TedsWoodworking Plans and Projects

Purchasing Hardwoods

hardwoodsWhen it comes to hardwood, the best method in getting the highest in quality is to hand pick every board, and take your time in doing so. There are several different things you will need to look for when you are picking through the lumber.

First, check out the grain and color of the board, and see also if it is warped any. Remember, wood that is warped can be a pain to work with, and will sometimes twist the whole piece of furniture, or whatever product you are making.

Second, see the condition of the board with regard to knots, checks, chipout/tearout, as well as stains and snipe. Try your best to match up the grain pattern and the color pattern in the wood. This may seem like a good bit of work, but really it isn’t that bad. The people at the lumber yard don’t mind you doing this as long as you restack it neatly whenever you are done. It pays greater dividends in the long haul if you are picky about the lumber you bring back to your shop, especially when you are looking at a finished piece.

Here are the steps that you can go through, in a nutshell, whenever you are buying lumber:

  1. Sort and choose the boards that are the straightest, flattest, nice looking boards.
  2. Pick out about twice as much lumber as you are going to need, and then start going through it. Make sure you are on the lookout for boards that have sapwood.
  3. Sort through the stack, minimizing as much as possible in the area of stains, checks, knots, and chipout. Of course knots are desired at times, so just make sure they aren’t broken if you are going for knots.
  4. Compare every board with one another, making sure you choose the boards that match the best.
  5. The last thing to check is the grain, and how it matches up with the rest of the lumber you choose. You don’t want grains going all different directions, especially if you are doing glue ups.

Once all of this is done, make sure you have enough lumber by calculating the board footage. (See the post on how to calculate board footage when it comes to hardwoods)

Some woodworkers like to get 15-20 percent more lumber than the project calls for, just in case they make mistakes or have a lot of waste. But this of course, is going to depend on the money situation. And that’s it! Hopefully you will now have the greatest lumber possible with the projects you build.


DO YOU HAVE a woodworking project or tip that you would like to submit to WooDesigner and get it added to our site? Then go to the contact tab below OR at the top of this page and let me know. Just make sure you are able to give us step by step instructions on it, as well as images as you see here, and we will put it on this site just like you have read on this page! As long as it is clear and concise like you just saw, it will go up. Your name will be credited to the project, as where you live. (Please include that.) Also include the type of lumber you use for the design. We look forward to hearing from you! (Take note that the tip and images and instructions have to become ours. I do hate that so much but in today’s society so many will sue, and yes, you can sue for a lot of money over images.) The tips will need to include YOUR IMAGES that you take. They can’t be images from somewhere online. Remember, we have to go through these images and if they aren’t your own, we will not be able to use them. This is illegal and it won’t be tolerated and you will be banned from this community by being blocked. We can get sued for this, and just one bad apple can ruin our community.

Ted Leger –


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Updated: December 16, 2014 — 9:57 pm
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