What Do I Bring to a Lumberyard?

 In Tool Reviews

Everybody has their thing, everyday carry, travel toolbox, what’s in your camera bag, What’s in Your Pockets…I think all this youtube stuff going to my head?  But what do you bring to your lumber yard or your hardwood dealer? Like, what are the things you’ve gotta have for a fruitful trip?

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Number one, a tape measure.

  My current tape of choice is this 16ft auto-lock from Milwaukee.  I used to go with the Leverlock from Stanley until the blade quality started to slip.  I like an automatic locking tape so I can just throw it out and it will stay. There is no need for anything longer than 15 or 20 feet at the lumberyard unless you’re buying whole trees so 16ft is my length of choice.  It’s not that you need to double-check your guy’s math, but its always a good idea to know how much a given board costs so you don’t get caught off guard. Here is a handy little equation for computing board feet, you should have this on you too.

thickness (inches) x width (inches) x length (feet) ÷ 12 = board feet

Number two, a cordless circular saw. 

I did a shootout looking for the best cordless circular saw of all time and Milwaukee was the winner.  Up until the left-handed version of the saw came out the right-hander was with me every weekend at the lumber yard.  These are great saws, with great battery life and you never know when you’ll need to trim a little bit off a board to fit in your car/truck.  Most boards are around 10ft at a hardwood dealer and most of the time you don’t need that full length. As long as I know what I plan on using it for, and it’s not going to screw me over later, I am not above chopping off a few feet so I can fit the whole board in my truck.

Number three, a nice set of gloves.

I use these Firm Grip gloves for my lumber runs.  I buy all of my lumber rough, but even s3s stuff can have some gnarly splinters.  These gloves keep my hand’s ready for my next jewelry shoot (kidding) and minimize the ridiculous number of splinters I already get.

Number four, a plan.

  It’s never a good idea to go into a lumber or hardwood dealer without a plan.  It’s not only going to waste your time but you could potentially waste your money.  Either have a project in mind with some rough estimations of how many board feet you need or just know you are going for inspiration.  I am not a huge fan of going into my dealer without buying something though either. I find it disrespectful and it’s not a great way to build a relationship with your dealer which trust me, is a good thing.

Number five on my list is a good coat

…especially this time of year.  My lumber yard is basically just a big open-air hanger full of wood. So if it’s 20 outside its 20 inside.  As part of this quarter’s batch of tool for the THDProspective, I was sent the 18 volt heated jacket from Ridgid.  This thing is a great jacket on a cold day or the ultimate base layer for the coldest days of the year, It runs off 18 volt Ridgid system batteries tucked into a little pocket and can even keep your phone or other USB devices charged.  It has heated zones for your chest and back and heated pockets. One of these is a must-have for the coldest days of the year.

Number 6, cash or check.

  I KNOW! Those points though!?!? Most hardwood dealers are set up to interact with business owners and take checks or cash only.  Bring your cash or checks with you so you don’t get caught out. Again, you don’t want to be THAT GUY. Building a good relationship with your dealer can mean better deals, access to special stock, or other benefits that can help you as a hobbyist or as a business owner.

I hope these 6 little tips help you next time you go to the lumberyard.  Let me know if there is anything else you think I left out?

Remember, keep your tools sharp and your mind sharper


I acknowledge that The Home Depot is partnering with me to participate in the promotional program described above (the “Program”). As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services, for the purpose of promoting The Home Depot. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.    

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