Tomorrow morning, I’ll be picking up more lumber from Spenard Builder Supply in Big Lake. I’m reminded that while building the cabin the last few trips, I’ve been eager to give some good advice about dimensional lumber. My first purchase of lumber was cheap, leftover stock from a lumber yard that Spenard Builder Supply bought out. Sure, it was inexpensive compared to the average lumber Spenard carries at their other yards, but I can’t say the savings was worth it. Here’s why.

  1. For starters, each length of wood was never the same length. I’d have to cut every piece, and even then it’s hard to get them exact. Those extra 1/16 of an inch add up, making it hard to fit your studs in evenly.
  2. Many of the boards were not perfectly straight. Now, I had gone through them at the yard, but the fact is that even though I grabbed better pieces they still weren’t perfect. Later during construction, I found myself pulling and pushing boards into a more straight position before nailing them in place. Straight boards are crucial at ever step of the construction process, or else why did I work so hard to get everything level and true?
  3. Compared to precision cut lumber I purchased later, the cheap boards were thicker and wider. They didn’t even match up with standard sizes. I can point out studs in my walls that stick out just a little past all the others, and that could mean a bulged area in my wall when I sheet it later. Luckily, none of it will be seen, but it annoys me.
  4. Construction time is greatly increased by the added labor of cutting.

All said, my suggestion to anyone is to make life easier by purchasing quality wood that is precision cut to the exact length  needed. Fortunately, I did just that before using too many of the cheap stuff. They came in handy for the bottom and top plates of  the walls, but for studs, the good stuff really sped up the process.

Once again, you get what you pay for… which is why my $600 tuck just blew the transmission. 🙁