Big Box Cedar - Just How Bad Can It Be???

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Forum topic by Hugh Anderson posted 09-07-2011 05:23 PM 1704 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Hugh Anderson

49 posts in 2891 days

09-07-2011 05:23 PM

Just wondering something guys – I had a delivery of 5/4 deck cedar from a big box (orange) store, and as I sift through it there is more that I don’t want to use, than use.

Am I being too picky? Here are some pics.

ok, in this one there are marks that are consistent through more than half of the boards. I guess it’s from some sort of handling machine. Pain in the butt though.

In these next two the issue is obvious. In the first one I can turn the missing chunk to the bottom of my deck, but I worry a little about the integrity of the board long term.

Take ‘em all back? Or be less fussy?



23 replies so far

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2892 days

#1 posted 09-07-2011 06:18 PM

If there is more that you don’t like than like take ‘em back. Try a cedar supply or a fencing supplier. If you accept these the big box store will think the next person will to.

I use a smaller regional lumber yard. When I need a truckload on lumber from them I drop off a list of needed materials and arrange for them to deliver. Whole bundles of lumber they just load on the truck with a forklift. But bundles that they put together by hand they have learned to be a little more picky culling. I’ll try to use most everything that they send out but if the customer complains about the quality of the lumber or it’s just plain ugly, the lumber co. will deliver replacements and haul back the rejects. Over time the lumber yard has learned to keep the ugly stuff at the yard.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View knotscott's profile


8146 posts in 3575 days

#2 posted 09-07-2011 06:52 PM

I don’t know what the detials are, but there are standard grading system for wood, that include acceptable yield limits. The yield will almost always be less than 100%. With that said, I’d still return what I felt was unacceptable, but that would depend partly on the price….pay a premium, get premium….pay less, get a little less, etc. In the end, it should be fair to both parties.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2976 days

#3 posted 09-07-2011 07:05 PM

I have found that having a planer and jointer is a good thing. If you are paying top dollar, you should send it back. If, as with most wood from the “orange” stores, this is common grade lumber, this IS what you paid for. THe only exception is the birch/maple ply that is formaldahyde free and this has to be picked over as well.

When I bought varnish grade oak interior doors (orderd 9) it took HD and Lowes 6 or 7 times (one or two doors at a time) each to get all 9 doors with no nicks, scratches, etc… One manager told me to paint it and it wouldn’t be seen. I asked him, “why would I paint a special order and more expensive door that was supposed to be varnished?” Still doesn’t make sense to me.

Smaller yards cater to folks that need premium and FAS grade stock – but it costs more – or pay less and fix it. It will still cost about the same in the long run.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Hugh Anderson's profile

Hugh Anderson

49 posts in 2891 days

#4 posted 09-07-2011 07:23 PM

well, I just called the store and explained the situation. The guy I spoke to was VERY helpful, insisting that they get it right for me.

So he is off to look at what they have on the floor, and if he thinks it’s not good enough, they will special order it for me. Looks like they will send someone out to swap out the timber. Bloody excellent, because I was not looking forward to stacking it all in my car (34 x 8 foot lengths)

Based on the comments I think I will see what lumber yards exist around here. I would like to find a source of furniture grade baltic birch for example.

Guys, as ever thanks a lot! I will post the result.


View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2976 days

#5 posted 09-07-2011 07:34 PM

If you are looking for furniture grade lumber, request FAS or better. FAS, by grade, is supposed to be 10’ or 12’ or longer, can’t remember. I almost always get shorts 3’, 4’, 6’ and 8’ lengths but the same quality, usually for a lower price. When you are picking out your lumber and it has a 1” – 4” strip that is unusable, tell them to take it off the board foot count. Always buy by the board foot (12” x 12” x 1” – unmilled) not by the linear foot.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Hugh Anderson's profile

Hugh Anderson

49 posts in 2891 days

#6 posted 09-07-2011 07:39 PM

That’s great info David – thank you!

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2976 days

#7 posted 09-07-2011 07:57 PM

If the board is 5/4”, 6/4”, 8/4”, etc.. thick, it is calculated accordingly.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3198 days

#8 posted 09-07-2011 09:27 PM

What grade did you buy? If you buy #2 and expect #1 that is unfair.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View ETwoodworks's profile


92 posts in 2893 days

#9 posted 09-07-2011 09:39 PM

In my experiance if you have lumber delivered by a big box store they send you the stuff that others set aside in the store looking for the decent stuff.

-- Building quality in a throw away world.

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3302 days

#10 posted 09-07-2011 10:01 PM

When I was young and life was coming at me full throttle, I would have accepted it. Now that I am old, retired and sometimes crabby, I won’t accept poor products….....

-- mike...............

View Hugh Anderson's profile

Hugh Anderson

49 posts in 2891 days

#11 posted 09-08-2011 03:16 AM

@ David Kirtley

Can’t really answer that, there is no grade listed (that I see) This is the link to the product.

Home Depot Cedar

View Hugh Anderson's profile

Hugh Anderson

49 posts in 2891 days

#12 posted 09-08-2011 03:18 AM

Although the word “Select” is in the description.

View WDHLT15's profile


1792 posts in 2676 days

#13 posted 09-08-2011 03:51 AM

For the record, FAS lumber can be 8’ in all species except walnut and 6’ in walnut. Minimum width in all species except walnut is 6”. Not sure about width in FAS walnut.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18390 posts in 3876 days

#14 posted 09-08-2011 04:49 AM

They don’t show that quality in their ad ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View dbray45's profile


3320 posts in 2976 days

#15 posted 09-08-2011 02:36 PM

WDHL – thank you, I don’t keep track of all the nuances. I figured that if I was incorrect, someone would fill in the blanks.

-- David in Damascus, MD

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