My experince at the "Lowes cutting center"

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Blog entry by thatwoodworkingguy posted 05-28-2010 08:53 AM 41661 reads 0 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I arrived at lowes like any other today. A very small list. Some kreg screws and a 4×8 sheet of 1/4” birch ply for drawer bottoms. After browsing the tool isles and getting my screws I got my sheet and realized I had my car not truck and that I was going to have to have the sheet cut down to 4 2×4 sheets.
All good right? Nope.
I pressed the button on the wall near the panel saw and heard the command go off on the loudspeaker that something needed to be cut.
After waiting almost 15 minutes a middle age worker comes meandering over. He asked me what I would like cut and I explained I need this sheet cut in 4. After asking me for an explanation of how that should be done he puts the piece on the panel saw and completely ignores the built in ruler he cumbersomely handles a tape measure on the sheet. I said “theres a tape on the saw you know…” He then snaps and denies that there is such a thing.
It literally took 20 minuets for him to cut it down. He was then rude to me after I thanked him reluctantly.
The bottom line is…Take your truck to lowes if your buying sheet goods. Cut them yourself.

-- ~Eagle America~ ~Woodcraft~

24 comments so far

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 4342 days

#1 posted 05-28-2010 09:28 AM

I wish someone would have told me that one of the most useful tools in woodworking is a pickup truck. I hate buying sheet goods.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View nmkidd's profile


758 posts in 4504 days

#2 posted 05-28-2010 01:33 PM

your lucky the guy new how to turn on the saw…......and didn’t cut off his fingers!!!!

A pickup is an invaluable tool!!!!

-- Doug, New Mexico.......the only stupid question is one that is never asked!........don't fix it, if it ain't broke!

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 4616 days

#3 posted 05-28-2010 01:42 PM

This is one of the toughest things for the woodworker, and that is trying to find a decent place to buy materials. When I first started woodworking, I knew I needed to find a place that catered more to the woodworker then just a big box store. I checked with some of the local cabinet shops to see where they bought their lumber and sheet goods. Most bought from the larger suppliers that delivered directly to them and most of those suppliers didn’t want to deal with a little shop or hobbiest, but I kept looking and asking and finally found a supplier that handled a nice selection of hardwoods, some exotic woods and a good selection of sheet goods. They didn’t care if I bought 1 board or if I wanted 100 bd/ft. There was only one problem…...They where almost 2 hours away!. That was over 20 years ago and I’m still doing business with them. Sometimes is was not very conveinent and sometimes I still had to buy something from one of the box stores, but most of the time, the difference between the price I had to pay at the box store and the crappy quality I got there, it was worth the time to plan a trip to my supplier. A few years ago I moved my shop to Myrtle Beach, SC and I’m now about 4 1/2 hours away from my supplier, but guess what? I still buy 75/80% of all my materials from them. I’m lucky and have found a small supplier that’s fairly close that I can run and pick up a sheet of plywood if I need it, but I still drive past the local Lowe’s and Home Depot to get there.
Good luck on your woodworking and keep looking for a supplier that caters to you!

-- John @

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 5093 days

#4 posted 05-28-2010 02:16 PM

The last 4×8 sheet of birch plywood that I purchased at lowes, 13 ply, had veener only 10/1000 thick (I measured a loose chip). Obviously, their panel saw would leave a horrible amount of tearout. Plywood like this can only be cut with a special blade.

A friend of mine has contacts with a specialty cabinet shop that will sell him high quality plywood. It isn’t cheap, but it may be well worth nurturing a good relationship with your local cabinet shop. The Frank Miller Lumber Co. in Union City IN also sells high quality plywood, and they will cut it with a smile – nice small town people.

By-the-way, I’m now on my third Dodge 1500 truck – couldn’t do without it.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Randy Sharp's profile

Randy Sharp

363 posts in 5004 days

#5 posted 05-28-2010 03:34 PM

Yeah, sometimes getting material cut at the big box stores can be an adventure.

I started bringing along my cordless saw when buying sheet goods or long boards (we have a van). I cut them myself in the parking lot. As a result, my cuts are clean, crisp and exact.

Sorry to hear that your experience with the employee was not so good. I’ve always found my local Lowe’s store staff to be very friendly and efficient.

-- Randy, Tupelo, MS ~ A man who honors his wife will have children who honor their father.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 5289 days

#6 posted 05-28-2010 03:35 PM

You ain’t just whistling Dixie, my friend! I love my pickup….I think it’s one of the most important tools in my shop! Not only can you handle sheet goods and long lumber, but it works pretty good for bringing home large pieces of wood working equipment!


View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 4440 days

#7 posted 05-28-2010 03:59 PM

I have had similar adventures. I don’t have a truck and sheet goods are now my biggest pain. I usually check the cut list and try to calculate the largest margin of error so I can recut when I get home. I have recently explored mills, as adverse to the big box.

Good thinking Randy. I can see where bringing some styrofoam in the car and running a cordless out in the parking lot would save a good deal of the pain. I will have to remember that one.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Don Newton's profile

Don Newton

733 posts in 4950 days

#8 posted 05-28-2010 04:53 PM

I have no patience for bad service. PERIOD. When I am confronted by an employee who shouldn’t be working with the public, I demand they get their Manager. It’s kind of like making them tell on themselves! Works every time…....except on the rare occassion when you quickly determine the Manager is the problem!

-- Don, Pittsburgh

View a1Jim's profile


118308 posts in 4909 days

#9 posted 05-28-2010 04:58 PM

We think we still should get competent polite help at stores. But many employees don’t understand that concept.


View BOB67CAM's profile


269 posts in 4403 days

#10 posted 05-28-2010 05:14 PM

ive always had trucks or vans (full size) and thered be no way i could get thru life without them, theyre like a welder or plasma cutter…or a
randy, u said u have a van…im a bit confused tho, why would u need to cut the ply in the lot? unless it was just to make people
even if its a mini-van u could easily get a ladder rack? it just hit me odd so i had to ask

-- if you dont have it, build it, especially when its a stupid idea

View Mike Talbot's profile

Mike Talbot

22 posts in 4518 days

#11 posted 05-28-2010 05:48 PM

My grip with pickup trucks around where i live is they only have a 6 1/2 foot bed. what happened to using a pickup truck for work instead of as a toy or kids making them look fancy.

View dbhost's profile


5860 posts in 4563 days

#12 posted 05-28-2010 05:55 PM

Mike, Tailgates go down. Making that 6.5 feet 8.5 feet…

Yeah I wish a standard box was still 8’. But it isn’t…

I have a truck with a 6.5 foot bed, and I just flop the tailgate down, strap the sheet goods in and go…

I hate to say it, but at least at the Lowes by me, the guys working the lumber department are actually pretty decent… Now Home Depot is a completely different story…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Mike Talbot's profile

Mike Talbot

22 posts in 4518 days

#13 posted 05-28-2010 06:20 PM

my problem with putting the tailgate down is 30 sheets of 3/4 cherry ply held in by a $3.95 strap. this is why i drive a F350.

View Jason's profile


660 posts in 4840 days

#14 posted 05-28-2010 07:08 PM

Here’s my $0.02: I love my truck, but NOT Lowe’s!

-- Jason - Colorado Springs

View lanwater's profile


3113 posts in 4266 days

#15 posted 05-28-2010 10:22 PM

Well I am going to disagree. I have never had a bad experience at store were I shop.

All my cabinet for the garage/shop were made from oak plywood cut at Lowes (dublin,CA).
I always got the help I needed and yes they measure with a tape.
When I am shoping there I always get asked if I needed help. They even help me move sheet around so I get the one I like. Sometimes I got asked in the parking lot if I need help load.

I always give myself a 2” margin because their saw leaves a lot of splinter. They never charged me for the cuts either.

The worst days to shop there are weekends, that when they have a lot of trafic. If I have to go on the weekend I make it very early in the morning.

I almost never had to wait more than 10mn at the saw.

I know buy my sheets at MacBeth lumber because of the better selection. They also have a good service.

Home Depot on the other hand, well I tried only once…

I do not work for Lowes.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

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