Wood storage, tonewood storage - ideas?

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Wood storage, tonewood storage - ideas?

Postby Doug Shaker » Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:46 pm

Well, hell must have frozen over, because I finally cleaned out my garage. Now, I have a fair-sized stack of tonewood that I need to figure out how to store. In this case, "fair-sized" means larger than a suitcase, smaller than a Volkswagen. Maybe the size of a dishwasher or a stove, all in.

I'd love to hear your ideas both for
1) the best way to store backs, sides and tops,
e.g.: horizontal, vertical, on edge? stickered? How stickered?
2) ways to do just that, structures, shelves, whatever. Photos would probably be good.

I'm in Silicon Valley California, so humidity control probably isn't necessary, but I DO need a way to get this stuff out of The Big Anonymous Pile and into some storage that will hold things neatly and protectively until I am ready to use them.

-Doug Shaker
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Re: Wood storage, tonewood storage - ideas?

Postby Bryan Bear » Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:04 pm

I have all my back and side sets and tops on a shelf stacked on top of each other flat. They are not stickered. After seeing operations like Hibdon Hardwoods with walls of thousands of back and side sets stored this way, I stopped worrying about stickering dry sets.

One bit of advice I'll give is to store it in a way that you can easily pull it all out and look through it once a year or so. You may forget some of your wood or exactly what it looks like. Looking through it every now and then is a good way to inspire your next project.

Take care of your feet and your feet will take care of you.
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Re: Wood storage, tonewood storage - ideas?

Postby Freeman Keller » Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:51 pm

We live in a 100+ year old farm house with a partially finished basement. One "room" in the basement is long and narrow and was used by previous residents as a root or canning storage room. It has shelves on both sides that are probably 2 feet deep and stretch the length of the room. When we moved in there were cans of paint and wall paper and all sorts of stuff left from all of the things that had gone on over all the years. I cleaned most of the out and made the room into a combination wine cellar and wood room.

The temperature in the basement remains cool and moderately humid year around. Frankly I don't check but I'm sure its in the 50 - 60F range and probably 40 or 50%RH. I know its a whole lot better than my garage shop or anywhere else in the house.

One side of the room has the wine, mostly organized by variety and partially by age (or maybe "value" - the good stuff is on this shelf, the spaghetti wine on another). I once had a spreadsheet listing everything in the cellar but it got out date real fast. Now I just go look on the shelves.

The other side is the wood stash. I don't have much but when I see something I like I buy it and put it away. Most of it is in low flat cardboard boxes (probably from LMI) - nothing is stickered. One box has all the tops, one the backs and sides, one the drop tops, another neck blanks. I've got a couple long skinny boxes with binding and purfling and kerfing, one or two of small pieces (bridges and internal blocks) and a couple of boxes of scraps. The outside of each box tells what is in it - at one time I tried to have some detail ("6 Lutz spruce tops") but now it just saws "tops". Boxes are stacked somewhat on top of each other, I might have to move one to get at another. I've got a table in the main part of the basement where I can take a box and dig through it.

I don't do any resawing so all the wood is pretty much working thickness. I don't sticker things but each set is taped together along its book match and there is a piece of tape that tells the type of wood and usually the date when I got it.

As I approach the more golden years of my guitar building and wine drinking life one of my goals is to work both down to manageable levels - I'm not buying much new wine, at least not to lay down for 20 years and I'm not hording much wood. My goal is to die with one bottle left for each of my kids and hopefully my son, who is a builder and player, will find something to build out of - "that old piece of rosewood that dad had squirreled away"
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Re: Wood storage, tonewood storage - ideas?

Postby Alan Carruth » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:07 pm

I've got a back room in the shop for storage: it's a mess. B&S sets and tops are laid flat on wire shelves with no stickers. I try to keep stuff organized by types, more or less, and DO take pains to keep matched pieces together. Since this is in my shop, which is pretty well humidity controlled, there's not enough wood movement to matter. Having been at this for so long I've got more wood than I can easily go through on a periodic basis, but I try. I've got a rack for vertical storage of larger stuff in the middle of the room, which does require periodic reorganization to keep it from taking over the world. There's also a stack of usable scrap ('pieces of string too short to save') along one wall, which is by far the most imperialist offender.

Back when I had my home workshop in the basement I really had to keep on top of storage, since space was limited. About twice a year, spring and fall, I'd carry everything movable out into the yard and clean up. Then I'd cast a critical look at each piece of wood to decide whether it was worth finding a home for. Naturally, two weeks later I'd think of the perfect piece of wood for the job at hand, and have to go root through the pile in the yard to find it. I really need to do that now: all I need is time.

If you're keepin your wood in a humid place and intend to work o it in a drier shop (which you should), bring it in a few weeks before hand and sticker it flat on a shelf.
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Re: Wood storage, tonewood storage - ideas?

Postby Waddy Thomson » Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:50 pm

I use Howard Klepper's file sorter method. Backs and sides vertically, on long edge, between the wire separators. Each wire file sorter section holds a back and side set, if you are storing sets. Each sorter holds 11 sets. These are the ones I bought - https://ibuyofficesupply.com/fellowesr- ... x-8-silver
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Re: Wood storage, tonewood storage - ideas?

Postby Matthew Lau » Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:21 am

Hey Doug,

PM me and I can point you to about 4-5 local luthiers in the Bay Area to visit.
They're really nice people, but don't prefer email/internet.
Each guy has their own way of storage.

Also, there's the Northern California luthiers meeting hosted by luthier's mercantile.

Lastly, you can ask Frank Ford and Gryphon guitars.
He has a few builders working for him in the repair section.
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