Make them last: wood, fasteners and other building supplies

July 29, 2015

When you get ready to tackle an improvement project, it's a great feeling when you have all the supplies you need without having to head off to the hardware store. However, the feeling fades when you discover the supplies are no longer usable. Here's how to store them.

Make them last: wood, fasteners and other building supplies

Store wood in a dry place

  • Dry wood stock won't warp unless is becomes damp or wet. If your shop is dry, then you just need to find a convenient spot to store the wood.
  • If your floor is damp, it's best to build a rack to keep the wood off the floor.
  • Otherwise, store the boards vertically. That way, only the bottom edge can be affected by moisture — not enough to cause significant warping.

“Sticker” green wood

  • If you want to air-dry green wood, it's best to "sticker" the boards outside, where they'll get a lot of air circulation.
  • Start the stack on top of some bricks or pressure-treated blocks to keep the bottom of the stack off the ground.
  • Stickering means putting a short piece of scrap wood — a sticker — crosswise every 60 centimetres (24 inches) across the boards to keep them separated, further promoting air circulation.
  • The stickers must all be the same thickness — about 13 millimetres (half an inch) is good — to keep the pile level.
  • And the stickers should all be directly above one another to support the load without causing warping. Keep the pile covered with a tarp weighted down by some bricks or a sheet of plywood.

Store screws and nails in airtight containers

  • Most workshops are subject to moisture and temperature swings that cause condensation. Store nails, screws and other fasteners in airtight containers.
  • You can purchase transparent bins of various sizes for this purpose — or use empty coffee cans. They, too, come in various sizes.
  • The large ones are tall enough for storing spade bits as well. Just remember to use a marker to label the contents on the lid so you can find what you need quickly.

Store glue at the right temperature

  • Different glues have different storage requirements. Super glues, for example, will last a lot longer once opened if you keep them in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • White (craft glue) and yellow (carpenter's wood glue) glues, on the other hand, should not be frozen. The same goes for cartridges of latex caulk and latex adhesives.
  • Flammable adhesives, such as contact cement and spray adhesives, are more tolerant of freeze-thaw cycles but should not be stored near a heat source (including sunlight).

Cap adhesives and caulks after each use

  • Tightly cap all glue tubes, glue bottles and adhesive and caulking cartridges after each use.
  • If you lose the cap provided with the product, find a wire connector of suitable size and screw it onto the applicator tip to form a good seal.
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