Diving or Tip-Toeing In - Router Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 09:08 PM Thread Starter
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Default Diving or Tip-Toeing In

Well, the time comes in every beginners woodworking life when he must decide put away little projects and build something big. I am now contemplating building a bed, which is my first big wood working project. I will be buying my hardwood, probably oak, maybe cherry, from a hardwood dealer, not a big Home Improvement store. Question, do I need to plunk down a big chunk of money and buy all the wood at once or should I buy enough to last me a week and then go back for more? I do not have a truck but I believe for a small fee they will deliver if I bought all-at-once. Can I trust them to pick out the wood or do I need to go there and pick out each piece? Remember, this is my first time buying wood from a hardwood dealer (Okay, truth be told I did but one piece of cherry that was six feet long by 8 inches wide just for the thrill of it) and I am not sure what to expect. Finally, should I go all in and buy quarter sawn vs plain?

Jim M.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 09:44 PM
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I would buy all of it at once. You might be able to get it all from the same tree but at the least you'll have a chance to color match it. 1/4 sawn should be more stable but you'll have to decide if you want to pay that much extra. You should also be deciding on what hardware you want to use. Lee Valley is one place to start.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Chuck, yes I know and like Mr. Lee Valley stuff. I have their shoulder plane and Mark whatever sharpening jig. I live in Phoenix AZ where the weather is always hot and dry, except for the Monsoon season where humidity increases somewhat. Therefore, maybe quarter sawn lumber would not be required. Thanks for the info.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 10:16 PM
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Buy it all at once, remember to buy 10% to 15% more than you need
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-04-2015, 11:21 PM
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I would buy it all at once if possible. 1 delivery fee is usually cheaper than 2 or 3 smaller ones. You can also get economies of scale buying longer lengths, and make best use of your setup times by cutting / routing / drilling / ... all similar pieces together. The downsides that I can think of: you need to have the cash to pay for it all and the space to store it. I had a close call last week re storage. I have a job that needs 7 sheets of melamine, so I kept them wrapped up in a tarp on sawhorses outside in the back yard ready to cut 2 days later when I had the time. 2 days later it started raining and I just got it cut into small enough pieces to go into my store room just before the rain really started. We ended up getting 3-4 times the monthly average in a single afternoon the next day. I was happy to escape that one...

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Providing Web and IT services through my own business (Darbeth) by day, and by night , saving my customer's sanity.

Escaping to the workshop to create things out of slabs of wood by day or by night , to save my own sanity.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2015, 11:16 AM
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I would buy it all at once, and if some of it needs cutting down, take a cut list and have them rough cut it for you, the lumber yards usually don't mind cutting it down for you. Is there someone you know that owns a pickup that would go with you? You will enjoy browsing the wood piles and smelling the different wood fragrances and take your time and select straight and flat pieces, it is an important part of woodworking to select the right pieces of lumber.

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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2015, 06:32 PM
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I absolutely agree with Herb that buying all your wood at once is the best way to go. That way you can select the boards that best meet your needs and are best for colour match. When I say best meet your needs I am referring to selecting highly figured pieces where appropriate and straight grained pieces where appropriate. You want straight grain for legs for example. Sit down before you go and figure out what you will need out of wide boards and narrow boards by thickness. For example a headboard may require so many boards at 6 or 8 inches wide by 3/4 thick. Legs may need to be from boards 2 inches thick or more. Think here about your equipment as well. I have a 6 inch jointer so 10 inch wide lumber must be cut to accommodate this. I need to have a use for a 3 to 4 inch wide piece or it gets wasteful.
When selecting boards put them on edge and look down the length. Select the straightest or if a board looks good but is bent (bowed) a bit visualize where it could be cut to take out the curve and leave you with workable pieces. I generally avoid boards with sideways bends (crook), cup, twist and wane (pieces missing on the edge) as they are wasteful to work with.
If you are getting serious about woodworking this step is critical to your project's success. Take your time and don't be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes on a big project I will go the lumber yard just to look at their stock without buying. Then I go home and re-think board width, etc. if necessary.
Here's a link to a pro selecting lumber that will lead you to a number of other useful videos. Have fun.

How Master Artisan John Reed Fox Selects Hardwood Lumber For Furniture - Video
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2015, 08:11 PM Thread Starter
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Daryl, yes, I heard about that storm here in Phoenix, sounded like it lasted for days. Thanks for the advice, I think I can store it in the garage but the might preclude parking the car in the garage.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 05-05-2015, 08:26 PM
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Like others, i'd buy everything at once for the project plus an excess of 10-15%. If you're just starting with rough cut lumber, you might go on the high side of the surplus.

Now, as i read you post and the responses--here's another thought...IF you can make a little storage space:
If you've been paying Big Box for S4S (Smooth 4 Sides--still should be milled to make sure it's consistent sized), you might consider estimating your cost of lumber for this project if you bought it from Big Box. Then use that budget to make your rough cut purchase. The bed plan may call for 60-80 bf of lumber, many yards charge less at 100 bf (a few places i go the cost of 100 bf is pretty much the same as buying 70-80 bf). Having some extra might save you a trip back in the event of disaster, and if not needed it leaves a nice little pile for making some boxes, a few matching picture frames or mirror frames, or a clock. Especially if you decide on cherry--having the "bonus" pieces made at around the same time will allow them to darken equally over time.

Also, on the price break points--it may not have to be the same species. So, you might be able to buy 80 bf of cherry for you project, 20 bf of white oak because you like it and still get the 100 bf price. If my guess is right, the Big Box Budget will likely get you 40% to 60% more rough cut lumber than you need--the price you pay is the milling to get it ready.

Just another way to look at it!! Best wishes on the project--clearly i vote for...DIVE IN!!

earl
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