Have you ever run into a project where you need a particular type or cut of wood that’s not available at Home Depot or Lowe’s? We ran into that problem recently, and decided it was finally time for us to visit a real live lumber yard.
After a little Google search, we decided to visit Fine Lumber in Austin. Most of the lumber yards around here are only open until 5:00 on weekdays and only Saturday mornings on the weekends. We were a little concerned that we would stick out like sore thumbs (especially toting our two kiddos) when we visited on a Saturday morning, but we took a deep breath and headed inside.
We are so proud of ourselves for taking that step. Not only did our little family of four not stick out, but we actually fit right in! There were a few contractor trucks in the parking lot, but most of the other vehicles were sedans and small SUVs. Inside, the majority of the patrons were just like us – young(ish) couples and families with children. For safety’s sake, we kept Emma in the stroller and made sure that Zack was right beside us at all times.
Rows and rows of different types of lumber greeted us upon entry. There was oak, mahogany, alder, maple, pine, fir, cedar…I could go on and on. There were even exotic woods that I had never seen before, such as Purple Heart wood from Central and South America. I even saw a huge slab of Pecan that could have been mine if I had $2,000 to drop.
We were on a mission to find untreated 4×4 posts to use for an indoor project, as such a product is not available where we typically pick up lumber (i.e. Home Depot and Lowe’s). We easily found it here. We also realized that buying the rest of the lumber we needed for the project at the lumber yard would be a little cheaper than purchasing it at our usual places. Score!
At Fine Lumber, the dimensional lumber is housed in a lofted area, so Zack had a great time going “upstairs” and picking out the pieces with Tom.
While the boys were searching for the perfect pieces of wood, Emma and I explored a little bit. We found this beautiful section of overstocked pieces, and I couldn’t help but take a photo of the color coded ends.
When we were ready to go, the staff cut our pieces to the length we needed. Since lumber is sold by the foot, there’s no use buying a lot more than we needed. I thought their saw was really fun looking.
Like the rest of the weekend warriors, we tied the lumber on the roof of our little SUV and headed home. This particular lumber yard is only about 15 minutes away from our house, so we know there will be another trip down that way in the near future.
If you’ve ever wanted to check out a lumber yard, I’d highly recommend it! We didn’t find the experience intimidating in the least, and at Fine Lumber, the staff was helpful and the prices were cheaper than at the large home improvement warehouses. I hope you find a similar situation in your area.
As for the project we are working on…well, you’ll have to wait to find out. ;D
Have you ever shopped at a lumber yard? What was your experience?