View Full Version : Whats with home improvement stores?

Aaron Kline
03-19-2005, 9:36 AM
I went to a home imrovement chain for some lumber for a neander project I'm helping my brother with. I know, first mistake, should've gone to the sawmill. But, my sawyer has a small bandmill and is kind of part time, only there on Sunday for a full day. So anyway, back to the story, I'm helping my brother build a train layout and we needed some pine. I start picking through the piles and all I see is junk. You name a defect, it had it. Crooked, cupped, twisted, bowed, cracked, juvenile wood, it had it all and not very cheap either. It took me forever to pick through and find a few nice boards:mad: Not only that, 90% of the boards weren't full length. Sorry for the rant, but if you want to sell your lumber as the best available, then you better make it the best available. On a side note, I'll get some pictures of the layout and its progress.

Tony Falotico
03-19-2005, 10:10 AM
Aaron -- Don't get me started on this one, the servers not big enough for this rant. I'll simply say, if that's what they consider TOP CHOICE -- I DON"T want to see what they consider junk !! I've seen better USED (abused) pallet material than some of their so called top choice........

Byron Trantham
03-19-2005, 1:42 PM
For me, the Big Box stores are a resource of last resort!

Tom McMahon
03-19-2005, 2:00 PM
I find that if you go to the longer boards you can find better lumber. If I need 8' stock I buy sixteens, if I need 10's I buy 20's. I don't think they can get the long boards out of the poor logs. Also the long stock is not as picked over. I have also found that the local lumber yards are not any better. ther quality has come down in order to compete.

Aaron Kline
03-19-2005, 7:49 PM
The scary part is they build houses with the junk! Needless to say, when I get land, I'm building my own house. I'd trust toothpicks and elmers more than TOP CHOICE. Lesson learned, wait till sunday when the sawyer's home:rolleyes: And the government don't trust people building homes with lumber they cut themselves:mad:

Bob Weisner
03-19-2005, 8:32 PM
I have seen once in a while some nice curly maple boards mixed in with the plain maple.

On the other hand.... regular construction lumber is getting very hard to find in grades that are straight, free of knots, twist, bow, cupping, ect. Seems like I have to spend 10 minutes just searching for a few good boards.

I like the sawmill where I get my hardwood lumber from. When I go there and tell him I need a 2x4x8 feet long, he brings me a 2x4x8' that IS 2 INCHES thick by 4 INCHES wide by 8 feet long . That would be finished demensions :)


Aaron Kline
03-20-2005, 6:17 PM
I have seen once in a while some nice curly maple boards mixed in with the plain maple. You mean they sell maple there? All we have are poplap, pine and oak. Poplar is about $3-5/bdft and oak is $7-9/bdft. Sometimes there is curly oak, but I can buy that cheaper from a sawyer.

Bob Weisner
03-20-2005, 7:11 PM
I don't know what the price on the maple was at the home improvement store. I do know what I paid last year for the lumber at my local sawmill:

Soft Maple: .80 to 1.05 a BDFT. no difference in price whether it is plain or curly.

Cherry: $3.00

Poplar: $0.80

Pine: $0.70

Ash; $1.05

Walnut $3.00 regular lumber . $40.00-50.00 for planks (4 inches thick x 17 to 18 inches wide x 7 to 8 feet long) Bought 2 so far. :D :D

Basswood: $0.50

Oak: $1.05 to $1.35 plain and curly :D :D

This is all air dried lumber 2 to 4 years dried.

Almost forgot the Butternut: 16/4 for $2.50 a bord foot.



Bob Weisner
03-23-2005, 2:36 PM


Bart Leetch
03-23-2005, 3:26 PM
I wish people would a least put where their from, it doesn't have to be the city if you would prefer not to but how about NW Idaho or SW New York just a general pointing to the general area your from so when your talking about buying lumber & things like that we have an general idea of the area your from.


James Carmichael
03-23-2005, 4:53 PM
You mean they sell maple there? All we have are poplap, pine and oak. Poplar is about $3-5/bdft and oak is $7-9/bdft. Sometimes there is curly oak, but I can buy that cheaper from a sawyer.

I've bought a total of 1 hardwood board, oak, when I first started out, from the bigboxes. The only thing I will go there for now is plywood, MDF, studs, and cedar for outdoor projects. The latter is cheaper but not nearly as clear as what you would get from a real wood dealer, so I spend a lot of time culling boards.

I don't think anyone who is even moderately into woodworking buys much hardwood from HD, unless by accident they get some nice, curly maple which would probably be underpriced since the computer doesn't have a SKU for "curly" maple.

The HD stores in North TX don't even stock maple. Woodworking is not real popular down here, IMO, compared to the NE, MW and Pacific NW. If you've ever driven across the Panhandle or Trans-Pecos, you'll understand why.

Alan Turner
03-24-2005, 6:15 AM
A couple of years ago one of my students bought some s4s poplad from HD, and it was OK, although cupped a bit. He did not have a planer. We did the math, and it worked out to $7.50/bf, as I recall. My normal for 4/4 poplar is 1.80, and I can net 13/16 or better from it. Big boxes are not a place I go unless I need something at a very inconvenient hour. What they have done to the local businesses is quite sad.

Richard Gillespie
03-24-2005, 8:20 AM
I use to rely on the two competing big box stores in my area for my plywood needs. That includes oak and birch plywood. Then I started hearing reports of people having problems with de-lamination on the hardwood plywood they bought from HD. I found that I was having a problem with a sheet of Birch plywood I bought from them. I was able to work around the de-lamination and cut it out.

My next project, I bought the plywood I needed from my hardwood supplier. It cost me $2.00 more a sheet. It was a full 3/4" thick and almost no voids. The sheet measured 4'-1/8" X 8'-1/8" so you could make one cut and still have a full 2' or 4' piece. But the surface veneer was thin, less than a 1/32". For those who want to buy American, I hate to tell you, it was made in China.

Hardwood veneered plywood is graded like other wood. As I understand it, the big box stores are selling seconds and thirds. :eek: