Cost of Wood and Charges per Board Foot

Page 1 of 4  

My supply of self-harvested wood doesn't include walnut or maple, and the small sawmill I used to frequent has been abandoned and is currently being turned into McMansion land So...
Went to a local hardwood distributor yesterday to pick up a few board feet of Walnut and Soft Maple. After picking out a 4/4 (13/16") 4" x 10' stick of S2S walnut and two 7' lengths of 4/4 4.5" and 6.25" S2S soft maple, I wandered up to the checkout and was greeting by a madman with a calculator who placed a charge of over $60 on my debit card.
WOW!
After looking over the invoice, I discovered that - in addition to the $6.33/bd ft charge for the walnut and the $4.58/bd ft charge for the soft maple, they have surcharges of 7% for Kiln Shrinkage and 11% for Edge Ripping - even though the boards are rough edged. This is in addition to the rounding-up of the board feet to nice, even increments of one.
Is this now a universal practice? Or is this the result of living in a wretched, overcrowded city full of corporate leeches. Heck, I might as well go back to cabinet plywood, oak and poplar from the Borg. :-\
At these prices, it makes that Cherry tree I cut down last year and ripped into very nice 12/4 slabs worth about $2000. (They get $11.66/bd ft for 12/4 Cherry - edged with sapwood and pith. A 3/4" x 4' x 8' sheet of plain sliced, veneer core cherry plywood sells for $128.00.)
A kitchen wall cabinet with real wood frames must be worth about $400 each just in materials these days...
Another affirmation that I am in the wrong business - it's deep into the woods with a Woodmizer for me...
What do _you_ pay locally for these examples of domestic hardwoods?
Greg G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Greg G. wrote:

About $6/bf for decent 12/4 cherry, and about $5.50 for 4/4 cherry. Last time I bought walnut I think it was around $6 also. This is in Phoenix, AZ. The lumber places I use are much more friendly about measuring, too.
But where are you, Greg? So I know not to move there :-)
PQ
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 30 Nov 2005 12:59:33 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

I started building a bandsaw mill because of the lumber prices, I can't afford to make anything if I buy it at the store.
Plus, I have access to at least 200 acres of woods (as long as I don't try to log it all) and I have some tree service friends that call me when they get something I might want.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Prices are in line with my local dealer. This does not in my opinion make them right.
I would have challenged the edge ripping charge if the boards were not ripped to width. A bit late after leaving the store.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've seen $10 bf for Cherry here in San Diego.
I started building some outdoor furniture out of all heart clear redwood. A simple little bench is costing $350 in raw redwood lumber alone.
I really believe we are being ripped on retail pricing. One could go to a mass merchant and by a redwood bench with the same amount of redwood for $99. It means that volume manufacturers are paying WAY less than we that are buying retail.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'm guessing that part of the equasion is knowing where to look. For example, here in Phoenix you can definitely find $8-$10/bf cherry - at the usual suspects like Rockler, Woodcraft. And there are also specialty shops like Woodwoker's Source that have an outstanding selection but high-ish prices (when they're not having a sale, anyways). But if you look you can also find less expensive places like Spellmans, which is more of a contractor warehouse but will sell to the general public, and Timber which is a medium-sized family owned shop in Mesa. Both of those places have nice hardwoods that are favorably priced compared to the others - and often the difference is 60%-100% between them and the big guys, for the same species and cut.
Not knowing what the situation is in other markets, I'm sure it's easier to find high prices than good ones - but maybe there are local woodworking clubs or other resources that can point you towards better deals?
PQ
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'm just getting into woodworking, but as it happens, I called a place in Memphis today to inquire about wood prices. I'm not sure about some of the terms you guys are using to describe the wood size (or quality?), but I can get 13/16" cherry in random widths with one straight side in lengths of 10-12 feet for $3/bd ft. They have birch for something like $2.65/bd ft.
They also had other hardwoods, but I didn't inquire about the prices. How does that compare to the discussion?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

What you got was fairly common in the SE, at least as far as pricing goes, maybe a bit on the low side. Compared to what the others are paying, you're in fat city. There are a lot of great features about this area (though Memphis is a ways from here), and the sizable hardwood forests are one major feature for woodworkers. That is also one of the reasons much furniture making is centered around northern NC and into South central VA.
Unfortunately, wood is neither as cheap nor as accessible around here as it was just five years ago, but it still far cheaper than places like Mesa where a lot of transport, and a couple extra levels of handling, are needed.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Redwood is that much now??? Geez, I salvaged a bunch of 50 year old 4x8x8 redwood beams out of a home remodel last winter. Probably 350 or so bdft. Sounds like they are worth about $5000 now! Walnut, oak, cherry, maple, hickory etc, shorts are $2.00 bdft here, 8' legnts run about $4 bdft. My local lumber mill is a small hole in the wall, the owner/operator/sawyer/salesman is great to deal with, and has many hardwoods in stock for very reasonable prices. Plus, he can tell me where the tree was that he cut into that lumber, which is usually in my county. You gotta bring your mucking boots though, this place ain't no retail store! --dave

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Greg G. wrote:

Greg, I can't say what most people pay just what I'd charge if you were a walk-in customer at my business. $11 on the walnut and $13.30 on the soft maple. Jana
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Holy crap. You're not serious?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Certainly, but she figured the BF, and gave a total.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi Dave, Yes, I'm serious. Jana
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Where are you located? Right now in CT I can get 4/4 walnut for $6 to $7 USD and none of the charges the OP described. Includes planing to thickness too.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Greg G. wrote:

Greg:
Your assessment is one with which I concur. What the market will bear.
Check out: http://centurymill.com/domestic.html
Multiply by .85 to get USD from Kanuckistani Pesos.
-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. George Bernard Shaw
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
This sounds like retail pricing to me, although it ain't bad for retail. I'm not too familiar with Walnut pricing but Soft Maple is often on sale for less than $3 a foot in S2S around here in CA and I pay less than $4 for hard maple. 4/4 Cherry fluxuates from $5-$7 in S2S. I alwasy get charged for the straight edging but it's just bundled into the bf price at like 10 or 15 cents a foot, can't recall exactly. They always round up the bf but around here shrinkage is left as a personal issue.
So is this local harwood distrubuter a retail establishment or do they server the cabinet trade? I'd try to find out who the cabinet makers are buying from and get your stock from them. You can't always select your stock but if they have a Will Call you can typically buy pretty small quantities and avoid any deliver charge. All the guys around here have no minimum and will sell to anyone at good prices.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Most places calculate and charge for fractional BF. First ripoff Edge ripping 11%. never heard of that either. Ripoff #2 An if there's significant sapwood, cracked ends or otherwise unuseable parts, they subtract some BF Kiln shrinkage. Never heard of "shrinkage", not that kind anyway... ripoff #3
Anyway the base $/BF seem OK, but all those "extras"
Mitch
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mitch, I agree with #1 and #2. As for #3....you may know it as net tally vs gross tally if you're used to buying larger lots. I don't charge it (well, I adjust it into my bd ft price because it's less confusing to the customer) but every other retail lumber company does it that way. Most wholesale companies charge you for the footage and deduct the percentage off the scale. Jana
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Greg G. said:

Thanks Guys, for the feedback.
Well, since there were so many responses to my question, I'm gonna respond to them all right here.
I'm near Atlanta, GA. SE US. Although development has been rabid for the last 30 years, the last five years have brought absolutely horrific changes into my area - and not _one_ for the better. Most of the indigenous population has fled - running, not walking.
Used to get poplar for ~$1.72, Cherry for ~$3.65 and clear Walnut for ~$4.60. No surcharges - us dumb rednecks wouldn't stand for that for a second. We'd have that guy lynched and on a rail to NYC. <g> Kiln Shrinkage - get fracking serious.
Reminds me of freaking New Jersey, where if you call from Mullica Hill to Cherry Hill (less than 15 miles and in-state) for 55 minutes, you'll get a bill for $250. And you don't have to dial one, either. I can make a call to south Florida far cheaper...
Anyway, all the local mills have moved away, and the closest are now in Augusta, Alabama and Tennessee. Subsequently, the prices have apparently risen to whatever the market will bear - plus a bit more.
Which makes me even hotter when I see these damned carpetbagger home builders come in and clear-cut the trees, scrape the topsoil away, bag it all up and sell it back to the same idiots who bought their poorly constructed homes. Just because they are _used_ to paying $400,000 for a 3BR house up North, these idiots have forced the prices here way beyond reason. Needless to say, the poor dumbasses who sold the property to the developers for pennies on the dollar are now appalled at how poorly they negotiated their own deals. They probably could have made more from selling the timber.
The distributor in question is not a Rockler or Woodcraft, but a larger, multi-state hardwood dealer who sells to commercial interests. And yet, I see similar prices AT Rockler - sometimes even less...
And while wood is definitely far cheaper here than in Clownifornia, I live in the middle of a freaking hardwood forest - thousands of acres of it - at least where the clear-cutters haven't gotten to yet....
As for the shop that sells walnut for $11 and soft maple for $13.30, I'm with Dave on this on. Cripes, let me know what state you're in so I can black it out on my map - I _sure_ don't want to move there!
Canada is looking pretty good right now... As is western PA.
I DO know that the next time I see a tree laying in the woods, fallen from a storm, I'm going to cut that *ucker up and haul it home! After I cut down all the trees in our yard, of course. <g>
FWIW,
Greg G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Greg, My quote was a total, not by the bd ft. Jana
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.