Friday, November 26, 2010

Lumbering Along

Photo Credit: Life

Today's topic is about buying lumber. To be honest, I find the process a bit intimidating and usually leave this job to others. There is also a paucity of power tools around The Do-tique, so we don't often engage in projects requiring more than a couple of 2x4s or some trim. And is anyone else out there totally confused about why a 2x4 is still called a 2x4 when those aren't the modern dimensions for this piece of wood? 

Last weekend, we packed Baby up and headed out to the Home Depot to see if we could find some wood to build two shelves into the closet in our home office. (The shelves will hopefully create a place for a printer and additional file storage.) Yes, this meant tackling the lumber aisle! Hubby started out in the closet organization section and picked up two pre-fab shelves with a melamine coating that didn't quite fit our dimensions and cost $17.99 each (we would have needed 4). The advantage here was that everything was pre-finished, so just cut to size and install...

However, I insisted that we go forth into the lumber section to see if there were any options that might be a better fit with our dimensions.

Often, when I think of lumber, I assume that all I will be able to find is an enormous piece of wood that won't fit into our car, that will have to be cut to size, sanded, primed, painted and then installed. It seems like just too much work.

The truth is that someone must have figured this out and created lumber that comes pre-finished for projects. You do not need to buy raw lumber and do all the work! There were a number of sizes and colors available and even the gigantic pieces cost less than a single shelf from the closet organization section.

In the end, we came home with two pre-cut, pre-finished shelves from an off-cut bin in the lumber section for significantly less than the closet organizer shelves would have cost.

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. Always come with your exact measurements handy - we spent 15 minutes in disagreement over whether the closet was 31 or 32 inches wide (settled for 31 1/2!)
  2. Since most of the "storage kits" have to be assembled by you anyway, consider whether you are handy enough to put your own simple shelving together out of the pre-finished wood in the lumber aisle
  3. Home Depot offers a cutting service, so if you know your measurements, the store can pre-cut the wood for your project. The first three cuts are free and in our case, we only needed two cuts
  4. Check the off-cut section for smaller projects - since we were only installing two shelves, we were able to find an off-cut of the wood we were looking for at a deep discount (material cost ended up being under $10 with hardware)

Now, all that is left is carefully nagging Hubby to help me install them over the weekend...

DIY Rating: 6 
Anything involving building from the lumber aisle is for the handy at heart, 
BUT if you do need something very simple, check the off-cut section, 
you might be able to find just what you need in a pre-finished, pre-cut material.

PS. I did honestly try to make a nifty Google SketchUp drawing of my closet plan for the blog, but now I don't know how to get that image onto Blogger!


  1. This reminds me of a project I have been stuck on: installing new coat hooks at the back entrance. It is possible to buy a board with coat hooks to attach to the wall, but to buy enough would cost about $300! Instead, I would like to buy a couple of pieces of wood (about 48" x 5" x 1"), screw in some hooks, and then attach the wood to the wall. But I have no saw, sander, etc. I had assumed that the lumber yard would not have appropriate wood for me. Do you think I am wrong? (Do you think they would paint the wood for me too?)

  2. Hey, wait a second. Now that I read all the way to the bottom, and aren't distracted by the antique chainsaw, I don't know if I like that last steep.



Thank you for visiting The Do-tique. Please let me know what you think - I love hearing from my readers!