The quality of lumber

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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com writes:

The red oak at the borg is _way_ overpriced. Usually USD8-15/b.f.
A good lumberyard will have it for USD2-3bf; a mill if you are lucky enough to have one local, will sell for less. Regional variations apply.
Granted the borg oak is S4S and you're more likely to find S2S with one straight edge at a lumber yard, or rough at a mill, it's worth it if you have the tools to surface the boards yourself.
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20+ years ago I built a set of red oak bunk beds for my boys. At the time i worked with a guy that was building his own house and he turned me on to a place that sold all kinds of hardwoods "on line". Actually, back then it was "on phone" but you get the idea.
At the time I didn't have the ability to surface the wood or rip it accurately, so I gave them my cut list and they shipped me all the S4S boards I needed. The price was way less than any local lumber yard. I had a problem with one of the 2x6x8's that I needed for a bed rail. Even though it technically fit their specs for % clear, once I explained that the imperfection (a knot) was in a spot that would hamper the construction, they shipped me a new board for free.
I haven't priced hardwoods on line recently, but I wonder if good deals can still be had.
BTW...the design of the bunk beds was such that they could taken apart and reassembled as 2 single beds, with a tall headboard and shorter footboard. My daughter now uses one of the single beds at college, so my plan worked out quite nicely.
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On 2/25/2014 9:29 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote: ...

As one would expect, it's all over the map. There are those who will do as your supplier did (but it won't be cheap any longer) to direct purchase in bulk and all in between. Much now depends on shipping as to how good a deal it is as that has become significant for common materials (oak, walnut, etc., not the exotics such as teak, rosewood, etc. that are pricey).
I think unless buying large quantities if one has a decent hardwoods supplier in town you'll likely do as well or nearly enough so as to make it unworthy of messing online for again the ordinary. If you're looking for a 20" plank, that's something else again. :)
I generally wait until am going to Wichita for something else and plan ahead to take the big truck and will buy 200 to 400-ft of several items to make a full load. I'm fortunate that the barn has room... :)
Oh, the other place to investigate locally is the local HS or community college if they have a woodworking program...
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On Tue, 25 Feb 2014 15:03:59 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) wrote:

I make a lot if stuff with red oak and the HD S4S is competitive with the local hardwood retailer here or anything I can find online
I assume I could get rough sawn cheaper if I lived somewhere that actually mills it locally but I don't own a surface planer.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com writes:

On the west coast, where I currently abide, red oak has to be shipped from back east. The HD red-oak is about 4x the price at the local hardwood suppliers (Global, Jackel Enterprises (great prices)). Southern Lumber prices closer to HD, unfortunately. Recently I bought S2S for $3.20/bf (compared with $12/bf at HD).
Last time I was at the mill in Iowa, they told me they shipped most of their clear oak/walnut/cherry to Russia - more $$$ to the mill when compared to selling it domestically.
Now Baker Hardwoods has some really _nice_ claro walnut, and it is priced accordingly. http://www.bakerhardwoods.com/
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On Mon, 24 Feb 2014 19:19:15 +0000 (UTC), DerbyDad03

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I've never seen anyone selling #3 pine. Why didn't you go to a lumber yard?
Lowes and HD both have decent, but slightly inferior, wood. It used to be standard that pine was sold as clear or #2. The former had no knots. With the latter I think the requirement was only coherent knots (that won't pop out) and not over 1" diameter. Lowes and HD use different terms because their lumber is not actually up to spec. On the other hand, you can usually pick over a large selection and can often find nearly clear lower grade boards. A more subtle problem is species and trees. I don't know much about specific species but I do know that much of what Lowes and HD sell is not the standard spruce one used to always get. Some of it is very sappy.
If you want the wood for interior finish, poplar is usually a better choice and may be even cheaper than clear pine. It's slightly harder, but is always clear, with small-celled, tight, smooth grain that takes paint beautifully. And it's not so hard that you have to pre-drill for nails if you're careful to hammer very straight. :)
Avoid pre-primed if possible. In some cases pre-primed wood is actually glued-up pieces that will separate later. Also, the primer is junk. Exterior wood should be primed with oil primer. (The good stuff, that smells like linseed oil.) You might get away with water-base primer in a dry, warm climate, but it doesn't stand up tro moisture. I did a job recently where another contractor had not finished doing some gutters. He'd left pre-primed moldings behind that had been sitting outside for a couple of months. The primer was actually sliding off the moldings in sheets. And of course the moldings were just glued-up junk, anyway. So I bought new, unprimed moldings.
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|I have a little project in mind, but I need a bit of | 1 X 4 to do it with. So yesterday I stopped by the nearest | home supply to get one. They had the rattiest selection of | 1 X 4s I have ever seen. They were #3 S4S (square four sides), | but I don't think a one of them had all 4 corners the full length. | They did have some 1 X 8s that were fairly clean looking | so I got one of those. I suppose I could have gone on over | to Lowes, but I don't have much faith they would have had | anything any better. I'll have to rip the 1 X 8s down, but | I would have had to rip the 1 X 4s too, so that isn't a big | problem. | | Of course the first problem will be to clean up the shop so | I can work out there. I have done a number of small projects | that didn't need much space, so I have just been shoving | things out of the way. To do a proper job I really need | to do a complete clean up. | | Bill
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On 2014-02-24 9:09 AM, Bill Gill wrote:

Who cares? Just work with it.
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#3 common is pretty crappy lumber. Go to a real lumber yard where you can get #1 COM or FAS.

S4S = Surfaced 4 Sides
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I haven't read all of the posts in this thread, but I know that straight lumber in any size smaller than 2X3 is getting progressively harder and harder to find.
I believe that all lumber is straight as an arrow when it's cut to size. The problem is that it's cut to size before it's fully dried. Wood cell wall shrink in thickness as wood dries, and that's what accounts for the twisting that happens when the straps are cut on a lift of wood and the lumber is allowed to move.
Probably the best solution is the one you chose; buy a larger piece of lumber and have it ripped down to size. But, even that option requires that the lumber you buy is relatively straight to begin with, and that can be a problem with lumber sizes smaller than a 2X3.
You can prove to yourself that the wood is being cut to size when it's still too wet by taking a close look at the 2X12 joists at your local lumber yard.
each and every one of them will be split at both ends for anywhere from 12 to 24 inches. The reason for that splitting is because moisture in the wood both is absorbed and evaporates 15 times as fast at the end grain than it does across the grain of the wood. So, the ends of the 2X12's are going to dry fastest, and when they do the wood at the ends of the joists shrinks more than the wood further from the end. The result is that the wood at the end of the joist splits to accomodate the shrinkage in the wood cell walls there.
Canada has an "export grade" of lumber that is prepared specially for export to countries like Hong Kong and Singapore that need lumber for construction but don't have forests or a forestry industry. That wood is dried for much longer AND the ends of the lumber is painted with oil based paint before it's cut into 2X12's or whatever. That paint prevents the evaporation of any residual moisture in the wood through the end grain. Consequently, any residual moisture in the wood (above about 16% which is what wood will typically dry to indoors) has to evaporate across the grain of the wood. The result is that the lumber dries evenly all the way along it's length with no faster evaporation of moisture at the ends and hence no splitting at the ends. The longer drying time and the additional preparation make that wood more expensive to produce, but it also sells for much more at it's export destination.
In a perfect world, all lumber would be made like export grade lumber.
--
nestork


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Around here, #3 is bundled up, and sold as kindling wood to the campers.
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On 2/24/2014 6:09 AM, Bill Gill wrote:

You need to go to a real lumber store that sells quality, straight, properly milled, lumber. But it won't be cheap. Where I live, if you want good wood you go to Southern Lumber <http://www.southernlumber.com/ and you pay high prices for good stuff. If you want poor lumber you go to Home Depot. Lowe's is generally better than Home Depot.
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| On 2/24/2014 6:09 AM, Bill Gill wrote:
You're answering a 4-month-old post. Hopefully the project is done by now.
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