970 posts in 3268 days

#5 posted 08-08-2019 05:22 PM

Things that can help…

1. Buy rough lumber. Don’t mill it until it’s dry to 6-8%.

2. Buy quartersawn lumber, which is naturally more stable.

3. Buy thicker lumber. My 5/4 lumber hardly ever warps. My 4/4 lumber will warp on occasion.

4. Accept that some boards will warp, and use them for shorter lumber.

Good luck!

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

View farmfromkansas's profile


101 posts in 69 days

#6 posted 08-14-2019 05:52 PM

Air dried lumber approximately 12% does not have to be stickered. I bring in air dried lumber to my store room, put in my vertical rack, and then run the dehumidifier till it is down at least to 8% moisture content. At that rate, it will not warp when I finish a project and take it to the house. I did make a couple panels last year without testing the MC, and they went nuts after spending some time in the shop.

View Okie72's profile


7 posts in 700 days

#7 posted 08-14-2019 08:31 PM

Thanks for the feedback . You’ve given me a lot to consider. I bought a moisture meter…so I will be dating and recording MC, plus using stickers.

View therealSteveN's profile (online now)


3390 posts in 1029 days

#8 posted 08-15-2019 04:16 AM

Can you run a fan in the shed? It’s the humidity change you are seeing. I live where it can be terribly humid, OR not. The thing is, on days with wind, you don’t notice the humidity much at all, it’s only when it’s dead still that it gets to you. If you could open the shed up real well, and run a fan inside to cool it off overnight when temps are lower, you may be able to slide a few pieces into the cooler shop, and have less Rh change. Less Rh, = less moisture.

If it’s humid there, and you have it stuffed up inside the shed, I can see it being pretty hot, and sweaty. Thinking about it is making me sweat.

-- Think safe, be safe

View farmfromkansas's profile


101 posts in 69 days

#9 posted 08-16-2019 07:37 PM

The moisture content in lumber stored outside, whether in a shed or whatever, will be about 12%. When you bring it inside, either with heat and air conditioning or dehumidifier, it will drop to as low as 6%. Especially in your house in winter with the furnace running. If you build projects with 12% wood, and take it into your house there will be problems with your projects. Best to store your lumber in a conditioned space with heat and AC, where the moisture content will be nearly the same as your house.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


1646 posts in 1949 days

#10 posted 08-17-2019 08:50 AM

The moisture content in lumber stored outside, whether in a shed or whatever, will be about 12%.
- farmfromkansas

Sorry, this is not an accurate generalization to make in an global forum.
The average moisture content depends on where you live and time of year.
While 12% may be true for your city:
Here in Phoenix AZ, outside stored wood gets down to 6-8% ~10 months of year.
Folks in Florida or Washington state see 14-15% moisture levels much of year.

Check out table 13.1 in this reference document for better numbers on average outdoor moisture content:

Entire Wood engineering handbook is also available from forestry department site:

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

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