Purchasing hardware and lumber on Craigslist

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Forum topic by SmartJenny posted 05-02-2008 10:48 AM 3073 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 3853 days

05-02-2008 10:48 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question resource tip trick

I’ve already shared my thoughts on that in a related thread, but I guess it makes sense to start a separate topic so that everyone could share their personal experience.

My husband and I used to occasionally search/shop Craigs’ list for builders’ suplies, lumber and firewood. The bad thing was that most of the good deals were gone by the time we called since we did not have the habit to check every day / every hour.

We found it much more convenient to subscribe to Craigslist email alerts (I have added a link here) and get updates by email.

Hope this helps.

I would also like to know what was your experience of shopping via craigslist and if you could share your tips and tricks that are proven to save time and money.

Below are some screen shots to show how it worked for me.

Search page with pictures
Email alerts page
Email messages in yahoo inbox

-- Jenny, Ohio

10 replies so far

View Mario's profile


902 posts in 4227 days

#1 posted 05-02-2008 02:58 PM

Cool, thanks for the heads up I will have to give it a try.

-- Hope Never fails

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4164 days

#2 posted 05-02-2008 05:09 PM

I’ll have to check that out. Thanks

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Mark E.'s profile

Mark E.

387 posts in 3918 days

#3 posted 05-02-2008 05:15 PM

For me, Craigs List has always been hit or miss. Although I have found a couple of really good deals recently.

I commented in another thread about some 60 year old oak planks I found on the list for about 60 cents a board foot. Just a couple of weeks ago I picked up about 250 bf of Maple for just about $1.60/bf

-- Mark

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4301 days

#4 posted 05-02-2008 06:53 PM

I’ll have to look at the email alerts to see if I can filter stuff a little more automatically. I currently look at two sections daily, my local “Tools” and “Materials”.

In Tools I’m looking for a replacement router for my router table right now, and I’m willing to wait ‘til the right deal comes up, so I just look at a search for “Router” regularly.

In Materials it’s a little tougher, because I’m looking for deals on hardwood (and, soon, probably some deals on fencing materials), but those searches are cluttered up with flooring, and sometimes buried in other products.

For instance, we got a bunch of Peruvian mahogany in the form of box beams. I had to develop a strategy for breaking them apart that let me get the nails out of them while destroying a minimal amount of wood, and the resulting wood varies in thickness and is genearlly under ¾” thick, but we’re making it work for baseboards and cabinet door panels.

The easier to use stuff is seconds from manufacturing processes or other construction. Here it helps to keep track of phone numbers. I’m finding that people become very helpful when you call for a second time and say “I’m the guy who bought …”, all of a sudden it’s “Sure, I can take a check from you” (rather than having to hit the bank to get cash because I’m spending more than I can get from the ATM per day) and “When would you like me to deliver it” (because 200bf of eastern maple just doesn’t transport well in a mid-sized sedan…).

It’s also worth noting that the people who are selling this from their own business processes often appreciate wood. Conversations about what you like and don’t like and why can get not only good information about the wood from people who are actually working with it, but discussions of what their production excesses are going to look like and when.

I mentioned that I was hoarding the first load of maple because I wanted to be sure we had enough to do the kitchen, and the seller said “I’ve almost always got a few tens of board feet lying around if you run up short”. Because we’d talked about what I wanted to use it for the first time, and since his customers are largely looking for straight clear stuff, he pulled aside the figured stuff and put that on top for me, so I’ve already got my drawer fronts all picked out.

I also recently picked up a bunch of Massaranduba (Brazilian Redwood), Ipé and Yellow Balau from the seconds pile of a local decking supply place, and the resulting conversation not only gave me a good education (although I don’t really need to know about the fire resistance relative to concrete of something I’m going to use for chairs [grin]), but a good feel for when to call them back and how to approach them if I need more of something specific.

The other hard part about Craigslist for lumber is that there are two kinds of sellers: Those who are selling off what to them is scrap (the folks I’m looking for), and those advertising commercial services. I’m generally looking for hardwoods in the $2/bf range, so after weeding out all of the surplus vinyl windows, paving slabs and other building materials and just looking for the hardwood, I’m still wading through the 80% selling flooring, 10% selling things like walnut slabs or specialty lumbers at retail prices (handy resources to have, but only when I decide I need that walnut slab tabletop), for the 10% selling bargain lumber.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View WIwoodworker's profile


65 posts in 3874 days

#5 posted 05-02-2008 11:15 PM

Craigs List is a great resource for finding stuff. You just have to be patient. Like Dan, I just pop in from time to time and search for the item or items I’m looking for. Right now I’m looking for a good used trailer. I just pop in once a day and search for “trailer”. If I found one at a steal of a price then cool. If I just find one at a fair price that’s OK too.

-- Allen, Milwaukee, WI

View Karson's profile


35140 posts in 4576 days

#6 posted 05-03-2008 10:10 PM

I’ve only been on Craigs list a few times but that seems like a great way to go.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

View Virgil's profile


7 posts in 3854 days

#7 posted 05-04-2008 09:17 PM

The best thing about Craig’s List is that you can deal local. I happen to be in the market for a riding lawn mower, found one in my home town, it would run but wouldn’t move. Just what I needed, another project. I welded a bracket back together and spliced two wires and was off and running. I’ll only say that I have them their asking price. This one was blind luck but there are good deals, you have to check often and be ready with the checkbook or in a lot af cases cash.

Good huntin!!

-- If you don't make mistakes, your not trying!

View Woodn88s's profile


80 posts in 3717 days

#8 posted 10-13-2008 12:20 PM

I’ve had great luck on Craigs list. I bought a 3hp delta shaper with a 1 hp feeder. they were both in mint condition for 1200 bucks.
Also bought a 37” woodmaster drum sander for $1100 but I had to drive to Indianapolis for it (5 hours each way)
I like the idea of the alerts and will check it out

-- I want to know Gods are details "A. Einstein"

View Sawdust2's profile


1466 posts in 4263 days

#9 posted 10-14-2008 05:26 AM

I recently got 110 bdft of 5/4 cherry, S2S for $3.25/bdft. A friend got 750 bdft Honduran Mahogany for $2.75/bdft from the same source.

Atlanta sellers of used stuff think their stuff is gold plated. But we have gotten one or two good deals on new stuff as long as we weren’t concerned with the pedigree.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View Boardman's profile


157 posts in 3937 days

#10 posted 10-14-2008 02:21 PM

I’ve been checking craigslist for a long time, and I can’t help but notice there’s a lot more ads and lower prices on hardwoods than I ever remember seeing.

Sign of the economic times?

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