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Tips for Storing and Handling Timber Wood to Preserve Quality

Timber Knowledge Tips & Guides
19 July 2023 min read

Tips for Storing and Handling Timber Wood to Preserve Quality

Timber wood is a natural, durable, and versatile material used for centuries in various applications, from construction to furniture making. 

However, like any natural material, it requires proper care and handling to maintain quality and longevity. 

This article will delve into the best practices for storing and handling timber wood to preserve its quality. 


Understanding the Characteristics of Timber Wood

Before we delve into the specifics of storage and handling, it's crucial to understand the unique characteristics of timber wood.

Commonly referred to as timber, ‘timber wood’ is often the term used for the wood that is transformed into beams and planks. In other words, the term 'timber wood' is frequently used to refer to the method of timber-frame construction, which involves assembling buildings using wooden beams and posts.

In the UK, New Zealand and Australia, timber refers to sawn and processed wood products used for home construction, cladding, decking and furniture making. It’s available in various softwoods and hardwood species, each with aesthetic and technical properties. 

Moreover, this material is significant across several industries, from building construction to furniture crafting, due to its versatility and robustness. 

In terms of its composition, timber is a hygroscopic material that absorbs and releases moisture from its surroundings. As expected, this characteristic can change the wood's dimensions, potentially causing warping, splitting, or swelling if not properly managed.


Proper Storage of Timber Wood

Keep Timber Dry

The first rule of thumb when storing timber wood is to keep it dry. 

Naturally, moisture is the enemy of timber, as it can lead to mould growth and wood rot. Therefore, storing your timber in a dry, well-ventilated area is essential. Most importantly, if you're storing timber outdoors, ensure it's covered with a waterproof tarp to protect it from rain and snow. 


Store Timber Off the Ground

Another important tip is to store your timber off the ground. This prevents the wood from absorbing moisture from the ground and protects it from pests. To elevate your timber, you can use pallets, blocks, or racks. 


Stack Timber Correctly

When stacking timber, make sure you do it correctly to prevent warping and twisting. The best way to stack timber is horizontal, with stickers (small pieces of wood) placed between each layer to allow for proper air circulation. 


Handling Timber Wood

Handle with Care

Timber wood can be quite heavy, so handling it carefully is important to avoid injury. So always use appropriate lifting techniques and equipment when moving large pieces of timber. 


Protect Timber from Sunlight

While timber is a robust material, prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause it to fade or crack. Therefore, when handling timber, try to minimise its exposure to sunlight as much as possible. 


Use the Right Tools

Using the right tools is crucial when working with timber. Of course, sharp, high-quality tools will make your work easier and prevent wood damage. 


Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to preserving the quality of your timber wood. This includes cleaning the wood regularly to remove dust and dirt, treating it with appropriate wood preservatives to protect it from pests and decay, and refinishing it to maintain its appearance. 


Monitoring and Adjusting the Environment

Believe it or not, even your garage or workshop’s environment can impact the health of your timber. 

Temperature swings and humidity levels—they can all alter the characteristics of your wood. You might have noticed how your timber expands in the summer and contracts in the winter. Well, this can, and often does, lead to unwanted warping. Hence, it's vital to monitor the environment and adjust accordingly, using dehumidifiers, fans, or heaters as needed. 


Safeguarding Against Pests

We've discussed keeping your timber off the ground to prevent pest damage, but let's delve deeper. Termites, beetles, and even certain types of fungi can pose a threat to your wood's integrity. Regular inspections are the first line of defence, allowing you to catch infestations early. So, to fortify your defence further, consider using wood treatments designed to deter pests. 


Temperature Control for Timber

Timber doesn't fancy sudden shifts in temperature. Therefore, maintaining a stable temperature within the storage area minimises the risk of timber suffering from thermal stress, which can lead to cracking. Yes, it might be a little extra effort, but your timber will thank you. 


Timber Transportation Tips

Here's something we haven't touched on—transporting timber. If you've got to move your timber from one place to another, there are a few things to remember. For one, don't stack the timber too high. Also, always secure it properly to prevent it from shifting around and potentially causing damage. 


The Impact of Age on Timber Quality

As a fine wine matures with age, so does timber wood. But not always in the way you'd hope. As timber ages, it can lose some of its original lustre, so keeping an eye on the ageing process is essential. If you notice the colour starting to dull, consider refinishing or applying a wood preservative to breathe new life into the wood. 


Understanding Timber’s Reaction to Stains and Finishes

While we're on the subject of maintaining timber's appearance, let's not forget about stains and finishes. Each piece of timber reacts to these differently, depending on its type, age, and even where it was grown. It's always a good idea to test a small patch first to see how the wood will react. This way, you're not in for any nasty surprises. 


Storage of Finished Timber Products

What about when your timber wood has been transformed into a beautiful piece of furniture or a stunning architectural element? Notably, different rules apply. 

First, avoid placing these items in direct sunlight or near heat sources, like fireplaces or radiators. Not only can this cause discolouration, but it can also dry the wood out, leading to cracking. 

Second, use wood-friendly cleaning products, and remember to dust regularly!

Ultimately, your timber wood's quality and longevity lie in your hands. With these additional tips, you'll be more than equipped to rise to the challenge. Nurture timber and it will reward you with its timeless charm and functionality for years.


Top-quality Wood From Woodshop Direct

Proper storage and handling of timber wood are crucial to preserving its quality and longevity. So, by understanding the unique characteristics of timber and following the tips outlined in this article, you can get the most out of your timber wood, whether you're using it for construction, furniture making, or any other woodworking project. 

At Woodshop Direct, we are committed to providing our customers with high-quality timber wood and expert advice on how to care for it. If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact us.