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Buying Lumber by the board foot

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by GrooveWarrior, Sep 29, 2005.


  1. There is a large lumber company fairly local to me that has some figured and exotic woods, and I am trying to figure out if the prices are good. I have never bought wood by the board foot before and don't know what is a good deal.

    All prices are per board foot:
    Curly Maple - $5.50
    Spalted Maple - $6.50
    Bubinga - $7.72
    Lacewood - $8.52
    Genuine Mahogany - $6.00

    That is just a sample of the prices. Are these good?
     
  2. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    They're not bad. Especially for the figured woods it depends on the quality of the lumber. You will certainly find places with much higher prices. You can also find things for a little cheaper, but that will take some hunting.
     
  3. I'm really surprised at that price for spalted. My favorite local place sells what it calls "downfall" or spalted for cheap, cheap, because it's not desired by the furniture guys. I've gotten some for as little as a $1.50 a running foot.
     
  4. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I'm not surprised at the $6.50/ft spalt. If there's someone that considers spalt value added and is willing to pay for it, and most markets do see this, then the price is going to go up. I think you (we) do see it as desirable for some applications, which is why you're lucky to be able to get some from a dealer that does not consider spalt an added value.

    Shop at enough lumberyards and you'll start to be surprised by your local yard. Sounds like a good one. I see it usually in the range of $5-10, depending on quality.
     
  5. These guys are truly "old school". They are North Georgia timber men and they don't cotton to these newfangled fads. ;)
     
  6. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Ah, in many ways these are the best lumber yards, aren't they? The high-fallutin' ones always have neat lumber, but they never have great deals. I just moved to the MD/DC area and I'm on the lookout for great lumber yards out here. I left one behind when I moved :(
     
  7. Those a pretty typical of the local place near me, which I also think is pretty good. Those prices are even better if the stuff is sanded at all (not so with me, all in the rough). My place differentiates between African and Honduran mahoganies, with slightly different prices (Honduran being more expensive).

    Be aware that many of these places will not cross-cut the more exotic woods, which requires that you purchase the entire plank. For me, that typically means I often can't purchase anything under 8' long when it comes to exotics.

    Beware of the "curly maple" because it could be soft maple. Check with the guys to see if it is "hard" or "rock" maple. At my place, curly hard maple (which they call "tiger maple") goes for $8.50/bf while the soft curly stuff is cheaper by $2/bf.