When we first started I used to head up to a big box hardware store and buy five or six boards of pine. Each time I would head over to the contractor section and basically give each piece a physical. I’d check each little inch of the boards and I’d try to find the five best out of the stack of 100 or so boards. I’m sure the people that worked their thought I was a bit crazy doing such an examination over $3.80 boards. The thing was when we started we didn’t have much money and I was about to waste it on inferior lumber.
Then I started buying them 10 at a time and looked at them mainly for straightness, then it was 20 and I just glanced to make sure they weren’t completely crooked. Now we’re buying boards by the 100+ as beer caddies have really taken off. I get those sight unseen and have the orders delivered right to the shop. From my last order of 100 boards the picture below shows the boards that are crap. It ended up being close to 48 boards that weren’t 100% usable. Now I’m not one to waste anything so the trees that were cut to make these boards didn’t die in vain, but it’s still frustrating.
I know I didn’t pay for top choice lumber but shooting 50% isn’t good. What I thought was a time saver ended up being more trouble than it is worth. It’s just a reminder that when it comes to wood the best thing to do is inspect it even if it just cheap pine. So if you see me at the big box store or lumber yard going through a stack of wood please don’t judge me, just give a causal head nod.