8 April 2016 at 12:05 am #136251
I am about to begin my workbench build, and had a question before I get started.
I’m in the USA, and the most readily available and economical stock for me to buy locally was the 2×4 ‘stud’ material marked SPF that Paul discusses in various posts referencing the workbench.
Anyhow, I purchased my materials today and was wondering, how long should I leave them stickered in my garage shop for acclimation purposes? These are kiln dried materials, however, I thought some of you might have some valuable information to pass on as far as the length of time to let them acclimate prior to starting the glue ups.
Thanks for any help.
Jason8 April 2016 at 12:16 am #136252Salko SaficParticipant
There is no definitive answer to this question. Some leave their stock to acclimate two to theee days others leave it for two weeks. I’ve never bought stock that I’ve used immediately I always keep a steady flow of materials on hand and usually don’t get to the recently bought stock for months on end. I used to keep all my excess stock outside in the shed but when I saw them become mouldy I now keep them with me inside the shop.
Maybe someone else has a better reply.
The Lost Scrolls of HANDWORK
(Hand tool only woodworking magazine)8 April 2016 at 12:35 am #136253Derek LongParticipant
Where do you live, Jason? It depends on your relative humidity levels and how the wood is going to acclimate to your shop. Is your shop inside or out? Central heating and cooling, or an unconditioned garage?
I live in a very dry climate and I try to let even my kiln dry construction lumber sit for two weeks minimum. I find it is still apt to adjust even then depending on how wet it was and what time of the year it is.
Greenish lumber I let set for a 6-8 weeks and keep a close eye on it after that. I have some greenish home center 4×6’s for workbench legs that have been in the garage for a year now that I’m about ready to rough dimension and let sit for another few months.
For your workbench top, I’d let the 2x4s set for a few weeks to get the worst of the movement over with. Pick your best pieces, plane the glue edges, and get them together quick. Same day if you can. Once they are glued they are restrained, and you may just need to take the wind out of the bottom a time or two before you are done building the bench and then flatten the top.
Denver, Colorado8 April 2016 at 12:40 am #136254
I’m in Maryland, Derek. My shop is an attached garage, but it does not have heating/air-conditioning.
I’ll let them sit for a couple of weeks then in the garage, clean up the machine production marks, and then glue them the same day.
So basically, prep only what you’ll be able to glue-up during that day or so?
Thanks.8 April 2016 at 12:49 am #136255CraigParticipant
I agree with Salko in buying materials ahead and letting them acclimate.
How long that takes depends obviously on the environment.
In my case the shop is an integral garage that’s heated and I let the stock sit for 2 to 3 weeks stored upright (not stickered) minimum. I can easily tell the weight is reduced over that period.
Big box 2x are not dry enough when purchased for the projects here.
Probably not encouraging when you’re anxious to get started. You should expect some changes as they dry out, bowing, twists etc.
In my area the blue box offers a better grade called Top Choice than the stud grade. It’s Douglas Fir (stamped on the material)—not any dryer but definately a better grade. If you’re selective it’s easy to pull out quarter sawn grain or nearly quarter sawn which helps.
SW Pennsylvania8 April 2016 at 1:19 am #136256
Craig, would I be better off storing them upright for a couple of weeks rather than stickered? If so, why?
Thanks!8 April 2016 at 3:15 am #136257Matt McGraneParticipant
Standing up or stickered – it shouldn’t matter if there is good circulation. Unless you’ve got many dozens of boards, then stickered might help because the weight of the top boards can help keep the lower ones straight.
When I built my bench last fall, I stood my kiln dried 2x4s up against the garage door. They twisted in a big way. I can’t say definitively that the reason for the twist was how I stored them, but the sun hit that door every day and I have a feeling that the heat was a factor.
Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016: http://tinyshopww.blogspot.com/8 April 2016 at 1:56 pm #136259CraigParticipant
Matt’s right, it shouldn’t make any difference. Just make sure to weight the top board on the stack.
I simply don’t have the floorium to sticker a stack.
Air flow helps. Something like a box fan, but not directed at the stack, just general circulation.
SW Pennsylvania17 April 2016 at 5:26 pm #136455oltexasboyParticipant
A suggestion, after you do the initial rough sizing and planning ,let them rest for a few days. Once you have cleaned off the top most material the wood will react differently for a few days while the newly exposed wood acclimates to your shop. My benchtop is made from gluedup 4×4’s, part of which I didn’t allow to reacclimate before final prep and I had to go back and reflatten them once they were glued together. the “new” wood gave up a lot of moisture once I got the top layer of semi seasoned wood removed.28 April 2016 at 9:57 pm #136768STEVE MASSIEParticipant
I built the Paul Sellers style bench myself and couldn’t be happier. I bought my 2 X 4″s from HD which I spent littery hours there going through the stack to find some have way decent ones. And the ones I selected still were kinda crappy, having said that I did sticker them on my garage floor for about 3 or 4 weeks before I started. It took a lot of planning with my #4 smoother but finally got some decent straight edges and then glued them together. Now it has been almost 3 years and the bench is still flat with no twist or seperation. I have a few dings from working on it and probably will take a few shavings off the top this summer to get rid of.
Bottom line I am glad I built and will build another one just like it only a little longer and add the drawer. I am glad I didn’t spend a lot of money on it and buy the expensive Maple or other hardwoods, after all it is in the garage and not a fine piece of furniture, so I don’t get to upset if I get a ding or stain on it. Just my $.02
Steve Massie, I live in the great State of Florida, US
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