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Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

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  • Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

    Ok, I went to the lumber yard for more wood - I've had to switch suppliers as my old supplier was no longer carrying decent 1x4 and 1x6 boards.
    I've heard this from several places - you go up to the front desk and they lay down the rules: No picking through the wood. When I explain to them that I'm making rustic shutters and I can't get moldy or really bowed or chewed up wood, they say they're willing to work with me to an extent. Fair enough. So usually for me to pick around 15 of 1x6 and 15 of 1x4 takes around 10 minutes, maybe 15, and I re stack everything I've taken out. The guys are usually around, and help with re stacking or loading, whatever. So I don't think the time it takes me to pick through stuff is unreasonable.
    But now I'm really getting annoyed with their attitude. Yesterday this guy was getting unpleasant, and when he put really moldy boards in the good pile, I rejected it, and then he started on the usual stuff like "look, if I'm sorting through the pile, and then you're re sorting and rejecting, then there's only crap left for the next guy, and we can't have that".
    Why exactly do I have to accept moldy boards? Isn't it first come, first serve, and if you have a pile of crap left, sell it on discount? Every time I go in there, I put down round $200 on lumber, and I have to fight with them too? Since when is selling moldy boards ok anyway? If the mill is sending moldy boards around, isn't that a problem? Or maybe, just maybe the Home Hardware store that stores their lumber on a pile of mud through the winter is getting this mold after they have picked it up from the mill or wherever they get it. Improper storage maybe?
    Sometimes I get customers who want bare shutters, they stain or paint them themselves. So I can't get moldy wood, build some shutters, and send them down to the customer so she can paint over moldy stuff. She would just reject the product and call me a thief. Even if I sanded, I don't think using moldy wood is a good idea, and I'd be at the bench forever sanding.... then of course, half my boards will be out of acceptable shape.
    How do you guys handle ornery shop guys who insist on picking your wood for you, who get kind of rude and lectury, and try to get 30 boards in your truck in 5 minutes flat? Or do you just accept any old boards?
    I can't go and buy top of the line wood for shutters, my product has a certain price point and I have competition.
    Just wondering if I'm the only one who runs into this and finds it frustrating!
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  • #2

    Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

    I’ve run into that before.
    I don’t buy junk lumber, if they have a problem with that then I would find a new supplier.

    Its usually the yard monkeys that bitch, usually the higher ups have no problem with sorting.

    Be firm- they will get to know you & wont try to give you moldy crap.

    Nathan
    smallerstick likes this.

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    • #3

      Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

      I’ve taken back 67 (out of 100) deck board because they were crap.

      I told them in plain terms that I don’t do crap work and I won’t build with crap wood.
      Get better quality wood or I will stop shopping there.

      I got an apology and no hassle returning the wood.

      Nathan

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      • #4

        Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

        If you want to pick through for special boards, most suppliers charge an extra 25% and I am glad they do. I hate showing up and all that is left is junk because someone already took the best. Most suppliers price their product to sell off the top of the pile. If you want only the best you should tell your supplier and ask him how much extra for picking through pile. I completely renovated my country home and when quality wasn’t required I picked off the top at advertised price. When I needed select or better product I told my suppliers and I gladly paid the premium price. The reason I don’t buy lumber from big box stores is because they let people pick to no end and only leave the junk. You get what you pay for! JMHO
        Last edited by Les@Brownsville; 03-12-2019, 05:32 PM.

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        • #5

          Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

          It really burns my behind when I see guys picking through lifts of lumber looking for that perfect board. I have seen guys going through half a lift , looking for a perfectly straight 2x4 .i suggested to one guy if he is looking for perfectly straight maybe he should be looking as steel studs. He did not appreciate my comment.

          Brian
          Beaverfever1988 likes this.
          If your dreams don't scare you, you are not dreaming big enough

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          • #6

            Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

            ​​​​​​It's a free country last I checked.

            You're free to pick through and buy what you want, set aside what you don't.

            The retailer is free to tell you not to, and if you don't like it, I'd go elsewhere.

            I'm also free to tell other 3rd party people to mind their own business if they have a problem with the way I'm conducting mine... of course busy bee bystanders are free to comment, but I could care less about anyone who gets burned up by something when they are not a party to the transaction... it's between you and the lumber yard, noone else.
            ​​​​​
            Egon likes this.

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            • #7

              Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

              Every place I go doesnt ming picking , to a point.
              • “The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.”Winston Churchill

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              • #8

                Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

                I have a feeling there will be a real divide on the opinions here.

                Personally, I side with the OP.

                I strive to turn out only top quality products from my shop. I would never expect a customer to accept 8 out of ten cabinets good, along with two crappy ones. If I screwed two of them, I'd remake them. Why should the customer get crappy cabinets just because I didn't want to swallow the loss?

                The lumber yard got some bad wood in the shipment. Or they didn't store it right after they got it. Either way it's bad, it should be written off as a loss. But they don't want to accept the loss on that, so they expect all of us buyers to do it? How is that fair? I don't see how it is. And I don't think it's any more fair just because they prevent picking and thereby distribute the bad wood amongst all the customers, as if we all have some duty to the cause to do our part. I mean, can you imagine if any other business operated that way? Can you imagine if you went to the grocery store and asked for 10 pork chops and they informed you that you were going to have to accept two smelly rotten chops as part of the order (without any price reduction of course) because they'd had a batch go bad and so now all the customers each had to take a couple bad chops till they were used up?? Can you imagine if they asked you to accept two broken eggs in every dozen, because they had a lift fall over and crack and they didn't think it fair to let you pick out only good eggs and leave all the broken ones for someone else?? I mean, seriously, I know someone right now is reading this and saying "callee, those situations are not the same" and no, they're not exactly the same, but my point is that if you transferred this situation to any other business, you'd see how ridiculous it is!

                Now, I will say, I wouldn't mind the lumber yard trying to pass off bad wood so long as it's identified and priced accordingly. I mean, I didn't think there was anything wrong back in the day when tim hortons sold day-old donuts at a discount. As long as everyone is clear what they're paying for and what they're getting.

                A comparison in my shop might be with paint grade cabinets versus stained cabinets. With paint grade, I know that I'll be able to make use of wood that is figured or has defects - wood fill and paint cover a multitude of sins. But with stain grade, I know that I'm going to have to cull my stock and reject the boards that aren't perfect. So I count on having to order extra stock and spend extra time on it. I charge extra for both those points, so a stain grade finish costs more than a paint grade. I explain all of this to the customer up front, and if they're fine with paying more, then I'm happy to work accordingly.

                So bottom line, I think a lot of frustration here could be avoided if everyone was just a lot clearer on the terms, and what you're getting for the money you pay.
                Beaverfever1988, dwight80 and 2 others like this.

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                • #9

                  Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

                  Find another supplier.

                  I *sort* not pick lol. Generally I try to grab the the better wood without going through like 1/2 a lift to find it. Its all about being reasonable. Most contractors around here will grab way more than they need then return what doesnt measure up. Most of our wood in this area is generally crap. There is nice wood cut, just most of it ends up elsewhere either in other provinces or the US.

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                  • #10

                    Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

                    most wholesalers will not allow you to pick through lifts, places like Upper Canada, Cherry Forest Products, Craftsman Lumber, Commonwealth etc etc. I have bought form all over the last couple of years and I can count on one hand the number of boards that were not satisfactory. It is the reason that most will not sell to individuals unless it is a business. With Richelieu you have to get an approval before you can return something.


                    Brian
                    smallerstick likes this.
                    If your dreams don't scare you, you are not dreaming big enough

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                    • #11

                      Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

                      Where I live there are two lumber stores. One is a HH and one is an independent. The HH lets you pick, the staff are nice, but it is all garbage lumber stored outside and twisting in the sun, wind and snow and rain.

                      The independent let’s you sort and all their softwood is stored in a closed in tent type building that you can drive your truck in. This lumber is reasonable and you don’t have to sort to death. Much more enjoyable. I no longer visit the HH.

                      Jim


                      Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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                      • #12

                        Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

                        I'm not sure what richelieu's official policy is, Brian, but I've had a number of returns over the years and I haven't had to get authorization first. I give the plywood a quick once-over while we're unloading it, and act accordingly: if it's a damaged piece but I never-the-less think I could cut around the damage and use most of it, I note the damage on the picking list when I sign for the order, and my account gets a partial credit for it. If the sheet is just too damaged to make use of, I just leave it on the truck and I'll get a credit for the full sheet. I've never had quality problems with the solid lumber, though I have on three occasions had a minor problem with the basswood I order in for my drawer boxes. I have a standing order for minimum 6" wide planks. They can send me the random lengths, that's fine, but if it's less than 6" wide I just can't make use of it. It's not worth my time to be laminating stock for drawer boxes. So when the load comes, I watch it carefully while we unload. If there's just one or two under-sized pieces in a load, I don't bother fussing over it: clearly the warehouse guys were trying to follow my instructions, they just missed a board or two. That happens, people are only human, I'm not going to give them a hard time over that. But on I think three occasions now I've gotten loads where half or more of the planks were under 6", and so clearly the picker just missed that part of the instructions. I'm just not going to accept a load like that. On two of the occasions, I was there to unload and I just checked all the planks, unloaded the wide ones, and left the narrow ones on the truck. The driver returned with them and I got the credit on my account. But on the third occasion I had to be away on delivery day and so a friend met the truck for me. He didn't know to check, and so he unloaded a whole lift of undersized basswood! I informed my rep about it and planned to return the load on next week's truck. When the next truck showed up though, he hadn't been told to expect to pick up the return load. At first he didn't want to take it, but I replied I'd already stored it for them for a week, and if they didn't take their wood back now I would start to charge them rent! Seriously though, I try to maintain friendly business relations with my suppliers, I try not to be "that guy" and to be a team player, but at the end of the day we're not doing this for "the cause", no one is doing this just to take one for the team. No, we're in business, and in business you need to make money, and I don't make money by taking losses myself so that the supplier doesn't have to.

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                        • #13

                          Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

                          Referring to authorization to return was hardware such as kitchen pull outs etc. I do not buy lumber from Richelieu. I would never accept anything that was going to lessen the quality of my kitchens and by purchasing from quality suppliers returns are not necessary. I buy sheet goods that are manufactured by Rockshield Forest Products in Cochran, an excellent product. I always order random width and length when ordering maple. We all operate differently and I find with random width and length I pay a little less per bf and generally get the widths I need. I could order specific widths but pay more. I have 750 bf of FAS 4/4 cherry in my garage. It was graded for width, minimum 10 inch. I paid accordingly and I trucked it home from a Pennsylvania.

                          Ryan. Curious as to the depth that you make your drawer boxes. I go 4 in on the top drawer and the 2 lowers a minimum of 8 in.

                          Brian
                          If your dreams don't scare you, you are not dreaming big enough

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                          • #14

                            Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

                            Originally posted by Brian @ Muir View Post
                            It really burns my behind when I see guys picking through lifts of lumber looking for that perfect board. I have seen guys going through half a lift , looking for a perfectly straight 2x4 .i suggested to one guy if he is looking for perfectly straight maybe he should be looking as steel studs. He did not appreciate my comment.

                            Brian
                            I'm curious Brian why you feel this way? What do you expect them to do if they need a "perfect" board and the lift is full of pretzels? Is it because they are preventing you from grabbing what you need or are they leaving a mess behind? I'm one of those guys who sometime search for the perfect board because that's what I need. I don't do it when there's someone waiting behind me and I leave the pile neater than when I started. I do the same at the grocery store when picking out bananas or apples.

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                            • #15

                              Re: Guys at lumber yard not wanting customer to pick through wood (1x4 & 1x6)

                              Hey Brian, I usually do faceframes, and my standard sizes for the openings on a 3 drawer bank are 5.5" for the top drawer, 10" for the bottom two. For inset fronts I leave a 1/8" gap all around, which means my front sizes are 5.25" and 9.75". (Interestingly, since I do 2.25" rails and stiles for the bottom drawers, and solid slab for the top, that means my panel size on the lower fronts is 5.25", just like my top slab, which means I can usually use the same pull-drilling-template for all the fronts). For the drawer boxes, I use movento undermount so I leave 1/2" space at the bottom, and at least that much at the top, meaning I make my top drawers 4.5" and my lower ones would be 9", but in practice that depends on how wide the stock is I have on hand, and tends to run anywhere from 6.5" to 8.5" usually. The ones I made today were 6.75, which is a little shorter than I'd like, but I think it's still fine. As long as they have the clearance to put a tall pot in, people tend not to care too much if the sidewalls go all the way up. I think that's probably due to the "ikea effect" , as many ikea drawers have low little sidewalls even if it's a big deep pot drawer, and then just have a support rod across the top! Personally I think that's cheesy, but I think it has served to normalize shorter side walls for many people.

                              Wow, that was a long answer to a simple question, but no one asks me something if they're looking for a short answer!

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