All About the Wood

One of our first road trips was to a local millworks/lumber yard called B&B Heartwoods. This wasn’t like going to Lowes for two by fours and plywood; lumber at B&B was almost all hardwoods and sold in solid planks. We wanted to get a selection of woods to see which ones looked best in the Hex Chest design, so they showed us to the scraps corner where they sold 1-5 foot lengths of assorted wood.

Quentin looking through scrap wood at B&B Heartwoods

Here’s me looking for the right size piece of cherry

Wood at this sort of lumberyard is usually “rough-hewn” – so the surface is poorly finished and covered in potential splinters. Woodworkers use tools like planers and joiners to cut the surfaces of rough-hewn wood to be more finished, and more importantly, to have parallel sides.

Wood is sold in two measurements: by the “quarter” and by the “board-foot”.

Walnut, cherry, aromatic cedar, hickory and maple

Our first purchase of wood included walnut, aromatic cedar, hickory, cherry, and maple

“Four-quarter” lumber is the standard thickness of wood – this means “1-inch thick” in woodworker. You can sometimes find wood in 5/4, 6/4, 8/4 and 12/4 – also known as… 1 and a quarter, one and a half, two, and three inch thick. Board feet is basically the surface area of 4/4 lumber. The pictured piece of walnut is 26″ x 7″ = 182 square inches = 1.3 board feet. At $8 per board foot, it cost us a bit over 10 bucks. If that wood had been 8/4, it would’ve been 20 bucks.

We eventually sought a wider selection of woods and ventured to Armstrong Millworks. But that’s another story for another day.