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Researching Wood Buying Process

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Blog entry by EdMc posted 04-13-2012 08:22 PM 947 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am researching the customer’s experience when making a lumber purchase. Would you please answer the following six questions?

Thanks if you can,
Ed

Questions:

1. Who do you see buying lumber most often?
( Contractors, DIYers, etc.)

2. What’s main thing people look for when buying lumber?

3. Please describe the actual process of buying wood:

4. Do people come ask for ‘wood’, or do they request a certain brand?

5. If people have a particular brand preference, how is that brand preference created?

6. What are some of the biggest gripes people have about buying lumber?



8 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5115 posts in 2431 days


#1 posted 04-13-2012 09:55 PM

Brand of wood?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View GaryL's profile

GaryL

1080 posts in 1549 days


#2 posted 04-13-2012 10:01 PM

?????? Oh….My favorite brand is….Free

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 2287 days


#3 posted 04-13-2012 10:30 PM

I look for the absence of spammers.

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

View xwingace's profile

xwingace

204 posts in 1307 days


#4 posted 04-13-2012 10:53 PM

1) Obviously, the one I most often see buying lumber is myself as I am there every time.
2) Lumber, duh.
3) It’s best to have a frank discussion with your doctor and get a prescription—don’t buy that stuff off Craigslist like some people do.
4) My wife asks for it, but not nearly often enough.
5) My preference is for oak brand wood—I believe it is created from acorns.
6) My biggest gripe is when I cut it to fit in my truck, it doesn’t stretch back out to original size when I get home. What’s up with that?

Hope this helps ya, buddy!

-- I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1574 posts in 991 days


#5 posted 04-14-2012 12:39 AM

Ed,

Welcome to LumberJocks , a world of advise, opinions, and experiences, all shared without judgement.

I’ll give you my nickel version of the answers you seek, but the woodworking tools available to you may limit you to what is the best buy for your projects.

1. Who do you see buying lumber most often?
- If you are shopping at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Menards local lumber yards etc. (the big box stores) you will probably see more contractors and DIYers, as these outlets cater to new construction and remodeling, as in dementional lumber, 2×4, 2×6 etc. and sheet goods like plywood for roofing and subflooring and treated lumber.
- If you don’t have a Jointer and a Planer (or hand planes) you can buy a limited assortment of Hardwoods ie; Oak, Ash, some Walnut or Cherry SFS (cut to size and surfaced on all 4 sides) which would be ready for you to start your project.
- If you had the proper equipment in your shop you could visit a Sawyer or Sawmill where the lumber is rough cut, usually Jointed or Ripped (straight cut on one side) take it to your shop and finish milling (facing) your lumber.
- This is less expensive than buying from the big box stores, where the lumber is already milled.

2. What’s main thing people look for when buying lumber?
- In SFS lumber, Moisture content, no bows, warping, twists or cupping, no cracks and end checking (your paying a premium price for this board). Pick out boards that have attractive grain patterns and matching color.
- At the Sawyers you will look for pretty much the same attributes in each board, but the grain is harder to see with the rough surface so I take a spray bottle of water with me and just a light ‘spritz’ across the face of the board will show the grain better. I have a friend that takes a pocket plane with him and if the Sawyer doesn’t mind you can smooth out the saw marks, a little, and that will show the grain better.

3. Please describe the actual process of buying wood:
- At the big box stores each board has a price sticker on it.
- At a mill you buy the lumber by the board foot times the price per board foot. Board feet is figured by the Thickness x Width x Length.
Simply put, a board that is 1” thick x 12” wide x 12 ” long equals 144 square inches, to convert that to board feet, divide total square inches by 144 (sq. inches) and the result is 1 board foot.
A board that is 1” Thick x 6” Wide x 2ft. Long is (1” x 6” x 24” = 144 square inches) or 1 Board Foot.
A board 1” x 12” x 24” = 288 sq. in. divided by 144 = 2 board feet.
A board 2” x 12” x 24” = 576 sq. in. divided by 144 = 4 board feet.

4. Do people come ask for ‘wood’, or do they request a certain brand?
- Although there are Major Saw Mills (brands) that wholesale to big box stores and lumber yards, Brands are generally Regional.
- To your point, by brands, if are you referring to species, yes you would ask for White or Red Oak, Walnut, or Cherry etc.

5. If people have a particular brand preference, how is that brand preference created?
- The ‘Brand” of wood is of little importance.
- If you are referring to the species of wood, there are species that are known for their strength, others for their color and yet others for a specific grain pattern.
- Strength is a requirement you must determine for the purpose or use of the project.
- Color and grain pattern are personal choices, both will enhance the finished project, some grain patterns will demand a higher price than the same species with a less figured pattern.
- The orientation in which a board is cut from the log can increase the price per board foot, ie; flat sawn, riff sawn or quarter sawn.

6. What are some of the biggest gripes people have about buying lumber?
- Cost as in any other product has a direct bearing on sensibility and/or profitability.
- Price is like pain or ugly, “If you don’t mind it don’t matter”. :-)

For the most part, when you go to the lumber yard or the big box stores, there will be someone there to guide you to the lumber which you need for your project, if they are as inexperienced as you feel you are that day, then go down the road to another supplier.

I hope this clarifies some of your concerns and helps you to make a more educated selection for your next project.
We all started with not much knowledge or experience, but with passion, patience and planning, you will come to enjoy being in the woodshop for reasons other than the solitude it has to offer.

Work Safe and have Fun. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View Paul David Soto's profile

Paul David Soto

141 posts in 1325 days


#6 posted 04-14-2012 01:41 AM

GrandPaLen- You’re my favorite Granpa! Even when questions like these are asked you always seem to answer without judgement or prejudice. I hope to one day master that virtue. But for now…It seems as though Ed is writing a research paper guys. Help him along…who knows he may even pass his class and become a Lumberjock based on how we treat him. Welcome Ed!

-- - As a woodworker, it could be interesting sometimes waking up in the morning and asking, "Lord, what will you have me do today?" -Noah

View GrandpaLen's profile

GrandpaLen

1574 posts in 991 days


#7 posted 04-14-2012 01:49 PM

Thank you Paul,

It takes the same amount of time to encourage as it does to disparage, so why waste time pessimistically.

“Paying it forward” from my Grandfather. – Len

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View EdMc's profile

EdMc

2 posts in 953 days


#8 posted 04-16-2012 02:41 PM

GrandpaLen, thank you so much. I’m not a spammer, I’m not a lumberjack, or a carpenter, so I figured I’d try to go where the experts are. Thank you for taking the time to help me out.

- Ed

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