Sticking it to us

When did random stapling become so popular for lumber suppliers? Those things have become the newest woodworking-related accident waiting to happen.

I guess you can consider this my newest pet peeve. Lumber suppliers and sellers have taken to staples in a big way. In some cases, the barcode is stapled on a board end. Those, while annoying, aren’t much of a problem as they’re out of the way and usually remain intact till you get home and pull them out.

But suppliers are adding random staples to board edges to “bridge” adjacent boards, for stability in shipping I’m assuming. Trouble is that as soon as the lumber is offloaded into a rack for purchase, those staples pull loose on one end, leaving a sharp booby trap just waiting for an unsuspecting hand.

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It’s not unusual to find several on a single board. They make carrying the boards difficult if you haven’t seen them, and even looking through the rack for stock can result in an unwelcome bloodletting. Don’t ask me how I know this.

The suppliers must be happy with this technique so I doubt they’ll abandon it any time soon. But I never go lumber shopping anymore without slipping a small pair of pliers into my pocket to pull those nasty things out before taking my stock to the checkout.



  • Dave says:

    Agree with your comment in reference to SAFETY…

    But as a CUSTOM hardwood floor MANUFACTURER… add to the mix the fact that when we bring in rough lumber to be milled, it’s now a part time job searching every, friggin piece of lumber looking for the whole as well as broken STEEL stables that are used generously throughout the load…ends, sides, tops, etc.
    We use carbide insert tooling on our moulders, so all it takes is ONE missed stable in just the right spot to destroy a set of cutters or knives by putting a slight “nick” in them.
    This means not only is there damage to any material that was run before noticing it… but the labor to tear down the damaged cutter-head and replace the knife/cutter with another carbide tool, which I probably don’t have to mention, is NOT cheap!
    At least SOME of the lumber mills have shown the common sense to convert to using PLASTIC staples… they are my new heroes in the lumber biz.

  • Dave says:

    Obviously I’m not much of a typist… in my previous comment, the words staple(s) were input as STABLES… we don’t work with horses… lol

  • Phil says:

    Boy you hit on a twenty year pet pev of mine .Staples have cost me a many hours of shutting down machines and tools for knicks in tooling . Nothing is more anoyying than having a 1000 ft of mouldging to mill , getting in 30 ft an POW your done ruin knife . Phil

  • jerry jaksha says:

    I agree almost entirely.
    My problem with the staples is on the ends. When you go to rip a 2×4 or 1×6 on the table saw, and the blade hits the unseen staple, it can throw the staple right back at you.

    Jerry Jaksha

  • Staples…I’m a cabinetmaker of 30 years. sometimes I’m required to include sub-tops for my cabinets. I also have a new Saw Stop table saw. I bought my 5/8″ plywood at the local big box store and did pull out a few staples but missed one…well my saw blade did not miss it and the technology of the Saw Stop touching metal cause the break system to trigger. New saw blade $60…new break for the Saw Stop $80…staple .0001 cent. Always double check for staples!!!

  • Gary Schmidt says:

    comment to Marcus: Doesn”t the Sawstop have an override on the braking mechanism?

  • Chuck R says:

    That staple would have to have had contact with the saw table to trigger the Saw Stop. The interelectrode capacitance of the staple itself would not trigger the Saw Stop safety device.

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