How to Store Lumber for Woodworking

Dani Caruso
By Dani Caruso

The sign of an advancing woodworker is one who knows how to store lumber properly, versus in a pile where it will surely warp. This is especially true when you start investing in better quality wood. Ensuring it doesn’t take on moisture, twist, and bow, is easier than you may think as long as you prep a few storage solutions. For example, elevating wood off the ground increases its longevity; if lumber is stored directly on the floor it will potentially soak up moisture through its fibers during warm, humid months or have its moisture drawn out during dry winters. Additionally, properly storing lumber will protect your materials in the event of water damage from a storm or leak. Leaving wood on the ground or leaned in the corner not only makes for a hazardous work environment, but makes it harder to get a grasp of your inventory and could lead to accidentally doubling up on pieces you already own. Depending on your needs and available space, there are multiple ways to safely and smartly hold lumber:

Image: 3×3 Custom

How to Store Wood Vertically

For pieces under 4 ft., raise wood onto a platform to prevent concrete floor from pulling moisture in winter and introducing moisture in summer. Don’t store perfectly upright, add an angled back to better support the boards. This method saves a lot of space but is only recommended if the lumber is completely dry. Only store wood vertically if you’re able to  fully support it top and bottom to prevent bowing.

Get the free building plans for this storage from Build Something.


How to Store Wood Horizontally

DIY and store-bought lumber racks are great for getting wood off the ground and making use of blank wall space. If making your own, support boards every 16-18 inches to prevent bowing or warping. If you are concerned with bowing, consider occasionally rotating or flipping the boards.

Get the tutorial for this rack from Gadgets and Grain.

Best Mobile Wood Storage Solutions

Lumber carts allow for two-sided storage that can be set next to a work station or tuck against a wall when not in use. Additionally, they are great organizers for small stock, scraps, and panels. 

Head to 3×3 Custom for instructions to build this cart.

How to Store Woodworking Cutoffs

Cutoffs often end up in a pile, but these scraps can have a second life if they’re stored in a visible, easy-to-grab area. To get organized, opt for open-sided bins near your miter saw for easy access. And although it may cause a twinge of pain in your woodworking soul, scrap small pieces to the trash or burn pile.  

Download the plans for this storage at WOOD Store.

What to Do with Woodworking Waste

A bonfire pit or wood stove is the a great way to get one last use out of scrap wood (as heat!), but you’ll need to sort out treated lumber and plywood, as they contain glues that can release toxic gases, and can’t be burned.  If you you’re not able to burn your scraps, check your area for local recycling facilities that accept wood.  

Dani Caruso
By Dani Caruso
Dani is House One’s assistant editor. As a Norwalk, CT native, Dani graduated from UConn with a BA in Digital Media and Design. This millennial longs for the days of All That, Tamagotchis, and Dunkaroos. When she’s not working, she’s hanging outdoors, playing with her dogs, or watching makeup tutorials on YouTube.

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