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

  1. #1

    Tools? Sure. Lumber? Slow down now.

    Over the years I've noticed that I have no problem coming up with the money to buy tools, but I definitely have trouble opening the old wallet when it comes to buying the more pricey lumber for projects.

    For example, the wife wants a new dining table; preferably made of black walnut. I'm fortunate enough to have a separate shop with nice power tools that total several thousand dollars in cost. I've got no problem with that. Yet I'm balking at the thought of spending the close to five hundred dollars on the lumber to make the table.

    Need it made out of poplar? No problem, I'll get right on it. Sheet goods for built in bookcases? Let's get it done. Custom piece out of walnut or mahogany? A frugal part of my brain kicks in and says "Woah woah, slow down there Bill Gates. Lets think this through." And it gets put off.

    I think a lot of it is my frugal nature. I almost always will wait to buy something till it's on sale. Tools included. The flip side is that lumber never seems to go on sale. So I put it off and over time it just increases in price.

    Any fellow woodworkers wrestle with this?

  2. #2
    yes, and no. Furniture is an investment for what could be life. I am still using cherry/walnut/ curly maple furniture I made over 30 yrs ago. Make something you truly love once. And if your wife desires walnut, and the budget can swing it, it seems to be a slam dunk.
    Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning, the devil says, "oh crap she's up!"


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  3. #3
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    I know where you are coming from. Wood is the part of woodworking that I balk at the most, I do still spend good money on good wood though. I don't fully understand it but I think it is a natural inclination, my friends that are not woodworkers don't seem surprised at the cost of machines but showing them a single (gorgeous) wide 10' walnut board and telling them it cost about $150 always seems to floor them.
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  4. #4
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    Where I get cheap is maximizing yield from a board and not necessarily picking the pieces from the board that will look the best. I have to constantly remind myself to choose for optimum beauty, not yield.

  5. #5
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    I'm going to drive 5 1/2 hours to Edmonton to get 4/4 Black Walnut shorts for $6.70 a bf next week and that's with a friends military discount. Does that make you feel a little better?

  6. #6
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    At least a dining table is something that is will get used daily, and is likely to last and get handed down. If you get really nice wood, I doubt you will remember or care what it cost in 5 years.

  7. #7
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    Only $500? Must be a 4/4 top

    : )

  8. #8
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    Reality check. I rarely get out of the lumber yard for under $500 and I’m just a hobbyist.
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  9. #9
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    Quote that I have always liked: "Life is too short to use crappy wood." Same applies to hardware. If you value your time and effort.......
    Jerry

    "It is better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation" - Herman Melville

  10. #10
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    I'm lucky in that I have a wholesale distributor who sells to me. Price is close to retail and I buy minimum 100 bd ft increments and store what I don't use. I sometimes overdo the maximizing the yield thing though. Dave

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    Reality check. I rarely get out of the lumber yard for under $500 and I’m just a hobbyist.
    The only reason that's true of me is because the lumber yard is so far away that I have to buy a LOT of wood to make the trip worthwhile. So I buy for multiple upcoming projects, sometimes as much as a year out, just to make it worth the time and gas to go.

  12. #12
    Working with really nice wood is a real pleasure. With that said, there are opportunities if you have room to store wood. I have bought some really nice green lumber from small sawmills. Air drying walnut and cherry is fairly simple if you do some research.

    Craigslist get a bad rap here sometimes, but I have gotten some unbelievable deals on awesome wood there. Look often, good deals go fast. There are many Baby Boomer woodworkers who are getting too old to do woodworking or honestly have passed and their kids are cleaning out their house and really need it gone more than they need the best price.

    I got a deal from a house flipper who had to clear out a garage full of rough lumber and I got it for nickels on the dollar.........he needed it gone and I bought it all.

    It takes a forward thinking approach of getting lumber at a good price and not lumber for a particular project. Be creative.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Wright View Post
    Quote that I have always liked: "Life is too short to use crappy wood." Same applies to hardware. If you value your time and effort.......
    Along those same lines, if I'm building something that will live in the house and I want to be proud of I will use quality wood and hardware.
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  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Page View Post
    Along those same lines, if I'm building something that will live in the house and I want to be proud of I will use quality wood and hardware.

    I have on occasion bought some solid brass vintage drawer pulls and cabinet knobs on Ebay that I thought were deals. Usually I end up sucking it up and buy from Horton Brass. If I am going to gain hinges on a flush door on a nice piece I want a really good hinge...........sometimes you gotta pay to play!

  15. #15
    I do like to use good quality wood, hardware & whatever else goes into a project, but do have to talk myself into it. More so than for tools.

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