WOODWORKING: World’s Cheapest Furniture Lumber
Okay. Construction grade lumber like you see here is made and sold for building house frames mostly, but few woodworkers realize that it’s a great material for making fine woodworking projects. The trick is choosing your boards from the right pile and then also choosing the correct boards from within that file. So let’s take a look. I’ll give you a tour of how to get the most out of construction grade lumber for your next woodworking project. The first thing to look for is the kind of lumber and this sign on the side of the bundle tells you everything you need to know. This is a two by 10 lumber. The boards are 12 feet long, but most importantly it’s kiln dried, which means it’s been heat treated. In order to reduce the moisture content, you definitely don’t want to go with green construction grade lumber, it’s usually abbreviated, s, g, e, r, n, and that’s just simply too wet for what we want.
The wood is mold prone and it’ll almost certainly be covered in staining. Also the grade is important to look at this as number one and number two so you know that in this pile are the kind of boards that you can turn into beautiful furniture. I always like to get wider boards because they’re cut from larger trees. These two by tens are a good example of a pile of wood that’s got some real potential to it. Oh, this board here that just happens to be on top is an excellent hole. If I was buying lumber to build a coffee table or a cabinet or or a bed or anything like that, this would be one of the boards I would choose yet some fairly clear lane and if you look here at the end, you’ll see that there are sections of this board where the grain is getting closer to being perpendicular with the surface of the board. That this tight grain pattern that you see on either side of the ports, you can split this board in half and then you can resort to thinner sicknesses and bookmatch that green pattern together. So it looks really good. Looking further through the pile.
These next boards don’t look great to me. I mean there’s the obvious problem of the Whaney edge, so you’re not getting the full value for the width of board you buy. But more importantly, you’ve got these big knots here, which might look okay, but they’re almost certain to cause distortion as the wood drives further. One of the best ways to home in on great boards for fine furniture is just to simply look at the end grain. Um, as I said before, one of the nicest grain patterns you can get with construction grade lumber happens when the growth rings are as nearly vertical to the surface of the board as possible. And this board down here looks like one of those. So let’s take a look.
Okay, yeah. as I suspected by just looking at the end grain of the globe, this one’s a keeper. The growth rings are nearly vertical to the surface and that yields a whole lot of Nice green along the whole length of this board. Now one thing that you don’t want is to use the middle of the board. That goes for any kind of lumber you’re using, but especially when you get into kiln dried wood like this, it’s unstable. The growth rings are very curved, and so when I process this into wood for furniture projects, I’ll probably remove the center section, maybe an inch and inch and a half, maybe at the most, two inches wide from the center, and then just use the boards on the outside for whatever I want. The nice thing about construction grade lumber is that it’s so inexpensive, it’s less than a dollar a board foot, which is as cheap as the furniture grade wood gets a, it’s indigenous to a lot of parts of Canada and it’ll help you to create some wonderful things in your homework shop.