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Thread: Tools? Sure. Lumber? Slow down now.

  1. #61
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Mattingley View Post
    Brazilian dark walnut is absolutely beautiful. It is one of the hardest woods, hardest to manufacture and it’s rare. If you compare this to Pine which you can drop in your own backyard… I guess Pine grows on trees in a way... and you can almost work it with a butter knife.
    Matt
    One of the things I find interesting, based on mentioning it in your sentence, is just how hard it is here in New England to find straight, clear, pine. It's like hens teeth for some reason. It's also not cheap here.
    I have a shop full of exotics collected over the past thirty that I seriously doubt I could afford to replace at todays lumber prices, but you'll not find one straight clear grain pine board amongst it.
    "The first thing you need to know, will likely be the last thing you learn." (Unknown)

  2. #62
    I know I am in the minority here, but am a farmer who likes to do woodworking. Always liked walnut as a material, looks so rich finished. When I retired, I bought a bandmill so I did not have to buy lumber. Amazing amount of hard work to cut trees down, take to the mill and cut up into lumber, stack in a shed to dry. Quit my building business, as had hurt my back and building was just no fun anymore, and I took on a sawmill? But have not bought anything but plywood since. I don't worry much about scrap as it works great to heat the shop.

  3. #63
    For an heirloom project, don't get chintzy of the cost of the wood. Shop around sure. An acquaintance lived a few miles away and grew up on a nice 18 acre place with a very old colonial era stone home. The floors were shot. He cut oak and walnut on their property, had it specially milled, then kiln dried and then milled into tongue and groove flooring. He replaced the old flooring with the custom milled lumber that came from trees that had been right in front of the house and out in the wood lot. . Red oak flooring with two black walnut pegs placed at the end of each piece of flooring, so it looks like an old pegged floor. It is smooth as glass and so beautiful. He figures it cost him some where about $6 a square foot for the floor and it was his trees.
    I am a turner. and I hate paying for wood. I use mostly freebie stuff from the cut offs pile at the saw mill. I still have to stack it and let it dry.

  4. #64
    McDonalds has hundreds of thousands of $ in equipment at a store but uses cheap raw material.

    Asian Factory of the week making Pinterest’s futniture piece of the moment has millions in equipment and uses cheap raw material.

    If if you buy a high performance car are you gonna balk at the premium gas it requires ?

    How’d you feel if the airline you took last time put off brand el cheapo fuel in that 50million dollar jet you flew ?


    It’s perspective really. Some third world craftsman make very nice stuff with primitive tooling and I make crappy stuff sometimes with 6 figures worth of the top of the line kit and very nice wood and hardware. People can do and justify just about anything given the will.

    If you’re happy with or can only afford poplar or pine , use that. But don’t let a feeling stand in your way of using something you really like.

  5. #65
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Sabo View Post
    I make crappy stuff sometimes with 6 figures worth of the top of the line kit and very nice wood and hardware.

    I can do this.

    Much of what I make comes from rough cut lumber I picked up off CL. Some of it is top of the line. Most of it requires some real work and finess to get it useable. And most of the time I actually prefer the finished product if some defects and character. Wabi Sabi.

    Every now and then I will make something from premier lumber. But these arent always my favorite pieces.

    What I find makes the bigger difference is the 'design'. To me, just because I made it myself out of premier wood doesnt make it heirloom if the proportions are wrong, or the design is boring. And I am not that good at it to make spectacular designs each piece. But that is just an excuse to try again.... which feeds the project pipeline

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Vermont
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    For several years I owned portable sawmills. First a Logosol, then a Wood-Mizer. I cut the timber frame for my house with the Wood-Mizer and everything that wasn't beams got cut into boards. I've built a stash over the past 10-12 years that is estimated 12,000 to 14,000 board feet in total. About a third is pine, a third is cherry and the rest is mostly hardwoods native to my area. I have enough wood to last quite a few years of my future retirement, and I'm a hoarder too so nothing is wasted. I take interesting pieces out of my firewood pile and save them for turning. I have even purchased lumber just for its' own sake - not as a future project but because the board was really interesting to me.

    As for quality - I would much rather build and own a piece of furniture for which I cut my own lumber, than go buy a more expensive or exotic species for the same piece. I have some straight-up crap in my house that has that kind of sentimental value to me.
    Jon Endres
    Killing Trees Since 1983

  7. the reason you feel that way is because you know the tool will last a lifetime and seen as an investment but as soon as you are done with a project that you spent a lot of money for materials it is gone. Woodworkers like building things and the process is more enjoyable than the result. The fact is that I cannot afford $600 worth of lumber every other month for my projects. Even though some may justify that have a beautiful piece of furniture that will last a lifetime, now I am broke and can't build anything because I can't afford the material. All I want to do is be in my shop... building things...

    Also if you look online at hand made furniture, I look at that stuff and say I could not buy the lumber to build that for less than what they are asking...

    I refuse to pay $6 a board foot for anything. I live in northern Minnesota where we have trees up the wazoo and white oak goes for $8 a board foot. I refuse to pay those prices on principle. I look online and purchase lots that come up every once in a while and have about 1000 board foot on hand. That being said I have also realized that the quality of material makes all the difference in the world in your projects. I am saving for a sawmill now... It really is the only option... Even though there are wood hoarders that have 1000's of board feet and could build everyday for the rest of their life and never run out they will only sell for $6 a board foot...

  8. #68
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    Feb 2003
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    Doylestown, PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Baginski View Post
    I was at Paxton lumber on Tuesday. Two sheets of ash plywood and 15 board feet of ash 8/4 and 5/4 cost me $320. I glanced at the walnut and 8/4 was $16 something a board foot. Ouch. The ash was only $6 and change. The ash plywood sheets were $120 a piece
    Yow. Last time I was in a local sawmill they had rough 8"+ wide clear air dried ash for $1.25 per b.f.

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    New York City
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    I usually make smaller projects, so the cost of wood isnít that relevant to me. But when I priced out a dining table that I made for my home, I made some changes. Itís 9ft and 45Ē wide, made it out of 8/4 Sapele, was considering Walnut, but I would cost about $1,000 more, love the table and glad I went with sapele.

    its not a zero sum game, itís not pine/polar or Ebony.

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
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    Now that I've thought about it, maybe you guys are hesitant on paying money for wood because you look out the windows and see a crap ton of trees.
    Maybe if there are table saws and bandsaws and Festool Kapex on the ground or dangling everywhere, you'd feel the same way as you currently do with a slab of walnut.

  11. #71
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    Oct 2007
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    This is a bit tangential but the problem I have with buying 'just enough' lumber for a project is the pressure not to make a mistake. That just sucks the fun out of it for me. Worse, I know I can afford extra. It's just sort of baked into me not to have scrap left over. I have to force myself to buy extra. I also have to force myself into the mindset to just plunge ahead thinking, "It's just lumber".

  12. #72
    I always have about 10% extra on hand just in case, "just enough" is what I need plus 10%.

  13. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron carter View Post
    the reason you feel that way is because you know the tool will last a lifetime and seen as an investment but as soon as you are done with a project that you spent a lot of money for materials it is gone. Woodworkers like building things and the process is more enjoyable than the result. The fact is that I cannot afford $600 worth of lumber every other month for my projects. Even though some may justify that have a beautiful piece of furniture that will last a lifetime, now I am broke and can't build anything because I can't afford the material. All I want to do is be in my shop... building things...
    Yup. This pretty much sums up the way my brain works.

  14. #74
    Before I go to buy wood, I plan for what I need to complete my current project. I estimate the BF needed and and buy roughly %150 for tolerance of error.

    When end I actually buy wood, various factors come into play and if its almost like I panic. I end up spending three times as much as I calculated . Simple project, no need to fancy, ok. I go to the wood place and bam, spent a boatload of money.

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