Temperature Range for Storage of Wood Type

Our Print Shop was recently flooded, but we got most of our Wood Type into the attic prior to being evacuated by raft…
A few remaining pieces of wood type were submerged in the river water and then warped and cracked when they dried.
We are considering keeping our good wood in the attic, which hits temps of 90 degrees max.
Any suggestions as to maximum heat and cold temperatures for storage of Wood Type?
Many Thanks!

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In a Tennessee summer your attic is going to get much hotter than 90 degrees. I’ve seen wood type survive some big extremes of temperature, from below freezing to well over 100 degrees. But the change in temperature happened gradually, and the type had air circulation around it. Having lived a good portion of my life in Nashville, I would think that the flooding there was an aberration. However, if your shop is located in a flood plain, you might want to search for a place on higher ground.


Humidity can be as bad as heat, Is there storage inside up high?

Actually, changes in humidity is WORSE than heat. What causes wood to ‘move’ is changes in water content. Kept at a constant humidity, it almost does not matter what the temperature is.


RE: Constant Humidity & Woodblock Type Storage:
If we store our woodblock in the attic (around 90 +/-degrees by day — 80 +/- degrees by night) AND the humidity stays pretty much the same (i.e. “muggy” high humidity outside) most of the summer…with maybe a few not-so-humid days between now & September…Would this constant (but high) humidity be ok for the woodblock?
…Many Thanks Y’all!

Nash….. I’m sorry to hear about your flooding. We got flooded twice before we moved to our new location….. which ironically is right on the River, now. It’s a terrible thing, isn’t it?

Anyway, the short answer to your question is: No, no NO!Do not store your wood type in the attic, especially in the SouthEast US. The humidity in the attic is never consistent with the outside humidity. During the day that attic is always hotter than the ambient, and the relative humidity is much lower. At night, it is cooler and the humidity is much higher. The attic is the worst possible place to keep your type. They might survive, but they will almost certainly warp and be a pain to print with.

My shop uses a LOT of wood type, carved blocks, and wooden bases. Keeping them in good shape is not difficult but does take some care. Once it warps, it’s a problem.

Type that has been dunked can be saved, but it ideally should be dried out slowly in a cool environment. Putting it into a hot place like the attic will cause the cracking you described.

The best temperature / humidity to store your type is the same that you’d keep your house. 70 to 75 degrees F, and 50% humidity. That means keeping it in an air conditioned location if possible. If you can’t, then put it in the closest place to room temp you can find, and avoid both temp and humidity extremes. Basements are good, but prone to flooding….. so are big old buildings. They tend to have a lot of themal mass, so the emps and humidity don’t fluctuate a lot.