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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I just got back to woodworking and was really hoping to use Suwanee lumber but had a horrible experience. Is this typical experience and I have to live with this or should I just seek another yard?

Here is the brief summary:

Poplar board was 21BF but the guy in the lumber yard calculated as 26 and insisted: "this is how they told me to calculate". He even tried to tell me that the difference was because he was using inches for the length and I was using feet (the board was 7 foot even). The office recalculated and agreed that it was 21BF and upon calling the other guy, confirmed that the other guy was "rounding it up". I do not know what that meant but they did not seem to care to figure out and told me that there would be 12% waste surcharge because wood shrinks during the kiln-drying process and when they bought it, it was a larger board (this was a rough cut, so, edging waste was no factor here). The edge also had a large defect (more than 2”) that should have knocked down at least 1BF but I was told this was already “factored in” even though other boards without a defect had the same price. So, I do not know what “factored in” means since I paid the full BF plus 12% “shrinkage fee”. The overall attitude was also very unpleasant. Asked the first guy to help with the loading and he disappeared only to show back up once I loaded it myself.

I was also concerned about the pricing. the Poplar was under $2 BF that is reasonable but 16/4 was $3.95. I know that thicker stock has higher price per BF but usually not twice as high and this was rough cut as opposed to the $2BF variety. I had no way to see the pricing and figure out if they were just making it up or it was the actual pricing.

Any guidance about what to expect during the lumber purchase would be appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for all your responses. I guess I will need to recalibrate my expectations for lumber yards. Initially, I expected this as “one-woodworker-to-another” type of fair transaction but this does not seem the case anymore. It takes some joy out of woodworking but just a tiny bit.
To GeorgeC: Yes, you are correct; I brought up several concerns/questions simultaneously around pricing transparency, BF calculation and attitude. Too many things went wrong during the visit.
To clarify the BF: I purchased one 16/4 piece that was just under 7’ and under 9” at its widest. The board was rough cut with huge cup and some bow. After edging and planning it would be much smaller and could easily justify 12% or more waste.
And here is my completely subjective assessment of the overall experience: the staff seemed fairly friendly to customers with large trucks taking 100s and 1000s of BF lumber. Maybe I was an undesirable “little fish” not worth their trouble or time. This would make perfect sense from purely profit oriented business perspective.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
To Waterloomarc,
Hi, Yes, I live in Georgia, near the Spaghetti junction. Will try to find the one you suggested on Woodfinder. Thank you. I also was advised to try the Peach Lumber in Marietta. Will follow up and share the experience.

P.S. unrelated - got 10" Rikon bandsaw from the HighlandWoodworking (love that place) along with the Carter blade stabilizer. It is a great saw but should have listened to others and gotten 14"... oh, well... time to start articulating a new compelling argument for the "boss". Happy Holidays!!!
 
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