Gearing Up #1: Return to and Menards Cutting Policy

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Blog entry by bensaw posted 12-30-2008 09:31 AM 10147 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Gearing Up series Part 2: Bookshelf, coathook, and a bit of slop on the EZ. »

I finally got my 7 1/4 freud blade shipped out for replacement to today. They provided me with a return shipped label prepaid which makes me happy. Unhappy part is that it will probably be another week at least before I see a replacement…couldn’t bring myself to pay double the price to get one at Home Depot.

I just wonder why the guy placing the blade in the box couldn’t look at all 40 teeth before plopping it in there. I didn’t find the tooth in the shipping box, so I assume it was a manufacturer’s defect.

In other news I have been scoping out where to buy my first 3/4” birch plywood. I have seen some halfway decent stuff at my local Menard’s. Since I don’t have a car to fit a full 4×8 sheet, I called the store to ask if I brought my own circular saw if I could rip the sheet down to fit into my car. At first the guy gave me real attitude for some reason…then softened up and said he’d need to ask a store manager. Manager said I can cut it outside (in the parking lot) but there is no electric out there. So basically they don’t want to be accomodating at all. Looks like they lost hundreds of dollars (if not thousands over the next couple years) in plywood sales on me.

I went to my local Lowe’s and looked at their 3/4 birch. I see small voids on the ends, but they said they’ll cut it for free for me. All of the sheets on the rack had bad edges, but I’ll just count on cutting those off. So it looks like it’s the only option at this point. My local Home Depot has horrible plywood that not even I would think about using.

Dang, these 3/4 boards sure are heavy.

8 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3847 days

#1 posted 12-30-2008 01:45 PM

I agree that the service Lowe’s and Home Depot provide in cutting plywood sheets is invaluable. Even though I can haul full size sheets I find them much easier to handle if they are ripped to rough size first. It would be wonderful to have a panel saw in the shop but most of us simply do not have the room. Just to put things in perspective I once asked a local lumber yard if they would cut a sheet of plywood down for me and was quoted $50.00 for the service. Needless to say I get plywood at Lowe’s.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3621 days

#2 posted 12-30-2008 02:19 PM

Menards also has trucks that you could rent.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3789 days

#3 posted 12-30-2008 03:56 PM

If your a woodworker you should own a truck or a trailer, or have access to one, or be willing to pay the price. I’ve seen people strap stuff to the side of cars, and or the top of cars, I think it’s rediculous, dangerous, and probably not legal. I’m with Dave on this one, try working retail hardware, then maybe you’ll understand.

View bensaw's profile


50 posts in 3485 days

#4 posted 12-30-2008 07:09 PM

Whoa! Slow down cowboy.
I totally understand where the store manager is coming from. Doesn’t mean there was any effort to accomodate or answer the question in a customer friendly manner. I still love Menards and will return, just lamenting the fact I won’t be able to purchase my plywood there.

I do indeed have a vehicle which can fit 8×4 ply, but with a rather bad back at the young age of 30 I am concerned about trying to lug those big pieces around myself…I just don’t think it’s doable.

And no, I wouldn’t strap an 8×4 piece of plywood to my roof and drive down the highway.

So those of you who have used Lowe’s plywood, is it workable? Is birch still the best stuff to use (i.e. necessary?) if I’m painting it? (No MDF suggestions, please.)

View Sean's profile


156 posts in 3640 days

#5 posted 12-31-2008 02:11 AM

I’ve used Lowe’s plywood, you just need to cull thru it to get pieces that arent badly bowed or warped, which usually means the 3rd or 4th sheet down.
I would NOT suggest asking them to deliver anything. they’ll take whatever’s sitting there, damaged, warped, delaminating whatever, and bring it. 5 years ago we had some pretreated lumber delivered from home depot, i watched as they opened the back of the truck, gunned it in reverse (on the street) and slammed on their brakes so all of it just kind of flew out of the back onto the concrete. of course, he had to pull forward quickly to make sure he got it all out. on the plus side, when i called to tell them what happened, they did send someone out the next day to pick it all back up.
I dont know why the employees are so surly at the home places. Probably the low pay. I’ve worked retail most of my life, and never really come across the level of ‘why-are-you-bothering-me’ hostility you get from the lowes and menards here in fort wayne…the teenagers not so much, they seem ok and willing to help you. the guys that work there in their 30s-40s usually act like they are on their way to something important and you’re bothering them with mindless questions.

-- "Democracy is by far the worst system of government. Except all the others that have been tried." ~ Winston Churchill

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3789 days

#6 posted 12-31-2008 02:21 AM

Probably because most kids don’t have anything going on, or want too, the older folks do most of the work. Atleast that was my experience at Mac’s Hardware, horrible place to work. It’s amazeing they are still in bussiness or haven’t been sued. I could practically write a book about that freakin nightmare. I’m still pissed about that place. Can ya tell ?

View Sean's profile


156 posts in 3640 days

#7 posted 12-31-2008 02:38 AM

oh yeah, i could definitely see that. while in management, it was my experience that poor morale was caused by a. low pay/too high expectations, b. people not being appreciated and thanked for their work, and c. some people are just dicks. I’d weed out the obnoxious/lazy ones first thing. Attitude was most important when i was hiring, i could give a care less what the experience is, i can teach what they dont know. attitude is more important. So yeah, i completely agree with what you’re saying, a few lousy employees can make the whole crew feel like whats the point. What really surprised me was when i let people go for their attitude to customers or coworkers, they really could not believe they were being fired for it. I even had one person in their 20s, her mom called me up to chew me out for firing her daughter. when I pointed out how obnoxious she was behaving to the customers, ie the people that pay my salary, she said she had never heard of someone being fired for attitude, and that she’d worked retail for 20 years. I asked her where she worked, as i wanted to make sure i never shopped there. I’ve never been back to home depot. i dont care if they are selling a festool kapex for half price, i wont set foot in there.
But anyway, after completely being off topic, yeah, lowes plywood isnt bad. do yourself a favor tho and 1. get a towing trailer, that way your friends with trucks wont see you calling and think ‘damn, i know he just wants to borrow my truck again,’ and 2. cultivate a good relationship with a lumberyard. get to know em. I was on great terms with Broadview lumber here in town, stop in and talk with the fellas every now and then. they would see things come thru and set it aside for me, or call me up to tell me they were expecting some new exotics, etc. they got bought out by Big C, and the quality has gone seriously downhill. :-(

-- "Democracy is by far the worst system of government. Except all the others that have been tried." ~ Winston Churchill

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3789 days

#8 posted 12-31-2008 05:29 AM

Well I don’t understand the you could careless what their experience is comment, in that store I was probably the only employee that knew that a fish tape didn’t belong in plumbing. That particular Mac’s store manager aparently didn’t care what the employees knew either, nor did he care that one of the employees once worked at WalMart, was fired there, and banned from the property, he also didn’t care if that employee took a shower that week, trimmed his beard, or combed his long greasy hair, or that he was verbally abusive to other employees and harrassing younger female employees late at night, or hideing in the corner most of the day so he wouldn’t have to wait on customers. Thats only part of that stores problem.

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