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Author Topic: Pallet racks  (Read 2520 times)

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Offline firefighter ontheside

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Pallet racks
« on: June 10, 2018, 01:28:01 PM »
Anybody use pallet racking to air dry lumber.  A guy at work bought some pallet racking and put it in his auto shop.  Heís got extra and asked if I was interested in the extra.  It occurs to me I could set it up on piers and then put a roof on the top.  I would have 2 or three shelves where I can set pallets of lumber to dry and save space.  I think it could work for me.
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Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2018, 03:55:37 PM »
I like to see a direct load path to ground for each row of stickers. If you put a big pack of lumber in the racks,  I would be concerned about sagging between the supports. 
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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2018, 04:20:36 PM »
My loader can only lift 1500 lbs, so it wouldnít be that big of a pack.  Iím not sure what the lateral supports would be in the rack, but I plan to use a 10í pallet loaded with lumber and set that on the rack.  I donít think sagging will be a problem.  I havenít seen the rack, but itís supposed to be very stout.
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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2018, 08:10:35 PM »
I have been using pallet racking in my barn for pallets of air-drying lumber.  My beams are 5" and there is no sagging.  Not likely to sag when the load is spread over the full length.  I use 9' beams for 8' lumber pallets, 13' beams for 12' pallets.  I will be adding pallet racking for drying outside, once the concrete contractor gets me his bid.  Concrete pad 4'x65' long.  42" pallet racking, 10' tall.  Planning on a barn tin roof and shade cloth draping.  Custom-made pallets, 8' and 12' long, 44" deep, on 16" centers with the lower deck boards also on 16" centers so they will stack.
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Offline clintnelms

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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2018, 09:26:47 PM »
I work for a distribution center with millions of square feet of pallet racks. I'm assuming they're the same style racks. If you look on ULINE.com they sell them and you can buy the steel supports that go across the racks. We have equipment weighing 5000lbs in the racks. You're not going to get sagging.

Offline firefighter ontheside

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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2018, 09:53:32 PM »
Thatís great Tom.  I wonít be doing 65í, but maybe one or two sections.

Thanks Clint, Iím sure I wonít be even putting 5000lbsup.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2018, 08:38:40 AM »
The C channel racks are much much better at staying straight than the stamped out welded 2 piece type.  I have repaired many.  

I use pallet rack mesh for all sorts of fabrication, theyre great to have around the shop.  

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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2018, 09:06:01 AM »
I think pallet racks would be great, however, the only reservation I have with them is that they would prevent the stacking of other pallets of wood on top of others to serve as weights.  If air dried with no weights, generally, the top layer or two of boards will jack up, warp, or bow, which if stacked one unit at a time, can be between 60 or so bdft of every pack that gets out of shape.  So generally, I like to stack on top of other stacks so that all the boards stay constrained and flat.  Taken to the next level, this is how the big mills do it, I do the same thing, except only on a smaller scale.  





For 8/4 and thicker, multiple stacks on top of each other are even more critical, at least in my experience.

We have, however, spent a small fortune on pallet racking for dead stacked, dried wood.  It is perfect for that, and it allows easy access, organized stacks, and a measure of safety.  I would get every piece he had and use it for that.

 
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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #8 on: June 11, 2018, 09:31:54 AM »
I hadnít thought about the weights.  I guess I would still plan to use concrete blocks for weight like Iíve been doing, but I may not be able to lift the whole stack with weights on top.  Iíd have to put them up after the fact.

What about using straps instead of weight?

Iíve seen lots of huge stacks like that in southern Missouri where they make flooring. Some of them lean so much, it looks like they will topple over.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2018, 10:26:50 AM »
Weights are best, I've used straps and pallet banding and actually damaged boards in stacks because the boards will move where not strapped and will be constrained where the straps are and will take on a lightly zig zag wavy shape.  It will become more pronounced as the wood dries, and generally only influences the top couple layers, but that still adds up pretty fast.  


   
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #10 on: June 11, 2018, 03:24:24 PM »
Another concern with pallet racks made out of iron (steel) is that water (rain or melting snow) can pick up some iron particles and drip or blow on, especially after the paint begins to wear, from the racks to oak lumber and cause substantial iron tannate stain.

I also agree with YH that straps do not put enough weight on the entire top to be very effective.  They are good for controlling the few pieces that like to fall off the top.  In order to get substantial warp control with weights, we need a substantial amount of weight...75 or more pounds per square foot.  A roof on top is also very effective for controlling warp...keep the sun and rain off the lumber.  

Also, remember that warp will occur after drying if the lumber's moisture changes and the weights are off...an issue if straps are used and tightened in air drying but not kiln drying, and an issue especially for softwoods as they often are dried to 15% or 12% MC in the kiln.  I recall a softwood kiln in Arkansas with weights fastened to the ceiling that were lowered on top of the lumber stack;  after drying, the 15% MC lumber was rolled out of the kiln without weights and warp occurred as it dried a little bit more in storage.  The weights were removed quickly and discarded.
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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2018, 05:53:21 PM »
Thanks, Gene, for the thoughts about my plan.  It will definitely have a roof.  
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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2018, 12:39:56 PM »
Weld the racks solid, load the lower rows and top with tapered timbers wedged together at every sticker point to turn the rack into a lumber press.  Problem solved. 
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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2018, 06:59:55 PM »
Thatís an interesting idea, Mike.  
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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2018, 08:13:10 PM »
I would think that the tapered wedges would have the same issues as banding or strapping... as the lumber dries the pressure drops.  Initially, you would have to tighten the wedges, or straps, every couple of days.

I plan to stack pallets on the racks, at least within the rated limits (108"x5" beam - 7500 lbs./pr.).  That is why I specified the bottom deck boards to also be on 16" centers, so they line up with the pallet below.  Gene's recommendation of 75 lb/ft2 could be met by concrete slabs, 4'x4'x6" (1200 lbs.), two for 8' pallets, and 3 for 12'.
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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2018, 09:22:21 PM »
Another member here used boards across the top and attached to vertical pieces that were attached to the bottom.  Bolts are then tightened occasionally to keep the pressure.
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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2018, 11:21:31 PM »
I use marble slabs, stacked on a pallet, which are then put on top of stacks of lumber.  I've used concrete and it work good for air drying, but I didn't like it as much for kiln drying as it has a tendency to to pick up moisture if left outside the kiln, so must be redried when the wood is being dried.  Marble is denser so takes up less height.    

Either one works very well.  It's important to put the weights on a copy of the the same pallet the wood is being stickered on so the runners of the weighted pallets line with the stickers of the lumber pallets.  

Here's some stacks being fed out of the kiln. You see in the picture how flat the 9/4 wood is.  





Or just put other stacks of wood top.  That's what I do in out air drying area, and rotate the top stacks to bottom occasionally.  
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2018, 12:30:58 AM »
As the wood shrinks youd just smack the wedges another round.  Less of a chore than doing dishes i reckon. Also takes up less space than rows of ballast tops and less time than threaded rods or straps.  




I get these bundles for free from the handle mill and there are always a bunch of perfect taper cut pieces i use for shims, jacks and bucking wedges. Theyre what im talking about basically.  
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2018, 08:37:00 AM »
For warp control, it is key that the flattening force be large ALL THE TIME, especially above 35% average MC when the wetness allows easier bending of wood..  Once warp occurs, it is nearly impossible to apply force to flatten the lumber.  So, any system that loosens with time, which will allow warp to occur before the system is re-tightened, is not the most effective.

One issue with the racks is that many fork lifts and drivers are not too accurate.  Plus...The loading area will require a fairly flat surface.  A side shifter would seem essential, especial in the winter when surfaces can be slippery.

Warp control with the standard stacking allows a lot of weight on the middle and lower layers of lumber in a tall stack.  Only the top five layers have lower weight with a stack that has 60 total layers (three stacks with 20 layers in each).  It would seem that in a pallet rack, each rack would need additional weight or force.  To tighten straps or wedges would require some climbing up on the racks, unless they are only one rack high.

As mentioned or implied, the weight is transferred by the stickers, so they must be aligned almost perfectly in any system, and also the 4x4s.

Also, we know that 24" sticker spacing allows for good weight at each sticker and good warp control overall.  If we increase the number of stickers to 12" spacing, with twice as many stickers, the weight at each sticker location is reduced about in half, so warp control is actually a bit more difficult.  In fact we will see warp issues in the top 8 to 10 layers and not just the top 5.
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Re: Pallet racks
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2018, 11:20:29 AM »
if your going to have the tall pallet rack you can setup a winch system to lift the weight straight up. Then load underneath it and set the weight on the pack. takes care of all the concerns listed above.
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