Most-marketable material thicknesses

      Sawing lumber to thicknesses that are in demand among woodworkers. January 31, 2001

I have acquired several trees (red cedar, cherry, black walnut, osage orange) that I want to saw and air dry for future sale. What thickness of lumber should I cut that will be desirable to the cabinet and woodworking market?

Forum Responses
Red cedar -- 7/8 and 4/4 with a few 8/4 when heart rot makes boards unfeasible.

Cherry -- 5/4 in widths of whatever the log will stand up to 12"

You'd be better off finding a buyer first and cutting exactly what he wants.

I agree--leave the logs until you have an order. When I buy OG western red, I leave it on the ground (on stickers) until I am ready to use it.

You can get more money if you saw thicker lumber--8/4 has higher prices, plus less sawdust. But only if the grade is high--it is tough to sell No. 2 Common 8/4 for a profit.

It is always easiest to sell 4/4. How thick is your saw? If it is thin, maybe some 5/8 red cedar for closets?

Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor

You could saw the eastern red cedar into a 3 sided cant and put it on stickers out of the sun. The cedar will dry and later when you get an order you can quickly resaw to the customer's desired thickness. Leaving the bark on the fourth side keeps you from having a shim board left over. Saw it into the biggest cant possible. Stay on the inch marks as many customers want 5, 6, 7 or 8 inch boards.

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