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Thread: Wood Purchasing Questions

  1. #1

    Wood Purchasing Questions

    I have some questions to ask of the turners in this group.

    First, a little background.....
    I have a close friend who has just purchased the company he has worked at for the past 29 years. It's a wood import business that in the past has supplied vendors with moulding, wood flooring, and specialty architectural components.

    Now that he owns the company, he would like to branch out into selling exotic woods for general/hobbyist woodworking. This is where he wants me to come in.

    In one of our discussions I said that I wouldn't mind marketing wood to woodworking and turning groups. This would also include direct sales like in the Classified Ad Forum (competition's a good thing, right guys?).

    So, my questions are:
    1. Are there any particular sizes of wood that would be most beneficial to you?

    2. Are there any particular cuts of wood that would be most beneficial to you?

    3. Is there anything in particular you would like to see in purchasing wood?

    I will make note of all comments. I feel this is a good (small) opportunity for my friend and a good way to supplement my disability income.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Hi Joe, and welcome to the forum.

    I've not bought a lot of turning wood, and except for exotic pen blanks, most of the pieces have been purchased on eBay. Here are my answers to your questions, but I'm sure there will be other suggestions:

    1. Are there any particular sizes of wood that would be most beneficial to you?

    Currently I'm turning mostly bowls and hollow forms. I have a hard time finding turning blanks that are thicker than about 4". I can find rounds as big as my 15" lathe can handle, but they all seem to be 2" to 4" thick. It seems the thicker pieces of wood go quickly and for a relatively high price on eBay.

    2. Are there any particular cuts of wood that would be most beneficial to you?

    Not sure I'm understanding the question, but burls and crotch pieces are popular for turning. Also, keep in mind that most bowl blanks are cut with the grain running from side to side, not from top to bottom. Bill Grumbine explains it much better than I could on his site.

    3. Is there anything in particular you would like to see in purchasing wood?

    Low prices are one of my main motivations when I purchase turning wood. It's also important that green wood be sealed with something like Anchor Seal to limit the checking that happens as it dries out.

    Those are my initial I said, I'm sure others will offer more opinions.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    Joe I have to agree with Vaughn. I would like to see round blanks and deeper than 2" to 3". Most of them on ebay like say big hunks 12" X 5" go for a extremely high price. Just an example was I bid on a 7" X 7" X 9" piece of plain maple. I wanted it to do a hollow form. It went for like $51 or so with shipping. I just can't justify that. Another thing I find these guys don't know how to handle wood and at least 40% of what I have bought has had some checking of some kind. They don't anchorseal the wood or at least not very well. I buy wood off ebay cause I can't get much around here besides Elm, Locust, and Ash. We have jillions of cottonwoods but haven't had much luck turning it. May not be getting the wood at the right time. We also very seldom ever get like fruit tree wood and if we do it is really small. Most times bowls 4" across and 1 1/2" deep.

    The other thing that is a killer is shipping. The guys on ebay are trying to make more and more. Now some are adding as much as $4.50 to a $8.10 flat rate box saying it is for packing and handleing. They throw the wood in a box and throw a scrap of bubble wrap or newspaper in. I used to get some pretty good wood off ebay for $10 to $20. Now it is ridiculous. I haven't bought any exotic wood due to out of site prices for almost a year now. I have also noticed a lot of wood business doing the same thing and have noticed their wood prices have esculated since turning has become more popular. I used to buy from 3 on line sources but don't anymore because the are out of my range especially when you tack on shipping.

    So like Vaughn and I know of others especially a bunch of us on fixed incomes would like to see some reasonabley low prices that are affordable. I know like anything else price really doesn't matter because there will always be someone there to buy but there would be more to buy if it was like I said affordable.

    Joe just my $1.298.
    Last edited by Bernie Weishapl; 02-11-2007 at 03:41 PM.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  4. #4
    Seems to me you need to sell wood not available for free from tree services, etc. You could look on other's sites for an idea what the exotics are selling for, like rockler, etc.
    Personally, I don't buy wood any more unless I need a specific exotic for a certain project. I get all the wood I can handle from tree cutters and friends, or just lying along side the road from where a person has removed a tree recently and just wants it gone. I sometimes find burl, crotch, even tiger or quilted grain just in my own neighborhood.
    I live in L. A. and used to think there was little/no wood around, but it's acutally abundant!
    Good luck in finding your market.

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