How much is too much lumber?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by Thesepaperwings posted 03-09-2014 02:18 AM 1695 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Thesepaperwings's profile


48 posts in 1844 days

03-09-2014 02:18 AM

As the only grandson who has any interest in wood working I have been left some lumber. The question I keep asking myself is,”Could I really every use it all?” Everything is documented where and when it was cut for the most part. Most of it is 5/4 but some is 8/4 and a fair amount of live edge, a few pcs are just over 30 inches wide and 12 ft long. All of it is air dried and the youngest one I can find is just over 50 years old. I’m guessing something like
1000 bf black walnut over 100 years old and stacked and dried with reeds between each board.
1500 bf white oak just over 50 years old and from what I can tell was all cut at the same time, no reeds.
500 bf cherry just shy of 80 years old and stacked and dried with reeds between each board.
1500 bf ash tons of shorter boards in the 60-80 year range, no reeds
1000 bf red oak 56 years old, no reeds

I don’t have plans to sell it right now but my wife and family make a good point that if I can’t use it then maybe someone could. I have done a few tables and I try and fit the time in when I can. Nothing to sell and nothing that would ever need to be done in a certain amount of time. How much lumber do you guys actually use?

24 replies so far

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2285 days

#1 posted 03-09-2014 02:21 AM

Why not simply wait, and see what you end up using? Why worry about it now?

It won’t go bad…

View Thesepaperwings's profile


48 posts in 1844 days

#2 posted 03-09-2014 02:24 AM

That’s the plan for now but I’m figuring out where to store it and was just wondering if this could even be used by someone working mainly on the weekends.

View exelectrician's profile


2328 posts in 2602 days

#3 posted 03-09-2014 02:29 AM

Cherry Oak Ash Walnut, Maple….I buy one plank at a time, for example my wife was looking at the last purchase I made and said “Why did you spend $32 for one board? what is it? ” it is my first birds-eye maple board ever.

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29973 posts in 2513 days

#4 posted 03-09-2014 02:30 AM

Since I cut my own lumber, I use thicker stock than many people do. That being said, the last 2 years i have gone through just over 6500 board feet each year. I hope to double it this year.

For me, no such thing as too much. I cut and store everything I can.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View mahdee's profile


4006 posts in 1943 days

#5 posted 03-09-2014 02:31 AM

Yes, you will use it. It is a great gift willed to you; be grateful for it and pass it on if you have to.


View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 2285 days

#6 posted 03-09-2014 02:37 AM

It depends on what you’re doing, how long to plan to live, and what grade the lumber is… I’ve had years where I’ve gone though 500-600 bd/ft a year, and I’m not a professional furniture maker.

Things like built-ins or complex furniture items can swallow lumber faster than you can imagine, maybe as much as 150 bd/ft at a time, and more defects (lesser grade) or picky design can add 50 to 100% to a project’s needs. Another example… well made cabriole legs can generate tons of waste…

Think of a cool desk with an intricate gallery… You can lose more than you’d think in kerf losses creating the thin stock for the gallery.

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2137 days

#7 posted 03-09-2014 02:41 AM

If it were me, I’d try to save it all. It’s from your grandpa and it’s free. Why buy lumber ever again if you don’t have to? Stash it up in the rafters, build a pole barn, etc. But you’ve got to prioritize, so some ideas on that.

Definitely keep the thicker, very wide stuff, and anything that looks like extra nice grain. Maybe also look for anything quarter sawn. After that it would depend on the space you have to store it. The cherry and walnut would be nice to keep as well.

View mahdee's profile


4006 posts in 1943 days

#8 posted 03-09-2014 02:53 AM

20 years ago cherry and walnut sold for 52 cents/ bf. Today, you are lucky to get it for$2/bf. That is almost 100% profit. Think about what investment you have ever made with that kind of return. Not mentioning the drying time and the quality.


View Mario's profile


182 posts in 3571 days

#9 posted 03-09-2014 03:00 AM

You can never have enough lumber, maybe cutoffs, I keep running short all the time for some reason…..

View ColonelTravis's profile


1917 posts in 2069 days

#10 posted 03-09-2014 03:01 AM

You’re the only woodworker I’ve ever heard of who doesn’t want wood. I’d kill for your stash. KILL! I tell ya.

View fuigb's profile


515 posts in 3133 days

#11 posted 03-09-2014 03:34 AM

If you have the room and don’t need the money today then keep the entire stash. But if room is a problem and you’re not sentimental then sell the lot and just buy what you need when you need it. If it were me then I’d keep as much as possible for most of the reasons cited above, but only you can speak to space available as well as whether there’s a better use for the value of the trove.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View jmartel's profile


8196 posts in 2325 days

#12 posted 03-09-2014 03:40 AM

If it was me, I’d sell the Red Oak and Ash as I don’t care for them. White oak would go towards making shop stuff (bench, cabinets, jigs, etc).

No way would I get rid of the Cherry or Walnut.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Thesepaperwings's profile


48 posts in 1844 days

#13 posted 03-09-2014 03:42 AM

Don’t me get me wrong, I want to keep it all. I’m just curious how what the reality of me going through it would be. I think for the next few years I will be dreaming up projects and then reevaluate at some point.

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 2268 days

#14 posted 03-09-2014 03:51 AM

You’d be surprised how quickly you can use up wood. I bring home several long boards from the lumberyard and it seems like so much. Then when I start cutting, planing, sanding, joining I realize how rapidly it gets used up. Keep as much of it as you can.

If you have children, are any of them interested in woodworking? Any friends who might be? Lumber makes a good gift to woodworkers.

Good luck with the wood!

View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1297 posts in 1809 days

#15 posted 03-09-2014 04:20 AM

I wish I had that problem.
You certainly need an out building to store that wood. Store it well as it has been carefully culled and it is very valuable old growth wood.

-- Jeff NJ

showing 1 through 15 of 24 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics