Sose i decided it's time to build a "proper" workbench. The old
laminate counter top and Z-vise have served me well, but as my woodworking
skills expand, so has the need to upgrade the bench.
I'm fortunate enough to have a couple of lumberyards within a few miles
of home. My "regular" guy has a good inventory and good prices on furniture
grade wood, but, like most, usually doesn't have much over 4/4. I can
request it, but it takes several months for him to saw it and run it through
the kiln. I really don't want to wait that long for stock thick enough to
build a bench, so Plan B....
The other lumberyard is mainly into producing large wood. Railroad
ties, logs for log cabins, pallet wood, etc. They have no kiln, and
therefore no furniture grade wood. I've bought wood from them in the past
for some outdoor stuff, and they have always been able to accomodate. This
yard is by no means a "retail establishment". To get to the point to where
you can talk to someone, you'll need a 4x4 and a good waterproof pair of
boots. Finally i approached John, he's the "young guy" of the two at 76
years old. Like usual, he was standing next to that old band mill sawing a
large hickory log. Man, that old dude can throw cants off that line that
made me tired and sore just watching him (....and I'm 34 and hump framing
lumber around all day long!!!) Amazing.... Anyway, over the buzzzz of the
band mill, I yelled at him an inquiry about some thicker stock to build a
bench with. After a short yelling match, he sent me over to the barn to
talk to the "senior partner". He's is 82, and a little hard of hearing.
I tell him what I'm looking for. And tell him again. He says "well, i got
some Bur Oak I sawed up for a guy about 10 years ago, I don't reckon he's
gonna come after it now. See that big stack back in the corner?"
After moving many old car parts, and assorted busted farm machinery, I
got my first good look at the pile. He's got probably 1000 BF of 12/4 bur
oak beams, 8-10 ft long. Some measured 23" wide! I picked through the top
of the stack, which was about 10' high, and only had to throw 4 of those
mosters off to the side to get to some good straight ones. I had loaded 8
beams, ranging from 9" to 16" wide on the truck when i decided I had enough.
The senior partner grabbed his measuring stick and figured up i had 90 bdft
loaded. He then says "why don't you just take those ones you threw off to
the side to, that way, we don't have to put 'em back." I said "well, can
you just figure out how much i owe ya before we load anymore, I'm not sure
if i have enough money for what i have now" He says "just load em...I'll
charge you for the 90ft"
Anyway, to make this long story short, He charged me for 90 bd ft of bur
oak @ $.60 , plus threw in another 30 bdft or so bringing the total to about
120bdft at a total cost of <get this.> $54. I promptly thanked him and
headed home, grinning the whole way. --dave