Buying wood—be it pine, basswood, or something exotic like rosewood—can leave you scratching your head wondering about the mathematics and vocabulary. When I first started purchasing wood, I fell in love with a piece of mahogany, ideal for an exotic fish I had in mind. The owner of the lumber yard told me the best deal was to purchase several board feet of 8/4 “undressed” and plain-sawn stock. I’m sure he recognized my confusion, but he simply wrote up the bill and took my money without explanation. At that point, I decided to demystify the process that leads to owning a great piece of wood.
Having a basic knowledge of the terminology used, and methods of wood preparation, will enable you to purchase the stock best suited for your project. Many lumber yards have a price list, which can save you a lot of time otherwise spent looking for a favorite wood that isn’t in stock.