I use a lot of construction lumber in my projects – not only for workbenches but for furniture projects as well. If you carefully select your lumber you can end up with very nice wood for little money.
I’ve written about how I select my construction lumber from the racks here, but the following is the other half of the story.
As much as I like my local independent hardware store, I end up visiting my home center about twice a week for odds and ends. No matter how much of a hurry I’m in that day, my first stop is the framing lumber. I don’t always buy something, but I always watch the pile of 2 x 12 x 8’s. And I look at the rack of lumber at the roof.
At my store, they usually have a Saturday-night cull. The employees pull all the junk from the racks that won’t sell because it’s too distorted or nasty. They band the culls and sell them for something real cheap. But I ignore the cull pile.
After they cull the racks they open up new bunks of fresh wood to replenish the racks that look skimpy. So Sunday morning is a great time to go to my home center.
Today I stopped by for lightbulbs and saw they had just opened a new bunk of 2 x 12 x 8’s. The employees had removed only two of the restraining straps, so I did them a favor and cut the third free. Then I spent the next hour sorting through the entire bunk (then restacking it perfectly). I found nine beautiful, straight and clear 2 x 12s. And because this bunk had been sitting at the top of the rack for months, the stuff is dry – between 5 and 7 percent moisture content.
These 2 x 12s will be the next project in “The Furniture of Necessity,” one that I have been itching to build for two years.
The only problem is I have to head back to the home center today. In my excited state I forgot the lightbulbs.
— Christoper Schwarz