04 October 2009

Buy Locally

I really want to support local businesses instead of national chains, but it's hard.  It's really hard.

I'm finally getting around to weatherizing the former maid's room that had an exterior wall replacement in 1995.  Has it really been that long?  I had stuck some insulation between the studs on the inside and called it done until it was remodeled into a bigger bathroom/laundry.  Well, no timeline on when THAT will happen, yet, but the windows needed attention.

When I removed them I found that some of the putty has dried out, some new paint is called for, and there is some rot starting on the bottom of one where the gutter drips onto the sill.  There was also some rot starting on the outside sash, so I gouged it out and got out the WoodEpox and LiquidWood and took care of that problem.  Also silicone caulked where necessary and painted the trim and sill.  I undercoated the inside of the sash and sanded the edges.  I need to take off about 1/8 " on a side and bottom because I'm installing spring bronze weatherstripping around these windows when I put them back in.

While I had the windows out I thought I might as well replace the decorative trim that went on the outside sash and build storm windows.  This is what precipitated the trip to the local lumberyard.

This local business, about one mile away, has been around for probably over 100 years at this site, but has really trimmed back on products and services.  If you want a really nice piece of clear pine instead of sorting through hundreds of holey, bent, twisted, and rotted pieces of wood at Menard's or Home Depot this is the place to go.  You also pay well for it.

I needed, ultimately (2) pieces of 2" x 1" x 10' and (2) 2-1/2" x 1" x 12' for my trim and storms.  I like to pick out my own wood.  I also asked if they had a carpenter on site who would make my trim.  The answer was "not today" but he is in on Friday.  (This was last Wednesday.)  I said "Never mind.  Do you have a card of a carpenter?"  They gave me one and I will be seeing him on Monday--hopefully he will work out because I periodically need a carpenter.

I headed out to the wood shop after horrified looks from the counter staff.  I told them I wanted to pick out my own wood and had been doing it there for years.  (I have gone there periodically over the years.)  The worker in the wood shop was nice and polite but denser than waterlogged cedar.  I told him what I wanted and he started wandering around looking for it.  There were no stacks of lumber cut to size back there.  They seem to cut all on demand.  We found two nice pieces--one 12' long and one 14' long.  I explained over and over and over what I wanted him to do and finally found out that I had to pay for all the cuts to make the pieces I wanted.  Vertical cuts were $1.25 and horizontal cuts were $.50.  Naturally I wanted to make as few as possible.  The wood was 6" wide, so this guy wanted to make two vertical cuts in each and lop off 2' from the 14 footer.  That was unacceptable and I finally convinced him just to cut at 2" vertically on each piece and cut off 2' from the 14 footer.  This took quite a while to get across.  I then went inside the store to get the lumber order for him to get my order.  This had morphed from me wanting 4 pieces of lumber to "creating" 4 pieces of lumber and when she wrote it up it was $45!  I suspected it wasn't right, but went out to have it cut.  The worker also said that it wasn't right but he would get them to revise it after he was done, and then he cut them at 2-1/2"!  I had lost patience, so said "That's fine.  Leave it like that."

I had been charged for the 14' piece of wood, even though I was leaving 2' behind.  This stuff was $1.52/bd foot.  I got a refund, but I think they made an error to my credit.  I tried to buy the other things I needed there, but they only had one corner brace in the box and they were 69 cents each.

It took so long there that I had no time left to go to the hardware store for the braces and sandpaper so I just went carefully home with my 12' boards sticking out of my 6' truck bed during rush-hour traffic.  I ended up going to Meijers later and got two packages of braces, 4 to a package, with all the screws for about $1.99/package.

I really want this business to succeed but don't see how they can if they sell wood like that.  I only had them rip it because I wanted the 12' pieces and they are too long for me to handle on the table saw by myself, not having a wood roller thingie. They do have nice wood, though.

I've cut and mitered the storm window pieces and routed out 1/2" for the glass to sit on and glued them up.  Tomorrow I'll screw the corner braces on and undercoat and paint them and Monday will go for some glass and if I get up early enough, get it put in.  I have to use corner braces because I don't have a bisquit joiner or screw pocket gizmo.

It started raining the day after I took the windows out, so we'll see if the weather will cooperate until I get these holes in my house filled.

1 comment:

Karen Anne said...

Sigh. I have a good local hardware store although they were taken over by True Value a few years ago. That doesn't seem to have affected the staff.

When I had three sheets of pegboard cut into a bunch of pieces recently, I figured out in advance and brought them a drawing of how to cut it, although that wouldn't work with your on the fly situation.

True Value sends me $5 off $20 and over orders about once a month, plus this week I got a $10 off because it's your birthday coupon from them. I figure sooner or later they will pay me to buy stuff from them :-)