LumberJocks

Low Budget Quarter Sawn Out Of Construction Lumber At The Box Store

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Review by TObenhuber posted 09-03-2015 12:46 AM 15159 views 3 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Low Budget Quarter Sawn Out Of Construction Lumber At The Box Store Low Budget Quarter Sawn Out Of Construction Lumber At The Box Store Low Budget Quarter Sawn Out Of Construction Lumber At The Box Store Click the pictures to enlarge them

After completing my recent coffee table, I posted it and mentioned that being picky in the big box store is very worth while. The 2 in. x 12 in. x 12 ft. Premium #2 & Better Douglas Fir Lumber is a great section to look through. With very little effort you can pull out a piece that is pretty straight. Nothing you couldn’t cut into smaller pieces and eliminate most of the cup, bow or warping with a little milling.

It is pretty wet as described on the website (19%ish) but you can let it dry as long as you want to get the moisture level you are requiring. Me, so far I have had pretty good luck with a minimal wait time. LOL!!! The time it takes to drive home and start making saw dust. About an hour or two sometimes.

I have laminated tops and other project pieces with some movement by the morning. Usually minimal for the projects I have been doing. Mostly rough, rustic type projects. You know, beginner projects. I can usually push or pound them back into the position I planned for them to be in according to the plans. I should probably learn to have more patients for drying but none of the tops I have made thus far have split or cracked into thousands of pieces. At least that’s how I picture it in my mind. The one night stand I made with this wet wood has a few minor splits in the end grade but nothing that has reached the surface and its been a couple years now and a move from the pacific northwest to the DC area. We all know how careful movers can be.

As for the price, Using some basic calculations, its about 50% more expensive as compared to several 2 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft. SPF. No faulting using SPF 2X4’s (heck, the 70% off cull lumber rack in the back with the purple paint has been a frequent stop for me) because I have used plenty of those starting out and quarter sawn 2×4s can be found. It takes a lot of time and a lot of sorting through the stack till folks start looking at you like you are a crazy man. I especially like it when the contractors start watching and wondering what you are doing. Just say, “Where’s my precious, I lost my precious” a couple times and folks usually leave you alone. PS, please let me know if you try that and take a video. Post it to my facebook page and I would be so proud of you.

The 50% more expensive really sucks when it comes to suggesting to the wife that I would like to try another project. Now with the use of Google Sketchup I know before hand cost to within 5-10% and I can show my wife what I am thinking so she can decide what she would like different before I start cutting. Its cheaper that way.

Trust me, the work flow of building in Sketchup and then wife proofing it is a woodworking technique not often mentioned on this page. It can save some serious money. Being a beginner and low budget minded, take my word. LEARN SKETCHUP!!! There is no saw nor sand paper that can help you get a better low budget result than prior planning. Jay Bates on Youtube has some great how to videos and breaks it down to where if you are able to use the Lumberjocks webpage. You can use Sketchup with a little more patients. Not to mention Google Sketchup Make paired with Cutlist Extension is FREE!!! Now thats a price even I can afford but I digress.

Link to Google Sketchup Make Download:
http://www.sketchup.com/download

On the plus side, the 50% more expense goes toward a grain that is much much tighter and the possibility of gleaning the quarter sawn Premium #2 Better Douglas Fir (at least that’s what we have here locally at the box store). I call that a win.

At the end of the day, my wife and budget are the deciding factors at my house.

My suggestion, if you are very new and still deciding if you like woodworking. Or, in the words of Yoda, “Much to learn you still have.” fits you the best. 2×4s at the Big Box Store are the way to go or heck the cull lumber 70% off rack with the purple painted pieces. Any of them, just start making something and build some experience. If you get the bug, have acquired a couple beginner skills and the confidence (You know that means wife’s permission) to spend a little more. Don’t be scared and upgrade to the next rack.

Enjoy the process of learning and Be Safe.

-- Travis, Virginia, www.facebook.com/CreativeWoodworksHybla




View TObenhuber's profile

TObenhuber

154 posts in 1290 days



21 comments so far

View Kurt T. Kneller's profile

Kurt T. Kneller

126 posts in 1061 days


#1 posted 09-03-2015 01:01 AM

I have done the same thing for some shop carts. Although I do buy mine at a lumber yard in Ann Arbor.
The selection has proved better than the BORG. Their lumber is stored outside under cover, so it seems to be less wet and I have not had any noticeable moves like I did with the stuff at the BORG. With a little planning you can definitely get some nice straight grained and clear pieces from their 2 X 12’s

-- Start with ten, end with ten.......

View TObenhuber's profile

TObenhuber

154 posts in 1290 days


#2 posted 09-03-2015 01:12 AM

Thanks for reading my post and commenting. I appreciate it.

-- Travis, Virginia, www.facebook.com/CreativeWoodworksHybla

View rhybeka's profile

rhybeka

3151 posts in 2819 days


#3 posted 09-03-2015 10:49 AM

Great post, Kurt! Being that the big blue BORG is closest to me, I have fairly decent luck with their 2x. Not so much a fan of their 1x just because of price but it’s not bad either.

-- Beka/Becky - aspiring jill of all trades, still learning to not read the directions.

View eruby's profile

eruby

79 posts in 2472 days


#4 posted 09-03-2015 12:30 PM

I second your “wife proofing” sketchup recommendation.
Also if your local BORG has maple boards it may be worth scanning the pile for figured or birds eye boards.

-- Eric - Baltimore MD

View TObenhuber's profile

TObenhuber

154 posts in 1290 days


#5 posted 09-03-2015 01:25 PM

Blue BORG, Orange BORG or Harbor Freight. You just have to know where to find the Gems.

eruby, maybe if I start feeling more adventurous I will take your Maple recommendation but for now I feel luck to be able take a bump up to the 2×12 rack. :)

Thanks for reading guys & gals.

-- Travis, Virginia, www.facebook.com/CreativeWoodworksHybla

View TheGreatJon's profile

TheGreatJon

337 posts in 931 days


#6 posted 09-03-2015 01:40 PM

Wife proofing is essential for anything that will be used in our house. You don’t need to be a beginning to get good use out of construction lumber. My wife wanted our daughters room done “shabby chic” so it was all going to be painted. Therefore, there’s nothing but construction lumber, MDF, and plywood in that room, and it looks fantastic.

I keep a little stockpile of straightish construction lumber right next to my hardwoods. It all gets used eventually.

-- This is not the signature line you are looking for.

View TObenhuber's profile

TObenhuber

154 posts in 1290 days


#7 posted 09-03-2015 02:09 PM


You don t need to be a beginning to get good use out of construction lumber. My wife wanted our daughters room done “shabby chic” so it was all going to be painted. Therefore, there s nothing but construction lumber, MDF, and plywood in that room, and it looks fantastic.

I 100% agree its not only for beginners. Stuff is great especially at that price. Cleans up very well, with the right finish can be very nice and from what I have done so far 2x material can be very strong. 2x’s can also last through some tough abuse with some decent construction.

I was simply stating that for the price it can be a great low cost step up for those on a tight budget. Like me and others new to woodworking trying to get their feet wet.

Thanks for reading Jon. I really appreciate the insight.

-- Travis, Virginia, www.facebook.com/CreativeWoodworksHybla

View davidrvanallen's profile

davidrvanallen

3 posts in 692 days


#8 posted 09-05-2015 04:08 PM

Simple and functional. Thank you!
you can read about safe tip for drill press

View dakotawood's profile

dakotawood

200 posts in 2480 days


#9 posted 09-06-2015 01:53 AM

I’m right there with you in regards to Sketchup and getting the boss lady’s approval! It’s the only way I can truly show her what’s in my head for ideas. And, it really is like building a mock up, without building a mock up. You can totally see the dimensionality (is that a word?!) of the whole project.

And I too scored some nice doug fir from HD for some of my shop furniture. Cheap, straight, and actually pretty once I put a wiping varnish on.

-- Travis, South Dakota

View TObenhuber's profile

TObenhuber

154 posts in 1290 days


#10 posted 09-06-2015 02:15 AM

dakotawood, thanks for the comments.

I laughed at your probably more accurate description.

the boss lady s approval!

-- Travis, Virginia, www.facebook.com/CreativeWoodworksHybla

View jonah's profile

jonah

1004 posts in 2996 days


#11 posted 09-07-2015 10:54 PM

While you can make decent stuff out of construction lumber from big box stores, none of the pieces you picture are quarter-sawn. One of them looks like it has the pith in it.

I’ve found local lumberyards to be much better sources for construction lumber, with mostly equivalent prices to the big box places. Lots of them will even load stuff up for you.

View jar944's profile

jar944

90 posts in 1135 days


#12 posted 09-08-2015 02:00 PM


none of the pieces you picture are quarter-sawn. One of them looks like it has the pith in it.

- jonah

The bottom board in the 2nd pic will be QS/rift once ripped along the pith. IMHO for this technique to yield QS (or in this case vertical grain) you want to only choose boards containing the pith, ideally in the center.

View TObenhuber's profile

TObenhuber

154 posts in 1290 days


#13 posted 09-08-2015 02:37 PM


While you can make decent stuff out of construction lumber from big box stores, none of the pieces you picture are quarter-sawn. One of them looks like it has the pith in it.

I ve found local lumberyards to be much better sources for construction lumber, with mostly equivalent prices to the big box places. Lots of them will even load stuff up for you.

While there is no disagreeing with you that industrial lumber yards are not taking the time to Quarter saw anything. That simply wouldn’t make economic sense when there are computers attached to lumber mills calculating the highest efficiency to minimize waste. There its all about making money.

The part I disagree with is saying that there are no quarter sawn sections or pieces.


Lets start with a definition, quarter sawn lumber is the angle that the annular growth rings intersect the face of the board. However there is little agreement what exactly that angle is. Most define it as between 60 – 90 degrees, although others define it as between 75 – 90 degrees or 45 – 90 degrees. When cutting this lumber at the sawmill, each log is sawed at a radial angle into four quarters, hence the name.

Credit to Hardwood Distributor’s Association Website for the quote.

If you look in the middle of that picture. I simply cut the pith out. That means that the 2 or 3 inches around the pith you are seeing in my picture are counted as waist. I have cut that part out as you can see in my laminated table top. Except the far right of the picture, the predominated portion of the top is for all intensive purposes quarter sawn. It displays a straight grain pattern and has all of the characteristics of Quarter Sawn without having wasted the rest of the tree.

Looking at the diagram. The two cuts that would intersect the pith would be essentially the same as the 2×12 material from the BORG. Except, I have to manually cut the pith out and it doesn’t come that way from the store. I guess some sacrifices must my made to be obtainable on a budget like mine. If you know lower cost alternative, I am always looking and have open ears.

Interesting point about the lumber yard. I still need to find one close to me. It’s just so convenient having a BORG less than a mile away and never having to get on any major road. Not taking any major roads is important in my case since I use my wife’s roof rack as a make shift pickup truck.

Thanks for your comments Jonah. I appreciate the dialogue.

-- Travis, Virginia, www.facebook.com/CreativeWoodworksHybla

View TObenhuber's profile

TObenhuber

154 posts in 1290 days


#14 posted 09-08-2015 04:21 PM

One more note: If the boards still have the pith they could still be at least Rift Sawn according to this diagram as well. I mean, still the lumber yard didn’t intentionally do any of these waist full techniques but it did wind up producing a few boards with similar traits. You just have to be picky.

The bottom board in the 2nd pic will be QS/rift once ripped along the pith. IMHO for this technique to yield QS (or in this case vertical grain) you want to only choose boards containing the pith, ideally in the center.

- jar944

Great point jar944, I need to next time be pickier and choose the ones that are as centered as possible. This batch all were just maybe an inch or two off center making the milling process marginally trickier.

Cheers all and thanks for the interesting comments.

-- Travis, Virginia, www.facebook.com/CreativeWoodworksHybla

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

1740 posts in 2335 days


#15 posted 09-23-2015 02:39 PM

I remember about 15 years ago, when I didn’t have a truck, I used to stick my lumber out the sun roof and down into the passenger’s side wheel well. I was building a large wall unit (12.5’ wide by 8’ tall) and had build a base for it (which would not be seen) out of construction lumber. I couldn’t find a 14’ 2×4 that would lay flat on the floor. I went back and bought a carefully selected 14’ 2×10 (which you can imagine sticking out of my sun roof). I ripped 2 2×4s out of it which had no knots at all and were perfectly flat and straight. We don’t get fir much over here in the southland, so I think it was SYP.

-Paul

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