Planning a Lumber Storage Rack
Small and large woodworking shops alike have to deal with what type of lumber storage they need for their shops. The ideal lumber storage for each shop will be different due to the layout of the shop, the type of materials used, and the size of the shop.
One of the keys to an efficient shop storage system is how you run your shop. If you have a production shop that depends on material flowing through smoothly then you should have lumber and plywood stored in different places along the production line. Full size plywood and lumber should be in the rough cut area, cut to size parts in the production area and prefinished parts in the assembly area.
A small shop, making one or two items at a time, would be better served by mobile storage so parts already cut to size can be moved around the shop as needed.
In my shop I’ve found that I must stay on top of the days storage needs or I soon find myself continually moving cutoffs and parts out of my way in order to get my work done.
Lumber storage can take a lot of space. I store it on horizontal racks with cut off pieces going back on the same pile. Ideally, horizontal racks should have a stiff bottom board to stack your lumber on. This keeps lumber from
bowing due to long spans being unsupported. It also allows short pieces to be put back without falling between supports.
I like to store plywood vertically on edge. Normally in my shop I keep several sheets on hand. By storing these vertically I can pull one piece without having to move half a dozen sheets or more to get to it. This saves a lot of work and helps save the plywood surface from scratches. If you decide to try vertical storage make sure the sheets are vertical and not leaning. Unsupported sheets that are leaning will bow.
After cutting a sheet into pieces I also store the unused pieces vertically on shelves. Again, this allows me to grab the piece I want without moving a lot of other pieces.
Remote storage, if available, is the best option if you have a small crowded shop. Having a place to store full sheets of plywood or long lengths of lumber until needed can be ideal. This allows the small shop more working
room. It also allows the option of buying in larger quantities to get a better price.