When I started working in the lumber industry I was shocked by just how much waste was produced. What’s more, these lumber importers were throwing away, literally throwing away as in burning, boards that I would love to have in my own workshop. I very quickly came to realize that “high quality” is a relative term based upon what the intended use of that board should be. Additionally widths and lengths that were considered undesirable for wholesale orders would make the average furniture maker very happy.
And so Hardwood To Go was born. Every day lumber importers and wholesalers are culling figured lumber from production runs. The unpredictable grain in this figure either causes tear out problems during milling or problems with color and appearance matching in the larger order. So they get pulled aside and either sit and weather prematurely until useless or they get cut up for other yard uses and sometimes disposed to power a kiln.
Wholesalers are usually dealing in 500 board foot or larger orders and have small packs that keep getting pushed to the back of their sheds. These packs usually consist of less than 100 board feet and be found buried under many other packs. It takes a lot of labor to get to them but when we buy up the entire stock of small packs our wholesale customers are usually quite happy to oblige with some forklift help.
Very long boards (16′ and longer) are cut down to uniform lengths and can leave 4 and 5 foot lengths remaining. These shorts are practically useless to the wholesaler and we go find that lumber and buy it. When we get it back to our yard, the lumber is examined and combined into smaller packs or separated out and sold as individual boards.
This is but the tip of the iceberg that you can find walking around a large commercial lumber yard. Most of the lumber we buy is of FAS quality and better but we also will get “lesser” grades that may show a defect or two. Most of the furniture makers I know want those defects to use as a character piece and we hate to see that lumber go to waste.
Our business model is not a new one. Consider us like an outlet store where all the merchandise that didn’t sell in the big retail store goes when it is returned or sits on the rack too long. All of our stock is in great shape and our lumber packs have been specially assembled with the woodworker in mind by an avid woodworker. While we do get figured lumber on a regular basis this is not our specialty. You can expect to find mostly run of the mill common species, but you will find them in quantities you need and can store at prices that are below most retailers because we have bought the overstock lumber in bulk from the wholesaler and helped him clean up his yard.
It is our hope that this model will be able to help you get your hands on some great quality lumber without costing an arm and a leg and regardless of how close you are to a specialty lumber yard. Because we buy overstock our inventory can be unpredictable. We rely upon our customers to tell us what species they want and tailor our buying trips around those requests. So please tell us what you want and we will do our best to accommodate you.