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Thread: Sources for wood?

  1. #1
    DaleB's Avatar
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    Sad Sources for wood?

    Are there places other than Aircraft Spruce and Wicks to order spruce for an airplane?

    Wicks' website is a nightmare -- I can see I'd need to call them with a list rather than placing the order on line. Not my first choice, but it's certainly better than my experience so far with ACS. I placed an order with them for $500+ worth of spruce on 2/3. Two full weeks later -- 2/17 -- there was still no indication they had shipped it, so I contacted customer service. That was last Friday. Finally, today, I find out they won't be shipping my order until THIS Friday. That's a full three weeks after ordering, and another weekend gone without any material to start building. It's more than a little frustrating. I wasn't anticipating they were going to go look for trees to cut down when I placed the order.

    Next time I'll know better. Is Wicks any better? Are their other dependable sources for aircraft spruce, or am I just swimming upstream trying to build anything out of wood now?
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

  2. #2

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    Dale: Did you note the information about sizing at the very bottom of their wood pages? If you specified exact lengths and gave no minimum length requirement, it can have a big effect on getting materials. They are long pages and if you didn't get to the bottom, you likely missed it. Another thing that can slow things down is having them ship only when the order is complete. A lot of times I'll specify to ship what's on hand and ship back ordered items when complete.

  3. #3
    DaleB's Avatar
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    Yes, I read it all before ordering. I didn't order anything out of the ordinary... 4 and 6 foot lengths of capstrip. When I was placing the order I was tol there was a 10 day lead time on capstrip. OK, it would have been nice to have known that two weeks before I ordered, but I can deal with it and write it off as a lesson learned. Then that 10 days stretches out to 21. Not just an extra day or two or three. Not even "ten business days". We'll see if it actually ships Friday, or if there's an other unanticipated delay.

    So I'm looking for an alternate supplier, one that either stocks what they sell or is at least up front about how long it will take them to ship it. Yeah, maybe I'm a little steamed about it, but I don't think I'm being all that unreasonable.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

  4. #4
    Those are the only two "normal" sources for aircraft spruce. McCormick Lumber in Madison, WI sells rough boards, don't know about shipping. I have used some of their stuff and with a good planer and table saw you can make anything you want. Also Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock and other woods can be aircraft grade if they are inspected and used taking their strength in mind. I am using Douglas Fir from Menards for a lot of non critical wood on my project. May I ask what you are building?

  5. #5
    DaleB's Avatar
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    Well... eventually... I'll be building a Fisher Celebrity, some day when I get some spruce. I'm checking local places for white pine, Douglas fir and western hemlock (some parts call for pine), but so far what I have seen has been more suited for a pulp mill than an airplane.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

  6. #6
    I have the plans for the Celebrity, nice plane! I have been on your end and understand the frustration. Have thought about how difficult managing the wood shop at these places would be. They can't cut a 22' board for 5' cap strips because the next order is going to be for 17' spars. Sitka Spruce is sometimes more precious than gold as it only grows in one place in the world! As far as getting bad wood at local lumber yard, I remember what a wise man Bob Hoover said (not that Bob Hoover). " As you cut wood into cap strips all the bad spots just disappear." What he meant by that is when you cut, the wood breaks at the knots etc. and you end up with long and short pieces. The long ones are cap strips and the short ones are the bracing. Good luck with the project!

  7. #7
    Might try Fred Tebb & Sons, Inc., 1906 Marc Street, Tacoma, WA 98421, Tacoma, WA 98401 Phone: (253)272-4107





  8. #8

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    You can google for specialty lumber stores in your area. Also try some boat building sites. The Glen-L site list specialty wood stores by state that might have what you need https://www.glen-l.com/resources/lumber-suppliers.html
    The good thing about Wicks or Spruce is you can get wood already milled to size. That's one reason why it's so expensive. If you buy rough cut 2 x 6 spruce boards, while much less expensive, you'll need a way to cut and mill that stuff to size.

    There's a couple specialty wood stores near where I live. All I can say is don't go on a weekend. You'll think you're at a flannel shirt / suspenders convention. Bunch of old guys with long beards smoking pipes and carrying blocks of burly maple. Not really airplane stuff.

  9. #9
    DaleB's Avatar
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    Yeah, there is exactly one specialty wood store I have found anywhere near here. Strictly hardwood. Never heard of spruce, fir, hemock or pine. I have a couple more lumber suppliers to check out, but Nebraska is not exactly known for its tall coniferous forests or plane/boat/guitar manufacturing industry.

    Waitin' on the UPS truck. Maybe I'll take up needlepoint in the mean time.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaleB View Post
    I have a couple more lumber suppliers to check out, but Nebraska is not exactly known for its tall coniferous forests or plane/boat/guitar manufacturing industry.
    Isn't Nebraska the state where recognized state tree is the telephone pole?

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