Hand Tools Archive

Subject:
Lumber

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
You lumber report brings up two points.

Where to buy: Everywhere has local lumber sales to small shops. One just needs to find this source. Because sales are largely to a small number of shops these places may not be well known to the general public. They may not advertise or even be in the yellow pages. This source cuts out one "middle man" in the supply chain so that prices may be lower.

Quality: Packs of lumber (500-1000 bdft) are sold by grade. Within each grade there is a spread in desirability of the individual pieces with the best being clear, wide and sap-free and the worst just slightly better than the next lowest grade. If the seller allows the customer to sort and pick, the remains of these packs will by and large not look attractive. You wind up with what you see at Rockler. The first person to pick is delighted with their score and the last customers bemoans the poor quality of Rockler (fill in the blank) lumber.

In the case of Cherry Rockler is probably buying a Select and Better grade. Select allows narrow lumber, short lumber and other grading standards are loosened. Personally, I would rather buy #1 Common as better value. After a Sel&Btr pack is sorted through the remains will be less useful than average #1 Common.

We never allowed customer to pick. It annoyed some tiny volume customers but these customers didn't generate significant profit. It benefited the average customer because they reliably got average lumber for the grade they were buying.

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