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Reply by Tennessee

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Posted on 1000 bf of Walnut for sale. Asking for advice.

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Tennessee

2880 posts in 2656 days


#1 posted 02-15-2018 06:04 PM

ArtMann:
The secret is to keep your eyes and ears open, and look in odd places where you would not think to look.
My last two loads of walnut, one came from Craigslist, and one from the Tennessee Trader.
The Craigslist load was the guy who had the air dried lumber, nine years off the tree. He had to pay for the ad, other lumber suppliers in the Material section kept tagging his ad and CL kept shutting it down, and he wasn’t selling anything. I found it the day it was up and paid for, but said it was originally posted 27 days previous. I called thinking he must have just forgotten to take it down, and was stunned to hear he was still sitting on all this lumber, most of it for sale in the $3 range. He had walnut, cherry, hickory and oak. When I finally met up with him, he had it tucked away in an old garage in lower Chattanooga, the St. Elmo district. Just crazy.

I bought as much as I could afford, and I saw about a month later he put all the remaining up for a one load price. It was around $2.69 bd. ft. for the remaining. It sold in two days.

The Tennessee Trader, that is an odd thing. There are a lot of guys running mills out in the sticks, close to the Smokie Mountain National Forest, some in North Georgia. A few of them put ads in the Tennessee Trader. Found a load in a small town about 30 miles SE of here, in the mountains. After haggling, bought all I could carry.

Lastly, although I have not hit this yet, I have had a couple friends do well by hitting Estate Sales. (NOT garage sales) Turns out a lot of old guys who pass have stashes, and the estate people generally don’t know what to do with the lumber. They sell tools and stuff like that, but lumber is not something a lot of people are interested in. Had one friend sell me some walnut from a load he found at an estate sale. Man, was it nice stuff.
One other found a complete truckload of cherry, years old, rough sawn, mostly 12-15” wide planks, all about 8’ to 10’ long. I think he said he paid about $200 for it all.

So it is out there, but you have to keep cash in hand, and keep your eyes open. Also, be able to take on a couple hundred board feet if necessary, rather than have to pass on it since you don’t have decent storage.

One thing I have found, hitting up independents and private people with mills and other stashes – Showing cash in hand while there will almost always lower the price. Doesn’t work for businesses, they have all the usual overhead, but get some guy who mills in his back yard, or in a barn, and you can do some deals.

One last thing…when cabinet shops or other woodworking businesses shut down, sometimes they bring in a dumpster to clean out the business. I stuck my head over the edge of a big dumpster one day a few years back at a cabinet shop that had folded, and saw about 200 bd. ft. of 3/4” birch ply, beautiful stuff, lots of big cutoffs. Filled my Suburban and have made so many things out of that plywood over the years. And that was free! You just never know!

Here’s an example I found today. https://nwga.craigslist.org/mat/d/walnut-lumber/6484916629.html

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN


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