what is a reasonable expectation for lumber quality from lumberyard?

I finally got off my butt and bought some lumber to make my bench. First on the list were 4x4 posts.
I went to a local builders' lumberyard because the local Home Depot doesn't stock spruce 4x4. This yard is the kind you pay inside and drive out in a huge parking lot and someone else loads stuff into your car. (A policy is that you don't get to pick your own lumber.) Note that lumber sits outdoors, most with plastic wrap around each stack/bundle/whatever-you-call-those-things.
The only 4x4 they had on stock had small black speckles all over the wood, and I immediately suspected mold. Some surfaces of the wood felt damp to the touch, as if it were not covered during yesterday's rainfall. It was a far cry from the nice super-white studs you see in the local Home Depot that probably spend more of their time indoors than we people do. To their credit, the guy did look over all 4 sides and chose the best ones for me. (I asked the rep about the appearance, he said "it's only spruce" as if its customary not to expect too much of it.)
I suppose my question is: what kind of quality should one be able to expect from a lumberyard where the goods are stored outdoors? I can't imagine all stock being as dirty-looking as the stuff I got; these guys cater to homebuilders and what-not, and the studs in my new home looked extremely clean in comparison, and I know most of the studs in my home sat outside in the rain before being finally used in construction.
(Sorry if I sound paranoid.)
- Daniel
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HD does not stock what you want yet you say they have better quality?

Yes, its only spruce. Most often used in framing and such where it will be in the weather until enclosed. Lumberyards don't always give them much respect.

Depends on the lumberyard and what type of lumber you are looking for. My local place will have the 2 x 10's out in the yard under a tarp. The pine, cedar, decking, etc, is in a shed out of the weather. Not temperature controlled, but has a roof. For my bench I bought a mahogany 4 x 4 and it cost $40 or so but it was in perfect condition and stored in a nice neat place.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My local HD does not stock spruce 4x4, but their 2x4 spruce studs could win beauty contests.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I live in Canada.... you guys don't want our wood so all the good stuff goes overseas. When I buy lumber, I am honest with the yard people..... for framing I will accept less than great. If it will be exposed I cull the pile. What we accept as the best boils down to being the best of what's available.
The original poster needs to become involved in his/her purchase. If the product is unacceptable, ask for a refund......
FWIW it is 'just spruce' and considered framing lumber. Since it is 'relatively' cheap and plentiful, there is no reason to consider special storage.
Wood is a wonderful medium to work with. If each and every board were perfect, the would be no need of planers, sandersor jointers. Since each and every board has it's own personality, we will continue to learn new skills, adapt to variations and accept what nature delivers us.

Home
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jim Warman wrote:

I live in Canada too, Toronto area to be precise. I obviously have no experience buying any lumber.

I wasn't sure if what I got was common for an open-air lumberyard or not, hence my question. In any case, I got the best of the 5-6 posts remaining. The other posts were awful.

Maybe you missed my original post? The problem was with the exposed-to-rain storage of the lumber at the yard, not the wood per-se.
- Daniel
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Wood's sawn, graded, dried (or not), finished in some cases and stored based on expected usage.
A spruce 4x4 is pretty low in the order, as it is most likely a boxed heart, with knots and lots of wild grain. Anticipated usage is outdoor, not in framing, I'll guess, where it remains a poor choice for most applications unless treated.
It's not quite the pig's squeal, but it's not much above sausage material, either.

and
skills,
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Many consumer wood stores in Toronto won't let customers pick and choose because the average non-professional woodworking customer just isn't responsible enough. They pull boards out, leave stock all over the place and don't leave it as they found it. What store did you go to Daniel? My suggestion is that if you want better stock, better quality wood and better customer service, then you'll have to visit lumberyards mostly on the outskirts of Toronto or completely outside of the city. Here's a link to a few of those yards.
http://members.rogers.com/wsguthrie/Greater%20Toronto%20Area.htm
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

At minimum, I'd expect to be able to pick my stock. If they don't want me diigging through the pile that's fine... But I get to waste an employee's time by inspecting each piece they pull and saying yea or nay.
djb
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
That's not the kind of lumberyard you're looking for. Find hardwood suppliers. They'll let you pick the boards you want. If not, take your money elsewhere. You're the customer.
--
Kevin
-=#=-

"Daniel" < snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net> wrote in message
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Kevin, None of the hardwood suppliers in our area let you sort either. We're the exception. If you guys run into this, I have one suggestion. Tell them you will restack everything you take apart and leave it the way you found it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Jana) wrote:
I guess i'm spoiled by the yards in our area. They all let you sort and load. One place doesn't even check your load. You just load the truck and then go inside and tell them what you loaded. Their prices always beat HD. The construction grade lumber is stacked outside. The better grades of lumber are all under a roof. There are a few other goodies. There is free access to a rebar cutter and a bin for free scrap suitable for firewood.
Dick

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 19 Sep 2004 08:09:24 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Jana) wrote:

... and, as one of my friends who was a cabinet maker tells them, "We either sort through the lumber here or sort through the lumber somewhere else" i.e. vote with your feet.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bingo!
--
Kevin
-=#=-
www.freerepublic.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

The ironic part about it is is that when the customer gets in the lumber area and starts looking around, they always end up leaving with more footage and more species than they originally came for. But, on the line of what I mentioned above, it's nice to have customers who respect your business and and the work and time it takes to keep everything sorted and organized. One hint to tell your friend :-) Don't threaten the lumber yard that you'll just go somewhere else. He might get what he wants but I can guarantee him, he won't get anything extra.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 20 Sep 2004 15:21:29 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Jana) wrote:
... snip

Yep.

Absolutely, respect and courtesy goes both ways. If one takes something off of a stack, it is only common courtesy to restack it. Although, after my last experience here in Tucson, it would be nice if a place for the absolutely awful culls could be stacked other than on top of the stack from which they came. I wound up "settling" for some pieces that I really should have rejected.

I believe he only used this ploy when he was either told he had to take what was on top or was going to be subjected to a 20% upcharge for selecting, at that point he was either going to be allowed to select his lumber or he was going to go elsewhere -- he wanted the yard supervisor to know *why* he was taking his business elsewhere. He is a wise businessman who cares about the quality of his work, but also treats those with whom he deals with respect, so I know this wasn't his going-in attitude.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Therein lies the rub. Here at Paxtons we have a retail store that allows the customer to pick through the bins and find the exact piece that matches their requirements. Unfortunately, our bins can only hold about 300bf of lumber at a time and if nothing in the bin strikes their fancy they want to look through the stacks in the warehouse. We do not allow that because lumber in the warehouse is stacked for ease of access by forklifts and not for general pickouts. In the event that a stack came tumbling down on top of a customer, who would get in trouble? We would. A lot of customers don't understand that we have their safety at heart. We are not trying to keep the lumber from you. The only reason we have it is to sell it.
Alex
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Understood, Alex. Thanks for filling in the gaps.
Now, get the good wood into the bins for the customers! :>)
--
Kevin
-=#=-
www.freerepublic.com
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.