Arm yourself with a good plan (or two) and your buying trip will be a success.

I have a 10″-wide piece of 8/4 purpleheart sitting on my lumber rack. I bought it eight years ago when I visited the lumberyard. I still haven’t used it.

The funny thing is, I went to buy cherry for a blanket chest. What’s worse is that when I got home I still didn’t have all of the cherry I needed to build that chest…but I had a really cool purpleheart impulse buy.

Now don’t get me wrong. I work for a lumber company – we love impulse buys. The woodworker in me also recognizes when to jump on a unique board or deal for that yet-to-be-realized dream project. In the end, however, without a game plan in place before you go to the lumberyard, you will never get the boards you actually need to build your current project.

Contrary to popular belief, poor planning rarely leaves you short on lumber. We all know to buy extra boards; that mantra has been beaten into us. Usually poor planning leaves us with too much lumber that isn’t useful. Follow these tips, and your next trip to the lumberyard will be more successful.

Start With a Wish List

Blanket chest. A good model or drawing is the starting point for figuring out what lumber you need for any project.

I get very excited at the beginning of a project and used to rush to buy my material. I’ve shown up at the lumberyard with no plan and a sketch in my hand. It’s probably no surprise that I ended up having to make another trip to get the boards I needed. What’s more, I wondered later why all my parts were different colors!

I sometimes arrived at the lumberyard full of myself because I had a board foot total in my hand. I had even added 20 percent to the total, as is often directed. So what could go wrong? That was the purpleheart trip.

In both cases, though, I had done little or no actual planning. A…


… Continue Reading at: [source]