how to buy hardwood?

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Hi, folks, I'm following a magazine plan for a file cabinet. It has a handy cutting diagram for all the trim pieces which are cherry.
But, when I go to the wood store, they don't have pieces exactly 6 by 96, for example.
The diagram also gives, parenthetically, 4 board feet.
So, is there a smart way to ask for what I need? In other words, can I just say I need four board feet of cherry, with a minimum length of 24 inches (the longest single piece)?
I know this is kind of a wandering question, but I'm having a hard time getting my brain around this--and the guys at the one place I can go for hardwood are pretty...non-communicative.
And advice?
Thanks! Ds
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Fri, Sep 15, 2006, 11:44am (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com (VeryLargeCorp) doth cast out: Hi, folks,<snip>
Sounds more like a troll then a legit question. But, if not, take your magazine when you talk to the wood store guys.
JOAT I am not paranoid. I do not "think" people are after me. I "know" damn well they're after me.
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(VeryLargeCorp) doth

Doesn't sound like a troll to me... I had the same question at one point.
If you need a 8' of 1x6 that is 4 board feet. But so is 6' of 1x8. If your project call fors a 7" wide piece, then one is obviously more useful than the other.
When I first started learning about boardfeet (not long ago), I remember reading that you can go into a lumber yard and tell them you X amount of boardfeet. But what dimensions will you get?? I know now that it doesn't matter, because I go in and just select the peices I need to complete my project. I personally don't understand the usefulness of boardfeet, other than knowing how much you are going to pay for it.
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J T wrote:

Sounds like a legitimate question from someone that's never bought hardwood before. Why be so rude?
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Mon, Sep 18, 2006, 12:03pm (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (bf) doth mumbleth: Sounds like a legitimate question from someone that's never bought hardwood before. Why be so rude?
If you thing I was rude, you must lead a very sheltered life. That answer your question Buttercup?
JOAT I am not paranoid. I do not "think" people are after me. I "know" damn well they're after me.
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J T wrote:

Man, I generally like your posts. You come up with some great ideas. I'm not out to attack you. But you've been doing woodworking for a long time. I believe you said you are 65. I'm just saying that you have a lot of experience and some things are totally obvious to you.
Not every newbie question is a troll. And yes, accusing someone of being a troll (which is basically telling them to buzz off) is rude. I'm young enough to remember when I didn't understand how to buy hardwood for my first project either. This group is dying fast enough as it is without us running off all the newbies.
Love, Buttercup :)
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bf wrote:

Did you notice how the OP hasn't responded to specific questions about the project asked by those of us who might have specific tips?
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B A R R Y wrote:

Actually the OP did respond:
"Thanks for the information. This seems like something that comes from experience, which I'm still getting! The main thing is to find a friendlier place. These guys do everything with a sigh and a moan and answer questions in monosyllables. Anyway, I think I'll be able to find what I need with your advice. Thank you! "
Looks like he found what he needed in the thread (as opposed to asking people at the store, which apparently wasn't successful).
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I didn't say he didn't respond. I said he didn't respond to specific questions. He didn't...
Just 'cause someone responds nebulously, doesn't exactly clear the troll flag. A good troll will respond early and often.
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WTF is a troll???
(question from a GOOGLE forum newbie, not a wood working newbie)
Oh, and BTW if I was 20 years younger and some dumbass who is supposed to be in customer service made the comment about being "rough as your mother in law" (I don't have a mother in law but that's not the point, it's the principal), I would have visited the shop, asked to see some curly maple or some other wood besides the rough cedar, asked to view some of the stock and listened....until I found the voice of the person who was the smartass on the phone. I would have then found a suitable piece of stock similar in length and diameter to a baseball bat and whacked that SOB in the mouth immediatly after asking "DOES THIS FEEL LIKE YOUR MOTHER IN LAW?". Of course I would then have gone to jail, but the next time that "salesman" spoke another word, he would have been speaking either through missing teeth or dentures! Ahhhh the beauty of retail sales!!!
Anyway, Thanks for your support
bf wrote:

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millleft wrote:

<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll>
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Tue, Sep 19, 2006, 7:07am (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (bf) doth posteth thusly: <snip> Not every newbie question is a troll. And yes, accusing someone of being a troll (which is basically telling them to buzz off) is rude. I'm young enough to remember when I didn't understand how to buy hardwood for my first project either. This group is dying fast enough as it is without us running off all the newbies.
Nope, but enough troll post've started that way in the past I get suspicious. And, I don't believe I "accussed" anyone. My original response reads: "Sounds more like a troll then a legit question. But, if not, take your magazine when you talk to the wood store guys."
If I'd figured he was actually a troll I wouldn't have suggested taking his article with him when he want shopping. Instead I'd have told him to bugger off. "Buzz" off?
I'm young enough to remember when I didn't know how to buy wood too. Which is why I did my homework first, plus asked the guys selling wood (or whatever) - still do at times.
This group dying? First I'd heard. My sentiments. Personally I feel it's just changing, which is natural, not dying.
If you want to see rude you really ought to check out some of the other newsgroups. On some all you have to do is post and you don't follow the secret rules of posting there you're immediately accused of being a troll - and I don't mean in polite language either, including the women. This is generally considered one of the polites newsgroups around.
Bottom line, if I saw another post worded in the same way, I'd probably be suspicious it was a troll too. There's some of the repeat trolls you learn to recognize their style. They can be very sly you know, like an old sewer rat, not real intelligence you understand, but some can be quite sneaky.
JOAT I am not paranoid. I do not "think" people are after me. I "know" damn well they're after me.
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Finding a more customer friendly supplier would help. There are always a few that deal with the pros and don't care to help the weekend diy guy. They seem to take pleasure in intimidating the new guy.
First, do you understand the board foot measurement? It works out to 144 cubic inches, but can be in any combination of dimensions.
Can you pick your own wood? If so, figure out what you need and take a tape measure with you. If you need a full 6", you will have to buy a board slightly wider. They may have 6", but may only have 8" so you have to buy the 8" and pay for the scrap that will be left.
Some suppliers have a minimum length that must be left after cutting what you need, others have a full length minimum. They don't want you to buy a 4' piece out of a 5' piece and stick them with too small of a piece to sell. Boards can be in random width and length and they will measure and calculate how many board feet you have after you select them. I always try to buy extra for two reasons. I like to have something in case of an "oops" along the way and having some scraps for little projects down the road.
In your case, specify that you need a minimum of 6" x 24". If all they have is 7", then that is what you get or come back at a later date. It is also possible to glue up two 3" pieces to get what you need. Glue ups are done all the time but have to be planned with some care to get the right appearance on a very visible part.
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Thanks for the information. This seems like something that comes from experience, which I'm still getting!
The main thing is to find a friendlier place. These guys do everything with a sigh and a moan and answer questions in monosyllables.
Anyway, I think I'll be able to find what I need with your advice. Thank you!
Ds
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VeryLargeCorp wrote:

Once I was calling around the DC area trying to find rough cedar, which, for some reason, was in short supply. At one lumber yard, a guy picked up the phone and instead of saying "hello," continued the conversation he was having in the store. I sat there confused for a moment, not sure if he was talking to me or what. Then he finally greeted me, and I asked if they had rough cedar. He said, "sure, it's rough like your mother-in-law." Naturally, I paused to process this, and in the silence, he said, "why don't you just come down and see."
I guess I have all week to drive all over the gridlocked DC Beltway looking for one thing instead of bothering this poor man with a phone call.
Screw 'em!
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Fri, Sep 15, 2006, 2:00pm (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (boorite) doth lamenteth: Once I was calling <snip> I asked if they had rough cedar. He said, "sure,<snip> "why don't you just come down and see." I guess I have all week to drive all over the gridlocked DC Beltway looking for one thing instead of bothering this poor man with a phone call. Screw 'em!
You kinda lost me on your motivation there. If I was calling to find out if some place had what I wanted, and they said "yes", then I'd expect to go and look at it, regardless of whta the guy sounded like on the phone.
JOAT I am not paranoid. I do not "think" people are after me. I "know" damn well they're after me.
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J T wrote:

Didn't like their attitude. Needed the irritation less than I needed the cedar. Would rather wait for the Borg to get it than be treated like an idiot just because I'm not there as a contractor. Wasn't sure they had it anyway, or that the guy on the phone heard me or was paying attention.
You kinda lost me on how I lost you. Would you give a dime to a place who treated customers this way if you had a choice? I wouldn't.
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Sat, Sep 16, 2006, 4:54pm (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (boorite) doth proclaimeth: Didn't like their attitude. Needed the irritation less than I needed the cedar. Would rather wait for the Borg to get it than be treated like an idiot just because I'm not there as a contractor. Wasn't sure they had it anyway, or that the guy on the phone heard me or was paying attention.
You kinda lost me on how I lost you. Would you give a dime to a place who treated customers this way if you had a choice? I wouldn't.
Didn't like their attitude, eh? If I reacted like that to everyone whose attitude I didn't like I'd probably only be talking to myself. As far as being treated like an idiot, my mother has treated me like an idiot my entire life - and I'm 65, retired Army, been thru a war, several revolutions, several terrorist incidents, divorce, raised two sons from ages 3 & 7, had cancer - doesn't matter, she still talks to me like I need to be told everything. Now that gets irritating.
I'm not a contractor, but I've dealt with places that mainly deal with 'em. No prob. Just don't take the attitude you're the customer, and always right. As far as the Borg getting your cedar, I wouldn't hold my breath. I don't go in HD at all, but do deal with Lowes on occassion - I find the help there a LOt more knowing, courteous, helpful, and the stock more vried, than HD.
As far as getting treated like you say ou got treated, the guy did say they had cedar. Been me I'd have probably gone over and checked it out. Personally I've had a lot of bosses who figured they were my superior, intelectually, and otherwise, simply becase they gave the orders. You know what they say about cream floating to the top, well cream ain't the only thing that floats.
As an aside, I live about 10-15 miles outside of the state capitol. There are about 7 (seven) sawmills, that I know of, within 9 (nine) miles of me, including one that specializes in cedar, and is 3-4 miles from me. Find one in the phone book? I believe there is actually one of them listed, I have no idea how the others could be contacted, except by direct contact. And tht's only the nes I've laid eyes on, just driving around, no telling how many more there are I don't know about. I have seen another about 20-25 miles away that I believe selles to the general public. I don't deal with any of them, because so far I haven't needed any wood from any of them. Would I if I needed wood from one of them? You betcha. And if they wouldn't sell to me because I'm just a "hobbyist"? No prob. I'd politely ask them if they know someone who "could and would" sell me wood. And I'm almost willing to lay money on it that I'd get at least one lead. If by chance that lead wouldn't pan out, I'd ask "them" where I could buy wood. And I'd make very damn sure to thank whoever I talked to, at least once - to be polite? Partly, but also to show them that I actually did appreciate their help. That's worked for me before, tracking down steel tubing and specialized automotive parts, and I'm sure it would work for me buying specialty wood.
If it was me, and I wasn't sure if they had what I wanted or not, I'd verify if they did or not. Then I'd go look at it, if they did have it. But that's just me. If the Borg is your thing, you could ask them if they'll put in a special order for you - worst case they'd say no, best they'd get you some decent wood. Not as good as picking thru but you'd be dealing with the Borg.. Next time might want to deal with a place that deals with the general public - and I don't mean the Borg.
We've had a lumber place here in town for 2-3-4 years or so. They deal with contractors mainly - they don't have a panel saw for one thing, so don't cut your plywood. The little dealings I've had with them, no prob at all. I walk in, tell 'em what I need, they either point to it, or tell me they don't carry it. No prob.
JOAT I am not paranoid. I do not "think" people are after me. I "know" damn well they're after me.
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J T wrote:

Well, I seldom dislike someone's attitude in a business situation, so I think I'm OK there.

Same here. Place I live across from now is great.

No, he said "it's rough like your mother-in-law" in a very FY tone.

Feel free. But it was me, and I think the guy acted like a jerk, and so I stayed away. I'd rather Borg it or order online or drive to the next town than give a place like that a dime. My dime, my choice.
There are retail businesses of all kinds-- not just lumber yards-- staffed with people who like to throw 'tude. In my experience, some music stores are like that, for example. They act like the place is their own high school clique, and you have to prove you're cool before they let you in. Screw that. I just shop elsewhere.
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rough like your mother-in-law...

Who did you call? I live in the DC area -- and I'd like a heads up so I don't waste my time trying to deal with Shmucks.
If you want, I can tell you of some top notch suppliers in the area.
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