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.
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
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.
Of course, absolutely none of this has a direct bearing on your specific situation,
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
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.
Wichita, KS USA
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.
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.
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").
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.
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.
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
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"
Wichita, KS USA
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.
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:
Wichita, KS USA
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
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
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.
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.
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).
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
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
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