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I am building ana white style farmhouse tables with planked tops. Most people that I see building these online are using 2x pine. It is cheap and drier than some wood. Here in Northern California, the only pine I can find is in 1xs or 2x4. I am wanting to find 2x6 and up pine for planked tables.

The only wood source I can get in 2x6 and up is douglas fir. However, it is wet wood, even though it is kiln dried, and worries me to build table tops out of it.

How can I get 2x6, 2x8 and 2x10 planks of pine in California? Or, what is a good alternative for cheap dry wood that will be stained?

  • Are you not close to a home improvement store like Lowes or Home Depot, and if you are do they not carry dimensional lumber any bigger than 2x4? I don't live in Northern California, but these stores seem pretty ubiquitous and are probably where 95% of DIYers get their project wood. – Jeff Meden Feb 22 '16 at 20:11
  • Along the west coast, most dimensional lumber is Douglas Fir. We can't get stuff like Southern Yellow Pine around here. – ench Feb 22 '16 at 20:29
  • Gotcha, well Doug Fir is still pine ;-) as someone whose region carries SYP, it still curls frustratingly, like all dimensional lumber. – Jeff Meden Feb 22 '16 at 21:15
  • Often when you are buying construction lumber, it will be labelled as SPF - Spruce, Pine, Fir - mainly because they are relatively interchangeable – Steven Feb 22 '16 at 21:47
  • Doug Fir is considered a pine? I am getting my wood from HD, it is "premium douglas fir" and I think it is kiln dried. – ScottK Feb 22 '16 at 23:20
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If you want it affordable, you're going to have to dig around. Up north in Washington, the majority of dimensional material is Doug Fir, but if you dig through the piles, other species do show up. Spruce in particular may fit your bill, it's very light, and has less pitch than Doug Fir. Boards in each lot will be stamped with a code that typically includes the drying method (KD for Kiln Dried) and species (Doug F, SYP, Hem, etc).

So if you are really attached to using dimensional lumber, go ahead and dig through the stacks. Spruce, Common Pine, Hemlock, and Southern Yellow Pine should all work fine for you, if you can find them.

The difference between Douglas Fir and stuff like Southern Yellow Pine in practice is fairly minimal. Even if the wood "feels" wetter or dryer, it's all going to move. Any dimensional lumber will have a good chance to exhibit checking, curling, and splitting. Pick your pieces carefully at the store, and either build it quickly with some heavy duty fasteners, or let the boards acclimate first and re-mill them.

Further Reading about wood codes on lumber: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,1639800,00.html

  • The movement of the wood is my biggest concern. At this time, I am using the lumber as planked table tops using pocket hole screws. – ScottK Feb 22 '16 at 23:25
  • If you're doing glue-up panels or otherwise attaching the boards together into a top (as opposed to attaching them individually to the frame) make sure you let them acclimate first. 2x6's and wider tend to cup badly over time, read up on board selection, and try to avoid anything that's flatsawn. – ench Feb 22 '16 at 23:30

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