AmI Paying too much for Black Walnut on eBay?

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Forum topic by MRod posted 05-22-2008 04:46 AM 2475 views 1 time favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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74 posts in 4060 days

05-22-2008 04:46 AM

Hi Jockers,

Am I doing the math right? I think this is only 3.5 bf in this auction. If I bid it up I could be spending almost $10 a board foot with shipping.

Am I adding this up correctly?
11 black walnut lumber pieces
Here are the dimensions:
2 3/4 x 3 1/2 x 24
3/4×3 1/2×20
1 3/4 x 3 1/2 x 19
3/4×3 1/2×16
1 3/4 x 3 1/2 x 14
3/4×3 1/2×12
2 @ 3/4×3 1/2×10
=3.5 board feet

Thanks for the smack in the head!

-- MRod, Henderson, Colorado by way of Brooklyn!

9 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4215 days

#1 posted 05-22-2008 05:24 AM

I buy walnut on ebay fairly often. I think it works out pretty well with a couple of caveats:

First, often the pieces offered in a group like this are pretty small, so make sure you have an idea of how you will be able to use what you are purchasing.

Second, you have to not let yourself get carried away in a bidding war. Set a price in your mind of what you think the lumber is worth (including shipping), and don’t go over that. When you can pick up something for close to its starting bid, it is usually a pretty good deal. But if a couple of people start bidding the item up, it can turn into a bad deal really fast.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 3660 days

#2 posted 05-22-2008 05:33 AM

Board feet are usually calculated from the rough cut dimensions (i.e. before the surface has been plained down). This is ussually 1in for 3/4 stock so you would be paying for ~4.6 board feet.

Still that price seems kind of high for such small peices.

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3882 days

#3 posted 05-22-2008 05:36 AM

It’s late but I figure 3.441 BF which =’s $7.11 a BF at the current bid of $12.50 + $12.18 to ship. I pay $3.50 a BF for planed walnut 13/16” thick at the place I buy most of my wood locally. But today if you add the cost of gas, oil, and wear & tear today it costs more depending on how much you buy at a time. Suggestion: search for SOLD walnut boards on eBay and see what similar sized walnut sells for.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View MRod's profile


74 posts in 4060 days

#4 posted 05-22-2008 02:16 PM

Good point John,

You pay 3.50, but then again that’s local pricing. And that tells me I need to get a reliable price list from local suppliers to understand my value here.

-- MRod, Henderson, Colorado by way of Brooklyn!

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3890 days

#5 posted 05-22-2008 02:39 PM

just because its walnut doesnt mean that its worth a dime a board foot. Such small pieces might have come from a branch or above the main trunk. If its “crotch walnut” then maybe its worth it but if it is from a branch then the stuff is nasty, angry and difficult to tame into anything.

Buyer beware!

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View benhasajeep's profile


30 posts in 3666 days

#6 posted 05-22-2008 06:02 PM

What that auction has is 5.25 bf of lumber if you were at a retail location. Need to figure the boards as 1×4 not by the finished size. So you have 189” of 1×4 lumber. Since 1×4 is 1/3 of BF. Divide the length by 3. So the auction is for 5.25 bf.

Now the boards are short and narrow so they should be priced below normal bf prices!

-- Ben, Living the good life in Maine now (almost, just need to retire in 2 decades time)

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4215 days

#7 posted 05-22-2008 06:26 PM

I ran the numbers, and Ben is exactly correct.

Figuring board feet is easy if you remember two things:

1) Always use the rough size for figuring purposes. Even though we all know a 1×4 is not really 1” x 4”, it is for the purpose of board foot calculation.

2) One board foot = 144 cubic inches of lumber.

So to get the board footage of a board, just multiply thickness x width x length in inches, and divide that result by 144. This is your board footage.

Example: a 10’ long 1×4 would be (1×4 x 120) divided by 144 = 3.33 board feet

Example: a 6’ long 2×4 would be (2×4 x 72) divided by 144 = 4 board feet.

I know this is pretty elementary for most of us, but I hope it helps a few of you newer jocks who might be a bit confused on the subject.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View MRod's profile


74 posts in 4060 days

#8 posted 05-22-2008 08:14 PM

Excellent feedback folks.

I just needed a sanity check…now the next question…which I will start a new thread for.

How much should you pay for wood, depending on the area of the country you are in?

WOW – this should be a massive topic…chime in!

-- MRod, Henderson, Colorado by way of Brooklyn!

View Boardman's profile


157 posts in 3758 days

#9 posted 05-23-2008 01:53 AM

For sure pass on that deal – pcs are too small and the color isn’t all that good.

Colorado isn’t a great area for hardwood. I doubt much grows there except for yard trees, etc., so prices will be higher than areas like the midwest, or eastern states. I can’t give you any guidelines – maybe some other member from Colorado can help.

Here’s one outfit in Colorado:

They’re probably a bit pricey because they stock better than everage lumber.

And one thing that’s becoming more and more of a factor is shipping, with fuel prices out of control. Maybe you can get some 100bf of great cherry from PA, but how much will it cost to get it there. Heck, I even have to think about it if I’m driving somewhere to get stuff at a slightly lower price than the local lumberyard.

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