I have been fortunate to strike up an arrangement with a local sawyer near my home in Md. I can get Poplar and Oak cut-off that they seem to treat like slab wood and disgards. Although I have to pick through large piles (which is no problem), I get a good pick-up load for about $50.00. Since joining the forum I have added a new Rigid 13' Planer and bought a used Rigid Jointer from craigslist for $200.00. I was amazed at how nice these tools prepare the lumber. I was also relieved after having bought just common Pine from H/Depot for two projects.
1.) I naturally try to select fairly straight pieces when going thru the cutoffs.
The lumber is piled up and I expect has been exposed to the weather for probably anywhere from 3 months to 2/yrs. When I get it home I am Stacking and Stickering it as I have read to do in my woodshed which is 100% under roof.
Keeping in mind the time it has been cut, is this method correct?
2.) I have read that (New) lumber needs to dry for approx 1-yr.
Wanting to get things rolling and (not) wanting to buy commercial lumber, after letting it air-dry for 2-3 weeks, I ran some of the first load with my new surfacing tools. After running it thru my planer it smooths it down beautifully, exposing the grain nicely. After cleaning it up somewhat I than run it thru the joiner and back thru the planer for final width pass.
Although I don't have a Moisture/Guage, it seems like the lumber is in good shape to use on projects? I do let it acclimate in my small shop for 1-2 weeks
3.) Last Question: Since a great deal of this is Poplar and readily available, is this wood good for most projects? I've read that it doesn't like stain, etc?
Projects I am concentrating on are Pie-Safes, Drysink, etc. I also plan to try building a Table with Terracotta Tile top.
In closing: The information that everyone helped me with in selecting tools and answering many start-up questions helped me tremendosuly in building my first project. In addition to building out my shop, my first Pie-safe made quite a hit with my wife and family members. Again I want to thank everyone for their input and patience with us beginners. This is more fun than I had originally thought it would be! The Mrs is even getting used to the $$!!
Already need a Bigger shop and more Clamps....