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What is your experience with your local big box store?

by b2rtch
posted 07-25-2012 05:39 PM


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90 replies

90 replies so far

View Alexandre's profile

Alexandre

1417 posts in 915 days


#1 posted 07-25-2012 05:46 PM

My local store is Home Depot.
It is horrible.
They stock absolute JUNK and they are really expensive.
I hardly shop there, I usually have my parents drive me to Home Depot Cambridge, Which is around 25 mins away.
The Guelph HD has half the stuff the HD in Cambridge has, and Guelph is double the price.
Their (Guelph) customer service is horrible, and most of the staff, you ask them to help you look for something, they say: ” GO GET IT YOURSELF”.’
I really only go to the Guelph one if we need something desperately/urgent.
My experience with the Guelph HD: 2 stars outta 5
My experience with the Cambridge HD: 4 stars outta 5

-- My terrible signature...

View RKW's profile

RKW

326 posts in 2171 days


#2 posted 07-25-2012 05:47 PM

I spent 30 minutes walking around lowes looking for help and found none. I finally found a guy on a man lift changing a light bulb and there was five employees standing there watching him. I hate these places, but always find myself needing something from them. Yes, i usually find what i need, and the prices are ok, but i hate dealing with the people there. I would rather go to smaller stores that offer expertise and customer service but those types of places are almost no more.

-- RKWoods

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Kookaburra

748 posts in 948 days


#3 posted 07-25-2012 05:49 PM

HD is closest. Employees are totally clueless and stuff is often shelved in really weird places.

BUT they have a lot of stuff and the prices are good. I don’t usually buy wood there but I do buy finishing supplies, glue, simple tools like screwdrivers and hammers, cleaning supplies, the sort of stuff that that turns a lot of volume. I generally find what I am looking for, but I still do not like going there. Actually, I hate shopping in general, it seems such a waste of time.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View lumberjoe's profile

lumberjoe

2847 posts in 972 days


#4 posted 07-25-2012 05:53 PM

What is your experience with your local big box store?
I’ve posted about it before. My local Home Deopt is awesome

Do you normally find what you are looking for?
7 out of 10 times. I know EXACTLY what they carry because I am in there so much. I wish they had a bigger tool collection

Does it normally carry a good assortment of the things you are looking for?
No, but like many here, I am not your typical woodworking consumer. A place like Rockler or Woodcraft is better suited to my needs. A big box store is not the best place for that kind of inventory

Are the prices fair?
Yes
Are the employees helpful?
Exceptionally. Almost too helpful. If they took tips, I would probably tip them
Is it a Lowes, a Home Depot or another store?
Home Depot. There is a Lowes about 20 minutes from me, and about 5 minutes from my office. I despise both of those stores. Unfriendly, unhelpful employees. Generally speaking, their selection of everything is crap, and their prices are absurd. If you think home depot is expensive for their small hardwood selection (and they are), look around at lowes. More expensive than HD, and the stuff was either S1S or S2S! At least home depot has the decency to stock S4S lumber with the 100% lumber mill mark-up. At lowes you pay twice the lumber mill prices, AND have to joint/plane it

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View Mosquito's profile

Mosquito

5046 posts in 1016 days


#5 posted 07-25-2012 05:53 PM

I have had good experiences with Menards, which is my big box of choice usually. I do go to Lowes or Home Depot if I’m looking for a specific brand though. I would agree that the Lowes I usually go to aren’t terribly helpful. The Home Depot I go to usually isn’t horrible, but it is quite hit or miss, in terms of customer service and/or helpfulness.

One of the issues I see with the big box stores is in the “good assortment” area… So often the big 3 (around here, Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards) don’t carry the same brands, because then they don’t have to try to price match each other as often.

In my experiences, Menards is routinely cheaper than Home Depot by a little bit, but Home Depot sales and/or clearance prices are better.

I worked at Menards for 3 summers while in college, so I can usually find what I’m looking for quickly and easily, not usually requiring any help.

The main thing that I don’t like about Menards (apart from personal things with the company) is that they historically don’t do very well filling the middle ground. By that, I mean they have the “Tool Shop” line, which are 90% of the time complete garbage, and I consider to be a “disposable” tool, and then they have the Bosch, Hitachi, etc that are higher end. They usually aim at either the DIYer who only needs a tool for a random job once or twice, or the all out contractor that needs something bulletproof. They’re getting better with some of the new Masterforce stuff (which is still a Menards brand, like Tool Shop, they just knock off better tools). That’s why I go to Home Depot sometimes for tools. I don’t need a $200 circular saw, but I’d like more than a $20 Tool Shop as well… or similar such situation.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist - www.youtube.com/MosquitoMods

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Alexandre

1417 posts in 915 days


#6 posted 07-25-2012 05:55 PM

Canadian tire is better for me… They just dont sell lumber…

-- My terrible signature...

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ScottStewart

114 posts in 856 days


#7 posted 07-25-2012 06:21 PM

I have access to both HD and Lowes. Both have pretty decent websites anymore showing inventory, so generally I am trying to make a surgical strike. Mostly I buy hardware or dimensional lumber from them. The dimensional lumber is horrendously knotty, and you have to plan on going through a whole stack to find 1-2 acceptable boards. HD here seems to have slightly better prices on electrical, Lowes slightly bettter on everything else. Lowes seems to have help around if I want to ask where something is (Don’t ask how to do something, they are more clueless than your are), I can never find help at HD.

As far as tools go, for expensive tools, I can generally find better prices somewhere else/Amazon. If I want cheap tools, I go to Harbor Fright.

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woodklutz

221 posts in 1492 days


#8 posted 07-25-2012 06:48 PM

My choice of brick and mortar store is Menards, good help, good assortment of mid price tools.
My first choice is Amazon, hands down, almost every tool you can desire is available at the lowest price and they stand behind what they sell. Never a problem with returning a faulty product and shipping is free.
As a former retail executive I maintain that this company could show every retailer how a business should be run.

-- honing my craft one mistake at a time.

View Richforever's profile

Richforever

739 posts in 2444 days


#9 posted 07-25-2012 06:48 PM

My Home Depot experience is that the enterprise software computer drives every decision. People try to be helpful, but don’t have training or access to data. Those who know things are soon fired for “giving out too much info” rather than aiming for a sale.

I go there less and less, but the last time I asked the guy mixing paints if he could put a couple of squirts of red tint in my oil-based Minwax stain. He said he’d have to ask the computer. The computer said “no”. I asked if that was because it was water-based tint rather than oil-based tint. He said that the computer wouldn’t tell him.

I went to Woodcraft and bought the German-made Mixol universal tint that worked very well.

This is just one of a long series of experiences that would be great on late-night comedy TV.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4351 posts in 1772 days


#10 posted 07-25-2012 06:55 PM

I like Amazon very much too and I spend a lot of moeny on their site but my wife keeps remind me that we need to support our local businesses as they provide work to those around us, including us.

-- Bert

View Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist

5218 posts in 2032 days


#11 posted 07-25-2012 07:09 PM

There is a Lowes about 15 minutes from my house and I but my spray lacquer and sheet sandpaper there. I have also bought the Valspar paint there when I painted my barn, deck, porch and interior rooms of the house. I buy tools there such as tape measures and plug cutters and some drill bits. No power tools...however. Definitely not lumber.
Most of the employees I have encounterred there don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground….however, the people in the electrical department are about the only exception I have noticed.

My wife always gets durt and cypress mulch for the gardens there…since their prices are good. We bought 4 new garden hoses there just recently to replace some ancient ones.

-- Each step of every Wood Art project I design and build is considered my masterpieceā€¦ because I want the finished product to reflect the quality and creativeness of my work

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BTimmons

2165 posts in 1209 days


#12 posted 07-25-2012 07:10 PM

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BlankMan

1487 posts in 2077 days


#13 posted 07-25-2012 07:11 PM

I have a number of both Home Depot’s and Lowes in my area but their prices are usually higher then my first choice which is Menards. So I usually shop at Menards and only fallback to HD or Lowes if that is the only place I can get an item I’m looking for.

But for a lot of things my real first choice is ACE Hardware. We have 4 Elliot’s ACE Hardware’s that have a lot of the hard to find things that I’m looking for that the BB stores don’t carry and their prices are competitive. I also default to those ACE’s for hardware like screws, nuts, bolts, etc. because the quality is better and the selection far exceeds the BB stores. And the fact I can buy 1 or 2 and not 25 or 100 is an additional plus. I stock up on that hardware when they have one of there 20% off bag sales by buying boxes or 100’s. Not only for the cost savings but so that I don’t run out in the middle of a project. Hate that.

And when purchasing my big ticket items like my Unisaw, DJ-20, bandsaw, etc. Tennis Hardware in West Bend, WI, is my go to place even though it’s a bit of a drive. They don’t meet others price they flat out beat them by a substantial amount without even knowing others prices.

And I have also bought big ticket items at the local Woodcraft and Rockler stores. Woocraft when they have their 10% off sale, and Rockler when I just get so sweet of a deal, like my Oneida Cyclone years ago when they had them at the store.

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 972 days


#14 posted 07-25-2012 07:16 PM

Woodcraft 10/15% of sale is this Friday and Saturday. I may or may not be sleeping in my car for a few weeks when my wife sees the charge for the Rikon 10-325 deluxe 14” bandsaw.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View exelectrician's profile

exelectrician

1714 posts in 1151 days


#15 posted 07-25-2012 07:32 PM

Lowes – Fantastic store, indispensable place to get low cost lumber. Surely it is unreasonable to expect minimum wage employees to give botique level help, however I have had wonderful help in the plumbing department where my knowledge level is nonexistant and the guys working at my Lowes are real explumbers.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4351 posts in 1772 days


#16 posted 07-25-2012 07:38 PM

exelectrician, “your” Lowes seems to be the exception.
I am glad for you.
The lumber in “my” Lowes is terrible and expensive and they have no assortment.

-- Bert

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b2rtch

4351 posts in 1772 days


#17 posted 07-25-2012 07:39 PM

lumberjoe, I need to send you a picture of the table I made for my 14” band saw.

-- Bert

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oldretiredjim

183 posts in 1109 days


#18 posted 07-25-2012 07:46 PM

go to both HD and L. like HD better. we have a few rentals and always need paint and drywall products. i really like the behr paints from HD. HD employees are for the most part older guys that escaped the contracting downturn in 2008. very knowledgeable and helpful. i buy a little lumber for outdoor projects but never buy sheet goods from them. there is a MacBeath’s hardwood close and if i think they have what i want i go there. they regularly have 12 ply 3/4” paintable birch for $39. same price as HD sells their project grade, 5 ply, football loaded, lots of voids, prone to warp, junk for (did i miss anything).

View Charlie's profile

Charlie

1064 posts in 1010 days


#19 posted 07-25-2012 07:57 PM

I have a pair of HD 15 minutes from me in opposite directions. Lowes is about 25 minutes away in a usually-quite-congested area. I rarely go to Lowes. Since I got my planer, I don’t buy hardwoods from either of these places. ..... wait… I take that back… if I just need one piece of pine or poplar for something, I might grab it there KNOWING I’m going to pay way too much for it. Sheetgoods I get from a local hardwood and plywood place. I get some hardwood from them (rough cut, straight line ripped one edge), but primarily I’ve been shopping Craigslist lately for hardwoodsand doing pretty good.

I used HD for ductwork, duct insulation, plumbing parts and stuff like that. One HD has a very knowledgeable and helpful lady in electrical who knows her stuff. Retired or escaped the trade I’m guessing. The other HD has a good plumbing person.

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 972 days


#20 posted 07-25-2012 08:13 PM

If it’s anything like your unisaw table, please do! That was my inspiration to begin the shop cleanout.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

View JBfromMN's profile

JBfromMN

107 posts in 1500 days


#21 posted 07-25-2012 08:14 PM

In the upper Midwest, Menards is the first choice. About 3 different ones withing 30mins of home. 2 of the 3 locations have a Home Depot not far away. HD is good for some tools, but do not expect any help. Menards by me, you ask for something and who ever you ask will walk you to what you are looking for, even if not in their department and all the way across the store.

HD the people there will just point you in the right direction or give you the isle number.

Ace Hardware, is much closer and if you only need 1 or 2 odd items I will go there. However the price is much higher.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4351 posts in 1772 days


#22 posted 07-25-2012 08:16 PM

So far it seems that everyone is happy with Menards

-- Bert

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lumberjoe

2847 posts in 972 days


#23 posted 07-25-2012 08:18 PM

There is an Ace about 1/8 of a mile from me. I rarely go there because their prices are SO high compared to everyone else. The only time I go there is like someone else mentioned – for hardware. Meaning machine screws, nuts and bolts etc. I may pick up the occasional lawn and leaf bag there as well. My ACE actually has a pretty decent selection of finishes, but they are outrageously expensive, and I have a Woodcraft 3 miles away in the same direction.

-- www.etsy.com/shop/KandJWoodCrafts

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Mainiac Matt

4341 posts in 1052 days


#24 posted 07-25-2012 08:31 PM

I have multiple HDs and one Lowes to chose from… 19 out of 20 trips are to the same HD.

My experience is good, because I am intimately aquainted with everything they do and don’t have, and I don’t go there expecting to find something they don’t have.

For the most part, I avoid their help, as I find that I usually know more about the topics at hand than they do.

The the Lowes store is newer and prettier, HDs prices are significantly lower.

Aside for dimensional construction lumber (SPF, PT or CDX plywood) I don’t go there looking for wood.

I have scored some really good tools at very low prices at HD, as I usually cruise the tool aisle and check for clearance sales on anything of particular interest. Recently I picked up a PC biscuit jointer and a Bosch router for much less than Amazon’s price.

I get most all of my fasteners there…. becasue I know they have what I need.

So in summary…. my philosophy on the BORG is that “it is what it is” and as long as I don’t expect it to be something else, I’m happy.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

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TheBoxStoreCraftsman

37 posts in 864 days


#25 posted 07-25-2012 08:37 PM

I use both HD, Lowes and Ace Hardware. I can’t complain about the service and I usually find what I need and at a fair price. I tend to agree with exelectrician – the plumbing dept is their strong suit in my area as well.

The smaller stores around here usually want an arm & leg for the same fitting or outlet you can buy at the box stores a lot cheaper.

I buy a lot online as well. Do you consider Woodcraft, Rockler, etc…..box stores? I think they fall in that category.

-- The project is never finished until the workbench is full of tools!"

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DrDirt

2542 posts in 2466 days


#26 posted 07-25-2012 08:41 PM

+1 menards
For most stuff they carry their brand (masterforce) and a real brand name. So you can go in and choose what level of tool you want to buy side by side
So you can buy Jorgensen bar clamps, or the Masterforce version.

For QUick clamps – - Masterforce or Irwin….

Same with nailers and powertools.

Even on things like 1HP dust collectors – they have delta and Rikon (no store brand on that one).

Also like their plywood. Not perfect but way better than Lowes.

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

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JayT

2534 posts in 935 days


#27 posted 07-25-2012 09:15 PM

OK, I’ll be the dissenting voice on Menard’s. They opened a store here last year and I absolutely HATE it when I have to go in there. Way too many items routinely out of stock (as much as half in some sections), disorganized, and the staff are absolutely clueless. I gave them a chance when they opened, but after repeated bad experiences with product availability, product quality and staff who care nothing about customers, I would just as soon never set foot in there again.

Menard’s only saving grace is that they have a large store so can stock items you can’t find anywhere else in town. We just bought a ceiling fan there for the kitchen because Lowe’s didn’t have a color/style combination my wife liked. Luckily it was in stock—there were three holes of out of stock items surrounding the one she wanted. Out of stocks are not because they are that busy, either. I have seen items be out of stock continuously for over a month.

The Lowe’s here is hit and miss by department. Some are really well run and others not so much. Closest HD is an hour away. Pricing at Lowe’s and Menard’s is nearly identical. I shop locally owned places when possible, but if I have to go to one of the boxes, I much prefer Lowe’s and only go to Menard’s as an absolute last resort.

-- "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money." Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835

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sixstring

296 posts in 967 days


#28 posted 07-25-2012 09:39 PM

HD and Loews are both in town but I go to HD given a choice. If I need a question answered, I go to ACE Hardware where the folks are knowledgeable and very helpful but their stock is generally lacking

-- JC Garcia, Concord, CA : "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission..."

View Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg..the Cajun Wood Artist

5218 posts in 2032 days


#29 posted 07-25-2012 10:02 PM

Never heard of a Mernards before. Many posts seem to like them but apparently they are not in southern Louisiana. Maybe they should open one up around here and give HD and Lowes a run.

-- Each step of every Wood Art project I design and build is considered my masterpieceā€¦ because I want the finished product to reflect the quality and creativeness of my work

View toolie's profile

toolie

1770 posts in 1352 days


#30 posted 07-25-2012 10:26 PM

fair
yes
no
yes
only 3 employees know their fields thoroughly and reliably
home depot. there are no lowes in westchester county, ny. one of the wealthiest counties in america and no lowes. that one’e got me stumped.

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

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BlankMan

1487 posts in 2077 days


#31 posted 07-25-2012 10:26 PM

Hey Jay, you work for Lowes or HD? ;-)

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

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Mickey Cassiba

312 posts in 1755 days


#32 posted 07-25-2012 10:26 PM

I us both of the box stores from time to time. I get high enthusiasm, low knowledge responses. It’s okay. If I need real service, I hit the Mom & Pops…

-- One of these hammers oughta fix that...

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dbhost

5386 posts in 1956 days


#33 posted 07-25-2012 10:38 PM

We have Lowes, Home Depot, and Sutherlands here.

Both are a pain in the backside. Home Depot near me anyway has a MUCH better tool department, and the paint folks are downright good at what they do. The rest of the store however stinks…

Lowes tends to be cleaner, better laid out, and has more helpful / knowledgeable staff, lumber quality at Lowes is MUCH higher than Home Depot, and product selection in the various departments tends to be better. Electrical, plumbing etc… actually has parts to get actual projects done. However it comes at a price. Lowes is considerably higher priced compared to Home Depot…

Sutherlands tends to be more oriented toward people actually making stuff, or repairing stuff from scratch. However they also tend to want to sell you a truckload at once, and it is all special order… A bit of a pain, but Lowes and Home Depot don’t seem to want to be bothered by special orders…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

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Grandpa

3193 posts in 1399 days


#34 posted 07-25-2012 10:50 PM

My nearest HD and Lowe’s is about 45 minutes away. They are physically located half a block apart. They are about the same. The wood selection is nonexistant. The help is not to be found. If you can get help they don’t know anything and tell you to order the item off the internet. That seems to be the trend today. The young people think there will always be a supply of old people that are not able to order off the internet and will come to the store. I tried to explain the the old people are dieing and that THEY are the next generation of old people and there will be no jobs for people like them. They just don’t get it. I was in a HD store that is about 1 1/2 hours away. There was a lady in the tool dept that knew her business and was excellant. Just hate to drive that far. My local lumber yard is a better source for some things. Home owned and operated. They were 50% lower for a box of utility screws that ACE. I do like and frequent ACE hardware. They have a place and fill a need. HD and Lowe’s don’t fill that need very often.

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Howie

2656 posts in 1647 days


#35 posted 07-25-2012 11:09 PM

I’ve worked part time for both Lowes and HD. I hired in to HD after retiring from construction with 32 years in the plumbing and pipefitting industry. Where did HD place me? In the home and garden department. That explains a lot about HD and also explains why I left. Went to Lowes,it was ok. I was fortunate to work with people that came out of the trades like I did and knew something about something. Not all these stores are created equal and a lot has to do with the store manager which will tell you he is the store manager and not to question him.
The one thing I detested about Lowes…those damn call buttons. After you hear them all day long you get sick of them. and now they are in Spanish too. I still cringe when iI go in Lowes and hear them.
Frankly I like Menards but none close to me in Florida.

-- Life is good.

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Blackie_

3600 posts in 1236 days


#36 posted 07-25-2012 11:12 PM

I have several to choose from both HD and Lowes are very close to me so depends on what I am looking for, it seems though that Lowes carries the items I need over HD they never have squat. I have a couple of lumber suppliers close by and a local woodcraft though it’s on the other side of town and being in Austin one of the worst cities for traffic congestion I have to pick the perfect times for travel, If I can get what I need on the bike then I normally take the bike.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

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Bill White

3541 posts in 2684 days


#37 posted 07-25-2012 11:30 PM

I guess that I’m a lucky soul. My Lowe’s is very good. I bought a bunch of stuff from ‘em during the building of our new home. They’re really workin’ to stomp HD and they are doin’ a good job of it. I rarely go to HD unless its for the Ridgid vac. (filters, etc.).
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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Woodmaster1

523 posts in 1311 days


#38 posted 07-25-2012 11:44 PM

I like my local doitbest hardware, they are very helpful. If they don’t have it the product will be there on the next delivery day. They cost a little more than HD but it is 5 mi. away. I figure in the cost of gas and the price difference equals out.

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1792 days


#39 posted 07-26-2012 12:01 AM

As much as I dislike answering a question with a question, I’ll ask “For what?”

A big box wouldn’t be on my list of sources for good quality wood products for my cabinet/furniture business. I get those at a genuine lumber yard. That yard also sells wood filler and Titebond glue at around 50% more than HD or my local ACE Hardware.

The employees at the lumber yard are very knowledgeable about their products and have helped me select boards on several occasions – and told me that I should buy my glue somewhere else. – lol.

The employees at the big boxes seem to be all over the map. I’ve noticed that knowlegable employees there seem to follow rises and falls in construction. When construction is slow some of the workers show up at HD (wearing aprons, not standing at the entrance to the parking lot – lol) and the quality of the help goes up. When construction is good, however, most of the employees are green kids who barely know a nail from a brad.

For materials, I find big boxes pretty good. Their business model is all about high volume and they use their buying power to get rock bottom prices from their suppliers. You won’t get much knowlegable advice about the relative merits of Moen v.s. Price Pfister sink fixtures, but the price will be lower than the plumbing supply store where they could help you with that. IOW, if you know what you want, the big box is probably the best deal. If you need technical help, you’re better off at a speciality store.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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Raymond Thomas

180 posts in 942 days


#40 posted 07-26-2012 12:20 AM

I live within 8 miles of 2 Lowes stores and 1 HD store – all three employees won’t bother with helping you unless you are a contractor and then you see 3-5 employees fawning over the contractor and tripping over each other to help him.

Luckily, I only go to these stores for the fast consumables (glue, staples, nails and clamps). Otherwise, I will drive to Woodcraft (16 miles – one-way) or local lumber yards. At least at Woodcraft’s the employees will have the answer or find some options for your cosideration.

-- Raymond, Charlotte, NC -------- Demonstrate the difference!

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Dan Lyke

1488 posts in 2849 days


#41 posted 07-26-2012 12:35 AM

Within the same basic distance I have a Lowe’s, a Home Depot, a Friedman’s. I try to avoid all of them, but when I need something that a trade or indie store doesn’t carry, I go to Friedman’s, Lowe’s, and Home Depot, in that order.

Friedman’s is hit-or-miss, they’re local, they have the largest selection of the three, but they sometimes have some gaps, and help can either be amazingly good, or non-existent. And they often have cheaper (as distinct from inexpensive) options.

Lowe’s has the best selection of mid-range stuff, the staff generally doesn’t know, but they’ll tell you they don’t know.

Home Depot wins for arrogant staff who don’t really know and who will answer your question with irrelevant answers. The selection is usually the cheapest crap possible, but every once in a while they’ll have that specific form-factor circuit breaker.

But I’d much rather buy my tools from Fred Fritz and his family, my lumber from Mead Clark Lumber Company, and if I need specialty plywood head on up to Mount Storm. And right now I’m stocked up on hardwood, but I don’t even bother for that at the big box stores.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

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jumbojack

1203 posts in 1348 days


#42 posted 07-26-2012 12:40 AM

Here in Sacramento, a woodworkers mecca, we have it all. Several specialty hardwood outlets, HD, Lowes, what have you. My favorite place for hardware is our local ACE. This place is great. They actually have people working that are on top of their game. An electrical guy, with an accent, several plumbing guys, paint guys and gal that are friendly knowledgeable.
I usually stop at our local Woodcraft store once a week, just to be there. If at least two guys dont ask me if I’ve found what I’m looking for I am surprised. Maybe they think I’m casing the joint. They are having a sale on Curly Maple this month and Cherry in August.
Home Depot…....I usually only buy Poplar there. It is usually in pretty good shape and they always have tons of it. Oh and framing lumber too. Plywood is pure crap at HD. I get that at Hughes Hardwood, another great place. The staff is not so friendly but their inventory is fantastic.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1792 days


#43 posted 07-26-2012 01:35 AM

Jack -
Do you have Aura Hardwood there? That’s who I use and they’re great.

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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cutworm

1065 posts in 1517 days


#44 posted 07-26-2012 01:43 AM

Went to Lowes this evening. They had a CMT dado set on clearance. I was 5th in line to checkout. Phone rings and the cashier goes into a detailed conversation with someone. We are all standing there looking like we smell something bad.
In HD there is never much of a line and they are usually pretty helpful. I typically go there first and only go to Lowes when it is necessary. Like a CMT dado set for $39. I go but usually complain…..

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

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BentheViking

1753 posts in 1288 days


#45 posted 07-26-2012 01:44 AM

I like HD less than lowes, but for certain things I don’t like either. Lumber I typically find better quality for less money there. Paint I’d rather go to Sherwin Williams. Tools I go where ever I can get the best deal on what I am looking for. I love laughing at all their high prices on flooring and things that go with flooring like molding and transition pieces. At the end of the day most of the time I’m my own associate at these stores because I can’t find anyone to help and if I do they don’t know what their talking about other than maybe which aisle something is in.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Uncle_Salty's profile

Uncle_Salty

182 posts in 1797 days


#46 posted 07-26-2012 01:49 AM

Hate em all, but they have put the locally owned places out of business in both Topeka and Lawrence, Kansas. Sutherlands moved into Topeka last fall and Menards just opened up.

I have posted a couple of blogs about Lowes and I don’t set foot in there anymore.

I’d have to say I go to HD the most. Best lumber, best tools, best prices over all.

I usually buy my lumber from an industrial supplier. The sheet stock is a little more expensive than the box stores, but the edges are straight and the corners are square. The Harwood prices are 50%-200% cheaper than the box stores. And they deliver on their route for $10 per drop!

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2697 posts in 1075 days


#47 posted 07-26-2012 02:01 AM

I buy a lot of stuff at Lowe’s. But you gotta know what you need and generally the help there isn’t much. I don’t buy much lumber there, except for MDF and sometimes birch ply wood. I also buy pine lumber there. There is a trick to getting high quality pine from Lowe’s lumber rack. The trick is to go to the rack w/ the widest boards Those boards are usually cut from the center of the tree. If you rip out the center few inches you are left w/ twol high quality 1/4 sawn boards. Of course these boards are narrower, if your project calls for wider boards then you have to glue them together or go a different route. But if your project calls for boards 4” or less in width you can get that pretty easily using this trick. Even with the waste this is cheap way to get decent lumber at the home center. It goes w/o saying that you have to select the right boards, and will spend some time picking through the rack eliminating boards with twist or excessive cup. Look at the end grain that will tell you whether there is 1/4 sawn material in that board.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Alexandre

1417 posts in 915 days


#48 posted 07-26-2012 02:08 AM

Best thing for lumber there at a big box store, buy SPF 2×12/2×16 and resaw it… It’s really good.

-- My terrible signature...

View Rick M.'s profile (online now)

Rick M.

4346 posts in 1104 days


#49 posted 07-26-2012 06:42 AM

HD is closer and more convenient but the product arrangement is poor and I always have trouble finding stuff. Half the time I end up going to Lowes anyway. But their customer service is very good.

Lowes location is less convenient but the product arrangement is very intuitive and I can find what I need very quickly. They have a better selection and are less likely to be out of stock. The customer service varies a lot though from poor to very good.

Lumber at both is very poor.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View Richard's profile

Richard

400 posts in 1415 days


#50 posted 07-26-2012 08:52 AM

They both suck. I treat both Lowes and HD like I do the mall. I only go in when I absolutely cannot avoid it and I am going for a specific purchase.

I use both Lowes and HD’s web sites to determine stocking levels and which store has it. HD has a smartphone app that will tell you which isle an item is on, which is a time saver and lets me avoid know-nothing staff. So there is at least that.

Dimensional lumber at both sucks out loud most of the time. Any time I am at either one to buy lumber I know it is going to be a minimum of an hour, “board sorting” to find acceptable pieces.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

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