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Forum topic by Scottlj posted 10-06-2014 05:04 AM 1346 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Scottlj

81 posts in 1186 days


10-06-2014 05:04 AM

I’m getting better, but still super novice. A few of the pieces I’ve been building for our home have come out great just from boards I got at Home Depot. So far so good. But now…

I’ve got plans for a couple of new projects and I’m just not really sure how to buy the wood! I think I understand the whole board feet thing, but the thing is, I’ve got my cut list and it’s not really clear to me exactly how to ask for / order what I need. Since I’ve got a great table saw, but don’t have a planer or jointer, I do know I need properly planed boards and at least one good side.

So here’s my actual questions:

  • How do you guys translate your cut lists into your buy lists?
  • Do some shops let you define width and length? The big box stores don’t seem to care about waste when you do this for length and that’s nice, but the local ‘fancier’ place is picky about making sure the sizes you select leave sellable remnants or you take the whole board.
  • Anyone have experience with Ring End lumber in CT? I’ve gotten some good stuff from them before, but I’m wondering if this is the kind of place you consider a good supplier for nice softwoods and hardwoods. Using woodfinder.com I see there’s other sawmills in CT, but they’re kind of far from me and for my longer boards I’d probably need to have delivery.

My next project is to build a hutch for wife’s sideboard. We’re pretty sure it’s pine. (possibly slightly yellowish) I’ll take some pics and attach to see what you all think, but I’m pretty sure that’s what I need.

So far, my projects, (a nice coffee table, a quality lamp, rougher utility pieces), have come out great. But this will be my first somewhat more complicated, (intermediate???), project. So the expense of screwing up has me a little nervous about pulling trigger on getting the right wood.

Thanks for any suggestions!


24 replies so far

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6579 posts in 1618 days


#1 posted 10-06-2014 05:11 AM

Since you’re in CT, try looking at Parkerville Wood Products. That’s who I used to buy from when I lived there. They are just North East of Hartford.

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

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emart

422 posts in 2096 days


#2 posted 10-06-2014 08:10 AM

The big thing is to have at least 10% more than you think you need 25% if it is rougher wood because of the defects you will run into such as warping and knots in places they shouldn’t be. if you have a table saw it is a good idea to buy them wider than you think you need and cut them to size so any edge defects will be removed. Pine will work fine and is more forgiving in terms of price so if you make a mistake it isnt like say ruining a piece of cocobolo. The majority of my projects are of pine since hardwood costs a fortune here ($5 per board foot for domestic hardwoods)

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them https://www.custommade.com/by/emeraldcrafts/

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WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1944 days


#3 posted 10-06-2014 11:44 AM

To build furniture, you really need a jointer and a planer.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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Scottlj

81 posts in 1186 days


#4 posted 10-06-2014 12:27 PM

I would love… I mean… I WOOD love a jointer and a planer. If I get one or both of those tools, however, I’m afraid the first thing that will happen with them is my wife will run my head over them. (I’m done with stuff that will take up more garage space for at least the next six months or so!)

There is a woodcraft not far from me so I could rent shop time if I need to do that sort of thing. Significant hassle, and of course the cost could quickly add up to cost of new tool(s). As well, my SUV can’t really handle boards longer than 6’, though that’s good enough for most items I’ve at least rough cut, it does preclude hauling 12’ boards I intend to cut in half.

How much extra do you guys use for boards? I know I need extra, but trying to cut down on waste. One annoying thing, for example, is let’s say I need a few 6’ boards. I really can’t just take 12’ and cut them in half as the kerf likely means I’ll be just under 6’ unless the boards are slightly oversized. So I can always cut down 10’ boards, but then I’ve got a TON of waste unless I also need 3-footers. My other option is to just re-size a project to be a 1/2” less – where that’s feasible.

Just wondering what you all do in this regard to standard board lengths.

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jmartel

6579 posts in 1618 days


#5 posted 10-06-2014 12:47 PM


To build furniture, you really need a jointer and a planer.

- WDHLT15

No, you don’t need them. They are nice to have and make things easier, sure. But you don’t need them. Especially when most project plans call for something in multiples of 3/4”. So, you can buy already jointed/planed stock in the appropriate thicknesses. Is it ideal? No. But it’s far from a necessity.

Scott, I buy at least 10% extra. I typically buy at least 50% extra so I build up a stash of wood, but if you don’t have the space, buy about 10% extra. I’m now at the point to where I’m maxed out on the amount of wood I can store. Check out the Parkerville Wood Products dealer I told you about. They do jointing/planing for you (at extra cost), as well as rough cuts, so you can have them do any stock milling you need them to do.

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

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1837 days


#6 posted 10-06-2014 01:29 PM

I usually buy 20-50% extra. If the project is small, say less than 20bdft, I’ll do 50% more just because the quantity is low and I’ll find other uses for leftover. If I’m doing a larger project, the number starts to go down. Once I hit 75+bdft I’ll be down around 20%, because I want to make sure I don’t have to make another trip, but don’t want a ton of leftover. I typically use inexpensive wood (cherry, oak, maple, walnut), if I were buying high-price wood, I wouldn’t buy too much extra.

Jointer and planer certainly are not necessary, they’re nice to have. I bought a planer early on, but things got much better once I picked up my jointer (used 8” of CL). It allowed me to purchase more lumber off CL and less at the hardwood store. I picked up about 110bdft of cherry, air dried, for 80 bucks. Was listed at $1/bdft but the guy was generous and kept throwing more boards he didn’t want into my truck. That quantity and grade of cherry at the hardwood place would’ve run me about $400. There are very frequently good deals on CL for hardwood. I’m calling a guy this week who’s got lots of well-priced, air-dried poplar (.40/bdft), soft maple (.85/bdft), red oak (1.00/bdft).

Maybe you can explain to your wife that the long-term savings, being able to buy rough lumber like this, will outweigh the short-term costs.

You could rent/borrow a pull-behind trailer for an afternoon, and stock up on wood for current and future projects. I still have about half of that cherry haul, and various others, stacked and stickered in my garage, waiting for me to find a use. 200-250 bdft doesn’t take up that much room if it’s stacked properly. Maybe 10 feet long, 3 feet wide, 3 feet tall.

I’ve only once had to cut boards down to fit in my pickup, they were 14ft+ cedar boards. The math was easy for me as I was just making a couple panels out of them. They cut them there for free for me, I asked for a foot longer than finished length. Still have a few that I haven’t had inspiration for, yet.

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

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jmartel

6579 posts in 1618 days


#7 posted 10-06-2014 01:33 PM

For what it’s worth, a planer doesn’t really take up a ton of space. You can take it out to use, and then move it somewhere else out of the way when you’re done. And they are frequently on craigslist for $200-300. You’re on your own trying to figure out where to store a jointer out of the way, though. There are ways of getting around using a jointer if you make a sled for your planer or a router.

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

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Scottlj

81 posts in 1186 days


#8 posted 10-06-2014 01:56 PM

This is good news and kind of what I’d thought, but wasn’t sure. I’m also starting to build up a lot of leftover stuff on racks in the garage. I just wasn’t sure how much extra people generally considered sensible back up vs. wasteful.

I suppose it’s time to sort out my cut list and get to shopping then. There’s no question that planer / jointer are not going to happen for awhile; if ever. Worst case, if I do end up with a bad board to two, I can go to a friend’s shop. I just don’t want to abuse that privilege except for when I really need; not as a “hi, yeah… it’s me again” kind of thing.

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WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1944 days


#9 posted 10-07-2014 12:53 AM

Maybe YOU don’t need a jointer and a planer, but somebody has to have them…............It ain’t magic.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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JAAune

1646 posts in 1784 days


#10 posted 10-07-2014 02:07 AM

I do the 20% or more rule for big jobs and it seems to work fine. It leaves enough extra that I can set aside a couple boards that aren’t as nice as I’d like. Those get used up in smaller projects.

Leftovers are often used up on jigs or making stuff for the shop. I built a walnut and mahogany tool chest using up shorts that weren’t long enough for most furniture.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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jmartel

6579 posts in 1618 days


#11 posted 10-07-2014 02:09 AM



Maybe YOU don t need a jointer and a planer, but somebody has to have them…............It ain t magic.

- WDHLT15

No one said it was. Obviously one would pay more for the convenience of not having a jointer/planer as explained above. Someone is a little touchy.

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

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WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1944 days


#12 posted 10-07-2014 11:52 AM

You are right. Was a little touchy. Sorry.

I sell a lot of lumber, rough sawn, air dried, kiln dried, and planed. I get a good number of people who come and purchase lumber for projects that they either do not have the skills for or the equipment/tools to build. I always try to help them if I can. I do not want them to buy my wood, then be disappointed in the outcome of the project.

I don’t like to do it, but sometimes I will take them from the sawmill where the wood is sawn, dried, and stored and go to my shop and face joint the boards to assure that they are flat, plane them to final thickness, joint one edge straight, rip to width on the table saw, then joint the table sawn edge. This is so that the boards can be glued up and get a flat and well jointed top. I have even glued the piece for them as they did not have any clamps.

I say all this to say that to do things right, a person needs straight, flat lumber and a minimum of tools/equipment/clamps, etc. or they might be in it over their heads. I don’t mind helping people who are in it over their head, but it costs me a good bit of time and money. Sometimes I charge them a little, sometimes not.

I have not seen hardwood lumber that was finished planed and in a store that is ready to use without more work to assure that the boards are flat and straight, but then again, I have always prepared my own lumber, so I am lucky that I don’t have to go to the store and buy it.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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Scottlj

81 posts in 1186 days


#13 posted 10-07-2014 01:22 PM

Actually, I got some boards for a project from one of the big box stores and it worked out great just because everything was wonderfully straight. Most stuff on the rack was ‘ok’ to start, and it did take me awhile to go through them to get perfect ones. But even so, their selection is really limited. When I “graduated” to a better lumberyard, it was more work to get products that were good to go from the start.

I have used my router table’s fence to smooth out an edge here or there. But no question a proper jointer/planer would be best. It’s the same old cost and how often would I really use it question that precludes the purchase (not to mention space.) For this go of things though, I’ll either find a place that can prep the boards for me, or I’ll end up a) seeing if I can use a friend’s shop for a little while or b) spend a few $$$ at a not-too-far away Woodcraft.

Bottom line is there’s no question this piece I’m planning won’t go together well without good edges.

Scott

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vetwoodworker

101 posts in 1174 days


#14 posted 10-07-2014 01:34 PM

Where in CT? Near Hartford check out Parkerville Wood Products, or CT Hardwood Group in Enfield. Near Shoreline, Check out CT River Lumber in Saybrook or The Wood Rack in Branford, or General Woodcraft in New London. All have a great selection and prices are competitive. Don’t buy from Woodcraft if you don’t need to, I’ve noticed that their prices are about 20% higher than the above mentioned suppliers. If you want a local mill, Fred Latham Sawyer in Old Lyme is a great dude, he has a huge selection of logs to choose from and he’ll usually mill it same day weather dependent. He is up there in age, so he has toned down his workload. PM Me if you need any more info on this!

Clinton, CT LJ

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vetwoodworker

101 posts in 1174 days


#15 posted 10-07-2014 01:41 PM

And just a note, CT Hardwood Group wil plane and joint the wood, and even does Panel Glue-ups for a small fee. They have a huge inventory of domestics and exotics, at fair prices. I’ve only bought twice from them (They have a sale twice a year) but it was worth the 45 minute drive from Clinton

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