Did I get ripped off on this walnut lumber?

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Forum topic by Matt Stauffer posted 09-09-2014 05:42 PM 3154 views 0 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Matt Stauffer

110 posts in 2733 days

09-09-2014 05:42 PM

I will withhold the name of the place where I ordered this lumber from, because my intention is not to slander the business. Not living near a hardwood dealer, I have to resort to buying online and paying steep shipping costs. I usually buy one or two nice pieces from ebay, where you have multiple pictures of the wood and all it’s flaws, but this time I decided to stock up a little on some walnut on good faith that I would get what I paid for. It is advertised as “20 board foot of select grade kiln dried Black Walnut lumber,” and states that “lumber will be select grade and better.” And , of course, they have some pictures of nice clear walnut stacks and mention that you are not receiving the pictured lumber. I paid $142.93 for 20 bf and shipping. I don’t have an issue with the quantity of the lumber, but I was not impressed by what is considered to be “select grade and better” walnut. To be honest, I would not take home but maybe two of these boards if I saw them in person. A refund is pretty much out of the question, since it would cost $55 to ship it all back. I will find ways to utilize this lumber for small things, but would like your opinions on the value of this lumber. Also, if anyone is from South Alabama near Dothan, please let me know where to find a decent hardwood dealer. Thanks.

-- Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. ~ John 5:24

38 replies so far

View jmartel's profile


7808 posts in 2118 days

#1 posted 09-09-2014 05:50 PM

Select grade means you need to have at least one side of the board with 83% clear wood. It allows boards 4” and wider, and 6’ long and longer.

Looks like some of those boards meet it and some don’t, without counting the length/width of each board.

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

View shampeon's profile


1775 posts in 2151 days

#2 posted 09-09-2014 06:02 PM

Keep in mind that “select” means that only one face has to meet the criteria of FAS, and that the clear face has to have a minimum of clear area of 3” x 7’ or 4” x 5’.

I think the boards you have do have one face that meets the criteria of select, but probably not the lengths (though I can’t really see exactly how long and wide the boards you have are). But the original boards may have fit the select length criteria before they were all cut for shipping.

But as a whole, those boards are more “technically barely select before cutting” than “select or better.” I also don’t like how pale that walnut is. I would try to get a partial refund, maybe, and find a local sawyer for future purchases.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2297 posts in 2337 days

#3 posted 09-09-2014 06:07 PM

I don’t think you need to slander, but I’d be interested to know who the retailer was. I would not want to order from them if this is what they send. Sounds like the pictures do not match the product at all.

P.S. I spent a couple years working down at Ft. Rucker. Hi y’all.

Edit : Have you been watching craigslist? My hardwood dealer charges $6/bdft for 4/4 kiln dried walnut, but it’s all really great wood. On CL, around here, walnut that looks like that would probably go for $2/bdft. I’ve scored cherry and oak for at or under $1/bdft on rare occasions.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View jkress's profile


14 posts in 3012 days

#4 posted 09-09-2014 06:12 PM

I would agree with you that is not select or better lumber. Most of the lumber looks to be at best #1 common. It is hard to tell in the photos but for a board to be select and better it has to be at least 6 ft long and 4 inches wide. These boards do not appear to be 6 ft. long, unless they were cut in half for shipping. Hope you can find a local supplier. Try to look for local supplier.

View Matt Stauffer's profile

Matt Stauffer

110 posts in 2733 days

#5 posted 09-09-2014 08:09 PM

Okay, I got it from here:
BinghamtonEd, were you a pilot or mech? I’m a mechanic at Lowe field on the Blackhawks. As far as local lumber, I will take a look at Craigslist. I know there are other trees mixed in, but it sure seems like Alabama is all Southern Yellow Pine.

-- Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. ~ John 5:24

View richardwootton's profile


1699 posts in 1923 days

#6 posted 09-09-2014 08:16 PM

I was thinking #1 common also, but I’m not the best at grading lumber. I would not buy walnut that looked like that.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View Thewoodenmind's profile


6 posts in 1327 days

#7 posted 09-09-2014 09:03 PM

It is really hard to tell from pictures. Walnut grading standards/rules have been adjusted and differ from most other species to allow more natural characteristics and smaller board sizes. Even with that in mind I agree that #1 common would be the fair assessment Not something I would select when purchasing walnut. Good luck with your project.

View CharlesA's profile


3312 posts in 1765 days

#8 posted 09-09-2014 09:36 PM

Bell forest shows you actual pics of the boards.

-- "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

View JAAune's profile


1788 posts in 2284 days

#9 posted 09-09-2014 10:54 PM

The pictures they posted may have been misleading but what they sent is pretty normal from a lumberyard except my source would have sent 8 to 9 foot long boards. Walnut keeps going up in price and the quality keeps dropping as smaller trees are harvested. Unless you have the option to hand-pick your own walnut, that’s what you should expect to get.

I mostly use local walnut anymore and expect 30% waste if I have to buy from a commercial supplier.

-- See my work at and

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2643 days

#10 posted 09-09-2014 11:15 PM

That looks like the select and better we get through the lumber yard. Yes I would have been disappointed but that is what we have to expect. You certainly couldn’t build a table top from this could you? Time to look closer to home. If you can drive there and look at your purchase then it might still be cheaper than ordering this

View Ocelot's profile


1960 posts in 2606 days

#11 posted 09-09-2014 11:27 PM

Locally, I bought aprox. 185 bf for $350 air dried about 2 years. The tree (tornado felled) was within 2 miles of where I work. So, I’m lucky. All of it was better looking than that.

North AL, into TN you can often get air dried walnut for $2 – to $2.50

If you can make it up here, there is which I think will do you right without having to stalk CL. Hurry! The man is having hip surgery at the end of the month and will shut down for awhile to recover. Only open on W/E.


View BoardSMITH's profile


121 posts in 2231 days

#12 posted 09-09-2014 11:34 PM

Walnut has been dropping in quality for several years now. What once was select is now more like 1 common. Select here is going for $7 bd ft and 1 common for $3.50 a bd ft. The last batch of walnut I bought was 8/4 12” lengths, I compared the select and 1 common and could see little if any difference so I opted for the 1 common. Once I get past the defects, and there are many, the wood looks as good as the higher priced variety.

-- David

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2158 days

#13 posted 09-09-2014 11:37 PM

i was thinking the same as ocelot if you make it to north alabama hobbyhardwood is a great place to do business.thanks ocelot for the heads up on the surgery,i need to make a trip soon…

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Ocelot's profile


1960 posts in 2606 days

#14 posted 09-09-2014 11:45 PM

View bonesbr549's profile


1531 posts in 3035 days

#15 posted 09-09-2014 11:55 PM

Wow, that’s a high price for the grade. Hate that for you. I’ve been tempted to order online but that scares the bejesus out of me. Go to woodweb and look there and CL for stuff in your area. I snagged some good cherry for 3/bf in PA. I tool all 500bf he had.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

showing 1 through 15 of 38 replies

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