Custom furniture builders are discovering new ways to buy premium, hardwood lumber by the Internet, as an expanded creative palette, quality guarantees, searchable wood libraries, secure packaging and UPS delivery are taming Internet-mail order.
“I need a wide variety of hardwoods to give my work the look families want,” says Ray Vines, owner of Arizona Urns, a Kingman, Ariz. manufacturer of handcrafted cremation urns sold throughout the U.S. “At local stores, hardwood choices are usually limited to domestic choices like oak, and if I need exotic woods, forget it.”
“Driving to a specialty lumberyard would take me several hours roundtrip, my orders would be too small to get the attention or price I need, and minimum purchase requirements would kill me in inventory cost,” adds Vines, who has two employees and typically uses just 10-15 board feet of hardwood at a time.
Vines has found a way to buy a full range of domestic and exotic wood for sale, with the quality, quantity, price, and turnaround he needed, through Internet-mail order. “For me, Internet-mail order is often the only alternative for the kinds of quality hardwood I need,” says Vines.
He turned to Woodworkers Source, an Internet retailer that features more than 100 varieties of exotic wood for sale ranging from andiroba to zebrawood, along with premier hardwood plywood, tools, finishes, and accessories. The company, which has three retail warehouse stores in Arizona, began as a retail/commercial distributor of hardwood and imported lumber, hardwood plywood, veneer, woodworking tools, and related products in 1978.
“I appreciate the quality and cost of the hardwood,” says Vines, who notes that it arrives in a protective layer of cardboard, double layered on the ends, wrapped in plastic to waterproof it. “It is good furniture-grade wood, usually 6% moisture, kiln dried to eliminate shrinkage, so it’s stable and won’t crack. The price usually beats any comparable local stock.”
“Today’s woodworkers can actually get better quality wood via Internet-mail order than in store, if they look for a 100% guarantee, where the company picks up the shipment and returns their money if they’re not satisfied,” adds Mark Stephens, Marketing Manager, Woodworkers Source. “We ship only premium quality wood, 100% guaranteed. Otherwise, returns would be too costly. Typically Woodworkers Source will buy a container load at a time, about 12,000 board feet, and pass along the savings.”
According to Vines, he now routinely uses about ten different hardwoods, and more than that occasionally – from oak, ash, walnut, and cherry to mahogany, bloodwood, zebrawood, bubinga, and purple heart.
To get the most out of his woods, Vines refers to Woodworkers Source wood database and searchable library, which contains detailed info on about 1,600 species of wood. The info ranges from wood photos, common and botanical names, to wood uses and working properties including color, grain, texture, weight, strength, stiffness, and density, as well as how the wood cuts, planes, nails, screws, glues, stains, dries, finishes and polishes.
Woodworkers Source also supplies premium panel products such as Baltic birch plywood via UPS in 60”(l) x 20”(w) sheets. “Baltic birch plywood is commonly used to build tables, shelves, cabinets, drawers and other furniture,” explains Stephens. “It’s one of best plywood choices for its void-free core, superb screw-holding ability, and outstanding strength in the layers adhered with waterproof glue.”
For more info, call toll free 800-423-2450; visit http://www.woodworkerssource.com/; or write to Woodworkers Source at 18115 N. Black Canyon Hwy, Phoenix, AZ 85023.
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