Reply by Tennessee

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Posted on new to woodworking with question

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2901 posts in 2899 days

#1 posted 01-30-2018 01:48 PM

The board feet answer has been thoroughly covered, but you can buy lumber three ways, actually.

If you get on Craigslist and go to Materials, then type in Lumber, you’ll see a lot of different people selling lumber a lot of ways.

By the board foot, the most common and what was explained here.

By the Linear foot, which is 12” of the plank, no matter how thick or how wide it is. Just the length. Sometimes, this can be a real bargain, but always have your phone with your calculator out to do the board foot calculation so you can see how much they are really charging for the board foot price. 12” of a 4” wide board may not be any bargain, but 12” of a 14” wide board probably is a real bargain. I’ve bought a lot this way, cash in hand.

By the load. Sometimes, this is the absolute best way to buy lumber. A HUGE load I bought some off of a month or two ago just got sold around me here. (In St. Elmo, Chattanooga). He had about 1800 board foot, total, of walnut, cherry, oak and hickory. I know from picking through it that the hickory was junk, (full of powder post), but he had all remaining 1800 board foot up for $3600. Even if you gave him that, (and a lot of that lumber was really, really nice), that is a lousy $2 a board foot. BUT, if you walked up with say, $3000 or $3100, you might be able to grab it for a stupid wholesale price.
When I bought it, he had almost 3000 board feet in storage, and boy, that was some fine lumber. I just didn’t have any more money or space to store more than what I bought. He sold more to other people, than sold the remaining load for a real bargain.

I know when I bought from him, I cherry-picked about 130 board foot of walnut and cherry and a tiny bit of hickory for $350 total. That was $2.69 a board foot for top shelf nine year old planed on one side lumber, mostly a true 1” or 1 1/8” thick, random widths up to 13” wide, with most boards going 8-9 foot long. I took mostly the walnut, since it is the most expensive for me to buy anywhere else.

So there is always more than just the measurements! Bargains are out there, if you hunt….

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

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