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Author Topic: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display  (Read 6088 times)

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Offline WV Sawmiller

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How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« on: January 09, 2023, 11:54:46 AM »
   I have a confession - I was absent from school the month they had the neatness classes.


 
Over the years I have accumulated several thousand bf of live edge slabs, mostly walnut, cherry and ash. I sell them to craft workers and make my benches out of them. I also have about a dozen live edge fireplace mantels. The slabs are mostly 8/4 and from about 10-20 inches wide and range from about 3'- 15' long. The fireplace mantels are 8'-10' long and 3"-4" thick. These slabs and mantels often weigh from 50-200 lbs. I have one stack of high end 9/4 walnut slabs 10' long for making kitchen islands and bars and such. The center cut is 4.5" and these range from 24"-40" wide. (I had a counterpart cut them 3 years ago on a Lucas slabber.)They are stored in this and another pole barn, often on shelves 6' or more above ground and some are on blocks covered by old roofing metal. Most are pretty much completely air dried.

I am looking for ideas and suggestions on how to store them where they are safe but easier to see and access. I am thinking about cleaning/straightening up the shed above to use to store/display them. I just barely have the space and am thinking about adding another bay on the end on the right side which would give me working space to start with. This shed has a dirt floor and is rhomboid shaped because of an overhead power line and a 10' setback requirement there and a pasture fence/woodlot behind. The bays are about 10' wide with an 8.5' opening between the uprights and are from 12' to 20' deep. Because of the slope the height is from about 8' on the upper left back corner to about 12' tall at at the back right. I have some shelves along the back wall to store crates, birdhouses, cookies, etc. I have several dozen benches stored at the back of the center bay. The shed is about 30' long and from 12' - 22' wide and ranges from 8' 12' inside height.

I can stack the slabs on their sides, faces or stand them up in the case of the shorter ones.

I am thinking I may lay down some cinderblocks or cross ties or make some short sawhorses (like you can see under the stack on the very right) about 3' wide and try to stack the slabs pretty much by length with a walkway in the middle I can use to stage the slabs from either side while looking at them. This is not ideal but I don't have a better idea and am hoping some of you have encountered this same problem and come up with a safe, simple, low cost solution. Most all of the labor will have to be done by hand unless someone has a better suggestion.

Okay design committee - the 2023 meeting is hereby in session. :D ;) ;D ::)
Howard Green
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Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once

Offline olcowhand

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2023, 12:32:14 PM »
....I was just going to reply with the "Popcorn eating" Emoji, but I can't find it. I will be following this post, if you don't mind, Howard.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2023, 12:35:06 PM »
Cowhand,

 I am confident many members have encountered this problem and that someone has the answer. My biggest fear is that the favorite pass time of the design committee and others is spending other members money. (Trust me - I have been there.) :D

  Maybe I should offer a prize of one bench to the member with the best/cheapest workable solution. ;D
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2011 4WD F150 Ford Lariat PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Stihl 440 Chainsaw, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once

Online moodnacreek

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2023, 12:47:05 PM »
After air drying I like to see them stood up in a shed on a wood floor, southern exposer. Ceiling height is a problem there. Another problem is having more than one customer at a time as one will nock one on to the other customer. I think they will dry more stood up.

Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2023, 12:59:07 PM »
WV where is the picture of the thousands of bf of live edge or is that it 😊

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2023, 01:11:17 PM »
Moody,

 Thanks, I might be able to stand the short ones up but sure don't have the height to do the long ones and am concerned about the safety of any of them standing on end. I had considered ways to use chain or cable to help secure them so they can't fall but have not figured the answer yet.

WB,

   There are maybe 1000 bf or so of fireplace mantels behind the raised bed planter with the cut off walnut pieces in the 3rd bay on the right. Each of them are 30-60 bf. The rest are directly behind in my first, larger pole barn or stored out in the weather under metal roofing and even some under a 6' extension of my hay barn on shelves. I am sure 3,000 bf is a conservative estimate.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2011 4WD F150 Ford Lariat PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Stihl 440 Chainsaw, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once

Offline Larry

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2023, 01:56:56 PM »
Take a picture of the slab.  Number the slab using a paint pen.  For my example below use 347.

Now change the name of the picture that your camera assigned to something that provides information.  Camera assigned name might be IMG_4582.  Your new name might be 347_wal_2.5_24_98_stackedinpigsty  This gives you a picture, species, size (2.5" thick X 24" wide X 98" long), and the location.  I think you can have 256 characters in a picture name.  The name is also searchable either on the web or on your pc which can be quite useful.

I'm not much of a phone person so don't know how to change the name using that but on a PC its easy.
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2023, 02:13:12 PM »
If you build an extension and use up this wood, your problem is solved! ;)

You have 12' of head room on the right?  If you add the extension on that side, what would the head room be there?  Enough for your long slabs?  I vote to do vertical storage.  Have studs coming out every 2 foot or so to contain a collection of slabs from tipping - like bookends at the library.  I think @YellowHammer has something like that set up.  You could use " pipe with those floor plate things but that would violate your "must be cheap" rule.
John Sawicky

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SkyTrak 9038, Ford 545D FEL, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/36" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2023, 03:00:55 PM »
Larry,

   Good idea on taking pictures and numbering the slabs while I am working on them and have them exposed. I will have to keep that in mind. 

Ijohn,

   The height on the new bay will not be enough for the tallest slabs and that still does not solve my safety concerns if I do stand them on end. Using up the wood? Does that mean you want to buy it all and let me start another batch? :D

   The new bay would give me room to store the wood currently in the last bay on the other end of the shed. If I lay the slabs flat in the first bay I could stack 2 rows of slabs about 3' wide and end to end then leave a blank space between then another row next to the other upright and stack the 14-15 ft long slabs there. I'd have to empty the 2nd bay and move the benches and such there to a new site and do the same thing with the 12' & 10' slabs. I'm thinking the aisle between the 2 stacks could be used to shift the slabs one at a time when working/showing them. 

   It would still be a lot of work every time but better than what I have now. but would be better than what I have now. I'm still hoping someone here has a better answer. I am sure I am overlooking some real simple solution and just can't see the forest for the trees.

   
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2011 4WD F150 Ford Lariat PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Stihl 440 Chainsaw, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once

Offline Wlmedley

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2023, 03:10:07 PM »
Howard,I have a similar shed on unlevel ground.On my highest section on shed I put in a wood floor which got it level and gave me more options on stacking lumber.The rest of my shed is full of firewood which if I had another place to put it I think I would build a wood floor in it also.I like standing slabs up on their ends also but I dont have that many.
Bill Medley WM 126-14hp , Husky372xp ,MF1020 ,Homemade log arch,Yamaha Grizzly 450,GMC2500,Oregon log splitter

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2023, 03:22:43 PM »
Bill,

 I could possibly build a floor but remember this is not a square shed so that would add to the challenge. Also building a floor would lose me some height - possibly as much as 2' or more in some spots even if I stair-stepped it down from the left (lowest) to right (tallest height).

  BTW - you now get the award as first member trying to get me to spend more money! :D :D
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2011 4WD F150 Ford Lariat PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Stihl 440 Chainsaw, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2023, 03:30:02 PM »
Standing on end is really the only way to have quick access.  Sounds like you only have a few very long ones so let them be the outliers and not worry about them (store them flat *somewhere*).  For the rest, I'm thinking something like this.  Don't need a floor, just some cement blocks to level it up.  The spacing in this quick drawing is 2 foot deep and 2 foot bays and 8 foot tall.  The front runner is a 4x4 and the back is a 2x4 flat to promote the slabs to lean backwards.  A chain could be stretched across the individual bays on hooks, only removed when extracting a slab.  Leave a little space so they can be leaned side to side for quick view and remove the chain and tip out for more detailed inspection.  I diagonal would probably be needed across the back for stability and maybe on each end and the middle.


John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Ford 545D FEL, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/36" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2023, 05:34:04 PM »
John,

 Thanks for the suggestion and drawing. I will give that one lots of thought. Are you thinking the slabs would lay flat against the back of the rack as shown or are you thinking the back of the slab would be leaning against the sides of the rack? I would have to look closely at ways to strengthen the sides to hold that much weight. I could possibly store the 12' and shorter  slabs in the new addition.

 If I use storage like this I would need to at least partially square the bottom of the slabs as many are from butt logs and have angled cuts from the felling of the tree. That would not be a difficult task.

WB

 Here are some shots of the slabs as they are widely scattered all around my yard:


 

 
This is a short extension on my hay barn with some 4' racks with slabs stored on it.


 

 
Here are a couple of shelves in my original pole barn with walnut slabs from 3'-8' long.


 
Here are some cherry slabs mixed with some edged pieces. These are up to 12' long.


 
This is from a single large walnut tree and are 10' long and up to 40" wide. The bottom slab weighed approximately 585 lbs when cut 3 years ago and is stored outside.


 
This is a stack of mostly 15' ash slabs although there is some edged lumber mixed in. This is in outdoor storage.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2011 4WD F150 Ford Lariat PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Stihl 440 Chainsaw, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2023, 06:12:19 PM »
The slabs are meant to be placed in the rack like books looking at the bindings.  As long as there is a sufficient foundation, end strength should not be an issue (with the added diagonals).  The shear weight of all the slabs would keep it from tipping end to end.  You may want to make the bottom short boards longer in the back to add some support or screw it into your building framing (that would be the best).  The idea of a 4x4 up front is also meant to take into account odd ends of your slabs.  Put them in so that they lean on the back frame as well as one side.  Fill each section leaving enough room that you can tip them to the other side to view each slab, one at a time, without removing the safety chain.  Another option is to make it double deep - a back to back affair - to set in the middle of your shed for access to both sides.  You can store a LOT of slabs this way.  Also, no need to sticker as they will have air space between them.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Ford 545D FEL, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/36" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Online SawyerTed

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2023, 06:37:07 PM »
  I have a confession - I was absent from school the month they had the neatness classes.
Me too!   
Im following this thread as well.  
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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2023, 06:41:23 PM »
In my experience you do need a floor because wood near the ground never dries well. That damp end will shrink and with the wood above it already shrunk that 'wet' end might split when it dries. Lumber near the ground can expand almost to what it was when sawed.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2023, 06:47:17 PM »
John,

   I am not following where to place the diagonals that do not interfere with the length of the slabs.

    I can probably cut at least some of the uprights to attach to the 2X6 rafters overhead to help accommodate the weight.

Moody,

   The floor would not be an issue to build for Johns rack design. I can square off some locust posts for ground contact and nail some 2X framing to that.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2011 4WD F150 Ford Lariat PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Stihl 440 Chainsaw, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2023, 07:04:00 PM »
 

 I drew them as 2x4 but a 1x4 would be sufficient.  This would be a very stout rack, especially if you tie it in to a rafter or two.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Ford 545D FEL, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/36" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2023, 07:13:17 PM »
Thanks. I was envisioning attaching the rack to the framing on the back wall so the back diagonal would probably not be necessary. I would probably use 32" spacing to match the overhead rafters and connect several times to them.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2011 4WD F150 Ford Lariat PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Stihl 440 Chainsaw, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: How to store heavy slabs for easy access and display
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2023, 07:36:25 PM »
I originally thought of this as being temporary/movable so the diagonals would be necessary for strength and stability.  The long horizontals midway up and at the top are meant to have the sides of the slabs lean on them with the flats (top/bottom) of the slabs leaning on the rectangle frames.  The uprights can be long and go all the way up to your rafters as you suggested.  The side diagonals I was thinking you were going to place this at the end of your shed such that the slab weight may be leaning on one rafter and some extra support might be necessary.  The weight of the slabs on the bottom would anchor the diagonal to hold the back up.  Make sense?  Except for screws/bolts, these are free!  Yeah, goes against the principles of the FF Design Committee ;)
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Ford 545D FEL, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/36" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.


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