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Forum topic by mnorusis posted 08-31-2010 03:32 PM 3053 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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mnorusis

153 posts in 1795 days


08-31-2010 03:32 PM

So, I’m going to look at some walnut lumber I found listed on craigslist. The price is pretty fantastic, which always makes me wonder why?

Any suggestions for what I need to look for to make sure I’m not buying junk?

Here are some pictures that were emailed to me (btw, the price is $3/bf)


12 replies so far

View HokieMojo's profile

HokieMojo

2101 posts in 2380 days


#1 posted 08-31-2010 03:58 PM

The fist pictures look a lot more like cherry than walnut, but I suppose lighting can lead to a misleading photo. Honestly, if you haven’t bought a lot of lumber like this, you may have a challenge as you go through a learning curve (I know I did). While it may be just fine, it does look awfully dusty. This will give you a lot of trouble seeing what the grain pattern looks like. It may also hide stains or other damage (but not necessarily). I bought some walnut that was really dusty and after planing it, it turned out to be quite punky underneath. You also probably won’t be able to easily differentiate between heartwood and sapwood if that matters to you.

If your heart is set on buying it, ask if you can use a block plane on a few pieces to get below the surface. Take a VERY close look at the endgrain and try to avoid pieces that contain the pithe. The pithe on walnut is hollow and can actually create a week spot in your board if it isn’t buried in the middle of a thick enough board. Also, the wider the board, the more likely you are to have the pithe (since it is in the center of the log). Other than that, check for large knots, warped boards, splits, etc; just like you would with any other purchase.

Oh, and make sure you try to avoid boards sitting on the ground. Some of these looks like they may be on a dirt floor. I’d try to steer clear of those.

Does this help?

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HokieMojo

2101 posts in 2380 days


#2 posted 08-31-2010 04:01 PM

Also, Here is a post I made when I just joined this site years ago asking the same question:
http://lumberjocks.com/topics/2687

Here are some blog posts of what I got:
http://lumberjocks.com/HokieMojo/blog/4835

View mnorusis's profile

mnorusis

153 posts in 1795 days


#3 posted 08-31-2010 04:19 PM

HM, thanks a ton, some great info in your post and in the links. I appreciate it!

I agree about the lighting comment, to me it looks like the first picture was taken from inside the barn and had a flash on it. At the very least I think it’ll be worth my time to go out and take a look. I have no problem walking away without buying anything if it doesn’t seem right, but the price is good enough that I should at least have a look.

-Mike

View NathanAllen's profile

NathanAllen

376 posts in 1796 days


#4 posted 08-31-2010 04:32 PM

Depending where you are $2/bf with a volume discount is probably more in line. From the looks of it the ends weren’t coated or it has been drying a long time. You also have some board movement, surprisingly in the middle of the pile which goes back to the long time in the shed theory.

Some of tha 8/4 looks to be in great shape, otherwise a lot depends if you’re taking the pile or allowed to pick for boards.

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mnorusis

153 posts in 1795 days


#5 posted 08-31-2010 04:36 PM

Thanks Nathan,

To clarify, I’m not interesting in the whole pile. I need 8/4 boards for my next project. So I would expect to be buying somewhere b/w 30-50 BF at most

-Mike

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HokieMojo

2101 posts in 2380 days


#6 posted 08-31-2010 04:39 PM

air dryed 8/4 can be tough to find unless you know a local sawyer (though they shouldn’t be too tough to find in your neck of the woods). Still, it may be worth the gamble since air dryed looks much nicer IMHO. I bought all I could fit in my car at $6 a bd/ft when someone had 16/4. You just don’t see too much of that.

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4524 posts in 1726 days


#7 posted 08-31-2010 04:48 PM

If you can pick and choose from the 8/4 boards, you are getting a fantastic price.

However, I see a lot of wood here that I would not pay $3.00/bf for.

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

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mnorusis

153 posts in 1795 days


#8 posted 08-31-2010 04:54 PM

yeah, I agree there’s a lot in there I would not buy either.

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mnorusis

153 posts in 1795 days


#9 posted 08-31-2010 04:56 PM

Apparently there are “4 or more pieces that measure 2” thick by 10” wide by 10’ feet” but I’m not sure I see 8/4-10” wide boards in the picture…

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mnorusis

153 posts in 1795 days


#10 posted 08-31-2010 05:20 PM

and some more info that I just heard back about:

apparently the sellers father had his own personal saw mill, he sawed the lumber and put it into the barn. he passed away in the 80’s and the wood has been in the barn since.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1474 posts in 2776 days


#11 posted 08-31-2010 06:33 PM

Take a block plane or a scraper, and maybe a can of mineral spirits and a rag, so you can see the grain.

I’ve bought a couple of hundred board feet of wood off of Craigslist, anywhere from $1.50 to $3.50 or so per board foot. The sellers have been industrial users who couldn’t use the heart/sap interface wood (more interesting grain for me), people who were going to use it in remodeling but decided not to and just wanted it out of their garages, or woodworkers who lost interest in the hobby and were selling their old stash.

I think I’ve gotten a great deal every time.

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

View JerryS's profile

JerryS

221 posts in 2262 days


#12 posted 08-31-2010 11:25 PM

All great advice here , I buy lumber like this from time to time on CL with no problem . Take your time sorting through it . Don’t forget to add in waste , you’ll get a lot of it in wood stacked and taken care of like this . I should say neglected like this . It was mentioned already , bring a block plane with you , and a wire brush to clean the dirt and other trash off the boards . Plane a small section to ID it and see what it looks like . Remember this isn’t lumber yard quality material so don’t pay lumber yard prices . Instead of buying this by the BF see if they will sell by LF or by the foot ( length wise). Good luck

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