Cheap wood 101

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Blog entry by Fatherlewis posted 10-10-2016 02:27 PM 524 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi fellow LJs.

I must say that in my first couple of months here, I have learned a lot. This place is a wealth of knowledge and good ideas, and maybe some not too good ideas. But hey, we are all adults here, and we share our triumphs and defeats, good ideas and bad(if there really is such a thing), as well as good deals, trade secrets, and all other things woodworking.

So I found a steal of a deal on the hardwood rough sawn lumber over the weekend. My excitement poured over on the inside. But then reality set in and I had to contain myself a little bit. I thought for sure what I had found was nothing less than a mis-representation of the pricing. I mean, really, this guy is selling hardwood planks, roughly 4/4” x 10” x 9’ for just $3.00? Either he is crazy or I am crazy, but either way I knew there was some form of crazy involved in this “ponzy scheme” of lumber. Nobody with any sense would sell hardwood boards this cheap, no matter how wet the wood is, because it hasn’t been dried at all yet.

So, I take the last $6 I had to my name(I actually robbed the 5 yr old’s piggy bank), HOPING it was a legit ad and not a typo. I mean, it was a 20 minute drive from my house to his, so I guess at least I had gas money to get home, in the event that the boards were really not as advertised. The $6 has since been returned to the youngster, in case any of you were wondering. He was a really good sport about that whole thing. Daddy begged, and he was more than happy to share. Aren’t kids great! But I digress….....

So, I jump in my car(yes, a car) and saunter down the road in a direction I have never gone, so not only am I diving in blind to this board chasing adventure, but I am doing it in an area I have never been into before. My excitement starts to bubble up again as I pull into this guys location. HOLY FIREWOOD! Pretty sure you could build a house out of the mound of firewood that was sitting next to his house, because it dwarfed his home on the other side of the driveway. That pile would have been my dream playground as a kid.

So, I hop out of the car and ask the guy sitting on the porch if this was the place that had the ad on Facebook(DUH!, how many other places have the Taj Mahal of firewood sitting on their property), and sure enough it is. Alright, let the fun begin. So, at this time I am wearing my favorite weekend outfit: shorts, t-shirt, and my flip flops. This guy had to be thinking I was crazy, as I am pretty sure he had to hold back laughter when I jumped out of my CAR looking like some kind of lazy city boy. He even said something along the lines of, “you not planning on taking anything home in that are you?” to which I replied, “hell yeah I am.” I didn’t drive all this way to LOOK at your boards.

I proceeded to scan through all the boards. Stacks and stacks of boards, all pretty fresh cut. You could tell that the first time you touched one. And oh how I love the smell of fresh lumber. It was great. I could see now the red and white oak. It was stacked everywhere. I was hoping to find something truly unique, but come one, I was about to steal from this man as it was, so I guess I should be grateful for what I found. No there wasn’t any walnut or exotics, but hey, $3.00 per board. You can’t buy pine for that. I settled on two pieces of nice hickory. I use the term “settled” very loosely, because I would have been happy with any of this selection at that price.

So, now the fun part. Getting these monsters in my car for the ride home. It didn’t go quite as smoothly as I had planned, but I definitely got these two boards crammed up there, riding shotgun with me. They made quite the nice armrest on the ride, and man they smelled good(did I mention that already?). I thought about keeping one in my car just to make it smell good.

I am not sure what the going rate is per board foot for hickory, but I am pretty sure it is probably between $4-5. That being said, I would have paid between $35-40 dollars for one of these boards, and I just made off with two of them for my son’s $6. Best $6 ever! Now to get them dried a bit. They will have plenty of time, as I don’t even have a planer yet, but I do have a phone number for this guy, as he procures these wood loads frequently. If only I had the money, I would build a wood shop in back of my house just so I could go buy loads of this stuff and dry it, and save it for my wood working learning curve.

I am excited that I have found a “cow” so to speak that I can get cheap lumber from on a continual basis. Affordable lumber makes this hobby that much more enjoyable.

Have a great week!

-- Zach, Ohio

5 comments so far

View Fatherlewis's profile


29 posts in 48 days

#1 posted 10-10-2016 02:41 PM

If I had $6 to my name and a child to take care of, spending time and money on lumber would be the least of my concerns.

- gargey

That was more for show…........I just don’t keep cash on my person, and a trip to the bank, meant 20 miles the opposite direction. Hence the reason he has been paid back already. Because you are absolutely correct. I wouldn’t be buying lumber if that was all the money I had. Especially if that lumber was going to sit in my garage with no practical purpose right now, because I don’t have a planer.

-- Zach, Ohio

View gargey's profile


397 posts in 198 days

#2 posted 10-10-2016 03:11 PM

Good to know.

View pintodeluxe's profile


4827 posts in 2236 days

#3 posted 10-10-2016 03:46 PM

Good to have a source for future lumber needs. I have had many adventures on lumber runs. I am usually smiling, and my boys are usually groaning about it. Either way, it’s family time together, which I love.

Now time to learn the science of lumber drying…

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View splintergroup's profile


734 posts in 645 days

#4 posted 10-10-2016 05:04 PM

Sounds like an excellent price!

I pay about $2.50 bd.-ft. for kiln dried hickory and RO. (s2s, straight line ripped). I’d love a source for rough sawn from a mill but living in a dessert kinda just an end to that dream….

View Fatherlewis's profile


29 posts in 48 days

#5 posted 10-10-2016 05:18 PM

Sounds like an excellent price!

I pay about $2.50 bd.-ft. for kiln dried hickory and RO. (s2s, straight line ripped). I d love a source for rough sawn from a mill but living in a dessert kinda just an end to that dream….

- splintergroup

I would say that is a very accurate statement about living in the desert. I guess, unless you were willing to travel hundreds of miles round trip to bring home a truck load. Shoot, if you are getting it that cheap considering your location, you still aren’t doing too bad.

Now time to learn the science of lumber drying…

- pintodeluxe

Yes, yes I suppose it is. I am learning small scale anyway.

-- Zach, Ohio

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