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A straight board - is there such a thing?

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  • A straight board - is there such a thing?

    Hello All,

    I built a Scroll Saw Stand, using a plan from a magazine. It's pretty simple in structure, made from 2x4 lumber. I chose the lumber from my local Home Depot (Kiln-Dried). I tried to pick the straightest ones I could find.

    I took great care in cutting and drilling, using hold-downs and clamps, and using power tools, including a drill press.

    I also took great care in the assembly, though when I had the base together, it looked like it had been slapped together in about ten minutes. It was crooked, twisted and wobbly.

    I took it apart, and upon closer inspection, found that the 2x4 wood was ever so slightly cupped, and in a couple of spots, twisted.

    It's hard to find a straight board; I sometimes go through the whole bin before picking a board for a project. This seemed very simple; a tool stand out of 2x4's. Very sturdy and simple, right? Does anyone have suggestions for finding true lumber for things like this, or workarounds to compensate? It's very frustrating, knowing that you are doing everything carefully and correct, only to find a big mess after it has been put together.


  • #2
    dbird------well, first off, stop shopping at HD. They used to have a very good KD'd 2x4 and right in the middle of a project, they switched suppliers (obviously a cheaper on). The garbage they were then selling as KD was a joke----not much more than a somewhat dryer stud stock and twisted like taffey.

    I used to build a number of projects out of the old stuff and while it still required occassional dressing to straighten out things, it was pretty good.

    But, I have to say it entirely depends on the design you want to make and how it's joined. I just saw a magazine design for a planer table made from 2x4s---what a joke-----not even half-lapped joints (BTW---I'm letting my subscription run out. )

    2x4s are fine for leg stock, but you need to make good joints in them---half-laps, etc. But, it's not really the best for most projects. But stop wasting your money on HD lumber----in general, they have the worst quality wood.


    • #3
      The HD lumber is at best suitable for doghouses since dogs are not picky.
      Lowes has much better lumbar at about the same price as HD. You also do not have to pick through 20 pieces to find 1 good one like you have to do at HD.
      Most importantly, you can actually find someone at Lowe's who will cut down the lumbar for you if you require it. While HD has saws setup for this purpose, they don't seem to offer the service, at least not same day.


      • #4
        Man, did this hit a sensitive area with me. I agree totally. We had a local building company that always had good wood and moderate prices. "Select" grade 2 x whatevers were straight, even, and with only an occasional small knot. Today, they are just about out of business because of the Lowe's and HD big box stores!

        Our local Lowe's and HD lumber is pretty much the same poor quality. Last year I built a few bookcases out of 1 x 10 pine boards. I had to pick through everything that HD had in stock to come up with a dozen boards that were barely acceptable. There was so much resin in the lumber, that it wouldn't take a stain. So many knots, gouges, abrasions, and splits that I finally decided to just use wood filler and paint the darn things. A couple of weeks ago, my wife asked me to make another bookcase. Pathetically, I couldn't find a single board that was half as good as the junk stuff I bought last year... and the price is up a couple of bucks.

        Studs and other structural lumber are the same way. Just last week I went to pickup a couple of 2 x 6's which I figured I could resaw to make some toys for the grandson. Wow, there was so many knots in the stuff that you couldn't find a one foot section that was clear. The big mystery is how in the devil do you get a truck load of lumber that looks like it was all cut from the outer edge of the log?

        The worse part of this whole thing is that much of the lumber just appears to be mishandled. I saw four stacks of 3/4, T&G ply that looked like the guys spent time ramming the tow motor into. Literally, there wasn't a single edge on any of the stuff that wasn't battered beyond any hope of fitting!

        So, where does all the good stuff go, overseas? To Japan? To Iraq? I've read in the news that a big reason for the high price of ply is that the U.S. is sending major quantities to Iraq for the rebuild. I've also read that the Japanese have bought up major forest areas which end up being "skalped" and not replanted. Most of that lumber goes to constuction plywood and for concrete forms, etc. Lumber is a precious commodity that appears to be in short supply.


        • #5
          Mis-handling may be a possible explaination---Interesting note----I have a good local hardwood dealer----went in to get some plywood----guess what----they carried the same brand as HD, BUT, instead of having the usual bows and warps, it was flat as a pancake and even the remaining project scraps are still straight. I have to wonder also, if HD isn't big enough they can bargin for stock made from lower grade materials or buy stuff from the reject line.


          • #6
            Thanks to everyone for their input. I will look around for a better wood source, probably a lumber yard, and not a general DIY Store.



            • #7
              We used to have about a half dozen old fashioned lumber yards around here before HD came to town about 5 years ago. Now there are only 2 left. I picked through the garbage at HD a couple times and went back to the local yard for my lumber. Their standard lumber is better than HD's premium, it's not much more expensive, and I can get 9 out of 10 good boards instead of 1 out of 20 at HD. On top of that the local yard will deliver for free!

              [ 07-06-2004, 10:09 PM: Message edited by: Lorax ]
              "Did you put the yellow key in the switch?" TOD 01/09/06


              • #8
                The quality of Lumber from Home Depot has dropped like a stone in the last year. Avoid it!