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Taking the wife on a Lumber Yard Date

2299 Views 19 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  reedwood
Man, …what a great weekend!

I recently remodeled a master bath which included making a new custom cherry vanity.

Well, that meant we had to take a two hour road trip to pick up materials at Owl Hardwood Lumber in Desplaines, Illinois.

I decided to go on a Saturday so my wife, Lynn could go with me and stop for lunch on the way back.

Wood Flooring Hardwood City Brick

We always enjoy going there together and walking down the aisles of exotic woods stacked to the ceiling.
She's gotten pretty good at identifying the different types now.

I love how the smell of walnut and oak fills the air… and the sounds of big machinery buzzing in the back shop.

So many beautiful wood grains like Lacewood and Cocobolo, Zebrawood, quilted and Birdseye maple, drawing your eyes to observe them from different angles and wonder how a tree can create such beauty.

They have small blocks for making bowls and pens, and huge three ft. wide slabs of Bubinga, 20 ft. tall, three inches thick, standing on the end of the aisles, destined to be a spectacular board room table,... no doubt.

After checking out all the varieties of wood with Lynn, I loaded a cart with sheets of maple plywood and hand selected several 1×8 cherry boards for the vanity and a few for my own cherry kitchen I'm working on.

She really likes to help me select the grains of the boards. She knows what to look for and even sights them to make sure they were straight.

It's a proud moment for a cabinet maker, married 32 years….What a gal!

On the way back, we stopped at her favorite spot - Super Dawg, a Chicago landmark hotdog drive in and had a great lunch. BTW - Never ask them for ketchup! ... Ha!

Then, we stopped at an antique store that was going out of business. I found four Stanley hand planes sitting outside on a display table. What are the odds of that? BTW - I'm a tool collector too, if you didn't know.

My heart started pounding as I looked closer, trying not to let the salesman see my bugging eyes.

Smoothing plane Plane Scrub plane Block plane Jack plane

The big Stanley No. 7 was very old. There were no dings or cracks on the rosewood handles or the body, it was all original and it had the desirable sweetheart blade, still sharp too…..nice.

The No.4 and No.3 Stanley planes were not as old but in very good condition. I don't think they had ever been used or sharpened.

The no.15 Stanley block plane was weathered but not rusty. It was hardly used and had a sharp sweetheart blade too…..Wow!

Time to negotiate.

Now, you have to know….I am a prolific watcher of American Pickers.

Mike and Frank have taught me a few tricks and now it was time to go after this pick like a honey badger
break the ice and Pop on a good deal.

I pretended to be ignorant when the salesman asked me to make the first offer. I said I was interested in the No.7 but if the price was right, I might take all four of them.

He insisted I make the first offer so I threw out a number of 40 bucks. He said the no. 7 was worth at least $100!

He counter offered at $100 for all four. I came up to $50 and he came down to $60. So, I counter offered at $55 but he stayed firm at $60.

Time to flip a coin! .... $50 bucks if I win and $60 if he wins - I call it.

I pulled out a quarter, called heads and flipped it in the air. It landed on the ground and rolled under the table.
We leaned down and looked under the table cloth and watched it roll round and round to a stop…. Tails!

We stood up and laughed about it and heartily shook hands as if we both won the bet! ....Ha!

Yea, I lost the coin toss but it was worth ten bucks to work the deal and see the salesman overjoyed at his good fortune…. And I still walked away with the best deal, without a doubt.

Hey!.... no sales tax or E Bay shipping either.

Meanwhile, my wife found an antique Victorian plant stand made of quarter sawn oak and a Rookwood pottery vase for half of what they were worth.

We both scored!

On the way back we took the scenic route through the North Shore neighborhoods and checked out the big mansions and small towns.

Always a good time on a road trip with the wife to the Lumber Yard!



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Sounds like a dream date. Good find with the planes.
Great story, good luck with the vanity.
I think you ought to invest in the stock market and buy a new house this week, and trade in the old truck. Let's face it, you are on a roll…........and nothing could possibly go wrong!

........and now you have posting fodder for planes for the next year.

Gotta take the good with the bad, but right now you are on a good streak….....
Fun story Frank I mean Mark ,LOL After 46 years my wife and I still enjoy days out like you had,it's great to have your best friend as your mate. It looks like your pickers technique gained you some great plains enjoy.
My wife unit and I are best friends also. It makes life really nice. She likes wood shopping too, actually any shopping :)

Nice score on the planes. Really nice.

Play some Lotto tonight,
Great story and score Mark!
I had to show this to my wife of 33 years. She has surprised me with wood purchases and I like to take her to a wood place because she MAKES me buy more than I would have. " What about this board?" "Don't you want it?" Of course, she has a lot of nice things I have made for her.
sounds like an awesome day!!!
You can wake up from your dream now!
Sounds like a great day!
A great read! Sounds like a great day…. With icing!
Hey everyone, Thanks for all the comments.

I enjoyed sharing this with you. Funny thing…. they're were several other couples in there, just like us.
Maybe the lumber yard is the new place to go for "date night". Ha!

Lynn said she didn't know anything or care much about wood types until I brought her there the first time.
She said that was the day she fell in love with the woodworker in me and understood why I loved what I do.

I'm in the process of spraying the final coat on her new cherry kitchen cabinets but it will have to wait until I finish this vanity for a client. I'm so close! Can't wait to show you guys!

She's waited 30 years for me to build her cabinets (had to remodel the whole house first) ... Did I mention she's very patient too?
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It sounds like you hit the jackpot on those planes. I wish we had a hardwood company near here that stocked more specialty woods.

helluvawreck aka Charles
Morning Charles,

Owl hardwood is about an hour south of us which isn't bad considering it's a scenic drive through several little (wealthy North Shore) suburban towns. Just right for a nice half day road trip with your BFF.

I've been watching the no. 7 on E bay and they get as much as 175 bucks for this one. I think the owner was right - it's worth about 100.00. I cleaned it up a little and the japanning is 99% there.

I'm torn between a complete refinish or leaving it alone, just clean up the rest of it. I haven't researched it yet. I would guess it's around a type 10. I'll post it when I finish them but I have a few projects to finish first, may take a week or two…or three.
hardwood, hotdogs and Stanley planes with the wife. Can't beat that kind of day ever.
@reedwood, if you ever get a chance, you should stop by Kettle Moraine Hardwoods in Caledonia, WI. It's about 45 mins north of Grayslake on I-94. It used to be my go-to for lumber when I lived in Kenosha (and still is when I do projects at my parents' new house in Twin Lakes). For the record, I'm not affiliated with them at all.

I've been to the OWL in St. Charles, but their prices have always seemed high to me compared to KMH.

Seems I should take my girl to the lumberyard sometime if your wife enjoys it that much!
What a day! Enjoy your planes.
What a great find.

Oh yeah, and the planes too.

Thanks for sharing - sounds like a great day.
Don W - "Hardwood, Hotdogs and Stanley planes with the wife." That should have been the title!.... good one.

grf - I've been there too although it's been a while. I'll have to check them out again on the next "Date night".

At some point the price becomes irrelevant if you can't find 6 boards in the stack that are straight and close in grain and color. I've had good luck with Owl.

I like to buy their 4/4 stock and have them rip one side straight which they do for free. The S4S stock is definitely more expensive but….man, it's perfect, especially for prefab work or high end projects.

Sandra - who me? Oh, you mean my wife. Yep, she's my bud. Thanks.
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