A few years ago me and my friend Mike were talking about woodworking and he told me of a sawmill that had great prices on unseasoned wood. We went together and bought about 1000 board feet of mixed hardwoods, oak, maple, and poplar. We got it for $300. It was from a mill near a farm his family had near Rio Grande, Ohio. I bought my half sight unseen. I just had to have the wood. And at $150 for 500 bd ft, how could I go wrong? I didn’t think about (or realize) the fact that I only had a small Ford Ranger pickup, I lived an hour and a half away from where his farm was, and was another 20 minutes past that to get to the lumber. And that the lumber would be in huge dimensions. Didn’t know and didn’t care. In hindsight, if the same offer came up today I would still do it.
Anyway, I drove the hour and a half to Mikes. Mike and I then went to the mill and asked them if they could deliver the lumber to Mike’s. They said they could but it would be the following week. So another long drive back home and back the following weekend. We patiently waited on the lumber truck. Mike had a pretty good idea how big the dimensions would be but didn’t say anything. The truck slowly came lumbering up the hill to his farm. It was an 18-wheeler size truck with a flat bed covered with wood from one end to the other. I stood there thinking how in the world will I be able to haul my part home? The boards were on average 16” to 20” wide, a minimum 5/4 rough stock, and typically 19’ long. There were also 2×8 cuts in the same lengths, and 4×4 posts in 10-12’ lengths. I stood there with my deer-in-the-headlights stare and slowly looked at Mike. Mike grinned and said ‘Merry Christmas!’.
At first we tried to unload it board by board but that was a futile effort as it was going to take all week with that approach. We came up with the idea to tie ropes around it and then tie the other ends to fence posts and literally drag it off of the bed of the truck. Our first attempt failed as the rope broke so we went into the nearest town and bought a bunch of nylon ropes. That worked. With a resounding crash the lumber came off of the truck one stack at a time. We worked for two days (more trips for me) to get it out of the weather and into his barn. He let me keep my half there and pick it up as I could. I must have made 20 trips in my little Ranger. And I fondly remember the boards hanging out 10’ or so out the back. I did have a red flag on it :). The truck bed sagged fearfully all the way home and I couldn’t drive more than 40 mph. But the whole time I kept thinking of what I would do with all of this beautiful lumber. Most of it was clear. Absolutely beautiful material. I still have about half of it after ten years. I’m planning on using some of it for the Morris chairs I hope to build this summer. Even though we worked our tails off, it was worth it and that was the most fun I’d had in a long time. And at that price I’d do it again in a heartbeat.