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Forum topic by lightning33 posted 01-04-2019 09:20 AM 944 views 0 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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lightning33

11 posts in 287 days


01-04-2019 09:20 AM

I am about to embark on my first foray into making a piece of furninture. My wife has posed to me a rearranging of some of our rooms. Being a huge pain, we would need a new table to eat at daily since the other one wouldn’t go in the new spot. Since I agreed to the rearranging, she has agreed to let me try and make it! We have a formal dining room table.

This would be “daily beater.” I was originaly thinking oak or ash just for durability as I have 2x kids. I have used pine 1xs before to make ledger/shelves; I don’t have finger nails due to biting, but feel like what nails I DO have could scratch/dent that wood.

I made an initial call to the local hardwood supplier and he quoted me almost $700 for the wood (red oak or ash – planed and jointed) for the 5×3.5 table! I almost fell out of my chair. My wife almost crapped her pants. She a) doesn’t want to pay that much and b) doesn’t want to walk on eggshells around potentially damaging a $700 table, especially since we already have a nice dining room table (formal).

Is pine a good option after all? Is there such a thing as “furniture grade” pine that is better than big box store stuff? Less twisty/warped?

I have been planning this in my head for weeks now in anticipation and don’t want to NOT be able to do this due to an issue like that. Thoughts? I will ask questions about and post my plans for the build later. Thanks in advance.

I hope this turns out to be a fun hobby.


39 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile

Wildwood

2740 posts in 2643 days


#1 posted 01-04-2019 10:12 AM

Don’t know where you live but recommend fill in type lumber (species) interested in and zip code and may find better prices on lumber in your area.

http://www.woodfinder.com/

Just knowing what is available (furniture grades) & prices might help you decide.

-- Bill

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Woodmaster1

1233 posts in 3095 days


#2 posted 01-04-2019 12:25 PM

I am sure you could find better prices. The $700 price tag I could get over 225bdft of oak. The top on your table is only 17.5 bdft. I don’t know what type of legs you are going to use but I am sure it is not over 200bdft of wood. I pay $3 dollars a bdft for red or white oak. Good luck I hope you find a good source.

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JayT

6295 posts in 2719 days


#3 posted 01-04-2019 01:29 PM

Part of the pricing issue is that you are being quoted S4S lumber (sized, jointed & planed on all four sides) That ups the price tremendously. If you are going to do woodworking as a hobby, you are far better off investing in the tools needed to dimension, square and flatten lumber. That way you can buy rough sawn lumber for far less.

For one project the investment in machines like a planer don’t make sense. Spread the cost over many projects and you come out ahead. If you aren’t going to invest in the tools, shop around and see if you can find a better price or a hobbyist woodworker who would square up and dimension the lumber for a lower charge than a business.

Lots of people have built dining tables out of pine. Yes, the tops dent and scratch easily. If you are OK with the “rustic” look, that’s fine. If not, you need to use a more durable wood like the oak or ash you mentioned.

-- https://www.jtplaneworks.com - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

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GR8HUNTER

6446 posts in 1221 days


#4 posted 01-04-2019 01:36 PM

if your painting it you could use popular :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

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RobHannon

317 posts in 1039 days


#5 posted 01-04-2019 02:21 PM

Like JayT said, the processing of the wood is driving the cost up. Do you have any makerspaces in your area? If so maybe you could get rough lumber and get familiar with the tools to break down the wood without having to make the initial tool investment. Also would give you a good idea if you enjoy it enough to take it beyond a single project to justify the tool purchases.

If that is not an option, I would go with construction pine and look into a getting a tempered glass top if you want to prevent wear and tear on the top. I have 2 young kids as well. If you goal is kid proof you need to look into granite and not wood.

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MPython

166 posts in 321 days


#6 posted 01-04-2019 02:24 PM

We have an old pine kitchen table my wife bought for $6.00 at a roadside market 40 years ago. I refinished it and we’ve used it as our everyday kitchen table ever since. We eat three meals at that table almost everyday. It had a lot of “patina” when she bought it, including two deeply scorched rings from a hot pot; and we’ve added our own patina over the years. It has an old, rustic look and many people have commented on it (positively) over the years. I’m usually not a fan of pine for furniture, but it works in some cases. Our table is a good example. Pine is cheap, but look for furniture grade stuff. Don’t use construction grade pine. If you do, you will not enjoy the experience or the finished product.

View jamsomito's profile

jamsomito

433 posts in 934 days


#7 posted 01-04-2019 02:30 PM

Oh man, you’re bringing me back to my first “real” project where I had to figure out all the intricacies of buying rough lumber. It’s way different than just going to Home Depot to get some 2×4’s. Lots to consider.

Check out some videos on the process before you start. Here’s a good one (there are lots of others): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2FNYJMkP-o

My best advice is to make a drawing of your table, or at least list out your parts you need for your design. Then determine what size lumber is required. Figure how they’ll fit into boards, then go to the lumber yard with some idea of exactly what type, quality (grade), size, and quantity of lumber you’ll need. It’s sold in board-feet (volumetric), but you still need to know how thick, wide, and long you need each board, and depending on those requirements the price will change per board-foot (thicker stock is pricier for the same volume).

As for species, I was also shocked at the price of commonly heard of wood like cherry, walnut, even white oak is pricey. I’d kindly suggest red oak or maple if you’re looking for hardwood on a budget. Ash would be good too, it’s harder, but a little harder to work and probably won’t save much on the bill. My first project I ended up using maple and I’m really happy with it! It’s holding up very well.

$700 is way expensive. If you just go to the lumber yard with a general idea they are going to sell you way more than you need. You need to spend the time up front to make sure you get specifics on your order. For me, the planning phase is almost as long as the building/finishing phase after I buy my lumber.

I buy all my rough lumber S2S (surfaced, 2 sides), and straight-lined because I don’t have a jointer or a planer. You can do better on your own, and save money on lumber if you have these tools, but it works ok for me. My lumberyard charges $17 for S2S+straight line for the first 100 board feet, then a price per BF after that. It adds cost, but for a hobby woodworker like me it doesn’t really break the bank. Lumber is just expensive.

Good luck!

Edit: oh, and one more thing. When you have your order together, throw in an extra board or two. It will cover any miscalculations, allow for a pesky knot you don’t want in an otherwise good board (meaning you need to get that piece from somewhere else), and give you some flexibility if grain patterns are a concern. If you don’t end up using them – hey, now you’ve got stock for the next project :). I like having a little on hand for misc projects.

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

509 posts in 3703 days


#8 posted 01-04-2019 02:44 PM

This gets away from making it yourself but plenty of good buys available at your local Habitat Restore. You’d be amazed at the quality furniture you can get for the price.

When my first kid was born I built a 48” square table out of maple. Nothing fancy with a simple round over edge. Finished it with several coats of polyurethane and that table was our family meeting place for all the years they lived with us. Of course it got dinged up but there’s a lot of memories in those dings. I still have the tabletop but haven’t figured out what to do with it yet.

View theart's profile

theart

132 posts in 1063 days


#9 posted 01-04-2019 03:14 PM


Part of the pricing issue is that you are being quoted S4S lumber (sized, jointed & planed on all four sides) That ups the price tremendously. If you are going to do woodworking as a hobby, you are far better off investing in the tools needed to dimension, square and flatten lumber. That way you can buy rough sawn lumber for far less.

True, but that usually only adds a few dollars per board foot, not twenty. My guess is that this shop deals mostly with commercial clients and just doesn’t want to take a small job.

View jamsomito's profile

jamsomito

433 posts in 934 days


#10 posted 01-04-2019 03:32 PM

Part of the pricing issue is that you are being quoted S4S lumber (sized, jointed & planed on all four sides) That ups the price tremendously. If you are going to do woodworking as a hobby, you are far better off investing in the tools needed to dimension, square and flatten lumber. That way you can buy rough sawn lumber for far less.

True, but that usually only adds a few dollars per board foot, not twenty. My guess is that this shop deals mostly with commercial clients and just doesn t want to take a small job.

- theart

Good point. It took me a long time to find a lumberyard willing to sell small quantities, and they still give big discounts for larger orders (or rather, price increases for small quantities). Most of the local guys won’t sell anything less than a truckload. I try to wait until I have an order of 100BF or so because at that point it’s about 30% cheaper at the place I go to.

View GrantA's profile

GrantA

1813 posts in 1916 days


#11 posted 01-04-2019 04:43 PM

I didn’t ready through the whole thing but if you want a durable table out of pine you need longleaf heart pine, depending where you are you might be able to get something else for cheaper though.

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1445 posts in 2619 days


#12 posted 01-04-2019 04:47 PM

This table is made from construction grade pine. I have four kids between 7 and 1 so I didn’t want to spend money on a beautiful hardwood top only to have them destroy it. 18 months later it is still holding up fine.

Click for details

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile

Smitty_Cabinetshop

16190 posts in 3127 days


#13 posted 01-04-2019 05:00 PM

Lightning, I think you’re overthinking this. Make it out of pine, and learn along the way. Learn from the build as well as the completed table re: durability. Then you’ll know. It’s the journey; don’t pucker over a table build that is an intended ‘Daily Beater.’

We have a small, round dropleaf table bought nearly 30 years ago from a discount retailer. Assembled and finished it myself. It’s ash, I think, but has all the scuffs and dents you’d expect from a family of six. We love it.

Build with whatever circumstances dictate and enjoy yourself. It’s a hobby! Hope this helps.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View lightning33's profile

lightning33

11 posts in 287 days


#14 posted 01-04-2019 05:39 PM

Wow. I did not expect so many responses so quickly. Some thoughts and responses…

That price was for 8/4 red oak that was planed, jointed, and straight-lined (I don’t even know what that means). That added “only about” $100 to the overall price. So, that makes it 600ish for the wood…for the table, not bench I plan to go with it.

My wife wants this thing to be painted for some reason. Black. If a compromise is to be made, I would prefer staining a deep black. Not sure how paint vs stain factors into the wood species decision matrix.

I am also thinking that, as some of you have said (smitty_cabinetshop, you are EXACTLY right – overthinking is my best attribute!) (and good example JADobson), pine might be the best thing. 1) it is my first project, so learning will occur and mistakes will be made. Why ruin nice wood on a beginner. 2) plenty of YouTube videos exist of some (to a novice/beginner like me) pretty serious workbenches made of pine. Why take the time to make a nice, flat, planed, etc workbench just have it marked and dinged from use? 3) Wife isn’t looking for a hand-downable piece…just a table and 4) price

RobHannon, I had not heard of a “makerspace.” Sounds interesting. Hopefully one is in my area. Do you now of a database to search?

But I will also check again on the bdft measurements. Also, maybe 8/4 isn’t the right size. The hardwood store I called is not in that Woodfinder database, but they aren’t large-jobs-only either.

Thanks all!

View RobHannon's profile

RobHannon

317 posts in 1039 days


#15 posted 01-04-2019 05:52 PM



...RobHannon, I had not heard of a “makerspace.” Sounds interesting. Hopefully one is in my area. Do you now of a database to search?

Not that I am aware of. I have done google searches for them. For me I am right between Baltimore and DC so there are several dense areas nearby for me to search. May be harder to come across in more rural areas.

Woodworking clubs are also a great way to network and make friends who may enjoy having shop partners.

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