Stupid question of the day #3--cedar 2x4's: big box vs. lumberyards?

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Forum topic by Millo posted 04-28-2010 04:47 PM 17954 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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543 posts in 2470 days

04-28-2010 04:47 PM

Not exactly a design question, but since it’s on MATERIAL I thought I’d post it here. I am under the IMPRESSION that untreated softwood 2×4’s and 2×6’s are cheaper at big-box stores than lumberyards. Any idea if this GENERALLY so?

I am going to slap together a raised bed for a veggie garden (nothing fancy, just 2×4’s and/or 2×6’s and 4×4’s, etc screwed together) and was wondering if it was silly of me to ask for that to look kind of pretty, LOL! I went to HD last night to check prices, and noticed how this particular store/location seemed to only have the fuzzy, very rough kind. I have seen another store where on many boards one face and one side were actually smooth. I don’t have a planer or jointer. Would a lumber yard have nicer, smoothed-out dimensioned stuff for a lot more dough, or would the prices not be that much higher? I’m not dead-set on making it look awesome and NOT using the super-rough one, but it occurred to me it might be worth a try, since this raised veggie garden will be seen from the living room and from the patio where I’ll be reading and relaxing.


7 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3069 days

#1 posted 04-28-2010 04:56 PM

I was planning on building a raised bed for veggies, but since it’ll be left outdoors to the elements, wanted to use a weather resistance wood such as cedar – but that gets expensive fast… which means that for now, it’s still in the planning stage. just thought I’d throw that out there as a thought.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Cory's profile


754 posts in 2840 days

#2 posted 04-28-2010 05:06 PM

Couldn’t you just run it through a planer and take a 1/16” off of one side? I would think that would give you an acceptable face.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3548 days

#3 posted 04-28-2010 05:12 PM

Big box stores don’t sell lumber, they sell convenience.

I haven’t been in a so-called Big Box store in over five years, but I get reports from others.

Here’s an example:
I buy a particular size and length cedar boards from a local mill for about $3.00 each.
An acquaintance insisted on buying the same size and length cedar boards from a Big Box for $14.80 each.
Mine are smoother, with less cracks, fewer imperfections and are better milled.

Real LumberJocks buy real lumber. <grin>

-- 温故知新

View PurpLev's profile


8523 posts in 3069 days

#4 posted 04-28-2010 05:18 PM

Cory – the OP stated that he does NOT have a planer.

Randy – I need to live closer to you… I haven’t seen Cedar THAT cheap…. not even remotely close to it (lumberyard included)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 2470 days

#5 posted 04-28-2010 05:23 PM

hobomonk: I got a lumberyard in the backroads nearby. This will be my first time going into one, but you convinced me to at least give them a call.

Cory: I don’t have a planer, and I don’t know anyone close enough to ask them if I can use their planer.

PurpLev: Hmm, thanks for your account!

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 2495 days

#6 posted 04-28-2010 06:41 PM

In general, lumber is more expensive at the big box stores. I’m fortunate to have a mill that sells to the public about 30 miles away. I just bought some excellent rough cut 6/4 oak there for $3.20/bf. A Menards, each board of oak is wrapped individually in plastic and, if you do the math, you are paying about $8.00/bf. Granted, I am comparing rough cut lumber with virtually perfect boards but a couple of passes on the jointer and planner and I’ll have boards that are just as nice.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Millo's profile


543 posts in 2470 days

#7 posted 04-29-2010 06:36 AM

I went to the only nearby lumberyard I know of and they only sell nice lumber. No crappy cedar or pine, etc. Booh. The dude suggested a dedicated fencing/decking service. Doubt that’ll work out , specially since time ran out. I essentially have to build this thing tomorrow (today Thrusday) morning. I guess I’ll get up and scavenge HD and Lowes for decent chunks of cedar… the ones I’ve seen lately are pretty sad. Look at them the wrong way and they’ll come undone, LOL! J/k.


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