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Thread: Storing Lumber Outside?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia
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    Storing Lumber Outside?

    Good Evening:

    I'm wondering is there any reason why I couldn't store S4S and rough lumber outside, assuming it was covered and neatly stacked?

    My shop is about 20 X 25 and I have a lot of lumber on one wall. Pretty much from floor to ceiling taking up a good 10' of wall space. Every time I go in there I think, sheesh I wish I could have that wall for something else. The weather here rarely goes below freezing although it is a damp climate. If it was out of the rain, could I keep it outside? Maybe in a little shed just for that purpose?

    Thanks for any and all input....
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Should work. Just keep it stickered and covered. I would worry about bugs more than anything. Can you find a place indoors where you can stack vertically?
    If you don't take pride in your work, life get's pretty boring.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Delton, Michigan
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    if yu look at your larger hardwood suppliers yu will see that they basically have it outdoors as well, covered with a roof and maybe a sunshade..but if they had to have everything inside the building costs would to much overhead costs..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
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  4. #4
    Join Date
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    Amherst, New Hampshire
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    I don't keep 1000's of bf of lumber, I usually buy it as I need it so I keep it all inside. By keeping it inside my shop I don't have to let it acclimate before I use it. I would keep my finished stock inside. Keeps the bugs and critters from setting up a homestead in it. Pine will turn grey and weathered looking if left outside too long.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    North West Indiana
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    Mine is outside in Mint Tubs (basically a metal shed). It keeps 99% of the weather off of the boards. They are stickered to eliminate molding and help in circulating air. I would not have a shop if I didn't store my wood this way.
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Westphalia, Michigan
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    Keep in mind that the lumber will equalize with the humidity somewhat depending on species. You can store kiln dried lumber outside covered but there can be moist air and even mist blow through the stack. This will raise the moisture content of the wood back up. Stored indoors out of the elements helps some to keep moisture out but the humidity of the air will also cause a rise in moisture content of the wood. Kiln drying sets the sap in woods and changes the ability of wood cells from taking on moisture. This does vary by wood species.

    My shop is well insulated and heated and I will bring lumber in to acclimate (a few months) to the different environment for a while before using it to build something. I dried some white oak down to 6% and stored it in my barn. I think it is at 10-12% now which might be O.K. for furniture in Michigan, but not for furniture in New Mexico or Nevada. A moisture meter tells you where the wood moisture is at. Moisture change in wood can cause real problems with joints especially in air dried wood.
    I'm a certifiable tree hugger. (it's a poor mans way of determining DBH before cutting the tree down)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Tacoma, WA
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    I have some 2x4's in sawhorses behind my shop that have been covered all winter. They were kiln dried and MC was around 8-10% when I first covered them. Now though the MC is 18-20% with a winter long outdoor humidity level around 90%. (the wood is sitting 3' above uncovered ground with airflow through every layer and the tarps 2' above the ground so moisture is not trapped inside from the ground.)

    I keep all my hardwood in my shop so the MC stays as close to original as possible.

    A small shed I think would be ideal as long as it has ventilation so it does not get too humid in the winter and bake the wood in the summer. Those two extremes will warp and twist your wood faster than anything.

    I'm thinking of doing this myself to free up room in my shop.
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  8. #8
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    Apr 2010
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    Can't believe Brent hasn't posted a pic of his outside wood storage system. I don't think its a pigment of my imagination...its clearly outside and big

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Reno NV
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    Here it is in all it's glory, blue roof and all...





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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
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    hey brent i know you cleaned out your shop but just moving it outside doesnt count.. you need to organize what yu have and keep it inside and in order.. the stuff yu dont need can go outside or in the yard sale box but in your case i doubt they have any yard sales to far between houses
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

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