Stickers for green lumber

Where do sawyers get their stickers? November 7, 2001

I am getting ready to cut my first set of logs on my "new-to-me" mill. Where do you get your stickers? Do you cut them yourself?

Forum Responses
Stickers can be any species, are usually 3/4" thick and are about 1-1/4" wide. They must be dry if you are to avoid staining.

Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor

Do you want to use the stickers for the material you are about to cut or are they for the kiln drying process? If you just want to sticker the green lumber, you could take some of the low grade material you cut from your first run of logs and set it up on your mill and rip it to about an inch or so, then sticker with that. You'll need plenty of them in the future and you gotta start somewhere.

From the original questioner:
I want stickers to stack fresh cut lumber on. I don't have a kiln yet, so I'll be letting it air dry.

Like Gene said, you want to use dry lumber for your stickers. If you use green, you will be subject to stain just like if you stacked green lumber on top of green lumber, it will mold and stain. Sometimes large mills will give or sell cheap their broken stickers, which can be cut down to a shorter size and used. Check out your local mills.

Let me confirm the earlier statement--many mills use 6' long stickers and when they break, they throw them away, even if there is a 4' or 5' long piece. Contact local mills for broken stickers!

Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor

I always break this rule. Here in northern California, I guess the dry air dries the wood fast enough to stop stain. I still cut stickers from the flitches as I'm milling and have had no staining except during the winter. So cut stickers from your wood as you go for future use. If I'm cutting 1 inch thick boards, I make 1 inch square stickers.

From contributor T:
Cut a five foot long log into one inch flitches. Rotate and cut into one inch French fries. Take these one by ones outside to a sunny and windy spot and cross stack them about five each way until you get up off the ground six inches, and then about ten each way (four inches apart). In three days you will have dry stickers. Sticker your lumber on two foot centered stickers. Crooked logs make good stickers.

I do the same thing contributor T does for stickers. I cut customer's stickers all the time. The initial moisture is gone by the time the wood is stickered. I make my piles 3' across because it is convenient (you can reach across the pile), my metal roofing is 40", the forks on my loader are 48", and my flatbed trailer is 6' 6" across, so I can double stack and not hand load everything. 36" is all I need.

Flooring mills are a good source of lumber stickers, but you may have to buy a larger quantity than you would normally use. If so, you might consider going in with someone that also needs stickers. They are usually dried and of the right thickness. When they cut the strips out for flooring, the worst parts are marketed as lumber stickers.

Depending on the type of lumber you are going to be putting on stickers, oak sticks, whether kiln dried or not, will usually severely shadow any white wood it is used on (soft maple, hard maple, ash). I have found that maple sticks and even beech sticks work great, but I would have to say the breeze dried works the best.