That's why when I buy my lumber I like to chalk out most of my cuts. If I
am buying a 6" wide piece of 4/4 maple and there is a split at one end, I
will check and see if I can use that section for a piece of the project that
is not as wide. Most often you will be able to do this.
Also, if the split is not very long and you find you can't use that section
of the lumber, use it for fire wood.
Pretty expensive firewood, but your point about using it for other purposes
is well taken.
I'm not trying to piss everyone off, and my response to dpb was more
irritation at how flippant his comments were. I'm hearing two answers
depending on the source. Go to alt.home.repair and the word is - pick
through the pile at <insert box store> to get the straightest piece of
lumber you can find. Then when asked here the first answer I get is "quit
trying to be a perfectionist." Again, I'm NOT a perfectionist, but I'm
looking at this from the angle of (this is hypothetical) I need 12 feet of
1x6. I get to the yard and find a nice looking 8 footer, and a another 8
footer that's split on the end. I'm thinking, okay, I don't need the other
4 feet really, so why not get it, try to talk them down on the split end,
and use the other 3 or so feet for something else? That seems very
reasonable, but based on what I heard from the first response - that's a
terribly unreasonble opinion.
My comments weren't intended as "flippant" at all...
I buy hardwood by the 100's of feet at a time if not a full bundle and
there _will_ be some splits -- that's life--wood splits.
Whether the BORG will knock off a little for a split end is probably far
more likely than a mill unless, as somebody else noted, they're letting
you pick and choose -- and if you are, undoubtedly they'll charge a
premium for that -- otherwise, all they're left with in the end out of a
stack of graded lumber is the minimum pieces and none of the better.
So, they end up "eating" a bunch if they don't compensate in some manner.
As for best value in buying hardwood, for almost everything I do I find
1C by far the most cost-effective. Then, by buying in large enough
quantities that I have a fair supply on hand, I can select from my own
pile what I want/need for any given project.
Well I went hunting around all morning and found a decent place for some
stock. Nice selection and good prices. I say good, but who knows what you
see back east. 20 bucks with tax for 6 board feet of red oak - 1/2"
finished on 2 sides. Pretty damn good, very small cupping. Board is
exactly perfect for what I'm working on right now.
I know that story, our Grossman's stores stopped selling everything. I
don't miss them.
** http://www.bburke.com/woodworking.html **
There's no such thing as a perfect board ... and what's perfect today may
not be tomorrow. You make your money when you learn to deal with a medium
that is never in a static state.
The lesson here is that you can often make a good deal more profit on a
project by buying right and resisting being too picky.
Dropping down a grade, and overbuying at a cheaper price, may be more
profitable than picking and choosing at a higher ... not every board in a
project needs to be a "perfect" piece of wood, but, perfect or not, there is
usually a piece that's "perfect" for the job it needs to do.
Depends on my needs, I may or may not buy that board.. Buying rough wood,
you will have waste. Most woodworkers figure 15% to 20% of the wood is
going to be scrapped. Trees don't grow to the dimensions of the wood needed
for every project.
In the case of the split, it is no necessarily useless wood. It may not be
needed today, but it may be tomorrow. I buy boards I like for the grain, for
the yield I can get for the project at hand. That useless end that you see,
may be perfect for a tray divider, drawer for a small case, etc. My wife
collects dolls and I often make her furniture for them and that 1' may be
perfect for my needs.
I would, however, give a tug on the end to be sure it is not a split running
up the board making it more difficult to use.
End checks. The reference I posted above will tell you how they happen. It
is a drying fault normally, though I have seen some actual splits, as in
running more than a couple three inches, caused by the skip planing
operation at the sawmill. The rollers squash a cupped (you know what that
is now) board so hard they split. Then there are my personal favorites "wind
Reason you seldom see them is that hardwood sticks are cut over length to
compensate. When they trim for sale, the checks are trimmed away. Just
ordered some red oak yesterday in 8' lengths. Will get 100-102" rather than
the 96" for that nominal length.
That happens a lot on wide boards and if not split it will be cupped.
If you are going to be doing glue ups for panels, you will want to
limit the width of the pieces you use anyway. So on a board like with
that condition, that might be 7 or more inches wide, you will rip it
first, face joint it, plane it, and then glue it up for your panel
width, turning every other piece over to alternate the direction of
the grain (keeps post processing wide panel warp to a minimum).
Some suggest a 3" minimum width to glue up, I cheat to 4 o 5.
Wether split or cupped, trying to process a wide board without ripping
it first will often cause it to clean up thin. And you have to have a
fairly wide jointer to process it properly.
Of course, if the board is narrow and has a split, it may be of no
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