Home Depot - 2 in. x 12 in. x 12 ft. Premium #2 & Better Douglas Fir Lumber (Rating: 5)

After completing my recent coffee table, I posted it and mentioned that being picky in the big box store is very worth while. The 2 in. x 12 in. x 12 ft. Premium #2 & Better Douglas Fir Lumber is a great section to look through. With very little effort you can pull out a piece that is pretty straight. Nothing you couldn't cut into smaller pieces and eliminate most of the cup, bow or warping with a little milling.

It is pretty wet as described on the website (19%ish) but you can let it dry as long as you want to get the moisture level you are requiring. Me, so far I have had pretty good luck with a minimal wait time. LOL!!! The time it takes to drive home and start making saw dust. About an hour or two sometimes.

I have laminated tops and other project pieces with some movement by the morning. Usually minimal for the projects I have been doing. Mostly rough, rustic type projects. You know, beginner projects. I can usually push or pound them back into the position I planned for them to be in according to the plans. I should probably learn to have more patients for drying but none of the tops I have made thus far have split or cracked into thousands of pieces. At least that's how I picture it in my mind. The one night stand I made with this wet wood has a few minor splits in the end grade but nothing that has reached the surface and its been a couple years now and a move from the pacific northwest to the DC area. We all know how careful movers can be.

As for the price, Using some basic calculations, its about 50% more expensive as compared to several 2 in. x 4 in. x 8 ft. SPF. No faulting using SPF 2X4's (heck, the 70% off cull lumber rack in the back with the purple paint has been a frequent stop for me) because I have used plenty of those starting out and quarter sawn 2×4s can be found. It takes a lot of time and a lot of sorting through the stack till folks start looking at you like you are a crazy man. I especially like it when the contractors start watching and wondering what you are doing. Just say, "Where's my precious, I lost my precious" a couple times and folks usually leave you alone. PS, please let me know if you try that and take a video. Post it to my facebook page and I would be so proud of you.

The 50% more expensive really sucks when it comes to suggesting to the wife that I would like to try another project. Now with the use of Google Sketchup I know before hand cost to within 5-10% and I can show my wife what I am thinking so she can decide what she would like different before I start cutting. Its cheaper that way.

Trust me, the work flow of building in Sketchup and then wife proofing it is a woodworking technique not often mentioned on this page. It can save some serious money. Being a beginner and low budget minded, take my word. LEARN SKETCHUP!!! There is no saw nor sand paper that can help you get a better low budget result than prior planning. Jay Bates on Youtube has some great how to videos and breaks it down to where if you are able to use the Lumberjocks webpage. You can use Sketchup with a little more patients. Not to mention Google Sketchup Make paired with Cutlist Extension is FREE!!! Now thats a price even I can afford but I digress.

Link to Google Sketchup Make Download:
http://www.sketchup.com/download

On the plus side, the 50% more expense goes toward a grain that is much much tighter and the possibility of gleaning the quarter sawn Premium #2 Better Douglas Fir (at least that's what we have here locally at the box store). I call that a win.

At the end of the day, my wife and budget are the deciding factors at my house.

My suggestion, if you are very new and still deciding if you like woodworking. Or, in the words of Yoda, "Much to learn you still have." fits you the best. 2×4s at the Big Box Store are the way to go or heck the cull lumber 70% off rack with the purple painted pieces. Any of them, just start making something and build some experience. If you get the bug, have acquired a couple beginner skills and the confidence (You know that means wife's permission) to spend a little more. Don't be scared and upgrade to the next rack.

Enjoy the process of learning and Be Safe.