SWMBO and I are at loggerheads regarding my wood storage/shop space. To
date, she has had this old POS piano that she says she's going to restore
sitting in one corner of the garage/shop. I need/want the space to set up
more workstation/storage space. She offered that if I take down my wood
storage rack that is along the back wall of the other garage bay, and move
the piano there, then things would be fine. Ugh.
The only other option I have is the attic storage above the garage, which is
actually quite spacious. There is a hoist on one end and a swing-out set of
double doors. Inside is a pull-down staircase.
My question is - does anyone have experience dealing with lumber storage
upstairs in a loft/attic like this? Is a hoist the best/easiest/safest way
to get rough lumber in reasonably long (approx. 8'-12') lengths into such a
space? It just seems like a royal PITA to me, but I have to live with the
space I have for now. There really isn't any space on my property to build
an outdoor shed or other storage facility.
Thanks for your suggestions,
I forgot to mention that there is no room in the house for the piano. SWMBO
thinks we MAY put an addition on the house in maybe 5 years! So, yes, you
guessed it, she thinks the piano will be just fine sitting in the garage for
that long before restoring it. As most of you know better than I, there's
no reasoning with a woman. None at all.
Some of the suggestions were quite inventive though, I must say.
Amen to the reasoning with her comment. But that's another topic...
More on topic is the storage of the piano in an environment where the
temperature and the humidity can vary widely. Before you invest too
heavily in restoration, room additions or, more important to the current
discussions, storage space in the shop, I'd invest in a visit from a
competent piano tuner/technician.
The one we have charges maybe $100 to come and visit, tune and advise on
the state of our instrument. He's quite helpful, and everything always
sounds better after he's been here (generally annually), for maybe the last
Check with a college, or community orchestra or similar for a
recommendation, and get the piece evaluated. The outcome will likely be
either more effort and expense in the short run, or much less effort and
expense in the long run.
Or, you may be dealing with, as one of my sisters puts it, "purely
Perhaps one of those rental storage lockers would be suitable for the
piano. Assuming you can make a solid case for needing the space, it
would allow you wife to keep possession of the piano and you both get
what you want. At the same time it does put a dollar premium on
continued ownership that may eventually tip the scales of continued
ownership. It is another way for you to assign a value to the area in
I agree -
Option one - restore the piano first and try to get a new tool out of it.
Also, you might point out to your wife that having an old piano sitting in a
garage for any length of time will play havoc with the innards. Restoring it
can become quite costly if you have to replace hammers and pads, etc.
option two - make the supreme effort and put the piano in the attic - you'll
only have to move it once <g>. It will probably stay there.
option 3 - a little drastic maybe but woodworking is woodworking - get rid
of SWMBO. - BONUS!! - put her IN the piano and get rid of both at the same
time, unless there's some really good wood in the piano.
If you MUST keep SWMBO, see option one
You have a few way to go here. Just pick what you think suits your
Put some dried grass in the piano. Tell your wife rodents were living in
the during the winter. You think you got them out, but can't be sure.
That will free up some space.
Just remind her that the garage is YOUR space, the laundry room is HER space
and since you don't bother her so she should do the same. What makes this
option so appealing is there will be little discussion as your lawyer will
negotiate the settlement.
Put in a pull down stairs and start carrying up the wood.
You might not need to go all the way to the attic. I built a frame out of
2x6's big enough to hold about 100bf that is suspended from the garage/shop
ceiling. Dims are about 4'x9'. One short end is connected to the ceiling
joists with heavy duty hinges. The other end is held up with chains &
screw-eyes when stored in the up position, with double pulley and hand winch
system used to lower it to the ground when I need to get to the wood. The
winch is bolted to the TS frame.
It sounds kind of scary, but it really is not. Seem much easier than
fishing a 10' long board through a pull down stair.
PS: I'm a structural engineer, so I was comfortable in saying my ceiling
joist could support the load. You'll need some way to verify that your
ceiling will support the load, whether you're on top of the ceiling or
hanging underneath it.
A lot depends on where you live, on the occasions I've been in my loft
during summer here in Texas you get not only extemes of heat but at times
quite high humidity. I haven't been here that long but all the lumber I've
bought has been kiln dried, so at the least I would expect you will have to
be careful in your planning to bring down anything to equalize before
maching operations. In the circumstances I'd at least invest in a moisture
meter if you don't already have one.
On the original question, having lived on a sailboat, a common operation is
lifting the dinghy on deck and that is normally done with a halyard and one
of the the deck winches, unless your going to hauling huge quantities of
lumber it would probably be much quicker to go with a 2 or 3 part block and
tackle. IMO with a chain hoist you'll be running chain forever, a small
manual winch should also give you all the mechanical advantage you need.
Attics are great for lumber storage. For years I kept all of my standing
stock on the second floor of my shop. I had a "hay door" - a door from the
second floor to nothing - I'd park my truck under the hay door, and slide
the lumber onto the floor. Then I'd go upstairs and stack it nicely.
One big advantage: if your attic is anything like normal, ir gets really hot
and dry up there. If you;ve gota saw mill anywhere near you (or a bandsaw
mill guy) you can usually get green wood for cheap (I pay something like
$0.25 BF for 12" wide pine, and about $0.35 for oak). Stack and sticker in
the attic, and let it sit for a year per inch of thickness. Almost free
Kepp floor loads in mind though. Wet oak is *heavy*....
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