Just recently I spent some time getting a trailer load of wood for my next project (Mine is the small trailer!). Wood stores can be some what dangerous places when it comes to the wallet! (more on that in a bit).
I picked up some really nice cherry and soft maple for a dresser and bed that I have to build for a commission. I was very fortunate to find wood that was exceptionally beautiful. The cherry had almost no knots and no sapwood. The boards were all nice and wide and the folks at the lumber yard made an exception and let me pick out my wood. Unfortunately the days of picking out your own wood are slowly coming to an end. There are a few small lumber suppliers that will let you do that but not many. You can understand it from their perspective; they are trying to sell as much volume as possible so they can stay competitive in their prices. They don’t want a bunch of little guys coming in and taking all their time, trying to get one board that is buried at the bottom of the stack down under 5 bunks of wood! On the other hand, most of that beautiful wood is sold to cabinet shops who are going to rip it up into small strips for face frames and doors. So it’s a catch 22: if you want the price to be kept lower, than you have to sell in bulk but you can’t cater to the furniture maker who is selective about his wood. Maybe it’s different in different parts of the country. So if you have a mill that lets you pick out your wood, count your blessings and lets work together to help keep those small mills in business.
I stopped by another mill and there I found the most amazing two pieces of wood, Peruvian Walnut, or they call it Nogal, two boards book-matched, 14″ wide. Just in the stack!. Now for the sad news, I left them. I could not cough up the money they wanted for them and I just could not rack my brain for a use for them, I am sure I will be kicking myself later. I told you that wood stores are dangerous, probably more so than a good tool store, except that if you go back to the tool store, chances are the tools will still be there, not so with the wood store! So If you want some good Nogal, go down to Hardwoods of Dallas and get you some wood. It’s wonderful wood to work with and those pieces have some amazing grain.
In the mean time, I have a bed and dresser I have to build, so I’d better get busy. I will keep you posted on the progress of the dresser, so stay tuned!