Palletizing Lumber for Shipment by Truck

Advice on preparing lumber for pickup by semi truck. April 20, 2011

I have a guy asking me to ship him about 6,000 BF of planed red oak, random widths and lengths. I know the boards will all be 8' long. I've never shipped anything like this before, so how do I calculate how many pallets I'm going to need? I see I can use the lumber weight calculator up here to get my total weight, but how do I figure how many pallets I'll need?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor R:
You don't need pallets, just bundle them up. You'll have an average of 6-7 bundles 8'x42''x42'' each, and call a shipper.

From the original questioner:
Ok, but if they're not on a pallet how will they get a fork lift under the bundles to unload them? So, you figure about 1,000 BF per bundle?

From the original questioner:
Planed to 15/16, and moisture at 7%, the lumber weight calculator here estimates 6,000 BF of northern red oak will come in at 19,572 pounds. Does that sound about right?

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
I have seen 3x3 with a groove in the face used, size varies. The groove is used to hold the band that goes around the lumber pile and holds the 3x3 onto the pack. The shipper will work with you but the cost may be a surprise.

From the original questioner:
What I don't get is how they can load 8' boards into a semi, length wise. I'd understand if they lifted the stack in the middle, but these trucks aren't 8' across so how do they load a stack of 8' boards when they have to lift from the end, not from the middle? Their forks aren't 8' long!

From contributor U:
I think you are talking about shipping via a common carrier like Yellow, or Fed-ex Freight right? If so, they will want it palletized. I have shipped like this in the past. Lay two pallets long ways, with the open ends together running the 8 ft way. Stack the lumber on top, and band it to the pallets. Most freight companies have forklifts with 6 ft forks, and can pick the lumber up from the end. Use at least four bands per bundle (2 per pallet), and try to keep around 1000 bd ft per bundle.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
We had a long solid pole that fit on the fork of the lift and we used this pusher to push loads into the truck. They slide well on a wood floor.

From contributor Y:
Also some places have loading docks were they can drive the forklift into the trailer to push stuff to the front of the trailer.

I would think that 6,000 BF would take up about half of an enclosed trailer which are 40 feet long .So I would think a loading dock would be the way to go. Or the long pole would work without a loading dock.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
If you make your bundles 6' wide and 8' long, that is 48' per layer, so you will need 125 layers. At 3/4" per layer, that is a pile just short of 8' high, or two 4' high piles. Certainly that will easily fit in a truck and not even fill the trailer 1/4.