Should I buy a planer Part II


I called my lumber yard today and talked to them about board foot pricing compared to linear foot pricing.
I paid $3/board foot for random width cherry. The person I spoke to today said that a 1x8x8 board of cherry is 2.20/linear foot.
If I understand the pricing correctly, the cost in board feet of that board is $16, but the linear foot price is only $17.60.
If I'm doing that right, it seems to me that it would take a long time to pay for that planer if the difference between random width boards and finished boards is only about $1.60 on an 8 foot board.
Now, I understand that over the course of 1000 bdft of lumber, that makes a difference. But this is just a hobby for me, so it will take a long time for me to go through a bunch of lumber like that.
Am I missing something? Or are the savings from finishing your lumber yourself only apparent using economies of scale?
Thanks, --Michael
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Purchased surfaced wood will not be as uniformly flat as what you can make with your own equipment at home. For fine furniture, you need either planes or a jointer and planer, plus a TS to make straight, flat boards.
Dave
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Ok, If you found a piece of random width cherry that was 1x8x8' you would pay $16.00. The S4S per linear foot would be $17.60. IMHO you would be wasting money if you bought the planer. Typically however S4S sold by the linear foot wood is consistantly 3/4" thick and is normally 7.25" wide. So you actually loose 3/4" for that s4s stock sold by the linear foot. So really if you buy a 1x8x8' s4s board sold by the linear foot you are only getting 4.83 actual BF as opposed to random width 1x8x8' and you get 5.33 BF assuming thicknesses being equal. Soooo your savings increases. But IMHO there is not enough prioce difference to justify buying a planer to mill the wood to 3/4" thick + your time of sellecting the boards and your time planing. THIS IS NOT THE NORM. Typically for Red Oak I pay about 3.25 per liner foot for 1x8 and about $3.25 per BF for randonm width. That equates out to about 50% more for the s4s material sold by the linear foot in 1x8 sizes over the random width s2s or s3s.

Exactly. In this case it really does not pay to have the planer for this kind of savings. HOWEVER, the planer is very nice if you need material thinner than 3/4" thick.

In this instance you are on target. Typically though you pay a greater percentage more for the s4s material.
Now, if you have a saw mill in the area you can save a lot more buy buying rough cut. I bought 250BF of Red Oak 4 weeks ago and will save $857.00 over buying S4S for the same amount. That amount pays for just over 2/3's of my new Delta planer.
Now, with that said, you can flatten you rough cut lumber with a planer and sled and after surfacing both sides flat you can straighten the edge on you TS with a simple and inexpesive jig. I invested about $80 for a sled to work with the planer and the jig for the TS. No need for a jointer when working with agbout 8' lengths of wood that will fit in a planer.

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Do you plan to make everything out of 3/4" stock? What if you need 1/2", or 7/8", or 1 1/8"? Also, you can't count on yard-finished lumber being uniform in thickness, so if you're planning on doing wide glue-ups, you can expect the inconsistencies in thickness and straightness to multiply quickly.
Then there is cupping, warping, etc. to deal with, unless you plan to cut it out as waste. Add that to the price per usable foot.
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If you have a source of good quality S2S, and you are satisfied with what they have, you may not need a planer. Generally, the variety and selection of rough wood is much better than that of S2S. OTOH, a few days ago I bought some S2S butternut because it was easier to see what it looked like planed.
And of course, there are those occasions that you need it exactly 5/8" thick. Tough to do without a planer (or a drum sander).
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I live in San Diego, CA. The local hardwood lumber yard sells 4/4 cherry for $9.35 and adds $0.14 bf for S2S.
This is retail pricing. Are the prices you guys quoting trade pricing? I know they rip us off at retail but $3 vs $9 is a big jump.
Local Rockler has 4/4 S2S cherry for over $10 bf.
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I live in Memphis, and the place I'm getting these prices from is a run down place in the downtown area with wood stacked everywhere. They sell to anyone. J & J Lumber, if anyone wants to know.
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I don't want to know about a place selling cherry for 16 bucks a BF, even if the place is next door.
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Whoops. Sorry, guy. I messed up. I see now the 3 bucks a BF. Been checking too much Ebay, I guess, seeing exorbitant charges where there are none. Three bucks is good.
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http://www.dansvilledimension.com/lumber.html I have only bought from them once because it is a 90minute drive and closer places are only about a dollar more, but it was excellent material.

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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Motorcycles are not about saving gas, motor homes are not about saving hotel bills, and home shop planers are not about saving money at the lumberyard.
I have a perfectly good 15" planer, but I pay a little extra to have the lumberyard plane my boards to within a 16th or so of the final thickness. Then I do the finish planing at home. Their planer cuts faster than mine, but mine gives a much better finish. But even if that weren't the case, I'm always needing a thinner board to go here or there.
You can get by without one, but you'll always be working around the lack of a planer.
DonkeyHody "All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
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Yes, saving money is not a reason to buy a planer. Dimensioning and smoothing lumber is the ONLY reason to buy a planer. First time you want 7/16" shelves you will know why you should have a planer.
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Thanks for all of the replies. I understand that sometimes you need thinner boards, but I left that out of the equation because, as someone said above, there's nothing else to do--besides hand planing--when you need a thinner board. So I understand that part of the argument for a planer.
I just wanted to make sure I needed one before I went and purchased one.
Thanks, --Michael
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The reason I bought my planer had nothing to do with cost. Even if you buy finished lumber, chances are slim that it will be the same thickness, let alone really flat. It will surprise you how much better things turn out when using truly flat, square and uniform material.

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Same here. I wanted to have control over my lumber thickness. That said however there is a place in Houston that sells s4s lumber and it is as close to perfect as you get. It is always a dream to work with and I have never purchased any 4/4 that was not exactly 3/4" thick. If I am on a dead line that is where I buy.
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