Where to buy timber, and is it really cost effective?

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

Kirsty

New member
Joined
2 Oct 2017
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Lancashire
Hi all,
I'm new to woodworking but recently completed my first basic project (a floor bed for my little boy) and am inspired to try something else.
For this project I just bought lengths of whitewood from Wickes, but I'm thinking of using hardwood for some other small projects and eventually trying my hand at building a kitchen dresser/larder cupboard out of oak. Where would you recommend sourcing my timber from? I've been looking at a few online suppliers but not sure if that's a very expensive way of going about this. I don't have the equipment (or skill) to plane the wood myself from scratch so I bought PAR boards for the bed and plan to do the same again. I do have a local timber yard but they don't stock hardwoods.
As a side note, is it possible to make something for the same cost, or possibly even less, than you could buy oak furniture now that Oak Furniture Land is taking over the world? I'm certainly not planning on making things to save money, it's the enjoyment and sense of achievement that appeals to me... however it may force me to think twice if I'm going to need to spend twice the amount on materials than I could just buy it ready built. Having said that I've bought a few things from OFL and the quality is not great.
Thanks in advance, any advice gratefully received.
Kirsty
 

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
3,844
Reaction score
561
Location
In me workshop
Hello Kirsty
It is worth getting a hand plane like a Stanley "Bailey"no 4, 5 or 5 1/2 or a Record plane of the same size.
Once you do everything is lumber :D that with a swipe of a plane can bring it back to a shine in an instant.
You could buy a plane for the price of a small bit of oak, and find some down the road in a skip

Timber that's not square is no fun to work with because accumulative errors add up.
 

custard

Established Member
Joined
20 Aug 2008
Messages
7,124
Reaction score
591
Location
Hampshire
Making hardwood furniture to save money is a fool's errand. Ikea, Oak Furniture Land, and a thousand struggling antique dealers will all sell you hardwood furniture way cheaper than you can even source the raw materials.

Valid reasons for making your own furniture include, making something that's sized to fit, better quality construction than the high street, unique timbers or finishes, novel designs you can't find anywhere else, and the sublime satisfaction of making.

For a first excursion into hardwoods avoid big projects like a dresser. As Ttrees said, errors accumulate, and on a big project correcting those errors is both technically demanding and hard graft. When it comes to hardwoods work up through projects like breadboards, coffee tables, spice racks, occasional tables, bedside tables etc.

Good luck!
 

Kirsty

New member
Joined
2 Oct 2017
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Lancashire
Thank you for taking the time to reply, and for the advice.

I guess I'm ok with costing myself the same or a little more than I would spend on buying ready made items. The sense of satisfaction I get from looking at the bed I made is great - despite the fact it's just a simple frame with rows of posts on 3 sides (to look like a garden fence) and a pitched roof. And it helps that it only cost me about 25% of what I would have paid for a similar thing online. It was good practice for cutting angles, sawing straight(!) And using a jigsaw. I'm keen to try something else, perhaps with joints... however if I'm looking at double the price for the timber alone, it possibly would make me think twice.

I agree something like a dresser is some way out of my league at the moment. I think I'd make some very expensive mistakes! A spice rack might be my next project... although I'm not sure if I should be using hardwood for something like this.

Thanks also to the person who sent me the PM, it was most helpful. Unfortunately Im unable to reply to you as I haven't been a member for long enough so don't have the option to send private messages. But it was very gratefully received.

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk
 

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
3,844
Reaction score
561
Location
In me workshop
As I was saying, you can get timber for free if you want it.
 

Attachments

  • SAM_2077.JPG
    SAM_2077.JPG
    173 KB · Views: 266
  • 1.JPG
    1.JPG
    205.5 KB · Views: 266
  • SAM_1996.JPG
    SAM_1996.JPG
    224.4 KB · Views: 266
  • 1.JPG
    1.JPG
    255.1 KB · Views: 266
  • SAM_0887 - Copy.JPG
    SAM_0887 - Copy.JPG
    151.2 KB · Views: 266
  • SAM_2098.JPG
    SAM_2098.JPG
    218 KB · Views: 266

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
3,844
Reaction score
561
Location
In me workshop
Anyone care to guess what this stuff is ?
Its tough enough, probably just a bit less than ash and beech, maybe about the lightest of the hardwood's
I have, It's quite stringy stuff, unlike any of my timbers, and it is a bit prone to furniture beetle attack
I have not planed the end grain to try and smell it yet, but I can get back to ye on that
Thanks folks :D
Tom
 

Attachments

  • SAM_2096.JPG
    SAM_2096.JPG
    199.3 KB · Views: 259
  • SAM_2097.JPG
    SAM_2097.JPG
    195.3 KB · Views: 259
  • 4.JPG
    4.JPG
    188.6 KB · Views: 259
  • 5.JPG
    5.JPG
    203.5 KB · Views: 259
  • 6.JPG
    6.JPG
    202.4 KB · Views: 258

Tasky

Established Member
Joined
13 Jul 2017
Messages
1,067
Reaction score
2
Location
Reading, UK
As Custard said, there are many reasons other than cost for doing this.

Me, I tend to have unique requirements of my crafted stuff that can only be custom made and would usually cost a bomb if someone else did it.
Plus, there's something extra special about giving someone a gift that you yourself have made with your own two hands... and then there's the Birthday and Christmas list benefits, as you'll always have more tools that people can get you as presents.... and the more they buy, the more stuff you can make for them!

I'm only just starting this hobby as a serious activity, having generally JOATed it thus far when needed.
 

Kirsty

New member
Joined
2 Oct 2017
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Lancashire
Ttrees, yes it seems that the timber is there to be had! Unfortunately I don't feel I have the ability to make it straight and square. I'll leave that to the more experienced I think. Of course it means I have no choice but to pay a premium for timber that's "ready to go".

Tasky, yes it's true you can make something to your absolute requirements. I think my problem would be, if I made something that I thought was good enough to give as a gift, I'd probably end up wanting to keep it myself!! Depends how much I liked the person haha.

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk
 

MusicMan

Established Member
UKW Supporter
Joined
1 Jul 2015
Messages
2,036
Reaction score
161
Location
Warwick
Yes you can make it straight and square. All it needs is reading up on the technique, and practice!

You may find a lunchbox thicknesser a good investment. I use a lot of reclaimed timber and it saves a lot of time.
 

skeetstar

Established Member
Joined
7 Sep 2014
Messages
321
Reaction score
48
Location
southam, warwickshire
Kirsty, welcome to the Forum and to your membership of a group known as 'woodworkers'

Like many on here have said, if you want hardwood furniture, it will be cheaper to buy ready made. However there is a lot to be said for making your own. There is the satisfaction of creating something worthwhile that will in all probability be around for your grandchildren to use.
The creative act is an end in itself, I enjoy just doing, never mind completing a bit of woodwork.
Woodwork sets you a myriad of puzzles to solve, and solving each one confers a real sense of achievement. When you need something bespoke, it will be much cheaper to make it yourself than having it made for you. (I saw a piece of furniture on the web, for sale at £1600. I bought £300 worth of timber, improved upon the deign, spent a few days putting it together, and it is now a centrepiece in my Son in Laws studio).

As to getting boards square and flat

1. Lots of timber yards will machine them for you if you know what you want.
2. Get on a course which teaches you the basics., you will find yourself wanting to dimension timber by hand.
3. Practice, practice practice the basics and you will become proficient.

All the best

PS do you have a garage or a workroom? If not, the kitchen table is a poor substitute for a workshop.
 

Tasky

Established Member
Joined
13 Jul 2017
Messages
1,067
Reaction score
2
Location
Reading, UK
Kirsty":1aaujtrs said:
Of course it means I have no choice but to pay a premium for timber that's "ready to go".
You may well find it still needs a bit of planing to take it from the 'Planed All Round' (PAR) ready to go stage, though.

I've been watching some Paul Sellers videos on YouTube and he has some excellent ones on how to make stock properly square - In one, he points out that even some PAR wood might end up twisted, bellied, bowed or all three. It happens naturally as part of the drying process.

Kirsty":1aaujtrs said:
I'd probably end up wanting to keep it myself!! Depends how much I liked the person haha.
Yeah, that's the trick, innit...
You have to find things that you enjoy making, but get even more satisfaction from presenting.
For instance, I'm planning on making a blanket chest for the Mrs and a Dungeon Master's Screen for a friend - I have use for neither, myself, but I'm into the features enough that I really want to have a bash at making them. It helps that the Mrs is buying me a bandsaw for the purpose, though!
 

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
3,844
Reaction score
561
Location
In me workshop
Kirsty":2be3n1qn said:
Ttrees, yes it seems that the timber is there to be had! Unfortunately I don't feel I have the ability to make it straight and square. I'll leave that to the more experienced I think. Of course it means I have no choice but to pay a premium for timber that's "ready to go".
Hello again
Buying PAR timber could turn out to be a PIA because its gonna move in your workshop/house what haveIf you?
Whats probably more annoying is the fact that all the corners is taken off also.
If I were you I would be going to the dump to find a fire door, a composite rigid flat thing that you can trust.
This will be a source of reference to trust.
You can cheat at surfacing timber with hand planes by applying crayon to the benchtop.
Rub the timber on the bench and take a swipe at the coloured in timber ....this method is real fine precision and absolutely foolproof.

Unlike Paul Sellers methods that relies on years experience ...he just likes doing things to show you it can be done, standing on one leg, playing a guitar, whilst staying in a small video frame ...just to show you he could do it on a tightrope ....I really dislike this method of teaching, because its aimed towards novices , but theoretically its techniques that would be more suitable cramped in a boat in the dark ... :roll:

A list of things if I were you for getting stock true...
A fire door
A 5 1/2 plane Stanley or Record look for a thick sole (base) 40 to 50 pounds on ebay
Ultex diamond stone something llike 1000 Grit or finer ...or a granite tile from a stove place, or float glass Ultex,20 ish
with a green tinge (not toughened, nor plate glass) plus wet and dry sandpaper
A cheap eclipse honing guide 5 ish
Two clamps for holding a batten for a planing stop less than tenner
That should get you going :D
Best of luck
Tom
 

Kirsty

New member
Joined
2 Oct 2017
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Location
Lancashire
Firstly I'd like to thank everyone for such a warm welcome to the forum. I'm very grateful for all the generous advice (as opposed to "Oh no not another newbie, groan"!)

Skeetstar, thank you for the advice. I have a garage, albeit a poorly lit one, and a sheltered area outside that I can work under. I think my husband may have something to say if I repurposed the kitchen table.

Tasky, I'll have a look at those videos, thanks. Actually quite a few of the lengths of pine i bought from Wickes were warped although they were bought as PAR. Luckily it didn't matter for this project. I presumed it would be less common with hardwood like oak although I'm not sure why... Good luck with your projects!

Tom, not sure what you mean about the corners being taken off. I didn't know this was the case... Why is this? Thanks for my shopping list... better get writing my Christmas list haha. Power tools scare me(!) so I'm sticking mainly with hand tools...

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk
 

Ttrees

Iroko loco!
Joined
18 Nov 2012
Messages
3,844
Reaction score
561
Location
In me workshop
Hello again Kirsty
By corners I should have said edges....
Is there a sharp edge or rounded edge on PAR timber ?
I could have been mixing it up with CLS (Canadian lumber standard)
As you might guess, I don't buy timber :)

Great to hear you have a garage ...
That's the most important of things some folks here don't have that luxury
A nice angle poise light would be a big help too
Tom
 

Tasky

Established Member
Joined
13 Jul 2017
Messages
1,067
Reaction score
2
Location
Reading, UK
Kirsty":1peqxa66 said:
I have a garage, albeit a poorly lit one, and a sheltered area outside that I can work under. I think my husband may have something to say if I repurposed the kitchen table.
I'm in the same boat, but with lots of holes in the walls to go with the poor lighting.
I understand some LED lights can offer a lot of light, without using a load of 'leccy like strip lights, so I'll be looking into that at some point - You might find that of some use.
As for the kitchen table - Usually it's the other way around, along with the sink being used to wash engine parts! :)

Kirsty":1peqxa66 said:
Tasky, I'll have a look at those videos, thanks. Actually quite a few of the lengths of pine i bought from Wickes were warped although they were bought as PAR.
Another YouTuber I quite like, for learning/understanding some basics, is Rob Cosman.
TBH, there are loads of people doing videos like this and there's usually more than one way of doing something, so it's good to check out different methods and see which works best for you.
Besides, doing it youself like this gets you lots of practice in the basic skills that you'll still need when it comes to finishing the piece, in my opinion. I can't afford to go on a course, so this is my approach to learning them.

Ttrees":1peqxa66 said:
A nice angle poise light would be a big help too
^Hell YES!!!!
 

sunnybob

wysiwyg
Joined
11 Oct 2014
Messages
8,399
Reaction score
167
Location
cyprus
Being scared of power tools is good. Youll keep all your fingers that way.
But turn that fear into respect and dont let that stop you using them.
I cannot use most hand tools because of arthritis in my hands, but I can make most things with power tools.
PAR just means the wood has been planed, it does not mean its been trued. Plane a curved piece of wood, and its still curved even if its smooth.

I have a "lunchbox thicknesser" (HATE those american nicknames). While being the noisiest power tool I have, its brilliant at turning rough lumber into silky smooth planks.
I just bought a plank of sawn beech 18 cm x 2.5 cm x 2.5 metres long.
I Sliced it on the bandsaw into two pieces, and then ran them through the thicknesser to get two perfectly smooth pieces 18cm x 10mm x 2.5 metres, which i then cut up into smaller pieces for my projects.
 

JSW

Established Member
Joined
22 Jun 2015
Messages
293
Reaction score
102
Location
Leeds
What did you pay for that plank Bob? because you might as well have thrown it away, reducing it from 25mm to 10mm in one go will result in disaster.

Unless of course I read that all wrong, cm's are the devils work, as we all know :wink:
 

sunnybob

wysiwyg
Joined
11 Oct 2014
Messages
8,399
Reaction score
167
Location
cyprus
JSW, no, it works very well for me. I make small items; boxes, drawer cutlery liners, kindle and phone docking stations, and the like, all of which need wood thickness of 6 or 8 mm up to 600 mm long.

I am VERY pleased with the thicknesser, it saves me hours on the router sled.
I used to cut the pieces small and then thickness them, but lost a lot through end snipe so now I do the whole plank first.

And cm,s. yes, its pain in the proverbial. But I do live in a metricated country, even if Cypriots cannot tell the difference between cm and mm.
 
Top