Home Center Lumber

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23 thoughts on “Home Center Lumber

  1. Out here on the west coast the only pine I have found that is any good is Sugar Pine. Just found a place that sells it for $1 a board foot. Going this Friday to stock up.

    Wish I could get EWPine though. That would be supper nice.

    • Where on the west coast can you get nice pine for $1.00? Had the opportunity to work with Southern Yellow Pine and it works well too.

  2. I felt slightly criminal. I needed (2) 10′ 2″x12″s from my local lumber dealer, so they grabbed a 20′ perfectly clear syp board, crosscut it at 10′ for me and I slid the now two boards into my wagon. I love pine. And for $30, I felt like I stole them.

  3. Hi Bob – My local wood yard here in the UK sells their ‘Premier Pine’ which is never clear or knot free for £8.60 ($13.57 USD) for 1 meter of 21 x 215mm Finished Size. Whats that, about double the price at half the quality?

    Wood aside – are we going to follow you along with another exciting project using this Pine?

    • Well, if you read Popular Woodworking you’ll be able to see the project. It will probably make a photo appearance on the web site after the article runs as well, but nothing on the site until then, and no step by step build or podcast for this one, sorry. The project is actually already in progress, I just needed a few more pieces to finish it up. Not all of this pine is for the Pop Wood project though. I needed a few boards for some other small shop stuff too.

      • Do you recommend Popular Woodworking as good reading for the hand tool woodworker? If they’re publishing your project they must be giving at least a nod to hand tools.

        • Absolutely, and not because they are publishing my article. While all of the magazines have their pros and cons, Popular Woodworking has been the best for hand tool info for those of us with a preference for hand tools (or a good combination of hand with power) for at least the last 10 years. I’d say it has the most hand tool content of all the magazines that I regularly look at. It’s also the only one left that I subscribe to for this reason.

          • Over at Fine Woodworking you will not find a single contributor who primarily uses hand tools to cut ANY joint. They seem to go out of their way sometimes (with overly circuitous workflows and with the use of complicated jigs) to avoid power tools. Too bad since their articles and projects are otherwise of very high quality.

  4. My Lowes in Rhode Island is a hit or miss affair. Sometimes I can find relatively clear stock with a few work around knots etc. They also sell primo #1 clear pine that I found out is from Norway and it ain’t cheap. It’s expensive at around $8 a BF. I’ve become a fan of their 1/2″ stock (1/2 x6) for drawers and boxes. They have that in pine (Norway), poplar, oak, and maple.

    • I’ve bought the premium clear pine as well. The stuff I got was from New Zealand; radiata pine I think. It’s really nice, but expensive. I tend to only buy it when I have no other choice. I’d rather go to the lumber yard and get either clear eastern white or poplar if I’m going to spend that much.

  5. I feel really blessed. I live minutes away from independent saw mills that harvest local trees. I just purchased rough cut whit pine that is clear of any blems for .35 a bd foot. Just have to get out the Jack and Jointer plane and make some shavings. Good luck Bob on your prodject. I’ll be following as always.

  6. Bob what you are seeing here is a volume issue. In every shipment of lumber from the sawmill there will be a mixture of grades (unless you pay huge $$ to have lesser grades pulled at the mill) So with every load that comes in you will get knotty, select tight knot, common, etc.

    Most local lumberyards don’t use that much Pine and when they do it is usually being bought for a specific order and being milled for paneling, flooring, or other millwork. What ends up on the retail racks is what has been culled from the total load.

    On the converse, one of the largest buyers of Pine are the big box stores. The sole purpose of their buy is for their retail racks so you get a higher percentage of top quality stuff available instead of it being picked over first.

  7. Down here in the Deepest South we have a lot of SYP available. I’m always looking at the 2X10s and 2X12s, and I frequently find good, straight stock with minimal knots. The “whitewood” is always more questionable, but even there I find a few good pieces once in a while if I bother to dig through the stacks.

  8. I live in the Birmingham, Alabama area and the home center #2 pine is horrible. I feel it is not suitable for furniture at all. I am using it now to make some new saw horses, but I have just about stopped using it for anything nice. They have a premium grade of pine that is mostly clear, but I have to carefully select boards for pleasing grain.

  9. I’ve had really good luck with the poplar at the big box stores too. The only issue I’ve come across is whatever sander they use to S4S the stock often leaves grit in the wood that kills my plane blades if I’m not careful.

  10. Bob nice looking boards, down here where I live it is a hit or miss and then it usually is SYP. I only have one of those Big Orange Buildings where I live so I can’t be to choosey, I do go thru a stack and find the best ones I can, but there are many times I walk out and come back a week later. I am actually going to the Borg Saturday in hopes of getting some 2 X material to finally start my bench.

    I am with you and a few others I do enjoy working with Pine, then again I don’t have a lot of choice unless I want to sell my Kids and of course that isn’t going to happen.

  11. The pine at the big box stores near Pittsburgh are hit or miss for quality, have to be there at the right time to get first pick. Regardless whether the boards are good or not, they are still expensive as far as I’m concerned.
    I recently made the wife a TV stand / low boy entertainment center, can’t remember the board footage I purchased at the sawmill, but I made the entire cabinet for $18 worth of eastern white pine.
    I only use the big box store pine for small amounts of project wood, when I’m working with my grandchildren to make items like bird houses, feeders, etc. Never get any other woods there, way too much for what you get.

  12. Congrats on the article, I would think that is big news! Can you not even say what you are building? I’m extra curious. Pop wood is my only mag subscription, btw.

  13. Out here in Tucson I usually have not searched for good pine at the big box stores since I think its pricey, however I do find good vertical doug fir sometimes in the stacks. I usually get a few DF beams and resaw it for rails and stiles. I usually get it for ~ $1 a bdft or less.

  14. At the home cheapo on Long Island, NY I find the better deal is on popular. It’s only a few cents more than pine and mills up much nicer. The best kept secret I’ve! Found is Lowes. Check out the 1/2″ maple! I often find a few pieces of curly maple mixed in. Great for making drawer sides!!!

  15. At the BORG around the corner from where I work (Los Angeles), most pine boards have regular (big ole) knots running down the center every two feet. Once in a while I will find a board that has a four foot clear section (at most), but I have never seen ANY boards that are completely clear. Perhaps I will stop by Lowes and see what their suppliers left in their stacks.

    I would love to find clear pine boards (preferably in the rough) somewhere in Socal that is not priced like a premium hardwood. You would think that clear doug fir could be found here for cheap, but I have not seen evidence of that. If Schwarz keeps posting gloat pictures on his PW blog with 22″ wide clear pine boards, I’m gonna have to go on a road trip to his tri-state area and buy up everything I can find. 😉

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