NEVER use this to make furniture

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In “Why Buying Was Cheaper Than DIY,” Scott Walsh explores the intriguing notion that purchasing ready-made furniture can sometimes be more cost-effective than the DIY approach, especially when considering the use of construction lumber for projects like a coffee table.

Scott begins by highlighting the potential of construction lumber for making proper furniture, showcasing the process of building a coffee table as a practical example.

However, he also introduces a critical perspective on why this might not always be the best choice.

Scott emphasizes the importance of selecting the right type of lumber, advising against simple two-by-fours and recommending larger dimensional lumber for fewer knots and imperfections.

He explains that larger trees used for bigger lumber pieces tend to have fewer knots, resulting in better quality material. Despite this, Scott points out a significant drawback: the moisture content in construction lumber.

He notes that these lumber pieces are often too wet for immediate use in furniture projects, leading to potential warping or twisting as the wood dries.

To mitigate this issue, Scott suggests allowing the lumber to dry out, either by storing it for an extended period or using a moisture meter to ensure it’s ready for use. He also recommends buying extra lumber to build up a stockpile of dry material, though he humorously warns against hoarding.

Scott then delves into the cutting process, explaining how to select and cut parts from the lumber to minimize defects and maximize stability. He introduces concepts like flat sawn and “crap sawn” lumber, explaining how each affects the wood’s stability and appearance.

By carefully selecting and cutting the lumber, Scott aims to use the most stable parts for his project, reducing the likelihood of warping or twisting.

Despite these precautions, Scott reveals a significant reason to reconsider using construction lumber for furniture projects: cost. He breaks down the cost per board foot, factoring in the yield after cutting and avoiding defects.

Scott discovers that the actual cost of usable lumber is significantly higher than anticipated, making construction lumber a less economical choice than it appears.

Scott concludes by comparing the cost and quality of construction lumber to that of less expensive hardwoods or premium softwoods, suggesting that these alternatives might offer better value and less waste.

He encourages viewers to explore local sources for quality lumber, emphasizing the importance of community and face-to-face interactions in finding the best materials for woodworking projects.

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