Long Live Lumber Yards

prickett fence

When I sold my construction company 20 years ago, I pretty much hung up my tool belt. Since moving to Anthem, we’ve owned a couple of new builds so my “tool time” was reduced to mostly screwing in coat hooks and an occasional minor plumbing fix. Recently, we downsized and bought a fixer upper, and I found myself strapping on the tool belt once more.

Boy, have things changed.

There used to be these places called “lumber yards.” I’d talk to the same person every time, someone with years of knowledge and a stockpile of fine lumber, mouldings and hardware of all shapes and sizes. Most everything was top quality and made in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

Sadly, lumber yards have gone the way of the phone book and my youthful good looks. Mega home improvement stores are where we now go to get our lumber, tools, hardware or advice. And everything has been whittled down to cheap prices and “what sells.” I’m learning to adjust, but it’s no walk in the lumber yard, I tell you.

Speaking of lumber, the (lack of) quality and variety is killing me.

Like, sorting through 25 2x4s to find five straight ones. Peeling those stupid barcode stickers off everything is particularly frustrating. I swear they use the same adhesive as the heat tiles on the space shuttle! Try finding a 16-foot length of 1×4! It’s easier to stock 12-footers, so that’s what they carry (Ugh!). Most mouldings aren’t even made of wood anymore.

Screws that strip, drill bits that dull or break after a single use, quantities of fasteners that are either too much or too little. I could go on, but you get the picture. I’m learning to lower my expectations, though. It’s a good thing that caulking is still cheap and plentiful. Putty and paint make a carpenter what he ain’t!


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Chris Prickett
Former contractor, former home inspector and funny guy, Chris Prickett is owner and designated broker of Prickett Realty. A New Jersey native, Prickett has been a top-producing REALTOR® in North Phoenix over the last 10 years. He has been a columnist for 13 years. Over the Prickett Fence is published weekly by In&Out Publications.
Chris Prickett on Email

Chris Prickett

Former contractor, former home inspector and funny guy, Chris Prickett is owner and designated broker of Prickett Realty. A New Jersey native, Prickett has been a top-producing REALTOR® in North Phoenix over the last 10 years. He has been a columnist for 13 years. Over the Prickett Fence is published weekly by In&Out Publications.

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