Yesterday I went shopping for hardwood.
In this state I am only aware of two hardwood lumber stores: MacBeath Hardwood and Intermountain Wood Products. At MacBeath’s the customer can walk into the storage area and pick out anything that fits his fancy. It is different at IWP. There you state what you are there to buy, then a fork-lift operator will take your list and will bring out a pallet, one species at a time, so you can select the boards you want. Then he will make another trip if you are buying more than one species of wood. There are pluses and minuses to this method. However, I am never sure if I am seeing their best lumber, or am I just seeing what they want to get rid of first. Their prices are generally less than the other hardwood store and it is just a mile away.
I was shopping for a nice wide black walnut board and an 8/4 cherry so I could make the benchtop for my mini-bench.
4/4 WALNUT HARD TO FIND
After an inventory of the lumber in my shop I knew I would only need one walnut board for the nightstand I would be making fir my daughter Jenny. This would be a companion to the nightstand I made her last year. I wasn’t finding any 4/4 walnut until I saw another customer with some nice boards on his cart. I said: “Is that walnut? Where did you get it?” His answer was kind of reserved. He told to talk with the floor assistant. I did. He told me check with the guy at the register. The price was going to be over $14 a board foot. I told him I only needed one board for my project. He disappeared and returned saying I could buy it. I picked out one that could work as my drawer front, plus sides panels, if needed.
This is an odd way to find walnut, isn’t it? I do not know if this is an issue everywhere like the floor assistant told me, or just a problem with this store’s supplier. Do you guys know what’s going on? Why is good 4/4 walnut so hard to find?
BEAUTIFUL 8/4 CHERRY
Well, after all of that I found such a nice 8/4 cherry board that I could not walk away without it. It was exactly what I needed for my mini-bench’s benchtop. It was nearly 10 inches wide and just over 10 feet long. Its longer than I needed but I could also make my bench hooks from a short piece of it. The rest I could save for a new cherry end table project. I could get four beautiful tapered legs from this beautiful cherry board.
I also was shopping for 3/4 inch maple plywood, but I did not need a full sheet. Carrying or storing extra sheets of plywood in my shop is one thing I really do not want to do. These extra pieces of sheet goods linger forever. So I asked if they had any half or 60 by 60 sheets. The answer I got was there might be some in their stack of damaged sheets. We would look there. It was then that I realized that for the “show” leg assemblies I already had those pieces of plywood in my shop. What I needed the additional plywood for was for parts of the nightstands that would never be seen. They were shelf partrs for the drawer, etc. I told him he did not need to look further. I knew my local Lowes had maple plywood that would work for me in these unseen parts of the nightstands.
Take a look at the walnut and cherry I came home with… You probably notice a little bit of sap wood, but not much.
This is the rest of my walnut that is in lumber racks that the new board needs to fit in with.
THREE PROJECTS TO BUILD
I woke up early in the morning today as usual. I have been up an hour already. One more and I will begin getting my garage woodshop setup for mill the lumber for these three projects:
1) Walnut nightstand,
2) two maple nightstands with cherry drawers and a mirror frame for the dresser I made last year, and finally
3) a mini-bench per Steve Latta’s design for my shop.
I will mill my lumber in two stages; a initial oversized stage where I will let those parts acclimate to my shop. Then I will process those lumber parts a second time when I actually begin to use and size them to final dimensions.
Since I may have use of the mini-bench to build these nightstand and mirror frame, I will build it first. Fun Let’s go. Let’s go. As my son’s football coach would say. Let’s go.
-- --- Happy Howie