If you can get 8/4 FAS walnut for $8.00/bf, then honestly you don't have much to complain about. It's at $10.75 at my place. 4/4 S3S is $7.90, so you'd be right in the ballpark if you were talking 4/4. Maybe you should take people to the lumberyard to show them their options. If that's what it takes for them to realize that premium materials come with a premium price tag, then so be it. I'm sorry, but I'd just have a real hard time eating the cost when some know-nothing insists on walnut but then scoffs at the price. That's entitlement mentality. "I want this and I wanna pay that." Well TOO BAD. I'm finishing my basement at the moment. Here's what I expect... I want quartz countertops for the price of melamine. I want Brazilian cherry hardwood floors for the price of laminate. I want travertine backsplash for the price of ceramic. I want custom cabinets for the price of particle board BORG cabinets.
But guess what? TOO BAD for me! Because that's not what those things cost. You want quality, get out the check book...and that's exactly what I would tell my customers, in so many words. Offer them alternatives, obviously, but stand your ground. Ultimately, losing a customer is better than working for minimum wage. Plenty of burgers to be flipped if that's what you want.
Thanks guys. I was being a bit sarcastic when I said it was the ugliest thing I'd ever built...I just wasn't pleased with the color that piece of katalox turned out. I'm sure it will darken and who cares anyway...it's gonna get beat to hell. Not a coincidence...I had a picture of a BS mallet on the computer screen while I turned this one. 100% ripped off. That's just Renaissance Wax. No endangered species were harmed in the making of this mallet. I don't do much heavy mortising. I never do them entirely by hand, and my mortise chisels are used only to clean up the round ends of router mortises and other lighter-duty tasks that require a bit more heft than bench chisels. I have a joiner's mallet that I usually use with my mortise chisels, but I find it overkill and a waste of energy. It's great for pounding holdfasts down but I just don't need that much ass behind a chisel blow. If you need to pound that hard that's what she said you probably need to sharpen. This one will fill the gap between my joiner's mallet and my little brass mallet I use with my Japanese bench chisels. My mortise chisels have all wood handles so I never wanted to use the brass mallet on them.
Confucius say, grasshopper who move mountain start by carrying small stone. Yeah Dave, most of the katalox I've seen and worked with has all been a deep purplish black. The blank I used for the head was almost as black as ebony...but when I cut into it...that hideous pale purple. Doesn't matter, I was just playing around today. I guess it'll darken back up anyway.
No, not expecting anyone. But if I'm totally honest it would be kind of fun to thump someone with it one day. I don't know why it looks so short and fat in the picture. Must have been the cropping. It's longer in person. That's what she said.
LOL I didn't intend for it to be psychedelic...the cocobolo is crazy and that katalox head should be nearly black...it was when I started. Whatever. It is what it is. Possibly the ugliest thing I've ever made. It's heavy though, and it'll whack stuff good 'nuff.
I'm willing to bet he mitered a frame around a solid wood panel. Humidity, wood expands, miters blow out. Since the beginning of time. That's an assumption. Correct me if I'm wrong. A mitered frame around glass or other dimensionally stable material shouldn't get gappy if they weren't gappy to begin with and they were built well.
Oh trust me, I get it. I've only got half the craziness in my house that you have. But if I had four kids instead of two, I imagine the only thing I'd be building in my shop is a pointy, whittled stick so I could stab myself in the brain and put myself out of my misery. LOL
Patrick, I don't technically "work" for a yard and I'm not "in their camp." I'm a woodworker first and I hang out at my local yard on the weekends, work the register, shoot the breeze with customers and help them with their projects. I do this for fun and to get a deal on lumber. The customer always matters. Just like any other business, without happy customers you're not gonna do very well. This may be a little bit less true with hardwood dealers since there tends to be so few in a given area and people are kind of stuck with what they have. But at least at my yard, the customer's buying experience and satisfaction is of the utmost importance...within reason. As for quantity discounts, the owner of my yard gives customers 10% off on purchases of 100 bf or larger. He's a small operation...he doesn't have the space to stock huge quantities of material. So if you came in and needed 500 or 1,000 bf, most likely he would have to order a pack for you and would work with you to get the best price he can give you. But he still has to make money and he can only get it so cheap. The price is the price and that's just the way it is, and unfortunately you would be at the mercy of the mill and you would get what they shipped...out of the dealer's control. If you didn't want a bunch of waste and crap boards, I would highly recommend not buying commons. You're just asking for junk. You're going to have to accept the reality that, as of right now, walnut is graded on a more lenient scale than other hardwoods, so the quality in general is going to be lower than other species of the same grade. Supply is low and demand is high...you know what happens to the price...just like every other commodity on earth. It's a drag...I share your discontent. I love walnut too and I don't like paying $10.75/bf for 8/4 FAS that's full of knots and sapwood. Unfortunately that's the way it is right now. Why?... All the premium, clear logs never even make it into the US market...they're stuffed into shipping containers and sent to China. Without going into an economics lesson, the Chinese are willing to pay top dollar for the best walnut lumber, so we sell it to them at top dollar, which drives the supply down and the price up. If you don't like the walnut prices and quality, email your Senator I guess, and see if you can get them to write a walnut embargo into law. There's not much else that can be done. It's not the dealer's fault that the prices are high and the quality is low. It's a global market, and the market determines the price. Distributors and dealers are just following suit and passing on the cost. The only things I can recommend are to buy FAS instead of commons, and to find a dealer who will let you pick your own boards...and lower your expectations. I know it sucks, but that's life. Maybe in 20 years walnut will fall back out of favor and we can buy it for the price of red oak. In the meantime, explain to your customers the reason for the high cost of walnut, and price your work accordingly. The cost is always passed on to the end consumer. So pass it on.
Yes, thank you Mr. Obvious. I've been too busy this summer. The few scraps of shop time I've had I've tried to spend building instead of upgrading the shop. Catch-22...spend your time making the shop comfortable so you can work in it - but that would require about all the shop time you have so there's no point making it comfortable. I'm looking forward to fall. Just sayin'.