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View Full Version : Am I crazy and what would you do.....



Dennis Peacock
08-09-2006, 8:00 PM
I'm in talks with a 72 year old woman who's selling off her late husbands lumber stash. She says that it's all over 20 years old, some Birdseye Maple, Walnut, Cherry, and lord knows what else. Mark and I went by there to look it over today and it's basically a 6' by 8' building about half full of "lumber". It's not stacked in any kind of order and it looks as though the lumber was just tossed in there over the last 40 years or so.

She's asking $2K for all the wood in the building. I want to be fair to her since she's moving to a new home to get a "new start" after the loss of her husband for the past 47 years. Honestly, I don't think there's $2K worth of lumber in there as you can't really see how much of what species and you can't tell WHAT's on the bottom or under anything else in there.

What would you do to be honest and fair? To me? I'd have to inventory what all is there by species and then offer her a fair price. What do you say?

W Craig Wilson
08-09-2006, 8:25 PM
Hmmm lets see...
6' x 8' x ~30" = 1440 bf / $2,000 == $.72 /bf

Cheap enough for the risk, if you've got $2K to gamble.
Go for it maybe you'll have a real good gloat.

(Gee - it's SOOO easy with someone elses money :D )

Dennis Peacock
08-09-2006, 8:28 PM
Cheap enough for the risk, if you've got $2K to gamble.
Go for it maybe you'll have a real good gloat.

Well....that's the "rub".....I'll have to go and ask the bank for the money. I have 4 growing kids and haven't had a pay raise in 4 years......so I ain't got money to gamble with. It has to be a wise purchase or my money is waisted. There's a lot of "air space" in the stack.....so actual BFT is really tough to calculate.

Rob Russell
08-09-2006, 8:34 PM
Hmmm lets see...
6' x 8' x ~30" = 1440 bf / $2,000 == $.72 /bf

Cheap enough for the risk, if you've got $2K to gamble.
Go for it maybe you'll have a real good gloat.

(Gee - it's SOOO easy with someone elses money :D )

Hmmm - must be that new math :D I get $2000/1440bf = $1.39/bf.

Dennis,

That's not all that much wood. Why not offer to stack it for her? Pull it out of the building and restack it. You'll get a better idea of what's in there and - if you decide it's not worth $2K, you'll have something to discuss with her. Even if you walk away from it after restacking the wood, you would have done her a favor and that's not a bad thing.

Rob

Tom Hamilton
08-09-2006, 8:45 PM
Dennis: I'm with Rob, inventory it for her and then you can make an offer based on the facts. She'll either take your offer or have a good basis to offer it to the next buyer and you will be will thought of.

Good luck, Tom

Steve Clardy
08-09-2006, 8:49 PM
I would question, has it been sticked and dried before going into the shed.
May have bug damage if it was put in the shed green.

It would all have to be FAS lumber before I would take that risk.

Corey Hallagan
08-09-2006, 9:06 PM
I would do as the others said and find out exactly what you might be getting. Nothing wrong with getting a bargain just the same. Offer what you can afford. If she can sell it for more... she will. Good luck Dennis.

Corey

Al Willits
08-09-2006, 10:09 PM
I'm with Corey, figure what a good price would be for you, going with what you think its worth to you and offer her that much.
Going though it would be nice, but if money's tight, only offer what you can afford.

Al

Mark Cothren
08-09-2006, 10:45 PM
Well, it will take at least half a day to pull that mess out and sort/stack it. And if it's 102 degrees like it was today? You're on your own, buddy...;)

Seriously - that was a messed up pile of wood. Obvious splits/cracks/checks in a lot of the wood. I'm leary of it, but their may be something really good in there that we couldn't see.

Todd Burch
08-09-2006, 11:11 PM
Dennis - Mark - leave it be. Sounds like too much work. I would offer to stack and inventory it for her at a reasonable hourly rate. Or, I would say "call me when the price is $500 and I'll come get it." Life is too short to buy an unknown grade of lumber on spec and then have to store it. Let the lumber supply store it - where you know the moisture content is controlled, and there ain't no bugs in it.

If you're going to borrow money to buy wood... come talk to me. ;) I have an 11' x 30' storage unit that I've vowed to empty by the end of summer.

Todd

Don Baer
08-10-2006, 12:09 AM
Dennis,
I would be brutally honest with her and explain why you cannot pay that much for a pig in a polk. I'd ffer her something like $500 and leave her my number. I'm sure she won't get a better offer and even at that price you are still buying a pig in a polk.

Ian Barley
08-10-2006, 1:57 AM
Dennis - Its nice to be nice but this sounds like its a great deal for her and a bad one for you. Sounds like a bad deal for you is a bad deal for your family as well so that makes it a bad deal all round.

Do you have a current task or project that can be fulfilled (definitely) from this timber? If not how long is your $2000 gonna be tied up before any of it gets used? How much of your $2000 may never get used?

We price lumber by volume (ft3) and IF the space is 70% full of usable timber you have about 17ft3. I am gonna assume that there is no ebony or teak in there and everything else runs to an average of about 20/ft3 so in my market if this timber was good quality it might be worth 340 ($600) and that would be a delivered price. Based on the lack of information and the work involved I might offer half of that.

Sounds to me like offering to tidy it up and take it all away for no payment would be a helpful gesture. If you wanted to be really generous then you should do that and also give her a couple of hundred. At any price higher than that this sounds like a bad deal for you and therefore for your family.

Kirk (KC) Constable
08-10-2006, 10:05 AM
You could always go through it to satisfy yourself as to what's there and decide then. Also make it easier on the next guy since you'll stack it back up nicely. :)

Art Mulder
08-10-2006, 10:15 AM
Dennis, sounds like you would like to help out this lady. That's great if you have the means to help, but if you're borrowing, then it sounds to me like you're hurting yourself.

You're getting lots of good advice from the others here. I too, would be very leary of this. Especially if 'borrowing' money comes up.

For me, woodworking is primarily a hobby. I mostly fund it out of the "enterntainment" section of the family budget. Though, if I'm building things for the house, I might use money from the "house" section. Still, I can not think of a situation where I would borrow money to support my hobby. Nothing gets bought unless I've got the money in the bank, and in the right section of the household budget.

I like the guys who suggest offering to help sort/stack the lumber. That's a good Samaritan project. Or, is there some other sort of barter arrangement you could come to? (ie: if she's selling her house, maybe you could help clean/paint a room in exchange for some of the lumber.)

Blessings,
...art

Michael Stafford
08-10-2006, 10:48 AM
Dennis before I would buy it I would at least make a cursory attempt to determine what it is I am buying. I always carry a little pocket plane when I buy rough sawn lumber purported to be curly/birdseye/quartersawn etc. and just do a little area to see if it looks like I want it to look. A wet handkerchief can clean off some of the dust and dirt and expose some tell tale grain as well. Collect enough information to make an informed decision. As Steve said I would look closely for powder post beetle evidence.

I thought an Arkansan Razorback such as yourself knew better than to buy a pig in a poke...I believe I would insist on a peek regardless of what I was told it was. Sometimes folks embellish their memories about things....

Proceed with caution....

Rob Russell
08-10-2006, 10:52 AM
Well, it will take at least half a day to pull that mess out and sort/stack it. And if it's 102 degrees like it was today? You're on your own, buddy...;)

Seriously - that was a messed up pile of wood. Obvious splits/cracks/checks in a lot of the wood. I'm leary of it, but their may be something really good in there that we couldn't see.

There can't be more than 100 boards in that pile. I'd think it'd be an hour to unload it, sorting while you go, and an hour to reload the stack. That's 1 board every 30 seconds.

Dennis,

If the wood is checked and has splits, the value is obviously way down. If you do the "good samaritan" thing and discover a few hundred bd feet of good wood, you can offer a whole lot less than $2K for the whole stack. That might eliminate the need to borrow money, which sounds like a good idea.

One factor in all this is that none of us are the ones who'd be sweating our tails off moving the wood!

Rob

Mark Cothren
08-10-2006, 11:09 AM
There can't be more than 100 boards in that pile. I'd think it'd be an hour to unload it, sorting while you go, and an hour to reload the stack. That's 1 board every 30 seconds.


I guarantee ya there is more than 100 boards piled up in that shed. And I also can tell you that it's a PILE and not a stack... it might only take you 2 hours to clean it out, sort/stack it, then put it back - but I know how me and Dennis work....:D

Mike, you forget who you're talkin' to... Dennis doesn't ID wood by looking at it... he bites off a chunk and chews it and IDs by flavor...;)

Michael Stafford
08-10-2006, 11:43 AM
Mike, you forget who you're talkin' to... Dennis doesn't ID wood by looking at it... he bites off a chunk and chews it and IDs by flavor...;)


Did you ever hear the story about the blind lumber grader?........Prolly not....

Don Baer
08-10-2006, 11:46 AM
Yup, a six foot door,.....Tuna boat.:D

Chris Padilla
08-10-2006, 11:48 AM
I don't believe this pile of wood really exists because, well, we ain't seen no pics!!! :D :D How dare you post a wood "gloat" with no supportin' evidence!! :D :D

Now get out there, stack it up, burn some calories off ('cause I know you two ain't slim chickens) and the lady will be so impressed with your hard work to help her out, she might give a really good deal!! I'd say it's worth a good morning of work!

Rob Russell
08-10-2006, 12:07 PM
I guarantee ya there is more than 100 boards piled up in that shed. And I also can tell you that it's a PILE and not a stack... it might only take you 2 hours to clean it out, sort/stack it, then put it back - but I know how me and Dennis work....:D


You're right - my math was wrong, and that's not new math vs. old math - just bad math.

There are probably 300-500 boards in there.

Ben Hobbs
08-10-2006, 12:42 PM
I have bought several stashes of wood like this one. Usually it is log run and very poor quality. The only way I would buy in this kind of situation is to pull a few boards out to check quality and to count the no. of boards. Do some simple arithmetic and then make an offer. If I didn't need it, the price would have to be low or I would pass on the deal. It is just more practical to order what you need when you need it.

Larry Browning
08-10-2006, 2:20 PM
Dennis,
I bought a stash of old wood a few years ago from a lady. She said it was cherry, maple, ash, and walnut. (There was no walnut BTW) There was about 2 flatbed trailers full of this stuff. Most of it is still stacked out behind my shop under tarps. It was hard dirty work to load it into the trailer, transport it back to my place and then re stack it. The quality is fair to poor. I don't know how many BF there was, but it sounds to me like maybe double or triple what she is offering. I think I paid $400 for the whole think. $2K sounds unreasonable to me. As others have said, before I paid such a premium price for this lumber I would want to inspect every single board not only for knots and cracks, but also for flatness and warpage. Every time I use this wood I find that at least half of each board is unusable and hard to work with. I am not sure I got such a great deal at $400. If I had paid $2k I would really be crying!

Ken Werner
08-10-2006, 3:00 PM
When buying used and especially uncertain stuff on the open market, I only offer what I want. I let the seller decide what he or she thinks is fair. Seller doesn't have to accept my offer.

I'd go low, if she takes it, it's money in her hands instead of a pile of wood.

Good luck.

W Craig Wilson
08-10-2006, 8:26 PM
Oops - tried cypherin' with my boots on!

Kyle Kraft
08-11-2006, 9:28 AM
Just pondering your dilemma, I thought to myself which one of us would store good lumber (anything higher grade than pallet material) by chucking it in an unsorted, unorganized, haphazard manner in a garden shed?? Either the guy just had more money than sense or the wood is junk in the first place.

Speaking for myself as a hobbyist woodworker and the head of a single income home, I wouldn't borrow any amount of money for the "opportunity" to obtain the lumber in question.

If the wood was stacked, graded, etc. in a substantially weathertight building in the same or similar manner as to how I store my material, then I would consider some sort of a wheeler dealer trade.

Just my $0.02.

Frank Fusco
08-11-2006, 9:58 AM
Dennis, I live in a retirment community. Frequently widows have 'stuff' of their husbands to sell. Most of the time they just want to get rid of it and will sell at very low prices. Other times family member 'adise' the widow and tell her to price high. My guess is that this is what happened in the situation you mention. Offer her what it is worth to you. But, first, be honest with yourself. If she thinks your offer is too low take a pass. She might just call you six months from now asking if you are still interested. The decision to sell is hers, you cannot take advantage.