Hardwood at Menards

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 10-25-2013 03:14 PM 6275 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 3248 days

10-25-2013 03:14 PM

I’m sure many of you have seen (and maybe purchased) hardwood at Menards.

For me, Menards is close. All other sources of hardwood are at least 35 miles away. I need about 15 board feet of cherry for a project i am about to begin.

At Menards, all their cherry is sold as finished boards wrapped in cellophane. I did some quick calculations and determined that they are selling this cherry for about $16/bf. Just on principle, I am not paying that much.

Today I will drive 35 miles to a lumber mill I like. I called ahead and they have rough sawn 5/4 S/B cherry for $4.00/bf. I can easily run it through a planer and jointer. Besides, for this project I like 5/4 better than 4/4.

I think the only people that buy hardwood at Menards, at the prices they charge, just don’t know any better.

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

22 replies so far

View pmayer's profile


1032 posts in 3239 days

#1 posted 10-25-2013 03:28 PM

Hi Rich,

I have made this observation as well, as I shop at Menards regularly. Other home centers take a similarly aggressive posture on pricing hardwood. Any time it is shrink-wrapped it is a red flag. :) It’s somewhat surprising, because Menards has great pricing on most everything else.

The way that I buy lumber to avoid last minute fire drills is to buy it green from small saw mills in volumes of a few hundred board feet at time. That way I can get it for $1-3 bf, have it cut to thicknesses that I want, and have as much as I need on hand for my next few projects. I build all of my projects out of either cherry, maple or walnut, so I don’t mind keeping a decent inventory on stuff that I use regularly. It would be a different story if I worked with more species, exotics, etc., but for my tastes this approach works well. It is a great convenience to “shop” at the lumber yard in my attic, and in the long run this saves tons of dough. If I end up not using something for a while, I could sell it for more than I paid because it will be dried (although I don’t recall ever selling any). That way I can also buy it when good deals come along, as it seems there are never good deals on good lumber just at the moment when I need it. It’s also a fun experience to work with the small operation sawyers.

-- PaulMayer,

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2212 days

#2 posted 10-25-2013 03:32 PM

There are enough people with limited tools, no workshop or space, trying to fix one small item or build some small project to buy those boards and keep Menards selling them. I’m sure quite a lot of those people have done the math and know they are getting screwed buying one plastic-wrapped board, but it’s their only option when they compare the cost of one project at $16bf versus the cost of a planer/jointer/whatever that they would have to buy and never use again, or try to sell and recoup some money, or the time they would spend tracking down someone who has the tools and is willing to do the work for them.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View mds2's profile


310 posts in 2118 days

#3 posted 10-25-2013 03:42 PM

Another thing about menards shrink wrapped lumber is that a lot of it is glued up scraps.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3248 days

#4 posted 10-25-2013 03:45 PM

Paul – You and I have similar strategies about buying lumber.

I have been fortunate to acquire a few good logs from people who just wanted to get rid of them. Ironically, I just got a very nice cherry log this way about a month ago. With help, we cut it into manageable pieces We had 4 logs of about 10’ each with a diameter of about 16”. I took them to a mill where they will be milled and kiln dried. In the end, I will have this lumber for about $1.05/bf and a little effort. I already have a good inventory of walnut I got like this.

FYI – with respect to my recent cherry acquisition- My friend hired a tree removal company to take down his cherry tree. The tree removal wanted to charge him an extra $600 to take it away. How stupid is that? This is very nice cherry that I got for free.

Ideally, on my current project, I could wait until the cherry is ready, but my wife is not that patient.

Joe – I agree with your analysis, but I still think Menards is severely overcharging.

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

View Woodwrecker's profile


4196 posts in 3749 days

#5 posted 10-25-2013 03:45 PM

I walked through the hardwood isle at Lowes yesterday on my way to get something else, and almost had a heart attack on what they charge for the pathetic crap they call “premium stock.”

Doing some quick calculations Rich, I figure you’ll save $160.00 by going to the mill.
That’s more then enough to pay for the gas.
I’m with you.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3248 days

#6 posted 10-25-2013 03:49 PM

Eric – In my case it is diesel fuel and, yes, I saved a lot more than enough to pay for the fuel.

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

View Mosquito's profile


9494 posts in 2466 days

#7 posted 10-25-2013 03:57 PM

I wouldn’t buy cherry, or walnut from Menards. Way too expensive. I do buy oak, poplar, and sometimes mahogany as it’s relatively decent in price. I usually have to shuffle through most of the stack to find pieces that I actually like, though. And as mds said, most of the wider boards, and the 4×4’s are laminations.

For red oak and maple, they do have (at least at all the ones around me) a section by the Aspen, and “ponderosa pine panels” of S2S lumber as well. It’s not the best pricing, but in a pinch it works.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View kocgolf's profile


358 posts in 2352 days

#8 posted 10-25-2013 04:14 PM

I just decided to swear off Menards, actually. I can vouch for it being a purely need basis, as I don’t have the tools to mill rough lumber. After my last 2 projects though, I just can’t swallow the prices anymore. I had never done the calculations until last week, and when I did I just about gagged. I am now watching for a Dewalt 734 on CL and ebay and plan to get it as soon as possible. Wouldn’t have said that a new big tool was in the budget last month, but with a few projects for home on the horizon, even my wife understands the numbers now.

View CalgaryGeoff's profile


937 posts in 2655 days

#9 posted 10-25-2013 04:14 PM

We don’t have a Menards in Calgary, but I believe your have discovered wood prices vary from place to place. I find most of mine so far from foresale websites. Some fun visits and good lumber. Turns into a hobby of its own wood collecting, well at least for me. The hunt and thrill. Cheers.

-- If you believe you can or can not do a thing, you are correct.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5255 posts in 1894 days

#10 posted 10-25-2013 04:20 PM

I stopped buying any hardwoods from any big box store after the first time I did so, way too expensive and lacking in value. I like boards with a little character, if for no other reason than to clearly identify that the wood didn’t come from a big box store. That and I try to use a finished size over 3/4”, to differentiate between built and bought projects/furniture, the extra strength from a thicker board is just a plus. I have found most of the time with my rough sawn air dried lumber that I can get nearly 7/8” finished boards from 4/4 rough sawn provided they aren’t very long and they’ve been properly stacked and stickered.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View JoeRPhilly's profile


174 posts in 2326 days

#11 posted 10-25-2013 05:33 PM

While I completely agree that the big box stores are way overpriced, one plus is that they don’t typically sort for figure. I was in the big blue store recently and found several really nice tiger maple boards. It worked out to about $8 a bf on most of them, which is not horrible for figured lumber, s4s. So while ordinary boards are way overpriced, you may get lucky and find something really cool, where most others are not looking for that

View TheDane's profile


5534 posts in 3837 days

#12 posted 10-25-2013 05:53 PM

Rich … You are so right! I occasionally buy rough oak and maple at Menards, but never the shrink-wrapped stuff.

Fortunately, I belong to a local woodworkers guild and am also a member of a turning club. Between those two groups and CraigsList, I can usually get hardwoods I need.

One cool advantage of the turner’s club is the club raffles … members donate logs and bowl blanks to the club, which in turn raffles them off. Tickets are $3 a crack, and just about everybody walks out of club meetings with some turning stock.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View bandit571's profile


21522 posts in 2857 days

#13 posted 10-25-2013 06:05 PM

Last time I bought any hardwood, I just up the road about a half hour’s drive to the Amish. Nice store, decent prices, and they will plane and straight edge if you want. If one Amish place is out of a certain type of wood, there are three others in the area.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 2122 days

#14 posted 10-25-2013 09:23 PM

This is the reason I have a 6” jointer and 20” planer. They have been paid for many times over in savings. This is the reason I am now in search of an 8” planer.

View CharlesA's profile


3342 posts in 1971 days

#15 posted 10-25-2013 10:35 PM

The most exotic wood at HD or Lowes around here is red oak—no cherry, walnut, or mahogany. For exotics we have woodcraft—and there prices I find reasonable for exotic wood—$7 bf for mahogany or sapele. But now that I’ve discovered local sawmills, I’m finding everything I need for 3.00 bc or less for cherry, maple, walnut, and other do estic wood. Sassafras anyone?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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