transporting sheet goods

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Forum topic by BANick posted 03-17-2008 07:57 PM 4014 views 1 time favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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53 posts in 3886 days

03-17-2008 07:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question plywood

I don’t have the luxury of owning a pick-up truck, I just have the old SUV that carries the family around. So to get plywood and other sheet goods home is somewhat of a pain since I have to get it cut where I buy it to fit in the back of the SUV. It works ok most of the time since I usually plan my cutlist before I buy the material but I am getting into projects where I want to bring home the sheets in one piece and cut them myself.
So, I am curious to hear what other fellow lumberjocks use to transport their plywood home. All suggestions are welcome.

-- Nick, Fremont, CA.

39 replies so far

View Narayan's profile


8 posts in 3723 days

#1 posted 03-17-2008 08:17 PM

No pickup truck for me either, and I don’t have an SUV. I have a small wagon.

I can take about 4-6 pieces of 4×8 sheets of plywood home safely on the roof rack w/ rails. I use ratcheting straps to tie the pieces down. I drive pretty slowly—the winds can be pretty hazardous. I see you’re in Freemont—once I bought a bunch of BB from Macbeath in Berkeley then drove over the San Mateo Bridge on a windy day…boy was that crazy. I think next time I might try to separate sheets with some kind of spacer to allow the wind to pass through.

Also, in my car, the front passenger seat folds down flat. I can fit 9’ boards in and still close the hatch. This weekend I brought home 2 4×8 sheets of pegboard, 3 pieces of 4×8 birch ply, a few small sheets of MDF and 20 2×4s. Still had plenty of room inside the car.

It works, though. I have a BORG about 4 miles from where I live (don’t we all). Hopefully once I get my shop cabinets built out, I won’t be buying too many sheet goods. I have contemplated getting a battery powered circular saw though and cutting down sheet goods in the lot. Makes a lot more sense and makes it easier to get in and out of the shop too.

View Al Killian's profile

Al Killian

273 posts in 3752 days

#2 posted 03-17-2008 09:18 PM

I have a freind that works close to my source for plywood. I call him and pick it up. The other option is to have deliverd by the company that sells it.

-- Owner of custom millwork shop

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3987 days

#3 posted 03-17-2008 09:25 PM

If you have a rack on top, you could tie it to that.

I have a small pickup and have the same problem with 5’x5’ sheets of baltic birch plywood.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4020 days

#4 posted 03-17-2008 09:32 PM

You guys ever consider a utility trailer?
I ‘m asking because that’s what I’m considering now.
I seem to have enough junk comming and going to make it a sound investment.
I saw one that fold ups to lean against the house????


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3743 days

#5 posted 03-17-2008 10:33 PM

Nick, I have a Jeep Cherokee with Yakima racks on it. They are rated at 120 lbs. each, so it’s good for a couple of sheets of plywood, or about 50 bft of lumber. I usually make a large haul when I go to the lumber yard, because it’s over 200 miles round trip, and for that I have a 5’ x 8’ trailer that I pull.

View DaveH's profile


400 posts in 3777 days

#6 posted 03-17-2008 10:43 PM

I have a 5’ x 8’ utility trailer. Works well. Can be pulled by most vehicles.

-- DaveH - Boise, Idaho - “How hard can it be? It's only wood!”

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4020 days

#7 posted 03-17-2008 10:47 PM

Dave , does yours have any shocks?
I am concerned with getting the load airborne on some of the roads areound here and wondering if I should bite bullet and get shocks on mine too.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 3900 days

#8 posted 03-17-2008 11:02 PM

I can’t remember where I stole this image from; it may appear elsewhere on LJ. Whatever, it fits nicely with this topic..

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

View BANick's profile


53 posts in 3886 days

#9 posted 03-17-2008 11:44 PM

Thanks all for your suggestions. A trailer would be overkill for me, as I only buy sheet goods occasionally so a more sensible solution would be to use the roof rack. It’s not flat but I could make some sort of support that would go on top of it.
Love that picture, YorkshireStewart, makes me feel like a king with my SUV..

-- Nick, Fremont, CA.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6855 posts in 3978 days

#10 posted 03-18-2008 01:00 AM

Would anybody really load a car like that?

That’s a pretty big load for a pickup truck!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6855 posts in 3978 days

#11 posted 03-18-2008 01:06 AM

As far as getting sheet goods for myself, I either have them delivered, or in a pinch I pick them up in a van.

I know that 5’ x5’ baltic birch problem.

That’s part of the reason I stopped using it. The real reason is I found Maple Apple Ply, which has a far smoother surface, is available in 9 or 13 ply in 1/2” thickness, and comes in standard sized sheets.

I like this far better than baltic birch, which I used to swear by. I would take a cordless circular saw and rip it in the parking lot, so it would fit in my van.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3798 days

#12 posted 03-18-2008 01:07 AM

you can rent a truck from Uhaul for 19 a day plus miles. Home Depot and Lowes usually ahve a cheap rental too. Also, find a friend with a truck…

-- making sawdust....

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3873 days

#13 posted 03-18-2008 01:09 AM

Hey Nick, My problem is not transporting the plywood (I have a truck), but it is fitting it through the door and managing a whole sheet in my shop.

When I need to build a cabinet or carcass I spend a lot of time carefully planning the cuts before I go to the lumber yard. Then I have them cut the sheet on the spot. If I need to be extra precise, I have them add an inch to all dimensions and then I can make the final cuts on my table saw and I am able to work with smaller pieces that way.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4124 days

#14 posted 03-18-2008 03:17 AM

YorkshireStewart, I’ve got roofracks, and my car has looked dangerously close to that…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4086 days

#15 posted 03-18-2008 03:37 AM

Blake and I follow the same path. I have an SUV that barely fits 4’ width and will not take a 4×8 sheet in one piece.


-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

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