Mail order cherry

Locally decent cherry is around $6.50 a board foot for 4/4 + sales tax making it over $7.00 a bf. Whilst reading the back of Wood magazine I see an outfit on the east coast (I'm in washington state) which will ship 20 bf of FAS cherry for a combined price of $110.00.
Would like a thoughts from people who have bought their wood this way, or know of better cherry sources.
Thanks Alan
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Years ago, I bought some River Birch from a place back east. It sounded like a good deal, but when it arrived, I realized that the quality just wasn't there.
My advice is that if you really like the quality of the $6.50 stuff, then buy it. There's nothing like being able to pick and choose each board.

bf
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Of course, absolutely none of this has a direct bearing on your specific situation, but...
Last year, I purchased a few hundred board feet of non QS FAS, KD, 4/4, Rough Cut, White Ash, White Oak, and Red Oak from a sawmill/hardwood dealer in Ky for shipment via common carrier. Total cost on the dock in Wichita was considerably less than I could get from any local or regional dealer. Didn't buy any Cherry but they quoted Cherry, IIRC, significantly less than what you're looking at.
Down side: You can't hand select the boards. You have to take what you get. You may get lucky, you may not.
Do I have any regrets. Absolutely not.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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situation, but...

Rough Cut, White Ash, White Oak, and Red Oak from a

on the dock in Wichita was considerably less than I could

quoted Cherry, IIRC, significantly less than what you're

get. You may get lucky, you may not.

======================As a newbie to woodworking, can you tell me what the abbreviations above (QS FAS, KD) means? I noticed at Home Depot today some wood that had the FAS on it's label.
Thanks,
David Sizemore
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cost
(QS
QS = quarter-sawn. Indicates how the board was sawn from the log. A QS board will have the growth rings perpendicular to the wide surface of the board. This is desirable for dimensional stability and the fact the some wood species exhibit special visual properties when QS (see oaks).
FAS = "Firsts and Seconds" = a grade in lumber classifications which specifies minimum width, surface measure, etc.
KD = kiln-dried = duh....dried in a kiln.
todd
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To expand on Todd's explanations just a bit:

Alternatives being flat-sawn, plain-sawn, rift-sawn, etc. Quarter- sawing is more work for the sawyer, less efficient in use of the log, but it's more desireable for the woodworker. Hence QS costs more than other lumber.

FAS is the top grade generally available. Lesser grades are #1 common, #2 common, etc. All lumber has defects (knots, etc) that you have to work around when cutting your stock; in the higher grades the defects are more widely spaced, which allows you to cut longer & wider planks.

As opposed to air-dried, which can mean anything from "stickered in the barn for 25 years" to "stickered under a tarp for 3 weeks"; which latter means you'd have to keep it stickered for several months more before using it (most people would say wood that's only been drying 3 weeks should be called "green").
John
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Lumber is normally sawn for grade. The other exotic methods probably account for 5%. Sawing for grade produces the largest number of high grade boards, and given the market, that's what the sawyer wants. Individuals with mills may saw through-and-through when the contract is by the hour. When it's my log, I generally ask for through-and-through, because I can make my cuts between defects easier than a furniture factory.
http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplrn/fplrn98.pdf
As to grades, if your mill offers it, the best for hobby woodworkers is probably Selects, which are graded on the good side, versus the bad side of the board. Gives you FAS quality on one face, and is easy to plan around or hide the bad spot inside.

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No problem.
QS = Quarter Sawn Looking at the end, the growth ring pattern will be perpendicular to the long side of the board. Usually produces the most attractive grain pattern, has the best warpage characteristics, produces the lowest yield of lumber from a log, and is, therefore the most expensive. Others are "Rift Sawn" with the ring pattern at an angle to the long side, and "Flat Sawn" (or "Plain Sawn" with the ring pattern approximately parallel to the long side.
FAS = First and Seconds, the hardwood grade yielding the largest percentage of clear wood in a particular board. Limits and specs set by the Hardwood Council. Assigned by visual inspection of the board by a grader at the mill and therefore subject to some interpretation and variance). Other grades include No. 1 Common and No. 2 Common in order of increasing defects and decreasing area of clear yield from the board. The grade specs include minimum sizes of the graded boards. If I remember correctly, in order to receive an FAS grade, the board must be at least 6 inches wide and 8 feet long and be able to yield clear cutting of certain minimum sizes.
KD = Kiln Dried. The wood has been dried to a specific moisture content inside a heated vessel, or kiln, according to a schedule of time and temperature specific to the particular wood species. Generally accepted as provide superior results to "Air Dried" where the boards are stacked, stickered and allowed to dry naturally. Whether the results of Kiln Drying are superior to Air Drying, or not, there is no argument that Kiln Drying is MUCH faster. Sometimes a Vacuum Kiln might be used, especially by the end user for small lots. In that case the moisture is drawn out of be wood by exposing it to reduced pressure inside a "negative pressure" chamber.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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wrote:

Is the 6" width measured before or after drying?
One of my local dealers routinely sells 5 1/4" to 5 1/2" wide stock as FAS. He's got plenty of wider stuff, but an awful lot of it is slightly under 6" wide.
Barry
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On Sat, 24 Apr 2004 11:35:22 GMT, B a r r y

I'm working from top of the head memory as it's been a while since I browsed the specs, but I believe the dimensions would be applied to rough cut, green lumber. If that is so, and your dealer is offering surfaced boards, they would probably comply. Also, as I understand it, there is much left to the judgement of the grading inspector, I'm sure there is considerable looseness in their application. So, as always, let the buyer beware.
You can view or download the grading rules/specifications published by the NHLA from:
    http://www.nhla.com/pdf/Rulebook.pdf
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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bf
You don't mention where you're located, but I'd sniff around for a sawmill for some better pricing.
todd
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I reference Washington

There are no cherry trees out here of the lumber type. Lots, lots of cherry orchards, but they mangle their trees to 6' tall or less after the branches spread to make it easier to pick the fruit and to get a crop faster.
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If it's graded properly, and check that they don't add SND (sapwood no defect), it should be the same regardless of its location. If kiln-dried, it might be a bit light for a longer time, but you can help that with an oil-based finish.
I give a buck for green log-run and two for S&B (select and better), but things here aren't as high-priced overall as in Washington, and my wife tolerates stacks of green lumber curing.

bf
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I'm going to take a stab here and guess you're looking at one of the UPS packs from Wall lumber. I've bought their cherry package in the past. My obervations: The quality of the wood was fine. It was as dry as I'd expect, no sappy wood or other obvious defects. These are going to be short pieces, no longer than 5 feet. This was fine for my project but may or may not be for yours. What they call S2S isn't. The surfacing was poor and uneven. If I was to buy again, I'd definately get it rough and surface it myself.
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I've had pretty good luck the times I've mail/phone ordered wood. The key is to speak to a human and describe what your requirements are and what you really would like to do with the wood. A good place will really try to please (repeat business is nice for them). FWIW I've had really good luck with orders from Berea hard woods, Sandy Pond hardwoods (great curly maple), and Good Hope Hardwoods (2 big slabs of curly cherry - expensive but awesome boards).
Gary

bf
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snipped-for-privacy@att.net says...

Many years ago, I bought 200bf of "log run" cherry from Wall lumber. It was as described and I was happy. IIRC, shipping (I'm in Spokane) added about 50 cents a board foot, probably more now.
The only problem was the truck wouldn't deliver to my house and I had to go down and load it on my pickup. I had to open the bundles and move a few boards at a time. If that doesn't bother you, go for it. Of course, it's not a problem with the small UPS bundles.
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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