Noob wood storage question

How do you all store your thinner pieces (less than .5”) of stock? Specifically, in what environment? I have some .25” pieces that were dead straight when I bought them and now I could drink water from them because they’re cupped so bad. Others are twisted or just warped. They were all laying flat. Some inside the house, others in the unheated garage. Either way, it seems like if after a week or so, something has happened.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Cupping and bowing is generally caused by 3 things, wood grain orientation, rift sawn, flat sawnt quarter sawn etc

Where the wood was in the tree and the tree’s growing situation, was it part of a crotch in the tree a larger limb, was the tree leaning to one side or was it bowed as it grew? This is known as “reaction wood” Stresses are introduced during the overall growth of the tree and they become apparent after the milling process.

And uneven moisture transpiration if a piece of wood is left laying on a table or worse yet, an even slightly moist of moisture retentive surface ie; concrete, the wood will often cup favoring the exposed side. this is due to moisture evaporating faster from the exposed side faster than the side against whatever surface.
Try turning the wood over with the cup side down, (assuming its on a table or whatever) and wait a few days. If it starts to come back, elevate or otherwise promote good air circulation all around the piece. moderate bit of weight may be helpful too
You might not be able to save all of the warped stuff, but it’s better than losing all of it.
A closed up non heated space in the springtime is probably one of the worst places for wood storage since warm humid springtime air has a alot of moisture that condenses in the colder space of the garage.
Winter air is kinda bad in the opposite direction since it’s so dry.

Clear as mud?

I agree with all the above.
I even believe some pieces warp ever so slightly during a carve. Material removed relieves stress in the peice.
Welcome to Wood.

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I agree with everything said. I take the small flat and thinner pieces and put them inside an old refrigerator. Shut the door and leave them there until needed. It is not the perfect way to go about it but it does help. Years ago people that did alot of welding with a stick welder would put there welding rods in one to keep the moisure from them. Probably are not to many using stick welders anymore but it helps.

Thanks guys. All good info. Since I don’t yet have a planer or jointer, I’m at the mercy of ready to use wood from the big box stores or my local Woodcraft, which is insanely expensive. I don’t buy much at once so maybe I’ll put a small shelf or two in my laundry room and see how that works.

I have a friend who has a fix-it shop specializing in metal working and still uses a stick welder quite often for specific jobs. the guy is a master at his craft.
He uses the old refrigerator technique with the addition of a 40 watt incandescent light bulb inside to maintain a dryer environment and prohibit mold growth.
I would suspect the same would work for wood storage.

It works for me but like i say i just use it for the small exspencive wood.

The most important part of storing solid lumber is to ensure that there is even air circulation around the board. If you lay a flat board on something flat then there is a good chance it will warp. This usually has to do with how moisture is absorbed into the wood. When laying flat against something else moisture absorbs at a different rate on the bottom than on it’s top surface causing warping.

I have a rack on the wall using conduit pipe that allows me to store things on the pipes. This allows air to circulate on all sides.

If you need to store multiple pieces on one another then “sticker” it. Use thin strips of wood evenly spaced along the length of the wood and lay your next piece on top of it. Repeat as many times as necessary.

I hope this helps.


A lot of good advice already posted, but I wouldn’t suggest a laundry room as a storage room for wood. Too much change in moisture.

Believe me, I understand the pain in the wallet when it comes to having to buy new tools, especially after I sold all of mine years ago and just got back in a house with a garage a couple years ago. But, its worth it. The wood in the box stores sucks, but you already know that. Quality is low, and selection is poor…and prices are insane, but make do with what you have. I did for a year or so. Traded some work for a older dewalt planer, and now I’m getting ready to buy a new planer and get rid of the dewalt. I use a saw mill over an hour away now. You don’t need a jointer and a planer, a good planer and a sled can serve double duty for jointing too. Build a good horizontal rack in your garage and use the techniques mentioned with stacking and you’ll be good. Also…depending on what wood you use in the box stores, its not dried or if it is dried the moisture content is still high. Look for kiln dried wood, cabinet grade at least if no furniture grade is available.

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Basic advice about acclimating your wood for a week or so in the humidity/temp it would ideally “live” in is great. Also, has your wood been kiln-dried yet? Some (exotic) woods are not shipped fully dried - I’ve got a bunch of pink ivory like that - and will benefit from as much time sitting in climate control as possible. Additionally, if you are inlaying or combining pieces, it can help to align the pieces perpendicular to one another, so their movement isn’t additive.

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