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Thread: Wood question.

  1. #1

    Wood question.

    I have two questions, hope for some advice.

    For the past forty years of woodworking, I would come up with a project, buy the wood for that specific project and would end up with very little scrap that would sit for years and then get tossed.

    Now I have the space for storing large quantities of wood to have just sitting around waiting for project to be born. I am also thinking of the retirement years and money being lean or at least selective in what I spend it on. So while I am still working, I have had a shop built, bought all the major power tools, and many of the handtools I anticipate needing. I have another 8 years before my earliest retirement date. So I should be able to pick up the remain accessories/handtools by then.

    Since the other major expense is wood, I have started to "stock up" on it. I picked up 400 BF of select/clear cherry and about 200 BF of walnut on craiglist so far. I am planning on having a slab poured behind the shop (9'x50') for storing rough cut lumber and looking to end up with several thousand board feet of various species prior to retirement.

    So the first question is, what is the best long term storage method for already dried (5-6 years) and still wet lumber that may not get used for 20 years? I am thinking long term investment here, because if wood prices continue to rise, they could be insane 20 years from now when I am retired and on a fixed income.

    The second question is something I have not experienced yet. Since I always bought wood for a specific project and used most of it, there was never a hesitation to use it. But now that I am looking at a stack of 400 bf of sweet looking cherry, I have developed the feeling that it is too good for just any project, maybe I should save it for a special project. I am starting to get the fear that I may end up with several thousand BF of nice lumber that will end up being "too good to be used" for just any project. Has anybody else gone through this feeling and ended up with a huge amount of wood that will just never get used, because your are saving it for that "ONE" project?

    The first question is serious, the second is more of "Hi, my name is Rob, and I am a wood hoarding and not wood user"...

    Thanks for any advice.

    Rob

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    well rob,, you are asking some pretty tuff questions.. first of all on the hoarding lumber part.. we all have been there at one time or another. as for the price raising all things are raising not just wood.. and in your next 8yrs yu may find that your interests have changed.. i have got a little lumber stash myslef and it happen fast over the course of a few years.. and its a disease that is hard to cure.. i can relate to your too good to use scenario as well but yu need to pic what yu need and use it when yu have the project..whats the most lumber yu have ever used for a project? take that and think of the space required for it and the time to get it there.. from the shops i have seen there are many that dont carry alot on hand they let the yards do it for them. i have air dried a fair amount of lumber and have had several thousand feet cut. yu will run out of room fast rob if yu hoard it..keep some good stuff for the special project and let the rest go and get it when yu need it..as for proper storage yu need go air flow and a way to keep the moisture off it.. and with some yu have the chance of bugs gettin into it.. which will render it worthless fast..so my advice is to stay with what yu have and dont get much on hand,, i have a inside storage area that is 16x24x10 its half full and i have a separate barn that has a stack in it that is also a garage that has two stacks in it.. so i talk from expeirence in that yu can have to much... i have stopped taking free wood and only thinking about the really good stuff but i am gonna thin bunch sometime soon
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  3. #3
    Wet lumber would need to be at least air dried, so it'll need to be stickered until it reaches EMC, usually 10-12%. Then it can be stacked board-on-board without worrying about mold/rot between them. Once dried, I've found that vertical storage is the most space saving method. It allows access to individual boards without unstacking a whole pile. Vertical storage is just fine as long as there are no bowed boards.

  4. #4
    Thanks, with replies.

    The point on vertical storage would definitely help with sorting through to find the right piece.

    Along those lines, being a technology geek to a certain point, I was going throught varies options for cataloging the individual boards.

    Ideally, it would be neat to be able to scan each board and catalog it, which got me thinking. (Warning invention alert.)

    If you could take something like an old thick planer, remove the main shaft where the blades are and install the parts from a flat bed computer scanner in it's place, so that you could run each board through. You could then scan the front and back and digitize a real image, with actual grain/color detail of each board and download it onto a computer. With a little software magic, you could map the jpg or til image onto a 3D computer generated board. Once in digital form, you could catalog the wood by species, color, grain, etc. So now instead of going through hundreds of boards, you could just purues them on your computer. And who knows, one saved digitally, if you could pull the jpg into sketchup or the like program and have the actual final image of your project with the exact wood/color/grain pattern for you or your client to see. Let's see make an industrial model for the big boys, and intermediate model for the serious hobbiest and a hand held version for the not so serious/budget constraint folks. PoP-Pop-Poof. Sorry, went off into fantasy land for a second.

    I think If I do decide to stock pile, I will attempt a cataloging system of sorts.

    Rob

  5. #5
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    Rob,
    When I attended a Maloof workshop at his shop back in 2005 I got to look at him wood stash and he had it all (4 building of wood) stored vertically. He had built a shelf to keep the wood off of the concret and had 3 side for each compartment that way he could keep the pieces of the various species seperated. sure wish I had acess to those building ..
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
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    i`d suggest saving only what the wholesale yards don`t stock.....keep highly figured stuff, wide and thick stuff and wood with a history to you and your family...
    stuff like 4/4 fas domestic hardwood isn`t generally worth the time and realestate to store.
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  7. #7
    "domestic hardwood isn`t generally worth the time and realestate to store"

    Good point, less wood means more room for more tools..

    Another questions. There is a gentlemen that has 560 BF of 10 year air dried Black Walnut that has been stickered.

    Half was stored inside a shed and the other half was stored outside under and lean too. The lumber stored inside looks really good. The lumber stored outside is heavily grayed (weathered), but doesn't appear to have any insect damage. Is the outside lumber even worth looking at? How deep does the weather typically go down in walnut. It's about a 2-1/2 hour drive one way to get the wood.

    Thanks.
    Rob

  8. #8
    For the longest time I bought just enough to do what I was doing right away. At some point when I was trying to woodwork fulltime, I started stocking up so I wouldn't have to go shopping if I wanted to make a small table on a whim. What I found was that I'd spend (waste) a LOT of time going through the stock trying to pick which boards were 'right'. And I mean that I'd unload every stick of lumber I had on the rack to make sure I didn't miss something that would work 'better'. Then I'd stack it all back up until the next time.

    When I built the cherry dining table a couple months ago, I bought just enough material for that top and the top for a small table. I studied on the material for literally hours trying get the best grain match. Still wasn't happy with it, but once it was all together it was fine and the new owner is tickled pink. If I'd had a whole shelf full of cherry I might still be out there trying to get it 'perfect'.

    Short answer... I'm not gonna stock up anymore.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kirk Constable View Post
    For the longest time I bought just enough to do what I was doing right away. At some point when I was trying to woodwork fulltime, I started stocking up so I wouldn't have to go shopping if I wanted to make a small table on a whim. What I found was that I'd spend (waste) a LOT of time going through the stock trying to pick which boards were 'right'. And I mean that I'd unload every stick of lumber I had on the rack to make sure I didn't miss something that would work 'better'. Then I'd stack it all back up until the next time.

    When I built the cherry dining table a couple months ago, I bought just enough material for that top and the top for a small table. I studied on the material for literally hours trying get the best grain match. Still wasn't happy with it, but once it was all together it was fine and the new owner is tickled pink. If I'd had a whole shelf full of cherry I might still be out there trying to get it 'perfect'.

    Short answer... I'm not gonna stock up anymore.
    well kirk,, i can relate to that,, the only thing i have seen to help is the vertical storage allows yu to see the stock better.. but its still a pain but on the other side the stuff we try to make is made special because we have taken the extra time to fit the boards according to there grain and not just there size...
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  10. #10
    I finally started 'skip planing' it before I put it up, thinking that would save me some time. I guess it DID to some extent, but I'd still go through the whole stack every time. I'm certainly not above cutting a perfectly good 6' long board to get the 3' piece I want... but I guess my point is that we fuss over things sometimes that nobody else but another very picky woodworker will ever notice.

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