A WoodNetter posted this complaint to the forum: “I’m killing myself trying to get sheetgoods home from the borg… there must be a better way. I have a small SUV which just isn’t cutting it.”

Does this sound like you?

Well, there’s no easy or simple way to do it, there are however lots of different ways you could try out if you’re hauling impaired. I went through and counted up how the majority of WoodNetters do it, and then took notes from what they wrote regarding plusses and minuses for some of the methods.

1) Pickup Truck: 14
By far the most popular method for getting sheet goods home or to the job site. However it may not be worth it, as some folks suggested, to buy a beater truck just for hauling sheet goods. Then again, if you’re hauling a lot more than sheet goods it might work for you. Note also that many guys who hauled sheet goods home in trucks ALSO had them cut up at the store to make them easier to haul.

PU Quotes:
– The beater p/u doesn’t get run enough to justify having it, adds a blight to your driveway, and the cost for registration, inspection, etc. doesn’t seem worth the convenience.

– The primary p/u is spendy – to buy, insure, but mostly to fill the tank. In both cases (sans cap) the weather often dictated if I could pick up ply goods, which was a major PITA.

2) Trailer: 8
The trailer is probably your best bet if you’re looking for a solution JUST for hauling sheet goods. Especially if you have a lot of hauling in your future that would justify the cost (looks like $200-$800 or so).

Trailer Quotes:
4×8 trailer that folds up against the wall when not in use – they go on sale at HF – I ended up paying about $180 for mine (12″ wheels). It’s been really useful for a lot of things and since it folds against the wall it only has a footprint of 2’x5′

– The trailer has most of the benefits of the p/u truck, with none of the expense. The one I bought has a tilt bed: if I pull the pin, the whole trailer becomes a ramp which reaches to the ground. It’s configurable for stake body or flatbed and if I ever get to it, I’m going to make it weather-tight. It costs nothing to insure, burns no gas, requires no inspection, and is only $6/year to register. I don’t mind beating the crap out of the bed with trash, stones, etc., as I did when I had a p/u. The only downsides: storage (I chain mine up at work), having to hitch/un-hitch, and having to develop some mad backing-up skills.”

3) Have Store Cut Sheet Goods Smaller: 7
This sounds like a fairly risky option for a couple of reasons (see below). Still, it’s a highly popular method for making sheet goods more manageable.

Cutting Sheet Goods Smaller at Store:
“When you have them cut plywood with the panel saw, make sure you allow at least an inch of waste on the crosscuts. Their panels saws never have sharp blades, and the operators cut full speed ahead.”

– The store cuts are abysmal, there’s never anyone available to run the saw, and you can’t change your plans after the cuts are made.

“2 out of the last 10 times I had HD do it they cut it at the wrong height. Luckily I checked after their cut and they cut me another.”

4) Have Sheet Goods Delivered: 4
Often if you order over a certain amount you can have your sheet goods delivered right to your door. Save up your orders and buy in bulk. In some cases you have to spend over $400… Your mileage will certainly vary.

5) Mini Van: 3
Fold down the seats and move the kids stuff out of the way. You’re ready to haul. You may not get as much loaded in but mini vans can still haul sheet goods. Just ask my dad – he’s been doing it for years ;)

6) on top of car/van: 2
This should be a last-choice kind of solution for hauling sheet goods. I think this quote sums it up nicely: “The roof racks are iffy at highway speeds, and loading, securing, and unloading is a PITA.”

7) Home Depot Rental Truck: 1
Often the borgs rent trucks to their customers for moving lots of goods around. $20+ bucks or so will get you a truck… but… “The HD rental truck is first-come, first-served, can’t be reserved, and is often not available or late being returned. The multiple trips add a lot of time to your shopping.”

8) build your own panel saw: 1
One WoodNetter suggested building your own panel saw in the garage so you can more easily get sheet goods into your woodshop. This isn’t about getting them home so much, but I thought it was a good idea.

Panel Saw Woodworking Plan ($5.95)

9) Carry an 18v Circ Saw: 1
One WoodNetter always goes prepared when buying wood by bringing an 18v circ saw he can use to break down sheet goods no matter where he finds them.

Sheet Good Grippers:
gorilla grippers
DIY Grippers

Other Resources:
Panel Saw Please
Woodworking Without A Table Saw
Tips for Cutting Plywood
Steve 68’s woodworking blog (Steve provided a great deal of the quotes above…)