Nothing is Free

bad-lumber good-lumber

On the left is a sample board from the crate lumber.  On the right is a panel made of purchased (inexpensive) lumber.  Which would you rather use?

“Everything costs someone something”.

I don’t know who originated that quote, but they knew what they were talking about.  I had a goal of making this tool chest from 100% recycled materials, but one night of aggravated hand planing ruined that goal.  I was frustrated with 75% of my materials because the boards were too skinny, too short, too knotty, and just too terrible.  I could have made it work, but life is too short to mess with inferior materials.  Backup plan time.  I needed to go to the home center for another project, so I took a detour through the lumber section.  No harm in looking, right?  My expectations were pretty low.  First up, the “premium” pine.  It looked great, but cost way too much.  Next was the “builder’s grade” pine, which was affordable but knotty.  Then came the middle grade material.  The price was good, but the boards on top were as knotty as the “builder’s grade” stock.  After a little digging through the middle grade material, I found 3 really nice, clear, 10-inch wide boards. I bought them.  I’m $30 more invested in this tool chest but I’m working with some decent lumber and having fun planing again.


Good lumber = more fun at the bench.  This pine is really nice stuff for hand planing!

Word to the wise – don’t waste much time with inferior materials.  Your projects and your time are too valuable.  The crate “recycled” lumber is still being used in this project, just less of it.  The rest can be used in my fire pit.  I really enjoy a good fire.  As an added bonus, I am now able to make the chest a few inches longer than the chest in the PWWM article (full 32 inch).  It should be long enough to hold a full sized hand saw and I’ll still be able to lift it.  Fingers crossed on that one.

Bob Jones

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