Skip to main content

Support your local wood monger

  • Author:
  • Updated:

I bought a piece of lumber yesterday that was a piece of junk, and I couldn’t be happier.

I needed some 1-1/4” oak for a project – it had to be solid, though, not laminated to that thickness from thinner pieces. Naturally, the big-box home centers were out so I headed to that local wood source I’ve mentioned once or twice before. It’s not really a lumber dealer, but a very large cabinet/millwork place. However, they order lumber by the ton and they’re more than happy to sell some of it you ask. I’ve developed a good relationship with one of the managers there, and rather than be annoyed by my occasional visit to buy a single board, he seems delighted to be able to take a break and chat woodworking. Further, he’s only too happy to fire up a forklift to move a 10’ stack to get a nice board off the bottom of the pile (where they always seem to be).

That was the case yesterday. We looked through his many stacks and found a nice candidate for my needs, buried a mere 5’ or 6’ down in a stack. He forked off the stuff on top and we took a look at it, a nice piece of high-grade 8/4 red oak, 12” wide and a bit over 10’ long – 20 bf of good hardwood.

However, there was some sporadic surface checking on one side running most of the length, about 4” from one edge. I did some mental measuring and, yeah, it would still work for the components I needed so I started to pull out my wallet. Before I could start peeling off bills, though, because of the defect in the board he offered to charge me for an 8”-wide piece instead of 12”, making it 13.3 bf instead of 20. Sweet.

Now, keep in mind that this guy always gives me a good deal on lumber, so even priced as an 8”-wide piece of 8/4 oak, I still paid less than you might expect for 13.3 bf of red oak. You won’t get a deal like that at the home center.

Don’t get me wrong; I have nothing against the big-box stores. In fact, on my way home with my prize I stopped at the blue one to get some other supplies I needed. The folks there are nice enough and plenty efficient, but let’s face it: They’re not working there because they love wood.

But my lumber guy at the cabinet shop does, and it makes all the difference.
Till next time,


Related Articles

Wood I, or wooden I

I’ve never stated before that there’s not a species of wood I won’t work with. Well, I take it back.