Newbie here Planning many projects, but first must build shop and
workbench. At the gas station tonight a fella pulled up with a
utility trailer carrying 2"x8"x16' rough sawn "hardened oak". If it
were fire wood, I would say he had bought a 1/4 cord or less.
He told me where he got it - a BIG lumber yard on the south side of
Cinci - about an hour south of us. Price per board was 8.25/ea. That
struck me as a good deal, but waddaIknow? It was actual 2"x8" - not
1.5" x8". Some checking, but nothing serious. He had bought it to
floor his horse barn and said the place he got it sells it to
construction firms to use as retaining walls on excavations before the
concrete is poured.
SO, $8.25 ea. ? Howzzat?
Here they are:
Took me a while to find it. I wrote it down and lost the piece of
paper. Thank goodness for Yahoo Yellow Pages. They are actually IN
Cinci (looking at the map) right off 75 - Tennessee Avenue.
The buyer's wife showed me the reciept with the price/board. They had
driven down from Fort Wayne to get it. Local Amish fella who
builds/rebuilds barns had told the buyer that, if it was good stock,
he (Amish fella) would consider asking him (the buyer) to get him
Thanks for all the input - band sawing to size is EXACTLY what I had
in mind. It looked dry to me, but not grey atal. Still had color.
Not "Free and Clear" - some wane here and there, but not garbage
either. I was considering using stock like that for the shop floor,
interior walls, etc. and more importantly (from my perspective) seeing
what else this place has....(optomism running wild).
FWIW - re: "green-ness" -
It looked dry, but it still had that smell that oak does. Being at a
gas station, it would've been strong enough for me to smell it over
the exhaust and gasoline, as I examined what he had, but not so strong
that I could smell it at the next pump over (where I was when he
email@example.com (NFrames) wrote:
I calculate a bit over 21 bd ft a board so that means 38 cents a board
foot. Duh! That is a great deal but what grade wood is it? I looked at
some white oak used to line excavations and it wasn't worth using for
anything that I wasn't going to paint or didn't care about appearance. It
had gray all in it.
One newbie to another -
I don't know how "newbie" you are, or how much experience you have. But,
I've found some woodworkers that say they're "experienced" don't understand
how to calculate how many board feet are in a piece of lumber. Also, please
forgive me if I'm telling you something you already know. To know if it's a
good deal, you have to figure out how much per board foot that $8.25
represents. Like Bruce said in his answer post, each one of these boards
you described has 21 bf in it. You get that by multiplying thickness (in
inches) x width (in inches) x length (in feet) and divide by 12". So, 2 x 8
x 16 = 256, divide by 12, and you get 21 bf (rounded off). So, $8.25 per
board is about $.38 / bf (rounded).
Like Bruce also said, what is the quality? It may not be worth using for
anything more than concrete forms, or for something that will be covered by
paint. It's imporant to look and see if it's twisted or bowed, and how many
knots are in it. If they sell it for concrete forms, it's a good bet that
it's not appearance grade. However, you may be able to use it for hidden
structural parts of a workbench or other project. I got some hard maple
today that is 3" (also refered to as "12/4" for the number of 1/4" in the
thickness) thick x 6" wide x 8' long for $3.00/bf - but, it has no figure or
heart in it at all and has a slight twist to it. Highly figured or Curly or
"birdseye" maple that thick can go for up to $10/bf or more. Since I'm
going to use threaded rods to compress the bench top, I don't think the
twist will matter, so I'm going to use it for my bench dog strip on my work
Here's some links on grading that also talk about how to calculate board
foot in a piece of lumber:
http://www.woodbin.com/ref/wood/hardwood_grades.htm - this is good site
Hope this helps - some of the other guys that have more experience, like
JOAT or Charlie Self, can give you a more practical understanding of the
What you put up is excellent, but a point the OP needs to keep in mind is that
even if he has to toss something like 2/3 of his purchase, at 38 cents a BF,
his final cost per usable BF is going to be on the low side, barely over a buck
I'm not sure what rough oak is selling for elsewhere, but around where I get
it, 50 cents is the low side (rough and green...still leaking water a lot of
the time), with maybe 80 cents the high. You lose nearly half that in
processing and culling, much of which can't be done for 6 months after purchase
if the wood is to be air dried.
I'd try 2-3-4 boards, mill as much as much as possible given the water content,
and check to see how it looks.
If it's good, I'd hie my butt back and grab some more.
And I'd make sure I've got a decent bandsaw for all the resawing.
"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave
it to. " Dorothy Parker
Locally here (Albuquerque) I purchased a number of 10' x 11" x 4/4 rough
white oak that is very straight and clear with nice figure for about $2/bf.
Long lenghts are nice to have, but even at $0.39/bf it's a good deal if you
can get clear pieces two or so feet long.
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