Storing Wood in a Closed Container

Keeping the wood dry and controlling pests. February 26, 2005

Our company builds wooden caskets and recently we decided to purchase a container of kiln dried wood from Brazil. It is a wood with properties similar to poplar. We will use this quantity during the next 6 to 9 months. For storage, we consider moving part of it into an empty shipping container that sits in our factory yard. This container closes airtight. We want to take advantage of this and spray or fumigate the wood while in this enclosed space. We are in the Caribbean, and temperatures outside run up high - 90 - 100 F.

- What product should I enclose to avoid pests?
- Can I just lock it up for 3 months, or should it be opened from time to time? Weekly, daily?
- Will the high temperature inside crack or bend the wood and what should I do to avoid this?
- What am I to expect to happen to the degree of moisture of this wood?

All advice is welcome!

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
I have a shipping container I have used to store KD wood from time to time with little or no moisture gain. I only open the container to load and unload the wood. I would make certain the container is off the ground, though - at least 6" to let air circulate under the unit. I have seen them act like a tropical rain forest inside if set on the ground.

Our container is about two feet above ground, as it rests on the loading dock at one side. How often did you open the container to load and unload? Did you have any problems with high temperatures inside?

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
It takes about 4 U.S. gallons of water to change the MC of 1000 BF of lumber by 1% MC. You can store the lumber for months without any change in MC. Of course, if it is not dry initially, then you will have fungi and insect damage, most likely.

You need to use a chemical that is approved for wood insect control.
You do not need to open the container.
Heat will not cause any problems. In fact, if it is 130 F, then any insects will be killed.
The MC will not change at all.