Beginner Looking for Wood Source

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Blog entry by BandAidFingers posted 06-07-2010 10:13 PM 5570 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am just getting started as a wood carver and still exploring where I will go with it. I have a few knives and chisels and adding some along the way as I learn what I need and where to get them

I am also trying to find the best source for wood. Since I am currently only doing chip carving, small sculptures and reliefs, my needs are not great. I am purchasing small blocks of basswood from Rockler and Woodcrafters locally.

Is there a better / cheaper source for my wood? I have been unable to find any butternut or eastern white Pine.

Any guidance is greatly appreciated.

5 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


116592 posts in 3417 days

#1 posted 06-07-2010 10:16 PM

This might help

-- Custom furniture

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 2826 days

#2 posted 06-08-2010 05:13 AM

A lot of us around here go straight to the sawmill. Call them, let them know you are learning your way around woodworking and would be interested in their scraps. Some places will give it away, some will sell it quite cheap. You get a mixed bag, but each sawmill tends to specialise in something in particular. Great way to get wood on the cheap for practising.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View Eagle1's profile


2066 posts in 2904 days

#3 posted 06-08-2010 11:06 AM

I agree with Jim that is where I find a lot of my wood.

-- Tim, Missouri ....Inside every older person is a younger person wondering what the heck happened

View Woodcanuck's profile


128 posts in 2840 days

#4 posted 06-08-2010 10:05 PM

I took a carving course years ago at a community ‘creative’ center. The people taking the course had a variety of places to pick up good carving blanks.

One of the more innovative options was to go to a shop that makes forms for castings. They typically carve out a basswood block to make the initial casting form, then make a positive casting in wax or plaster using the basswood mold and use the positive casting to create the ‘production’ molds used by the factory. I went to one of these places and asked if I could buy a 12”x16”x2” basswood block…they did chuckle a bit, but they cut it and planed it for me for next to nothing.

If there are any auctions going on near you, take a look and see if lumber is part of it. I’ve picked up some decent lumber at auction for reasonable prices…but you’ve got to know your price/boardfoot, sometimes it sells for more than I can get it for at a mill. Another caveat here….you have no clue how the lumber was dried or handled…you’ve got to inspect the lumber to understand what grade you’re getting…usually somewhat on the low side.

I’ll go with Lis’s comments about mills too…they often have offcuts or shorts that they can’t keep in inventory so they are happy to get anything for them.

-- Ian - Life's a game, if you don't play, you can't win.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5845 posts in 3425 days

#5 posted 06-08-2010 10:10 PM

When I first started about eleven or so years ago, I got lucky. A few times I went to an auction bankrupt sale and bought a nice big pile of sapele valued at £1400.00 for £80.00 plus tax etc anyway then I bought a pile of beautiful oregan pine church pews (seats) for £100 for about twelve of them.Try to get yourself away from buying from mills unless you want stock for a specific job and it’s being paid for by the client for us hobbiests I would advocate trying what I did.Good Luck Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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