Friday, June 29, 2012

Buying thin lumber on

Milling rough lumber to the dimensions we want as scrollers requires expensive tools, time and effort. There is no doubt that it is cheaper to mill the lumber yourself if you have the tools. Many scrollers don't have these tools and really don't want to put the out expense not to mention the room required to house the tools. There are ways to buy scroll saw ready lumber. You just have to know where to look. Tonight I will talk about buying scroll saw ready lumber from ebay.

I know there are still a lot of you who don't like to purchase online. I understand that caution. The news has reports everyday about hacked credit card numbers and stolen passwords. If you are in that camp then you can stop reading here. I have personally used online stores for years so I have grown comfortable dealing online. I do use precautions when ordering online and I'll talk about some of them in this post.

Let's talk about what to look for when buying lumber on Ebay. In the picture below you will see the Seller Information section of an Ebay item. Petersonscustomlumber is the Ebay sellers name. This is the seller I just purchased lumber from that I will show later in the post.

To the right of the sellers name is the number of transaction that seller has had. The number include both sell and buy transactions. If you click that number it will load a page showing many of the sellers transactions and feedback from customers. To the right of the number you see the word "me". If you click that "me" it will take you to a page that shows whatever information the seller has listed about themselves or their business.

Below the seller name is the feedback score they have received from their customers. If a seller has a high feedback percentage and a large number of transactions you can generally expect to get good service form that seller. There are still other things to check before you buy or bid.

The picture below is a section of the page that show more information we need to look at. The top line shows the item condition. Below that is the time remianing that the product will be listed. The price is next. In this case the wood is a "buy it now". Ebay is an auction site where you can place bids on merchandise. The seller has the option to list a fixed price and first come first serve. I almost always just look for "but it now" items. I hate the hassle of bidding.

Shipping is a big thing to watch for on Ebay. Make sure you understand the shipping details before you buy/bid. Click the shipping details link and read the fine print. In this case the shipping is included in the price of the lumber.

Also look at the Payment method and return policy. When you see Paypal listed as a payment option that means you can pay with a credit card. You do not have to have a Paypal account to pay through Paypal. I'll be honest and tell you that there are lots of people that do not like paypal. I personally have used Paypal for years and find them a secure and reasonable service for online payment and collection. You will have to use your own judgement here.

Just a couple more words on ordering from Ebay then I'll move on to the purchase I made. Here are my rules. I don't make large purchases on ebay. I break this rule if I have ordered from the seller several times with good experiences. My limit on a first time buy is <$100. Between my ebay account and my daughters we have made probably 80 buys and never had a significant problem. My daughter had one inexpensive item that never arrived and I had one purchase that was shipped poorly and was slightly damaged. The rest have all been positive.

Now let's talk about the order I just received from petersonscustomlumber. The ebay listing below was for 20 pc 1/4" x 6" x 11" craft lumber. Milled, Kiln dried and finish sanded for $35 shipping included. This was my first order from this seller so I did my research of their feedback, number of listing, shipping and profile information. Everything passed my sniff test so I clicked the "Buy it Now" button.

The package was on my door step in less than a week. It cane in a flat rate box Priority mail. Sandy, the seller later told me they like to use these boxes to keep shipping low. For most scroll saw projects this sizing is fine.
I open the box and the wood was neatly bundled inside the box.
I sorted through the boards and was more than please with the quality. To my surprise there were 22 boards in the box instead of 20. It's always nice when a seller throws in something extra and it made me want to order from them again.
In the picture above you can see one of the bundles fanned out. This is walnut and you can see there are no defects and next to no sap wood. I have had a hard time finding nice quality walnut for about a year so this was nice to see.
These boards are ready to take to the saw. They are finish sanded with all mill marks removed. This is not that common but a nice touch.

After I received my order I emailed the seller asking about how often they list on ebay and any other information they would like to pass along to my readers. It was funny when Sandy replied that she had been to my blog several times. They currently don't have but one item listed but they are planning more and they have logs that will be ready to be milled this fall. Here is their ebay page. If you are interested just start an ebay account and add them as a favorite seller. I will certainly add them to my watch list and be ordering more in the future. I do have all the tools in my shop to dimension my own thin lumber but it's sure nice to let someone else do the work.

I hope this gives those of you who have not tried ebay a bit of confidence to take a look. You have to do your homework before you buy but their are good deals to be had.

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4th of July Scroll Saw Basket.

This folding handle scroll saw basket is easy to make and always draws attention. This one is themed for the 4th of July holiday but I included more handles in the pattern also. The basket is 5.5 inches in diameter. I pre-drilled the handle and top ring for small .5 inch brass screws. I wanted the handle to fold down and the screws make a nice pivot. You can uses different thicknesses of wood for the weave to give it a different look. The top and bottom rings should not be thicker than the weave or the basket looks out of proportion. You can use 3/4 inch thick wood for the weave rings but 3/4 inch looks bad for the top and bottom rings.

This basket is a nice size to keep wrapped hard candy on your desk.

My wife and I are headed to Kentucky Speedway tomorrow. We will be attending the Nationwide race on Friday night and NASCAR Quaker State 400 on Saturday. We will be in Grandstand 3 or 4 right in front of the Bluegrass Club area. If any of you are going stop and say hi. boogity boogity boogity, let's go racing boys!

The Scrollsaw Workshop is primarily supported by donations. If you enjoy this Blog and would like to make a donation please click this link. Your support is greatly appreciated.Make A Donation

This is the end of the daily posts