Don't Make These Lumber Mistakes! | Tips for New Woodworkers

Don't Make These Lumber Mistakes! | Tips for New Woodworkers

I imagine most people think wood is a fairly simple material. But the more you work with it, the more you can appreciate the subtle peculiarities of wood and what it takes to work with it effectively. Over the years, I’ve made a number of mistakes with regard to purchasing and cutting lumber and plywood and hopefully this list of tips will save you some heartache.

+ Wood Moves After Milling
+ Wood Can Move During a Cut
+ Plan for Expansion and Contraction
+ Don’t Cheap Out on Plywood
+ Crap In, Crap Out
+ Buying Thicker Lumber and Resawing Is Not Cheaper
+ Shop Around for Best Price
+ Finish Doesn’t Forgive Crappy Wood
+ Learn to Paint With Grain

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  1. bambuminatto on August 24, 2022 at 12:21 am

    Hi…i am from Brasil and begining with woodworking. Do layer of any finishing can avoid wood movement?

  2. John Sanchez on August 24, 2022 at 12:23 am

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience. I picked up a lot from this video!

  3. Vlad Donkov on August 24, 2022 at 12:24 am

    I am just starting out with my first trips to the lumber yards and living in a small country like Bulgaria where there are not exactly the type of businesses that cater to high end woodworking – your videos are a life saver for someone who bets almost all his cards on woodworking since my other field of work nearly vanished during the pandemic. Many, many thanks!

  4. fastfreddy3000 on August 24, 2022 at 12:24 am


  5. skateinferno on August 24, 2022 at 12:24 am

    Where is this shop in Arizona?

  6. Andrew Avellino on August 24, 2022 at 12:25 am

    If you’re taking 4/4 lumber and resawing it into 1/4" or 1/2" boards then you actually are saving money. Anything under an inch is almost always the same cost as 4/4 lumber, sometimes marginally cheaper.

  7. Drain the Putt on August 24, 2022 at 12:26 am

    You mentioned that in AZ you found a store that sold lumber at a better price vs your original source. What is the name of that store/business?

  8. The dude on August 24, 2022 at 12:28 am

    8:08 hahahaha 😛

  9. The Old Jarhead on August 24, 2022 at 12:31 am

    Another option for woodworkers is to find a local sawyer! 😀 We can mill up logs you find (or might have logs in stock, or lumber in stock) to whatever dimension you want them to be. Of course, they have to be dried before use and this can take time but meeting a local sawyer to secure a steady supply of material can be a great option!

  10. ilive4livemusic on August 24, 2022 at 12:33 am

    Some good tips I hadn’t focused on before. Thanks.

  11. Darin on August 24, 2022 at 12:33 am


  12. Chris Allen on August 24, 2022 at 12:34 am

    I live in Surprise AZ and looking for a more reasonably priced lumber source. Where?

  13. Cuatro Tres Carpintería on August 24, 2022 at 12:37 am

    That thumbnail tho LMAO 🤣

  14. sunalwaysshinesonTVs on August 24, 2022 at 12:38 am

    Loved the Kyrsten Sinema curtsy when ya said, "work".

  15. Randall Moore on August 24, 2022 at 12:39 am

    That highschool picture 🤣😂

  16. Terry Tillman on August 24, 2022 at 12:40 am

    My wife is wanting a floor cabinet 3′ long with 2 adjustable shelves with no divider is this to long everything is going to be milled oak

  17. Dan Razzell on August 24, 2022 at 12:42 am

    To expand a bit on the final topic (about making best use of wood grain) I think we will almost inevitably produce much better work once we develop the habit of paying attention to how each piece of lumber has been cut … and then think about how THAT cut will work best for a given application.

    The most basic example is face grain versus edge grain. (Do a quick web search on this if you don’t already know what I mean. It will lead you to many more insights besides this one.) Shipwrights have to pay extra attention to how lumber is cut because, very often in boatbuilding, pieces are steamed or sprung into curved shapes. Wood bends with fewer stresses in the same manner and in the same orientation that the original tree bends. Use this property to advantage!

    And the same principles apply, in somewhat milder form, to everything we build. It’s not just about looks: it’s about how easy the piece is to work into the desired shape, and how stably it will remain in that shape. (But yes, it is also definitely about looks. Because form follows function, after all. Discerning people can see the difference almost instantly.)

    Something not often noticed in western woodworking culture, but DEEPLY part of Asian culture, is an awareness of the tip end and the butt end of a piece of lumber. We tend not to think this is even a thing! Well, it is, and we have simply forgotten. For a guy like Jim Spilsbury, who was a radio engineer here on the West Coast of Canada during the early days not so long ago, you simply couldn’t build a radio mast – even a guyed one – without understanding which end of the spar was which. Not only is the butt end of a yellow cedar wider, it’s significantly more dense and more rigid. The tip is light and flexible, just as it should be. So in timber framing, and really in any construction, we want our posts to be set in the same orientation they grew. All else being equal, we want a cantilever to be cut with the dense wood closest to column and the lighter wood out on the cantilever. And again, discerning people can see the difference almost instantly.

  18. Abdul (Wood U'd Like 2 Know) on August 24, 2022 at 12:43 am

    Marc, good wood working tips. Plywood is something you really have to look at . Like how many layers does it have? Thanks for posting and sharing.

  19. Wesley Mitchell on August 24, 2022 at 12:47 am

    Hi! I’m currently working out of Phoenix. Would you mind sharing the name of the business you got your wood from?

  20. Larry IV on August 24, 2022 at 12:48 am

    Great video as always! What is the name of the store where you ended up buying your lumber in AZ?

  21. bpip000 on August 24, 2022 at 12:48 am

    jic you missed it is what we all came here to see.

  22. ELISHASFIRE G on August 24, 2022 at 12:48 am

    Thank you ,I thought it was me cutting the wood wrong, or that my table saw had something wrong , I was why is my wood bending or curve lol😂, i m new to this so

  23. LifeGeneralist on August 24, 2022 at 12:51 am

    Now I’m curious about the lumber supplier your found in AZ…

  24. Marty Farrell on August 24, 2022 at 12:51 am

    Your thicker is not cheaper scenario is not accurate and just demonstrates a 2:1 comparison in board thickness which is never a consideration for any woodwoker. I am making 1/2 inch T&G verticals, 34" lengths in cherry, and resawing 5/4 lumber is FAR cheaper than buying all 4/4 stock. You obviously are going off of basic stats and not experience. With one side viewed only perfect pieces are achieved at a huge cost reduction. Similar with thinner baseboard and casings. You should make another video, your subs need to know.

  25. Eric Orange on August 24, 2022 at 12:53 am

    Thanks!! A lot of interesting information.

  26. Slow Burn Woodworks on August 24, 2022 at 12:54 am

    Been studying up on wood movement and this was a great bit of info to add to the knowledge bank. As always, thanks for sharing 🙏

  27. Alex McGregor on August 24, 2022 at 12:56 am

    Where do I get $30 dollar plywood?????……. OH…..2021

  28. J Nixon on August 24, 2022 at 12:58 am

    I just came here to say how much I appreciate your sense of humor, Marc! I imagine your thought process (or maybe you even said it somewhere) “ugh I hate clickbait-y videos, but they work, so fine, I guess I’ll try it. But darn it I’m going to poke fun at the whole concept at the same time”. Your thumbnails are awesome.

  29. Dark Magna on August 24, 2022 at 12:59 am

    Liked, subb’ed. That was some next level advice. Never thought about grain so much. Thanks

  30. The Wood Whisperer on August 24, 2022 at 1:00 am

    *Attention NOTIFICATION CREW!* If you get here within the first hour you have a chance to win a FREE Wood Whisperer Guild project. All you need to do is go here and fill out the form:

    If you’re too late, be sure you’re subscribed and have all notifications turned on so you don’t miss your chance when our next video drops.

  31. Daniel C on August 24, 2022 at 1:01 am

    Best trick I’ve learned in my life is treat whatever you buy the same way as the people who sold it. If it’s food from the grocery store, wood, finishes, or even plants. Pay attention to how they are storing it and mimic that. The reality is these multi million or billion dollar companies are pros are knowing how to store the things they sell.

  32. sshelton961 on August 24, 2022 at 1:01 am

    Sry but I feel like this vid says the best way is $$$

  33. Botch on August 24, 2022 at 1:04 am

    Heh. Watching you saw that long, thin board on the tablesaw brought back memories of my only injury at the table saw. We ran out of 1x2s (trailer manufacturing) so I had to cut up some 2x4s to make them. Of course that saw’s kickback pawls were lost years ago. Started slicing a badly case-hardened 2×4, which started warping badly, and it caught the blade and kickback city.
    A standard tablesaw is 36" tall, my inseam was 37". Guess where I got "punched"?
    Coworkers and foreman got a great laugh out of it, I didn’t think it was quite so funny!

  34. Eric Stevens on August 24, 2022 at 1:04 am

    Great video Marc!, Question for you, what is the name of the wood supplier in the Phoenix area you recommend? I’m in the same spot you were before spending an arm and a leg for quality lumber

  35. Raza maya on August 24, 2022 at 1:04 am

    Love watching ur videos 😬👌🏽

  36. grbroussard on August 24, 2022 at 1:04 am

    Love your videos!

  37. Austin Beck on August 24, 2022 at 1:05 am

    Are you throwing shade at Matt Cremona?

  38. Cerberus on August 24, 2022 at 1:05 am

    The cool T-shirts this guy has! I’m going to break into his house and take at least 50.

  39. Eric Garner on August 24, 2022 at 1:06 am

    Great video!!!!! Thanks

  40. RC_Noob on August 24, 2022 at 1:07 am

    Hi Mr.Whisperer I am from Phoenix AZ and I cannot find any affordable place here. Woodworkers source is very expensive. What is the lumber yard you found that was less expensive? Would really appreciate the info

  41. Mark Koons on August 24, 2022 at 1:07 am

    What finish looks best on a crappy project? How about oriental stucco?

  42. LuisDiego Chavarría Ledezma on August 24, 2022 at 1:12 am

    Can you give more information on the Arizona place?

  43. Captain Jack on August 24, 2022 at 1:13 am

    I’ve been using pallets to make furniture for the garden.

  44. Artigianato, Made in Italy, Bellezze d'Italia on August 24, 2022 at 1:13 am

    Good tips in the video, very interesting channel, congrats from Italy. In my channel there is playlist on "TUTORIAL ITALY WOODWORKING"

  45. Retired with wood on August 24, 2022 at 1:13 am

    Conditioned lumber is also big help.

  46. Gib Clark on August 24, 2022 at 1:14 am


  47. Keith Tate on August 24, 2022 at 1:16 am

    Marc do you have any advice on buying wood directly from a sawmill / sawyer? In my experience it is less expensive, and I understand you have to be patient for the wood to dry appropriately. Just looking for any insights you have on sourcing wood directly from local sawmills.

  48. Aliaksandr R on August 24, 2022 at 1:16 am

    It was really informative and helpful 👌 Thank you so much!

  49. Richard Melcher on August 24, 2022 at 1:17 am

    what was the reasonably priced shop in Arizona!? lol.

  50. Julian Alcorso on August 24, 2022 at 1:20 am

    Great Vid!! Well done.