Finding wood in a ‘non-DIY’ country

The rooms in our apartment are considerably smaller than we had in Seattle.  One day, as I was trying to figure out how to fit all the stuff we shlepped to Singapore into Nancy’s bedroom, I had a vision for a new bed.

When I was in college at St Olaf College, we dealt with our tiny residences by ‘building up.’  Many times, this resulted in a standard raised bed with a study desk or couch below. Sometimes, however, we buit more elaborate structures using a solid framework of 4×4’s and 2×8’s that would withstand the rigors of college life.  My sophmore year, we even built a 3 person bunk that stretched across the entire 14′ room, with two twin beds head to head on top and a single bed on the lower level.

Naturally, when confronted with the remaining space in Nancy’s bedroom after her bed, dresser, and desk were installed, my mind immediately drifted to my softmore bunk.  Out came the tape measure and up went a posting on Craigslist for her current bed.  The only thing remaining would be to locate the necessary lumber and build the bed.  This should be a simple task really.  I’ve built multiple beds.  We built a rockin’ tree house at our place in Issaquah. I am no stranger to constructing things like this, it really SHOULD be simple.  Finding wood SHOULD be simple.

The problem is, there are no Home Depot’s or Lowes’ in Singapore. The closest thing I have seen so far is a toss-up between the IKEA and a 14’x12′ ‘fix-it’ store at the local hdb complex. Neither of which currently have 10′ sticks of 2×8 lumber in stock.

With this, off I go on the adventure of finding the appropriate wood. I ask our real estate agent if he knows of a place, since he used to own a construction business. He advises me that Singapore ‘is not a DIY country’ and that the wood would cost me more than if I were to buy a pre-made bed. Strike one.

Next, I set out on the interwebs to find information. Various expat blogs provide limited assistance, as either the posts are almost 10 years old or the individuals replying just don’t understand that the person posting the question was not looking for opinions on whether it was a good idea to do the project they were planning.  Strike two.

Finally, one day we walk through an industrial area in Eunos and encounter a plywood store that can order planks from one of their vendors.  I provide the lengths and sizes that are needed and receive a quote back.  Are you ready?  The lumber for a 9’x5′ Queen size bunk bed made from 2″x8″ planks that would stand 6′ off the ground will cost us approximately $850 in lumber, before cutting and transport!  Strike three!

At this point, we don’t know what we will do.  Discussions are still being had, designs are still being considered, and budgets are still being written.  IF we end up building something, I will be sure to post!

One thought on “Finding wood in a ‘non-DIY’ country

  1. Gabi Klaf

    $850 for the lumber! omg. kobi would die if he couldn’t fix it, make it, do it himself. do people sell their second-hand stuff? woah. gotta love singapore!