Problem with lumber purchase

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Forum topic by jsheaney posted 05-22-2011 06:50 AM 1151 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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141 posts in 3987 days

05-22-2011 06:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question cherry problem supplier checking splitting

I’m making a bench (like to sit on) and my design calls for 6/4 thick legs, about 10” wide x 18” high. I’m using something that is sentimental to me that is made out of wood for the stretcher. I’ve already cut notches into this item and my plan is to cut the legs down the middle vertically, cut some notches to receive this item and then glue it back together; sandwiching it into the center of the legs. In fact, I already did this with some red oak for the legs. It was rift sawn, so the grain was pretty straight and red oak has such huge pores that I could match the grain fairly well. Unfortunately, those big pores make it impossible to do the other thing that I wanted to do. I realized that I needed to use some other species and I decided on cherry.

OK, I figured that since I was buying a new board anyway, I would get a wide board that I could just cut up the center with a thin kerf saw and I should be able to glue it back together with a nice grain match. I actually tried it with some scrap and it worked very well and was certainly a heck of a lot easier than trying to match two different pieces of grain.

So I go to the lumber yard and pick out a 10’ long plank of 8/4 (it’s a good 1/4 thicker than that actually) x 12” wide. Obviously, a board of cherry that wide is not going to have a consistent grain across its width. The center of the cathedral pattern was about 1/3 from one side, which was perfect. it meant the grain toward the center was reasonably straight, which would be very helpful. It’s been in my shop for about a month and I finally started milling it.

It definitely had some checks at either end, but I only need about 36” of it. I lopped off about 6” and it looked pretty good. It’s pretty rough, though, so it was hard to see details. But I have so much more than I need that I cut 44” thinking I had plenty to choose from. It turned out that there was a small knot that I wanted to work around, so I cut 24” of that leaving 20” for the other. So here I am 30” into this board and there’s a huge void in the end grain where a massive check is coming from the center of the tree. Of course, I can’t see how far it extends, so I went to work with a scrub plane to flatten one face (I don’t have a jointer or planer). The more I plane, the more I see the split extending down the board. Obviously, this is true for the remaining 20”, too, because that’s where the void is. I can see some serious checking on the other end of the plank, which I didn’t care much about before because, again, it’s so much more than I need.

Thing is, I have a 10’ long plank that I don’t think I have two clear 20” lengths. I expect that from a 2×10 SWP at Home Depot, but I don’t expect that from 8/4 cherry I get from a wood supplier. Now, I don’t normally go for wood of this size, so I’m asking if this is normal for a board this big? Or is this a case that deserves complaining to my supplier?

-- Disappointment is an empty box full of expectation.

2 replies so far

View Brit's profile


7376 posts in 2842 days

#1 posted 05-22-2011 09:32 AM

I’d take it back and explain the situation. Most supliers will swap it for another one without any argument in my limited experience. Let us know the outcome.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View McKinneyMike's profile


80 posts in 2660 days

#2 posted 05-22-2011 03:44 PM

Your supplier should swap it out for equal value for you, at the least. It is unfortunate, but it does happen on occasion.

-- McKinney Hardwood Lumber --Specializing in exotic and figured hardwood lumber -McKinney, TX

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