Lumber Storage

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Forum topic by becikeja posted 05-09-2020 01:45 PM 506 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1123 posts in 3621 days

05-09-2020 01:45 PM

Moving into a new shop and right now have the option to either set up my lumber storage area vertically or horizontally. All the hardwood lumber suppliers I have been to seem to store their lumber vertically. However, when I have had the option to buy lumber from a mill or a private supplier they have always stored their lumber horizontally. I usually like to buy lumber 200-300 bd.ft at a time as I seem to get a much better deal. Then it takes me a year or 2 to work through it. Typically Maple, Cherry, Walnut and Mahogany.

What are the pros and cons of each that I need to consider? As I said, right now (I’m sure it will change) I have the space to plan for either and want the best option.

-- Don't outsmart your common sense

16 replies so far

View sras's profile


5536 posts in 3937 days

#1 posted 05-09-2020 02:13 PM

I’ve done both and ended up with horizontal.

The thing I’ve noticed is that either method gets in trouble when pieces get stored too deep (or high). I’m getting ready to convert my 5 shelf horizontal setup to a 10 shelf. That way I can sort through a smaller pile to get to that board on the bottom.

If I were to go back to vertical I think I would want to think about storing boards on edge so I can get at any board. I would also make sure to have a shallow box at the bottom to keep the boards from sliding out.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View ibewjon's profile


1780 posts in 3601 days

#2 posted 05-09-2020 03:15 PM

I like horizontal, but it does require alot of supports. I put a support on each stud, 16” o/c. Probably overdone, but the steel angle I used was cheap at the time.

View Andre's profile


3635 posts in 2614 days

#3 posted 05-09-2020 03:40 PM

I have both, usually on the horizontal rack for “special woods” then stacked vertical on every spare wall space? LOL!
Big mistake in my shop was the 16’ overhead door which hasn’t been opened in a long time and now has a lot of lumber in front of it!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View PBWilson1970's profile


98 posts in 202 days

#4 posted 05-09-2020 06:58 PM

I have my boards stored vertically because before when I stored my lumber horizontally, I’ve found that the particular board I’m looking for is almost ALWAYS found at the bottom of the pile! Vertical storage makes moving boards so much easier for me. It’s only the longest boards that exceed my ceiling height that are a pain to deal with. I’ve got very tall ceilings in my upstairs rooms so I keep my 10’+ boards in one of the unused rooms so it’s acclimated to my indoor environment.

I pay very close attention to grain orientation with my projects so being able to get to any board without too much trouble is important for me and vertical storage helps.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

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2359 posts in 2837 days

#5 posted 05-09-2020 07:09 PM

I have always gone horizontal due to the not possible to go vertical. If I ever built a shop, I would have a dedicated vertical storage, kind of like a library of books. With horizontal, items seem to appear on top of boards. Be that other smaller boards, or that long lost pencil. Things get buried.
However, with vertical storage, you have to have the 10’ or 12’ ceiling height which I’ve never had.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

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1468 posts in 1396 days

#6 posted 05-09-2020 07:38 PM

Flat horizontal stacks without stickering causes the top board(s) to cup.

Lumberyards store vertically (and not too densely) to allow airflow on all four sides. This prevents cupping and allows random access without having to unsticker a draft for one pretty board.

I don’t usually buy longer than 8’ boards so vertical storage in the corner of the garage works well for me.

Not a ton of inventory, but enough for most projects.
Jatoba, purpleheart, sapele, cherry, oak, etc.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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421 posts in 2445 days

#7 posted 05-09-2020 08:50 PM

What is “stickering”?

-- measure 3 times, cut once

View Madmark2's profile


1468 posts in 1396 days

#8 posted 05-09-2020 08:54 PM

When you stack horizontally you put little sticks crosswise as spacers for air flow. Little sticks = stickers.

Horizontal piles of wood without stickers cause the top board to cup as the exposed top side dries faster & shrinks.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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Fred Hargis

6322 posts in 3301 days

#9 posted 05-09-2020 09:00 PM

I have mine horizontal on some steel racks that someone had made and I bought them form him. It takes more room than it’s worth (IMHO). I’m planning on changing to vertical. Stacked correctly it won’t bow, and it will be a lot easier to sort through. One downside, my shop has 10’ ceilings, so I will be limited on length. I can store 12’ boards horizontally, but I don’t have that many and will limit future purchases to 10’ or less….mostly less.

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

View sras's profile


5536 posts in 3937 days

#10 posted 05-10-2020 03:05 PM

I thought of another reason why I ended up with horizontal storage – I need the floor space. Should have mentioned that in my first reply!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View JackDuren's profile


1260 posts in 1767 days

#11 posted 05-10-2020 03:16 PM

I’m not much on the wood hoarding. If your building cabinets it takes s few board ft to do a set. If your doing pieces of furniture I would buy as I go. Shop floor space is very precious in a small shop. Everybody wants a wood rack, a mobile clamp rack and the next thing ya know most of there equipment is on wheels just to make room to use them.

If I just had to keep wood vertical would be my recommendation if possible…

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Ken Reed

158 posts in 3992 days

#12 posted 05-10-2020 07:54 PM

I use both orientations. Sheet goods I stand up as they are 8’ and less, so it makes sorting easier. Most of my lumber is stored horizontally for two reasons: much of my stock is 16’ long and I cannot store those long boards vertically and even if I did they would be unwieldy. When I get stock from the mill I store it horizontally in stickered piles outside and covered with corrugated tin that’s weighted down so it doesn’t blow off in a breeze. Once the moisture content is down to around 12%, give or take, I move it inside the woodshed and store it horizontally, but without stickers. I can see the end grain easily this way so I have some concept of the face grain and I put like species in their own bin. I notice that the local hardwood dealer also stores his stock flat without stickers. Don’t stack green lumber without the stickers! It will rot pretty quickly or at least stain from mold and fungus.

Of course a lot of your decisions will be dictated by your facilities. Almost all shops have space and workflow limitations, so we all do what we can with what we’ve got.

View BattleRidge's profile


150 posts in 1024 days

#13 posted 05-11-2020 02:50 AM

I store my wood horizontal and it works well for my needs. When sorting the wood, I will often just lay the undesired boards on available shelf space above or below the storage shelf during sorting and replace them once done. For my needs, vertical storage would be quite awkward, particularly with the volume I sometimes stock.

I am in the process of building some shelving in my basement that consists of 2×4’s and plywood and when I unloaded my truck of the 40 boards, I had a quick and easy spot to place it until ready for use. I also have a one-room schoolhouse on my property that I will be dismantling this summer with plans to repurpose the wood and having the ability to sort and organize the volume of wood will be quite beneficial (some wood will be stored in an addition that I am building to my shop for future shelf replenishing). I also live in the middle of my 103 acre tree farm and may be adding a portable sawmill at some point to make use of the occasional trees that fall or die each year and having a storage spot for the wood after drying will be quite convenient.

My panel storage is on edge with my Baltic Birch along a wall behind my jointer & planer which are both on wheels and easily moved for access, and my 4×8 plywood panels and a piece of foamboard for my track saw are stored vertical along a wall behind one of my workbenches that serves as a catch-all near my entrance and is easy to move to access the wood if necessary.

-- ~Art~

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3370 posts in 2302 days

#14 posted 05-11-2020 05:35 AM

Same topic was brought up 5 days ago.

Did you search for answers to this age old question?

Only thing not mentioned recently is a caution on storage floor type:
It is not good idea to store lumber directly on concrete; regardless if vertical or horizontal.
Concrete is porous, and even with vapor barrier under it common on most new homes, and sealer applied on top; it still absorbs, and sweats moisture during RH changes because it stays cooler than shop. If vertical boards are stored with one end on damp concrete, they will move/twist and end up losing several inches in length very easily. For short term storage, will be minor issue. But long term, need to raise the lumber off the concrete. Common solution is to use plywood deck/bin, tilted back 5-10° to help pull lumber towards the wall.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to lumber storage, Best Luck.

-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View ibewjon's profile


1780 posts in 3601 days

#15 posted 05-11-2020 12:05 PM

Sad to see the school house go. There are not many left. Glad you are saving the wood. Take alot of pictures before it goes.

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