I am making T&G boards for a roof. Cost is a big consideration.

3" wide (with tongue) and I need 3000 lineal feet of it. It is for a roof that will ultimately be covered with EPDM rubber. The roof is curved and T&G is how it was done before.

The boards will be nominal 9/16" but I am happy to start at 11/16"..This rips nicely from common 2x4s,, 6 boards out of a 2x10... but I'm wondering if that is really the most cost effective way of doing this. Should I be buying rough sawn lumber somewhere? Ripping down old railroad ties? Any ideas at a cost efficient way to get that much raw material?

  • 1
    I would avoid "Ripping down old railroad ties?" Besides the embed crushed gravel, they hold the nasty old creosote. Unhealthy and messy.
    – Charles
    Dec 27, 2019 at 21:44
  • Where would you normally buy your 2x material from? For many this is a big-box but directly from a lumber yard can make a massive difference (and not just to cost, quality tends to be higher).
    – Graphus
    Dec 28, 2019 at 8:02
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    Yeah, I'm not sure how answerable this is here. Everything here depends on where you are in the world, what sort of stock is available to your local lumberyards, how local those lumberyards are. Depending on your inclination, a phone book or a web search will give you the initial info you need to decide if you can source rough-sawn dimension lumber ready to go, or if exchanging your time for money by resawing larger dimension lumber is the way to go. It really has to do with the vagaries of your local market.
    – user5572
    Dec 31, 2019 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


"Best way" is very dependent on several different things. Your location is a big one, because that could put you very close or very far from a good source of the lumber needed.

What kinds of tools do you have available.

How much are you willing to spend vs. how much time are you willing to work at it?

For me, my dad and I own a mill and he owns 280 acres of woodland. So for us it's a matter of a couple days to cut down a few trees and mill them to our needs.

Not everyone knows someone with this kind of equipment, BUT there are lots of small business people who do have their own mill and are willing to cut lumber to your specifications. Of course then you need to dry it, which you can either wait or pay to kiln dry it.

Of course you can re-dimension it like you are talking, resawing 2x4's and such (Personally that would be my option of last resort for the quantity you are looking for)

A lot of stores sell pine boards pretty cheap and the 1" boards are really 3/4" or 12/16" and running them through a planer or even better a 4-sided planer for T&G might be the better option than cutting down 2x4's.

Personally I would first look for small lumber millers in your area and see what they might be willing to do for you, if nothing is nearby or reasonable, then check the cost of buying pine boards, I assume you already have a way to make them T&G since you would need to do that with resawn 2x4's. You might even be able to buy 8"x 1" (7.25" X 3/4") pine boards, you could rip them in half for 2 boards per. ( appears that 1x8's are a bit more expensive than 2x4's so cost would be higher, though less work)

Otherwise you can look for farm auctions and such where people are selling large piles of lumber for cheap.

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