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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I found some white oak rough cut lumber for sale at $2.50 bf on craigslist. Some boards are 8" wide and others are 5 1/2" wide and they're all about 8' long. The ad says they're not kiln dried but have been garage kept for 4 years. I'd like to make a small table and perhaps an outdoor bench.

The questions begin…

What am I looking for when buying rough cut lumber? Is the moisture content a factor at all or if the guy says it's been drying in a garage for 4 years then can I bet it is dry? I think the kiln dried wood would ensure there are no bugs, right?

Preparing the wood is something I've never done. Can I use a hand plane if I don't own an electric planer? If so, which hand plane is best? (is that even a simple question)

Also, if anyone has something else to say about buying rough cut lumber then I'm eager to listen.

Thanks.
 

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So rough cut has a few problems. You can plane by hand, it will take a fair amount of work but its possible. The other problem is no straight reference to rip it down by, which means you need a jig to get a straight line.


Where are you located?
 

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I buy rough cut all the time- great opportunity to get great lumber. Buy a moisture meter. Learn what the signs of PPB's (powder post beetle) are- little piles of sawdust- you have to freeze-poison or fry them...............
 
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Hello,
The questions begin…

What am I looking for when buying rough cut lumber? Is the moisture content a factor at all or if the guy says it's been drying in a garage for 4 years then can I bet it is dry? I think the kiln dried wood would ensure there are no bugs, right?

Preparing the wood is something I've never done. Can I use a hand plane if I don't own an electric planer? If so, which hand plane is best? (is that even a simple question)

Also, if anyone has something else to say about buying rough cut lumber then I'm eager to listen.

Thanks.
I purchase rough cut lumber and plane at home, but I have a power planer. I purchase from a local mill which kiln dries.

What I look for is a board which is as flat and straight as possible, zero or small knots, no long cracks on the end. It can be difficult to tell what the grain looks like in rough cut lumber.

If the wood has been in a garage, consider it air dried. The moisture content of air dried lumber is higher than kiln dried, but both may be higher than the moisture in your shop.

Lots of threads on the forum where people purchase lumber, immediately use in a project, then days or weeks or months later cracks appear due to the wood losing moisture after the project is built.

So if you purchase this lumber, let is acclimate to your shop environment for a few weeks.

This David Moore video is a very good explanation of how to flatten a board with hand planes. Note plural planes. You will need several.

http://www.finewoodworking.com/item/...en-wide-boards

+1 with Shop Dad on using the winding sticks.

It is a lot of work, but David Moore shows it can be done.

Another option is to make a sled for a router. Use a wide dado style bit to speed things up.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f26/pair-olives-43311/
 

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Is $2.50 a bd ft. cheap where you are? I'm getting kiln dried & surfaced FAS red oak for $2.30 a bd. ft. I think if you don't have a surface planer or know somewhere you can have it done I would pass on the rough lumber. I think it would be more work than it's worth to work with the rough wood. Kept in the garage for 4 years though the wood should be dry enough to work with. Having the wood kiln dried doesn't necessarily mean the wood is bug free. Insects can get into the wood after it is dried.
 

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Steve Neul said:
Is $2.50 a bd ft. cheap where you are? I'm getting kiln dried & surfaced FAS red oak for $2.30 a bd. ft..
That's why I was asking location. 2.50 doesn't seem like a bargain to me, but maybe he lives in downtown DC and its a bargain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
ryan50hrl said:
So rough cut has a few problems. You can plane by hand, it will take a fair amount of work but its possible. The other problem is no straight reference to rip it down by, which means you need a jig to get a straight line. Where are you located?
I'm near Raleigh, NC.

I reference to all replies, it certainly sounds like unless I do have access to a power planer, I could be looking at a fair amount of work. Take that with no reference point to ensure the board is straight and I could be planing until I have nothing. No doubt I'd keep at it but it would be good practice. I also don't have any hand planes so there is that.

I think it would be good practice to start learning how to use hand planes but perhaps I'll stick to dimensional (is that the word) lumber for projects. I can learn to plane and gain more knowledge, then revisit the idea of rough cut lumber.

As for pricing, I saw ash at $1.85 bf and the white oak from $2 to 2.50. I saw some beautiful walnut but the guy said "$7.00" and hasn't replied if that's per bf or per 1x6x10 board.
 

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I think it would be good practice to start learning how to use hand planes but perhaps I'll stick to dimensional (is that the word) lumber for projects. I can learn to plane and gain more knowledge, then revisit the idea of rough cut lumber.
I think you will be better off at the moment buying dimensional lumber.

The big box stores sell S4S (square 4 sides). A lumber mill will plane rough cut lumber for you, for an added fee. They would typically plane to flat surfaces, so you would have S2S (square 2 sides) lumber, so you would just need to rip a reference edge to get started on the table saw.

I do recommend you start looking into hand planes. Even if you build from dimensional lumber, it is common to have a need to plane a piece to either make it fit, or to trim off excess.

A good block plane is a handy tool as a first plane.

Lots of threads in the Hand Tools forum about hand planes.

Start looking at local flea markets or garage sales for old planes. A number of restoration threads in the Hand Tools forum.
 

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Humor below....if it offends you,stop reading now,haha.


Did any of you-all see the promo's for "Shark week" on cable?The one where a news crew and spectators were out on a pier,watching the reintroduction of "Fluffy" the rehabbed seal back into her native waters.Just about the time fluffy is almost in the ocean,a great white shark goes airborn and rips Fluffy,her canvas tote thingy,and half the rope.........into oblivion.

Well,thats what I see when the unsuspecting goes lumber shopping,whether that is...sLowes,Woodcraft,Lumber wholesaler.My suggestion is...if you can find one....go find a local to you,cabinet shop,millshop,repro maker,etc,etc.Ask him/her where they get their lumber.Tread very litely(remember Fluffy)with not only your new found friend but also the supplier.And thats not in a negative way(assuming they're ripoffs).......no,tread ltely in your behavior to these folks.The cabinet guy dosen't owe you anything,he's doing you a favor.The amt of lumber you'll buy from the supplier dosen't mean much business to them either.Be polite...be honest(your experience,requirements)...and cash is king.
 
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Hello,
I found some white oak rough cut lumber for sale at $2.50 bf on craigslist. Some boards are 8" wide and others are 5 1/2" wide and they're all about 8' long. The ad says they're not kiln dried but have been garage kept for 4 years.
Thanks.
You gave us the width and the length , but what is the thickness ?
When discussing air drying timber that's the one counts .
 

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$7 for nice looking Walnut is probably by the foot which is near mill price so I would probably pass on that. I've picked up air dried Walnut for $1 a board foot... but Walnut is pretty easy to come by in PA.

As for hand planes. I enjoy hand planing... but I'm not a gluton for punishment so I plane one face flat and then run it through my power planer. Its slow going but its a good workout. You said what hand plane is "Best" if you are talking about brand you can't get much better than a Lie-Nielsen... without spending $2k plus on a single plane. As for which hand plane is "best" for getting a square face / edge. I've found that there really isn't 1 plane for that. My kit includes a #4 1/2 smoothing plane, #7 Jointer, and a scrub plane. You could do it with a #4 or #5 only but it would be a lot more work.

As for Power Planers, my power planer paid for itself the first time I bought 150bdf of rough Walnut for $1bdf, saved $900 and my power planer was only $600ish. And you don't feel as bad messing up a $5 board vs a $35 board =)
 

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Here is some Walnut I picked up from a client today who has had this in his bard for 10 years.

The boards on the top had to be cut in half, they were 2x16'x8



 

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When I first started building stuff, I used pine/oak/poplar from HD or Lowes that was already surfaced. This works fine but there are limitations, i.e. good luck finding straight, flat boards that are the same thickness.

Sine I learned how to use a jointer 7 or 8 years ago, I haven't bought anything but rough sawn lumber. Milling it yourself is the only way to insure you get straight, flat, accurately-thicknessed stock to work with.

In my area, it possible to pick up a decent used jointer & planer for about 400 bucks. It's a worthy investment.

I'm just now learning to surface & straighten rough stock by hand. It's pretty tough. Very cool, very rewarding to be able to flatten out a twisted board by hand, but definitely hard work. I managed fine with a #5 and a #7, old refurbished Stanley's, and a fore plane iron to swap out on the #5.

Check out the hand tool forum for some guidance on technique, planes, etc.

I like kiln dried lumber personally. Kills the bugs, and if its done right dries the wood evenly. Some guys like air dried better. Just my opinion. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You gave us the width and the length , but what is the thickness ?
When discussing air drying timber that's the one counts .
Good point. The seller never responded and I didn't press the issue since I won't likely be buying.
$7 for nice looking Walnut is probably by the foot which is near mill price so I would probably pass on that. I've picked up air dried Walnut for $1 a board foot... but Walnut is pretty easy to come by in PA.

As for hand planes. I enjoy hand planing... but I'm not a gluton for punishment so I plane one face flat and then run it through my power planer. Its slow going but its a good workout. You said what hand plane is "Best" if you are talking about brand you can't get much better than a Lie-Nielsen... without spending $2k plus on a single plane. As for which hand plane is "best" for getting a square face / edge. I've found that there really isn't 1 plane for that. My kit includes a #4 1/2 smoothing plane, #7 Jointer, and a scrub plane. You could do it with a #4 or #5 only but it would be a lot more work.

As for Power Planers, my power planer paid for itself the first time I bought 150bdf of rough Walnut for $1bdf, saved $900 and my power planer was only $600ish. And you don't feel as bad messing up a $5 board vs a $35 board =)
I was definitely referring to the right plane for the job more than brands. I've been reading the hand tool section and learning what I can.
When I first started building stuff, I used pine/oak/poplar from HD or Lowes that was already surfaced. This works fine but there are limitations, i.e. good luck finding straight, flat boards that are the same thickness.

Sine I learned how to use a jointer 7 or 8 years ago, I haven't bought anything but rough sawn lumber. Milling it yourself is the only way to insure you get straight, flat, accurately-thicknessed stock to work with.

In my area, it possible to pick up a decent used jointer & planer for about 400 bucks. It's a worthy investment.

I'm just now learning to surface & straighten rough stock by hand. It's pretty tough. Very cool, very rewarding to be able to flatten out a twisted board by hand, but definitely hard work. I managed fine with a #5 and a #7, old refurbished Stanley's, and a fore plane iron to swap out on the #5.

Check out the hand tool forum for some guidance on technique, planes, etc.

I like kiln dried lumber personally. Kills the bugs, and if its done right dries the wood evenly. Some guys like air dried better. Just my opinion. Good luck!
Finding straight flat boards at HD or Lowe's is tough. I'm near a woodcraft, Capitol city lumber, and Stock building supply.
 

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Lumber that has been dry stored for 4 years in a garage should be sufficiently dry for whatever you want to do.

George
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
GeorgeC said:
Lumber that has been dry stored for 4 years in a garage should be sufficiently dry for whatever you want to do. George
One seller finally contacted me. For the 1"x6"x10' of walnut he wants $35. I just learned what it means to calculate the cost of a board price per bf. I thought it was like a linear foot. So this guy wants $7 pbf for 50 year old black walnut. I don't know if that's good but if I can get my hands on a power planer, I wouldn't mind having it. I don't think I can hand plane effectively due to lack of skill right now.

Either way, I'd like to eventually get to a point where rough cut lumber is easy to get and work with.
 

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One seller finally contacted me. For the 1"x6"x10' of walnut he wants $35. I just learned what it means to calculate the cost of a board price per bf. I thought it was like a linear foot. So this guy wants $7 pbf for 50 year old black walnut. I don't know if that's good but if I can get my hands on a power planer, I wouldn't mind having it. I don't think I can hand plane effectively due to lack of skill right now.

Either way, I'd like to eventually get to a point where rough cut lumber is easy to get and work with.
Call a local mill and ask what they would charge you for milling the board down for you. Or see if you can locate a woodworking club / guild in your area that might have a member willing to help you do it.
 

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Seven dollars a board foot for walnut seems really expensive to me. I pay about seven bucks a board foot for Santos Mahogany, just for the sake of comparison. Although I suppose it depends on what region of the country you live in.
 
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