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Thread: Cheap lumber

  1. #1
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    Default Cheap lumber

    Just wanted to let you in on a good way to find cheap lumber for your wooden ware and such. Home Depot and Lowes have racks with what they call "culls". It is very cheap, as much as 85% off. It will take some sorting but you might as well stop in when you're driving by.

    For example: I got a 4x8 piece of 3/4" plywood the other day for $2.00 because it was slightly damaged.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    I have a small backyard beekeeping woodenware business. I love the home depot cull lumber rack. I check a few times a week and i have made an entire 4 box hive with bottoms, inners, and outes for under $20.

    Some lumber is very pook but I can work around it. Funny thing.....I buy culled ship lap siding all the time because of broken edge joints......usually $1.01 a board.
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    Another way is to find a local custom sawmiller. (Like me) Even better deals can be had as there is always drop lumber in the yard. Wierd sized or just excess.


    It's amazing what a little barter can do for ya too!!!

    Eric
    (Near Fayetteville NC)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    Eric, when I purchase lumber for large orders to fill I ALWAYS buy from my local lumber yard or saw mill. The local lumber yard is cheaper that the big orange......that's right cheaper. A #2 1x12"x12' at orange is $24 and of low quality. At the local lumber yard it is $20 and stored flat and of much higher quality. I started build a bunch of equipment out of rough sawn pine planed on one side. I can pick up that at the sawn mill for $11 and it is KD.

    Not all saw mills are created equal. I just saw a guy who sells black locust rough sawn. A weed tree in massachusetts and the state is paying loggers to remove them from the forest. This guy wants $4/bf. Kidding me?
    Pearl City Apiary Michael and Loucil Bach

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    Quote Originally Posted by feltze View Post
    Another way is to find a local custom sawmiller.

    Eric
    (Near Fayetteville NC)
    Local mills are the way to go. I buy industrial grade pine.
    I bought 1250 bdft of 1x12 pine...1x12x8'...for $.30 a ft. From that lumber I built 31 deeps, 116 4 frame nuc box supers, 31 hand truck/drip boards, and 2 Kelley style frame jigs...minus springs.

    I don't know how anyone can afford the catalog prices when expanding the apiary to a size that might make a fair income.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    My local sawmill supplies me with kiln dried, S4S, 6 5/8 lumber of mixed species for cheap. It's mostly odd lengths and/or undesirable for finish material. Worth a phone call or two.
    Politics is the entertainment branch of industry. -Frank Zappa

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    Look on Craigslist. Many times you can find lumber for sale from local sawmills or people that want to get rid of some they purchased and never completed the project. Sometime they have it for sale from old homes (that were never painted in the past).

    I also get free 3/8 cabinet quality scraps from one of my local cabinet makers. I have built a lot of 5-frame nucs out of them. (See 5-frame nucs thread). Sometimes to get the larger sides I have to glue 2 pieces together. But that just takes a few hours of gluing and then setting them aside for a few days before using them. I get some 3/4 stuff too. Have made some "spacers" with them that have holes for ventilation. I just drill at a downward angle so that rain cannot get into the hive from the (screened) vents.
    De Colores,
    Ken

  8. #8
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    Dec 2009
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    St Louis County, MO
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    I agree with Mike Palmer about using industrial grade lumber. I don't buy anything like the amount he describes, but a local lumber yard offers what the call "crating lumber" it's #4 as opposed to the better grades you find at the big box stores. I build medium boxes for @$3.50 and deeps for less than $5.00.

    Culls at HD or Lowes are a good deal. But supply is inconsistent. I know I can always get what I need when I want it and the cost is acceptable.
    "everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts," Daniel Patrick Moynihan

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    Black locust for 4.00 a b/ft isn't that something. I think I'll stick with white pine. A few years ago I had a customer looking for a load of black locust saw logs, in the pursuit for this load I had discovered why black locust lumber and saw logs are so expensive. (Apart from being a beekeeper I am also a lumber broker) Like someone had mentioned earlier in this thread black locust is often looked at as a weed wood. Just how many stands of Black locust trees do you see around that are of decent quality to saw boards out of??? I don't see to many, (Up here in the Connecticut River valley of Vermont and NH) the ones that are big enough are dead and rotted out. Given also that there is a nice little niche market for black locust lumber and logs (saw logs) what supply is available is going for a fancy price. I agree with many others. If you are making your own equipment do your homework and look for a local lumber mill / yard, they will have the best prices.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    I called up a local saw mill that had an add on Craigs list and asked what he had cheap. Last weekend I unloaded 1350 BF of hemlock, no pitch in it, CVG I am guessing 20-25% moisture $400 / 1000 bf. I had one pencil sized knot was all I found in the entire load. He delivered it and gave me the stickers. I have been getting pine for $0.60 BF from the construction recycle / reclaim. They get it in by the rail car and move it as seconds. I don’t think it’s the wood that costs money but the shipping and drying. Air dry and local.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    Local saw mills are a good deal. However, Watch the moisture content. You will want to store it on stickers under cover for several months till it reaches an equalibrium with the outdoor air. Air dried lumber reaches about 12% here in Ct but that is OK. We assemble boxes and then they live outside for the rest of their life anyway. In many cases, Hive bodies made from kiln dried lumber will swell up in width as much as 1/8 inch after assembly.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Palmer View Post
    Local mills are the way to go. I buy industrial grade pine.
    I bought 1250 bdft of 1x12 pine...1x12x8'...for $.30 a ft.
    That is a very good buy! I thought that I had a good source at $.35 a bd ft. !
    Like us on facebook This is the place to bee!
    Ralph

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    I am finding that Craigslist is my best source, and the old wood that I buy is usually more knot free than the #3 grade I see in the store. I am not above buying 1x10 and dowel-jigging boards together to make them big enough for deeps. I rip a 1x10 before I dowel it to another so that the join is at least two inches from the side of the board and make that side the bottom of the box so that it is away from the frame rests.
    I passed up on a bunch of 1x12 short boards last year that would have worked out at $0.18/ linear foot, but I would have had to buy it all and there was $400 of it; I was sorely tempted, but couldn't justify buying that much at once. I am trying keep money going out at a slower rate than it is coming in...

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    I dont get it from the local mill but I do get it from the local small lumber yard. They have very good prices. Beat the big box stores big time! Plus its hardly ever warped. Lowes is really bad about that...I usually have to pick through half the pile to get what I need.
    Mike
    Please check out the new kingfisherapiaries.com!
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber


    I think I figured this out now.
    “Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up” Alfred Pennyworth Batman Begins (2005)

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    Quote Originally Posted by feltze View Post
    Another way is to find a local custom sawmiller. (Like me)
    Looks like I might be getting in contact with you in the future . . . when I need more lumber for equipment, that is, lol.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    Special K, you should have a bunch of guys up your way as you are closer to the mountains than we are here. But I can take care of ya if you want to drive 2 hrs

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    I am surprised that I don't see enterprising saw mill operators ripping boards to 9 5/8 for the beekeeper market and selling them on Beesource. I have seen 1x12's offered, but I haven't seen 1x9 5/8 lumber offered. I suppose it would take a leap of faith as the lumber would be aimed just at beekeepers, but I bet it would sell. Imagine how easy it would be if you could buy the lumber already ripped to the width you wanted.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    I am getting a log sent to me, it is about 5 feet long and around 6 inch diameter. I will cut from it what I need. I'll let you know what it cost to ship this "Free" piece of wood as soon as my friend lets me know what it cost. I am thinking between 50 and 75 dollars. Lumber is expensive to ship, it is large and many times heavy stuff. in this case it is a green log so I am paying to mail a bunch of water. to offer pre cut boards and then add shipping costs woudl sort of kill the idea. Otherwise it would require a large enough local market to make it profitable.
    Stand for what you believe, even if you stand alone.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Cheap lumber

    Adrian,
    If only the wood business was so easy.

    First point -Typically small "custom sawyers" are selling green or at best airdry wood. It is quite easy to fill an order for any particular width but difficult to maintain an inventory of what you think you might sell. It is much easier to keep logs on hand and cut to order than lumber warehoused for the off chance someone will buy a board or 2. The minute you cut a large log into 1x12s someone calls for 2x6's... (every time I swear it). That being said There are always standard sizes you are sorting and stacking for as you build one customers order that you don't need at the moment. 1x6/8/10/12 in various lengths or 2x 6/8/10/12 in 12' and longer. So it's easy to pick up 1x12s

    Second - normally anyone capable of making various cabinetry or bee boxes has the right tools to rip lumber to the desired final finish width. Lumber dimension changes with the change in moisture content. Dimensional change of the lumber tangently to the grain is different than longitudinally to the grain, therefore a green 4x4 dries to a slightly dimond shape if cut off center of a log, and differently if cut square in the heart.

    Third - Green lumber is cheaper as labor and kiln time havn't been devoted to finishing it. Making it the best buy for the beekeeper with time and tools on their side.

    So, when working with lumber dry it to the desired finish moisture content, then rip to size will result in the best dimensionally stable and size stable product.

    Air dry here in NC can vary from 10-13% in arizona 4-8%, NY something totally seasonally different. Air dry is good for the bee hive as there is always ambient moisture in the hive and they are only protected from the weather with paint and a top. For in house applications you should be KD to under 10% probably about 6% for most applications to prevent shrinking.

    If you doubt the movement in wood, look at a hardwood floor subject to being allowed to sit in a home flood for a bit... or the swelling of particle board when wet...

    I digress, and hope I don't come across wrong, or negative. (Shooting for educational for those interested)

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