Ah, honeycombs...

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No, not the golden delicious breakfast cereal we all loved as children.

This is the wreckage of a large (7" wide, 120" long) stick of flat sawn red oak. It looked perfect on the outside and I needed it to finish out as 1.5" x 1.5" spindles for a balustrade. I waaay overestimated and came home with what should have been more than enough for the job, figuring that any leftover certainly wouldn't go to waste.  And then it passes through the band saw with long stretches where it feels like the saw is cutting very easily...far easier than it should. What gives?


Sure enough, the entire interior of the board was a honeycombed wasteland of vast, gaping splits, some with over a 1/4" of separation inside. I thought I was going to get this balustrade done next week. Nope. Maybe I'll be able to salvage some smaller bits for another project.  But whoever cooked this board made a mess of it.

Thus far, I haven't named the lumberyard in question. (Southern Pennsylvania locals, PM me if you're curious.)  I emailed them to ask if there's any chance they'd replace this board. Yes, their return policy clearly states that there are no returns on milled lumber. No, I'm not a big spending customer by any stretch.  But I figured I'd give them a chance to go above and beyond the call of duty for a little guy and thereby win a customer for life as well as an enthusiastic review online. If not, I'll take it as a learning experience and shop elsewhere.

Posed for the forum's collective wisdom: Am I being too hard on the folks that sold me this board?

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Any company, earns your money, by producing a viable product, with good customer service.  If they can't or will not stand by the product they sold, that should be the last penny they see from you.  There are sources that will back their product with good customer service. It may take a while to find them, but when you do.  Stick with them.

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The lumber mill I've been buying from for 45 years is usually very accommodating on problems like this. Especially if you buy FAS grade hardwoods. Common grades your supposed to expect even hidden flaws.  However I'm not sure they are going to be as liberal with occasional buyers of small orders. 

Of course I usually buy 20-30 % extra to allow for waste, mistakes and flaws. I only fuss about issues like yours when it shows up in several boards or makes a single large plank unusable.

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It doesn't hurt to have the conversation. When dealing with a natural product like this especially one that has relatively low profit margin i wouldn't expect them to bend over backwards for me, though i'd become a loyal customer if they did.


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