Hardwood buying advice.

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Peri

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Right, I'll get this out the way - at 50+ I've never bought any timber that didn't come from B&Q and came wrapped in plastic !

Up till now I've survived on skip finds and gifted/reclaimed timber, but more people are starting to ask me to make projects for them, so I may actually have to spend some cash and buy some :eek:

This is not a post moaning about prices - I am genuinely clueless about what, where and how to buy timber, and I would like some proper advice.

I've spent the morning getting some online quotes. I would like some 44x44mm PAR Walnut and Maple.
From the forum I understand that British Hardwoods is well regarded, they require a minimum order of 10m, so all the quotes are for 10m of each, or as near as I can get.
I don't have a way to collect timber, so delivery is essential, and £20-£30 I don't find unreasonable.

I chose half a dozen random suppliers off the first page google gave me, purely so I could get a rough idea of the range of prices. (Again, this isn't a whine about prices!)

prices.jpg


My biggest ........ 'confusion' (for want of a better word) is that I see Yandles price looks quite competitive, yet looking at the notes for Yandles in the timber suppliers thread their prices are described as 'jaw-dropping' and 'eye-watering' !

Are these prices really so far away from what I should be expecting to pay?

Thank you :)
 

Cabinetman

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Hi Peri, what you’re paying for is convenience and them doing the work for you, by my reckoning it’s working out at somewhere between 35 and £50 per table leg. I would have not have been able to make anything at those sorts of prices.
Obviously the alternative is to buy waney edged rough sawn, pick and collect it then machine it yourself. You are unfortunately not able to do that so you are really stuck with paying top dollar.
There is a bit of movement on prices between those five, I’m wondering if it’s worth finding a local firm of Cabinetmakers who may be able to supply you on a more friendly basis as a way of helping out a hobbyist ? Or letting you pick through their short ends pile. Ian
 

Peri

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Thanks Ian.

I hadn't thought about contacting local businesses that use timber, I had emailed several local suppliers of timber, explained I was just getting to the position where I needed to buy small amounts, and would they consider selling me offcuts that they might normally have trouble selling. Out of six sent I had 1 reply, so I assume that's either something they don't want to encourage, or it's just too much trouble (I can understand both viewpoints).

I'll see if I can find any suppliers that deliver 'sawn' timber and compare some prices.

Thanks again.
 

Rorton

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would the difference in price of buying sawn timber and machining it yourself not pay off quite quickly if you purchased a cheep thickness/planer?
 

Rorton

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to give you an idea on sawn, I bought a 50.8mm thick x 3m length of American Hard Maple, 140mm wide, and that was £43.20

Had a quote on american black walnut, 50.8 thick, x 2.4m length x 120mm wide, that was £79.20

Does it have to be 44x44mm timber
 

Peri

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I actually have a decent tablesaw and a Triton TP125 thicknesser. :)

It doesn't have to be 44x44, anything I can get some approx 2"x2" blanks out of would be fine.

Those timbers you mentioned would be absolutely ideal !

The biggest problem I have is lack of experience - I don't know what to look for or where to look for it :D
 

Rorton

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oh brilliant, im in the same boat as you then, I have the tpt125 and a half decent table saw.

Id go for the sawn timber if you can, much cheeper, and half the time, you can find that the planed timber isn't perfect to your dimensions anyway.

Id suggest making an edge jointing jig for the table saw so you can get one straight/flat edge, then once that is created, you can reference that off the table saw fence - I didn't find myself needing a surface planer, and got by with the table saw and tpt125.

I cut the above maple down using my saw and thicknesser, took me a bit of time to think about it as id not done it before,

When I made a table recently, I used 3/4 inch material and glued together to make the legs and its pretty hard to tell it was glued up - just thinking that the thinner material is cheeper again.

I did a thread about buying hardwood from a local supplier and had some great advice on here about it, and was pleased I persevered with it and got some.

You'll get the timber in either 25mm or 50mm thicknesses (rough sawn) to which you can then machine down
 

J-G

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It doesn't have to be 44x44, anything I can get some approx 2"x2" blanks out of would be fine.
???? How are you ever going to get 2" square blanks out of stock which is less than 1-3/4" wide???
 

Peri

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???? How are you ever going to get 2" square blanks out of stock which is less than 1-3/4" wide???

I'm not.

Ideally, I would've liked my stock to be around 2x2, and 2x2 par comes out at 44x44, so I end up buying 44x44.

For what I want 1/4" under ideal I can live with...... I'd prefer not to, but I could.
 

Peri

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oh brilliant, im in the same boat as you then, I have the tpt125 and a half decent table saw.

Id go for the sawn timber if you can, much cheeper, and half the time, you can find that the planed timber isn't perfect to your dimensions anyway.

Id suggest making an edge jointing jig for the table saw so you can get one straight/flat edge, then once that is created, you can reference that off the table saw fence - I didn't find myself needing a surface planer, and got by with the table saw and tpt125.

I cut the above maple down using my saw and thicknesser, took me a bit of time to think about it as id not done it before,

When I made a table recently, I used 3/4 inch material and glued together to make the legs and its pretty hard to tell it was glued up - just thinking that the thinner material is cheeper again.

I did a thread about buying hardwood from a local supplier and had some great advice on here about it, and was pleased I persevered with it and got some.

You'll get the timber in either 25mm or 50mm thicknesses (rough sawn) to which you can then machine down

Stoke isn't a million miles from me - would you mind telling me where you got your quotes from?


I'm in Telford. Our main local stockists is AK Williams, apart from that, theres not much local. A few specialist oak suppliers, and a softwood sawmill
 

J-G

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I'm not.
Ideally, I would've liked my stock to be around 2x2, and 2x2 par comes out at 44x44, so I end up buying 44x44.
That depends what you buy and where from. Softwoods (Pine, Deal, Redwood, Whitewood ...) are generally quoted as gross size and the finished PAR will be anything from 3 to 6mm scant but hardwoods are generally quoted real finished size - but it does depend where you buy from so you can't assume anything, always beg the question at the enquiry stage.

Peri said:
For what I want 1/4" under ideal I can live with...... I'd prefer not to, but I could.
If you want 2" finished ask for 2" finished don't second guess what might or might not be available.
 

Peri

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I didn't know that.

Most size 'drop downs' on the internet stores list specific thicknesses, one of which is 44mm - which I assumed was them planing a 2" board. I know that the Yandles site specifically says "If you need a 25mm board, we will have to plane a 38mm board", which obviously is going to cost more.

Again, I'm in the position of not knowing what to ask for :D - every day is a school day.
 

Ollie78

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This way to buy timber is going to be expensive. Small quantities are going to have a premium on them.
I agree with above comment just find the size you need. It is probably better to just get bigger stuff and cut it down, always best to get 20% more anyway.

Try Timbmet, James Lathams, Arnold Lavers, Tyler hardwoods, International timber.

Timber is priced by cubic meter or some still use cubic foot ( about 35CuFt to the M2 I think ) so this is the price you should be comparing between suppliers, sawn is cheaper by a fair bit.

Ollie
 

Rich C

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yeah, its Hymor timber
I have used Hymor, they were very helpful - helped me pick through the pile (this was pre-covid) and about 60% of the price of my local yard. I was buying Utile which is not super common and they had a decent stock in.

From memory I had 6 or 7 8-foot boards in ~160x38mm sawn and they were under £200 for the lot.
 

Rorton

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A couple of chessboards, and some endgrain chopping boards with whats left

with the chessboards, you could glue pieces together to make the 2inch x 2inch lengths, then once they are all to size, glue them together to make the playing field (if your struggling to get thick enough material)

that's how the 'end grain master' on you tube does his

 

Peri

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I gave this one away to a colleague at work - since then I've had half a dozen requests from people who've seen it.

I love the fact that the endgrain is in one piece, but for chopping boards that technique is perfect.

.jpg
 

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