WT245 – Truck Yeah!

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On today’s Wood Talk “Weekend Edition” we’re talking about how we get the lumber to our shops.

This topic was inspired by an email from Vinnie who had this to say,

I have a question about what might possibly be the most expensive but least talked about woodworking tool. A truck. Or van. Or some way to get lumber from its source to its destination. Our family of four currently owns a Prius which can fit a large bag of toothpicks IF I take all the car seats out. I know I can get lumber delivered but getting a bunch of pine delivered seems silly when I’m 30 minutes away from my local lumber yard and I just want a couple of 10 foot boards. How do you guys transport your lumber?

How about you?

How do you transport your lumber? Ever tied it to your back and biked home?

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14 Responses to “WT245 – Truck Yeah!”

  1. 2012 Jeep Patriot, 9 Ft. boards fit inside onto the dashboard. Front Passenger seat folds completely forward. 4′ x 4′ sheets fit inside the back seat, side to side.
    Also has a 110v inverter in the armrest…….

  2. 2009 Chevy Traverse. Seats 8 or a few full sheets of plywood with the seats folded down. Great for hauling the soccer team or the beginnings of the next project.

  3. Howdy,
    I have a GMC Pickup with an extended cab and it is my fifth truck including one that was a 3/4 ton van. I like trucks for two reasons, I like to be able to haul stuff and since, I’m old and fat, I can’t fit into those tiny death traps that have been mandated by governmental intrusion into the auto industry. In the pre-truck past, I had a ’65 Chev Impala and I made a roof rack out of some hardware and 2X2’s that worked fine for both lumber and plywood but that was in the days before cars were made of plastic and beer cans and you could do that sort of thing.

  4. I used to put it all inside my car but i found it scraped the plastic, even though i put covers down, and left whole mess of wood shavings that i would be constantly having to clean out.

    I then went to renting a Uhaul truck which was great but cost 20 dollars but mileage on top. even though my lumber yard was only 30 mins away, it ended up costing about 80 bucks.

    Now i have the perfect solution for me. i have a hitch and rent a uhaul trailer for a flat $20 fee. no extra mileage costs. i can get full sheets inside the trailer and long boards. its been working great! hope that helps.

  5. I find it a bit frustrating that some vehicles are actually better suited to hauling wood than trucks. The reason is, most (1/2 ton) trucks sold today are commuter vehicles rather than utilitarian. I had to visit 2 dealerships in order to find a 1/2 ton with an 8ft bed. Most have 6.5ft bed, and quite a few now come with 5.5ft beds.

    /rant, but the point is, it’s definitely worth considering other vehicles such as a vans, suvs, and even a big station wagons(if you can find one) for hauling stuff. My boss has an old chevy caprice station wagon that will haul plywood flat in the back with the seats down.

  6. Okay this is a topic I can relate to. In November 2008 I had the need for about six 12ft. 2×4’s so I raced up to Home Depot in my Grand Marquis, got there just before they closed. Loaded up the lumber with about 4 feet sticking out the front passengers side window, like a javelin. November in Michigan, 8:00 at night, dark, rain snow mix, I pull out onto a 45 mph road, get about 1/2 mile and all of a sudden there’s three huge explosions. For at least 2 full seconds I had NO idea what had happened. When I looked in the rear view mirror I saw parts to three mail boxes and a bunch of lumber flying across the road. See here in Michigan people tend to build big wooden walls next to the mail boxes so the snow plows don’t blow them up as they fly by.
    Now I have a P/U.

  7. I have a sedan with a carseat and Marc is right, you just don’t want to move it if you can avoid it. I have always done the whole run it up to the dash angled towards the passenger side so I can keep the shifter free, this works, but there are certainly limitations and frustrations.

    I have been thinking about adding a roof rack from yakima or thule, like you would use for bikes, kayaks, or those roof luggage things. The racks aren’t necessarily cheap, but they are not to bad. I wonder how much lumber you could strap down on top of the car?

  8. I used to tie lumber to the luggage rack on the roof of my wife’s station wagon. Now we have a 4×8 trailer and class 1 hitch on one of our cars. It works great for hauling hardwood lumber, plywood, etc. Since it has a fold-down ramp, it has worked even better than a truck bed for loading and unloading a couple heavy stationary woodworking machines that I’ve bought used.

  9. The van I have now and the one before that one would hold 4 x 8 sheets of plywood. When I had the previous van I was young enough to man handle a 4 x 8 sheet myself and had a walk in cellar. Now I’m too old and it’s a pain in the but hatch way to go down. So when I use plywood I know before I go to pick it up what the rough cut sizes of the pieces I will need are and have it cut down, soooo much easier. As for lumber, I know I can fit 10 ft pieces in the van. The problem is the pieces my supplier has are usually longer. So once again I go knowing my rough cut lengths and he will chop the pieces to whatever I ask him to. As you guys said, most projects don’t require 10 foot lengths. So if Vinnie goes knowing his rough cut lengths his supplier would probably cut them for him or he could cut them himself if he has a hand saw. These short weekend shows are great.

  10. My preferred method has been to borrow a car – but for a single board I will happily carry it on a bicycle. And for a small haul I have used a trailer on the bike which will carry 6ft boards and 1/4 sheet ply. So even if I can’t borrow a car I’m not stuck … and you thought using a hand-saw at the lumber yard got strange looks.

    There’s always a way.

  11. Currently I have a old Ford Ranger but are getting rid of it fairly soon. If I get rid of it, I will get a light duty ‘harbor freight trailer’. (carries 4×8 plywood flat without hanging over – folds in half to roll vertically into a garage for a couple of hundred – I had one before)

    I have also considered renting a u-haul pickup for $30/day or so + gas. Cheaper than owning one if you can get it when you want it. — Or just depend of friends with pickups (but makes me feel like a moocher after the 2nd time!)

    I used to have one that folded up and rolled into my garage vertically, that was when I had small car only. Used it to haul wood, bicycles for wife, me and kids to a ‘bike trail’ several miles away, etc also. (Painted it red to go with red minivan we had at the time)

    Before I have a old car, and carried boards either on top (with cartop carriers) or for long boards, I would lash them along the passenger side with ropes going across the hood and trunk and hooked over to the driver side wheel wells. Really awkward to use, but it worked.

    I had an OLD Dodge 440 Station wagon – it was cool because it would take a 4×8 plywood sheet flat in the back behind the front seats with the tailgate closed and tail window rolled up (so the AC worked in Texas traffic!). That was probably the best transporter I had. Also hauled fence posts, tools, etc in it – almost impossible to overload!

  12. I have a Subaru Forester which can can easily accommodate 8’ boards with the seats folded forward, but with two car seats to wrestle with I prefer just strapping longer boards and sheet goods to my Yakima rack system. I had a similar system on my previous Ford Fusion and I never had a problem picking up lumber. However, I do recommend placing a couple 2×4’s under sheet goods for added support as the cross bars are typically only 3 – 4 feet apart.

    A base rack system could run about $300 – $400 depending on your make and model but I’ve found it to be well worth the investment.

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