The Value of Roughing It

There are cheaper ways to buy quality stock that with bar codes on it, but you'll have to tool up to make the most of those savings.

There are cheaper ways to buy quality stock than with bar codes on it, but you'll have to tool up to make the most of those savings.

When I started woodworking, and my tool budget was really lean, I bought my boards from the home center. It seemed logical to shop there. They were already surfaced, and that was necessary because I didn’t have a jointer and planer. Plus, I could see the knots, pitch pockets and splits easily, which gave me some confidence that I was finding the best of what was available.

I’d dig through the stack looking for the straight stuff. Usually I could find a few good pieces. If I couldn’t, I’d settle for less and live with some twisting and cupping. I didn’t like it, but what could I do? Even then I knew I was spending too much money on that wood. And, I was.

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