My Field Trip to the Lumber Yard | How to Get the Best Deal on Wood

18.03.2017

 

 

Remember those permission slips and big yellow busses? On the day that I got to go on a field trip at school, I was up early and giddy all morning. As an adult, I guess the most comparable experience is probably vacation! Not me. I also love home related field trips. If there is an estate sale or a day at the auction or a shopping trip, I am sooooo ready for some fun.

 

So, imagine my joy when my husband decided that this past weekend was perfect for a good lumber mill run. Our lumber mill is in the outskirts of Virginia, about an hour from DC. In order to make the most of the trip, we rent a humongous Ford F-150 truck to bring home our haul. So, there we were all booted up in our appropriate lumber mill attire with our plan in hand.

 

I know you're asking...why would you need to go to a lumber mill? We went for 2 reasons. First, my husband makes furniture. We needed some more walnut for the benches that he is making for our home and the shelves that he is making for the vacation home rental. Second, I love the look of reclaimed wood but NOT the price. So, we needed to investigate options for raw wood to make our own reclaimed wood. We need that wood for 9  (yes, 9) projects in the rental that we are building.

 

The walnut was plentiful and gorgeous. There was actually another "maker" there who we thought might take ALL the walnut (dang, slow down)! I spoke to the owner and she says that they come every weekend and shop her lumber mill like they are "shopping for groceries." I thought that was so funny...The walnut slabs are more than enough for our benches and several accents at the vacation rental like the fireplace mantle. I'm so excited because we will be able to use the "live edge" which is the exterior of the tree. The walnut haul was a major score at a few hundred bucks. One piece of kiln dried walnut at woodworking store is a whopping $750. We got 4 times as much wood for less than half of that price. We have to dry it, but it's worth the extra labor. Lesson one. Wood for large scale woodworking projects is a fraction of the cost at lumber mills, but it requires more work.

 

I plan to blog about my reclaimed projects over the upcoming months, but this the first step - getting the wood. Why make your own weathered, aged wood? Have you looked for reclaimed wood before? The prices are ridiculous $2.59 BF and up). And, please don't let the wood come from an ACTUAL barn...It will cost more than new wood. Additionally,  reclaimed wood has nails, warped boards and major inconsistencies that make it nearly impossible to work with...I DO love the rustic, worn, vintage look, but I don't want the projects to take twice as long due to problematic materials and it simply can't cost 4 or 5 times as much. We are on a budget.

 

The solution? The lumber mill owner suggested fresh cut poplar or pine ($.60 BF).  He gave us the option to choose from the many cuts onsite or have a lot of custom cut boards made for us.  The order would be for nearly 2000 square feet of 1 x 8  poplar boards. Those boards would then have to be weathered by the sun and ready to become furniture, accent pieces and a gorgeous ceiling in a few months! But........I discussed this plan with our contractor and he prefers to use pine shiplap. So, our field trip was helpful for the walnut benches and live edge shelving but looks like we will end up "weathering" finished pine shiplap boards.

 

Stay tuned!

 

Are you in LOVE with the reclaimed wood look? I could have it in every room of the (mountain) house.

 

 

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@2015 Q. Monique Allen

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