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Thread: Buying hardwood lumber in Maine

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Brunswick, ME
    Posts
    20

    Buying hardwood lumber in Maine

    Hi, forgive me if this is the wrong area of the forum to post this question- I'm new to the forum and a newbie to woodworking in general. So far, I've made my bench, a set of adirondack chairs, a night stand and a blanket chest- I've been happy with the results and have been reading and trying to absorb as much information about becoming a quality craftsman as possible and I am already starting to see some improvement in my projects as well as less head scratching in the process.

    I'm ready to take the next step in woodworking and start buying roughsawn hardwoods to mill down on my own for my projects. I have acquired a planer and jointer, but I'm starting to realize that buying hardwoods this way is not nearly as user friendly as going to the big box store and signing over the rights to your first born child in exchange for some pre-dimensioned lumber. I live in Brunswick, ME and wonder if there is anyone from the area who can point me in the direction of the most newbie-friendly source for buying hardwoods. It's a little intimidating since I really don't know anything about buying hardwoods- I've found two places that seem to sell it, Fat Andy's and Mainecoast Lumber, but I don't know if they intend to focus more to hobbyists like me or to professionals. Is it possible to go directly to a sawmill and buy lumber? And if so, where do you do it?

    Sorry for the basic level of questions, but I feel that there is a dearth of information on the net about how a new woodworker should go about finding and buying hardwoods. I've seen myriad articles about the grades of wood and why it's better to surface it yourself rather than buying it from the big box, but I just wonder how to actually find the materials in the first place.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Posts
    8,529
    Hi Eric
    Welcome to the family. I don't live anywhere near you but if you have specific question I am sure that someone from you neck of the woods will chime in. Oh by the way we like pictures so go ahead and post pictures of you shop and some of you work.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    810
    .,.,.,
    Last edited by John Bartley; 12-04-2010 at 01:49 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Brunswick, ME
    Posts
    20
    Thanks Don, I appreciate the warm welcome. After browsing photos in the flatwork gallery, I'm a little hesitant to put up pics of my rookie work, but here goes . . .
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Adirondack Chair.jpg   Night Stand.jpg   chest.jpg  

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Plainwell, Michigan
    Posts
    4,857
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Eckman View Post
    I'm a little hesitant to put up pics of my rookie work, but here goes . . .
    No need to be hesitant, that is some fine projects Eric Also just talk with whoever you choose to purchase your hardwood from, you wil most likely find out they are very helpfull and after your first purchase you will have a better feeling of what to do and won't feel the rookie jitters anymore, at least that is my experience with my first few purchaces.
    And lastly, welcome to the family

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
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    8,529
    Eric those are great. If that's your ideas of just getting started I can hardly wait to see what happens when you get realy good. Alen Levine builds adorondak chairs and he even has some kiddy chairs. I converted his sketches to sketchup files. There over on the design forum if youd like to see them.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Brunswick, ME
    Posts
    20
    Thanks guys, I guess I'm just going to bite the bullet and go place an order at one of the lumberyards that I've found and just get to work. My next series of projects is going to focus around the office room of our new house so it'll be a corner desk system with a cabinet and probably a few bookshelves- I want to do it all in oak so I guess I have a bit of shopping to do.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Posts
    8,529
    Eric,
    When we moved into this house a couple of years ago my wife wanted a special desk. Here is a thread on the build. Maybe it will give you some ideas.
    http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...ead.php?t=1843
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    Posts
    10,604
    Hey Eric, Welcome !
    Those are nice looking projects
    I'm about 3 hours south of you in NH.
    I've had really good luck reading ads in Craigs List as well as the local paper. I do have a lumberyard in the town I live in (currier lumber) that treats me pretty good on s4s.
    I will check with several of the places I buy rough sawn stuff from and ask for a referral in your area. I'll do this on Monday.
    What I really enjoy about buying local lumber is that I know that it came from a tree near my house, was rough sawn by local workers and the project was built by a local (me )

    I find that a lot of places don't get too excited about selling less than 200 bf of lumber. The smaller guys tend to like the 2 or $300 sales because it goes right into their pocket. Anyway I spend most of my time just talking to the guys asking their advice and getting friendly. every visit after that I bring a dozen of Dunkin Donuts finest for the guys. So I tend to get their best price even if I only pick up 50 -100 bf. Ayup
    Last edited by Bob Gibson; 10-24-2009 at 10:08 PM.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  10. #10
    Eric...

    Welcome to the forum.

    If Travis Johnson doesn't chime in here, maybe you can find him with a PM. I know he's pretty busy lately with a new job, but he's from Maine and pretty knowledgable about harvesting timber. He has his own woodlot, and cuts/mills from it. I'm pretty sure he could give you some valuable info.

    Rough sawn is rarely dry enough for immediate use. My recommendation is to get a moisture meter...you will use it often. If you're getting rough sawn right off the saw you will either need to dry it in a kiln or stack and sticker it for awhile (a year per inch of thickness is the rule of thumb). If it's already been stacked then not so long. But you do need to check it.

    Good luck. I enjoy starting with a log. The thread of evidence is unbroken.

    Cheers.

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