Looking After Your Timber Stock archive

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Tony Davis gives you some tips on how to best look after and protect your timber stock


There are many problems associated with looking after your timber stock. The main enemy is damp - moisture - which encourages wood bugs and fungi. But if you try to dry it too fast, it will crack. As the wood dies there are some temperature and chemical changes and the moisture content encourages mould, which starts the decomposition and rotting process.

Some people try to induce spalting to create those wonderful dark lines that epitomise this process, but, this is not usually done in your storage area. So let's look at a few things that will help you to look after wood so it is in tip-top condition, ready to cut or turn.

Step 1

Airflow is essential in any wood store. A simple desk fan will move air around in your timber store, which ensures that no wood sits in stale, unmoving air. Some people have fan air vents or even two static vents in their storage area, which also help to move the air around. We often buy and obtain a variety of timber species and sizes from various sources, and one method of treatment does not fit all situations

Step 2

Stickering planks - placing sticks between boards - also helps with airflow. If you can, keep items off the floor. Logs are best kept in 3ft. lengths - minimum - with their ends protected with wax, PVA or cling film etc. With some woods prone to splitting, it is often best to cut these down the middle to relieve the stress and allow the timber to move. If you obtain logs which have been cut down in the growing season, it is often best to wrap the log in a bin bag until late autumn and this will protect the stock from the hot, dry heat

Step 3

Applying PVA to the ends of boards also helps to minimise splitting, but note the marked disc section. Although this plank is over 2ft. long, it could still split. Cutting out and rough turning such an item may well be a better choice and will yield a stable shape once dried

Woodworkers Institute

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Timber , tips , Tony Davis , stock

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Handy Hints

1. Move your wood often, as bugs and mould do not like being disturbed
2. If you want stable shapes, rough turn your wood as soon as possible, and wrap in cling film, leaving the inside open to dry
3. All woods dry differently and there are no set rules, so check regularly for splitting, bugs and infestations
4. Keep logs as long as possible. Short end grain pieces split and are rarely of any use