More from: pipe loads

Understand the Physics Behind Beveled Lumber

Some of you might not consider it a worthwhile decision to purchase beveled lumber to secure your coil and pipe loads. We understand that however, at the same time, we know that beveled lumber is one of those things you do not realize the importance of, until, a piece of scrap woods fails at its job and the entire cargo is lost. High-quality beveled lumber made of hardwood is a lot like the wheel chock most car mechanics might use. It is seemingly insignificant, until it saves your life and your cargo.

Mytee recommends you purchase genuine beveled lumber rather than using scrap. To help explain why, we have put together a brief outline of the physics involved in blocking coil and pipe loads. We believe that once you know the physics, you will better understand the advantage of using hardwood beveled lumber over scrap.


It All Starts with Gravity

The need for some kind of block to hold piping or coil in place begins with the fundamental physical principle of gravity. Gravity is that which keeps a load firmly situated on the bed of your trailer. Where your load and the trailer meet, there is friction. The greater the friction, the more firmly the load will stay in place.

We run into problems with pipe and coil loads because of their circular shape. A circle making contact with a trailer bed creates less friction than a flat load. Why? Because there is less surface area in contact with the trailer. Less surface area means less friction; less friction means less grip. The friction between circular loads and flatbed trailers is so low that something else is needed to be placed to prevent the cargo from moving.

Creating an Opposite Force

Now that we understand how friction and gravity work together to keep a load in place, the second principle is that law of physics that says that for every existing force there is an equal and opposite force. This law is the whole reason behind using beveled lumber to block coil or pipe.

Picture a large piece of sewer pipe rolling across your trailer. Regardless of its direction from left to right, the rolling force of the pipe is always moving down. Therefore, stopping the pipe requires an equal or greater force moving upward. This is exactly what beveled lumber does. It provides an equal upward force to counteract the natural downward force gravity is applying to the pipe.

So why is beveled lumber better than scrap? It’s all in the bevel. Lumber with the beveled edge provides a larger surface area to make contact with the pipe above. Scrap lumber almost always has a square edge that provides less surface area for contact and friction. The less surface area, the less upward force the lumber applies.

Wood Quality Is Important

The last physics principle we need to understand is that of the distribution of force through the piece of lumber bearing the load. Too much force can cause lumber to crack or, in some cases, even shatter into small pieces. The beveled lumber you purchase from us is hardwood lumber; it is more than capable of handling all the force of a typical flatbed load. The same cannot be said for scrap lumber. There is a reason scrap lumber is scrap. Do you really want to trust it to hold up under the force of tons of pipe or coil?

Simple physics explains why beveled lumber is a better choice for blocking coil and pipe loads. And being that it is so inexpensive, we hope you will make a wiser choice. It’s obviously better to use hardwood beveled lumber made specifically for the purpose of cargo control.




Many Ways to Use Pipe Stakes: Do What Works for You

Among the many tools flatbed truckers have at their disposal is the trusted pipe stake, used for securing pipe loads by creating a barrier to prevent a loss over the sides of the trailer. Pipe stakes are affixed to the trailer using sleeves that fit into stake pockets built into the trailer by the manufacturer.

Truckers may use steel pipe stakes because shippers require them, or simply because they prefer the extra security the devices offer. There is some debate as to whether any states require the use of pipe stakes but, in the end, it comes down to the driver’s legal responsibility to properly secure the load before starting a journey. There are multiple ways to do this.



Securing Pipes Over the Top

A general rule for pipe stake height is 48” – you can purchase both taller and shorter stakes. When a load exceeds the height of the stakes, some drivers have been known to secure them over the top of the load by connecting opposite stakes with chain or straps. The extra tension pulls the stakes together and creates a secure load.

A benefit of this setup is that it provides a natural frame on which to place a tarp if tarping is necessary. On the other hand, securing pipe stakes in this way does take time that could be spent turning the wheels. A less time-consuming method of securing stakes is to run chain or straps around the perimeter of the trailer and winch everything tightly together.

Securing Pipes at the Base

Because pipe stakes tend to be made of galvanized steel, there is little worry about them bending or cracking as long as the pipe load itself is properly secured. The real concern is that stakes might break loose from their pockets during transport. Some drivers address this risk by securing pipe stakes at their base.

To do this, a chain is wrapped around the base of the stake, run down through the rub rail, sent back up the other side of the stake pocket, then run across the bed and repeated on the other side. This method is effective for pipe stakes of 48” or shorter. For longer stakes, securing at the bottom is sometimes complemented by additional securement at the top.

Shippers Ultimately Have their Say

The question of whether to use pipe stakes may not be so difficult to answer in light of shipper requirements. For example, a brief perusal of a number of trucker forums reveals that multiple shippers will not allow pipe loads to leave the yard unless drivers use pipe stakes. Shippers obviously have a vested interest in making sure their products arrive safely; they may not be willing to take a chance with a trailer that is not staked.

To keep shippers happy and loads secured as well as possible, pipe stakes are a good idea. The average trucker’s tool box should accommodate 48” stakes without issue, along with the associated hardware and hammer chocks. We recommend our own 48”, 7-gauge stakes with a 6” flat bottom that easily sits into most pockets

You may be tempted to make your own pipe stakes out of scrap, but we would advise against doing so. Purchasing a manufactured product ensures the integrity of the steel and the individual pipes themselves, offering you maximum stability, security and strength.

If you haul pipe loads, you need to keep a selection of pipe stakes on board. Doing so will give you access to more loads and more pay.