Color me excited: an order of lumber has arrived.
This is 20 board feet of Cherry that I ordered from Woodworkers Source.com. It’s the second delivery I’ve received from them. Last month I ordered 20 board feet of Soft Maple, and it arrived as 3 4/4 boards, each 8 feet long between 9 and 10 inches wide. They were as nice as if I hand picked them myself.
This order of 20 board feet of Cherry arrives in 8 boards. Widths range between 5 1/4″ and 8″, lengths run between 4 and 6 feet.
Procuring lumber is a challenge I’m still figuring out. The home center trips haven’t been very rewarding. A lot of what I’ve worked with so far I’ve obtained from Woodcraft and Rockler. Needless to say I’ve paid a premium for those.
“Local” lumberyards – I live in the metro Boston area – are often only open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. I’m a hobbyist woodworker: I’m off earning a living during those hours.
A couple weeks ago I made a trip to a lumberyard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Anderson & McQuaid. They mostly specialize in custom moldings, but they’re open on Saturday’s from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., catering to the local woodworkers and do-it-yourselfers. The sense I get is that their prices aren’t cheap.
That said, they are usually cheaper than ordering online. Woodworkers Source has monthly specials, and their board foot price for Cherry was cheaper than what Anderson & McQuaid charged. Of course they (Anderson & McQuaid) had boards I would have picked over what arrived today.
Another couple big challenges for me are transportation related. We’re a one-car household, and the wife needs it most of the time (I take the subway to work). That leaves me with access to the car after 8 p.m. on weekdays, Saturdays, and Sunday afternoons.
Our one car happens to be a Toyota Corolla. You can fit more in it than you’d imagine: with the back seat folded down, three or four 8’ long boards will slide in from the trunk up the center console, if they’re no wider than 8 or 9 inches. Shorter boards of course can squeeze into the back seat.
Also, I’ve only lived in the Boston area for around four years at this point, and as I implied above I don’t drive that often. This means I don’t know my way round that well. If you haven’t lived in a major city you may not realize that a 20 mile trip someplace can 1., easily take an hour to make one-way, and 2., often involves some fairly significant navigating skills.
There’s nothing “wrong” with the wood that I received today. The boards are all straight, without any obvious bows or twist. If I needed specific lengths and widths, I could of ordered those, rather than the 20 board feet pack, and paid full price on the shipping.
The 20 board feet of the Soft Maple I ordered from Woodworker’s Source arrived composed of 3 boards. Cherry isn’t Maple. I’m still evaluating them, and I’ll be ordering from them again. Had I received my order today with 3 boards, of course I’d be singing their praises and letting folks know to get out there and place orders. Too early to do that just yet; but I still have a lot of hope for Woodworker’s Source.