Local Wood Selection

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Blog entry by Blake posted 02-15-2008 09:28 PM 1942 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Lumber yards from around the U.S. and especially around the world offer a different selection of hardwoods and softwoods based on what is available.

Around here (Central Coast, CA) the local yards have the following basics:


  • Pine
  • Cedar
  • Douglas Fir


  • Oak
  • Maple
  • Mahogany (Philippine and “Genuine”)
  • Purple heart
  • Birch
  • Beech
  • Zebra wood
  • Padauk

I was just curious what kind of varieties are available at your local lumber yard?

-- Happy woodworking!

13 comments so far

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 3819 days

#1 posted 02-15-2008 09:35 PM

Mine has Pine, Poplar, Red Oak, Cedar, and…well, that’s about it. However, so far I’m mostly dealing with a certain orange colored store that caters more toward the DIY home improvement crowd ;)

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4011 days

#2 posted 02-15-2008 09:42 PM

Interesting blog, Blake.

Here on East Texas at the big boxes you can get the following:

Southern Yellow Pine
hemlock (2×4’s)



At a specality store about 60 miles away carries about everything.
Too many to mention but you can look for yourself.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Tony's profile


986 posts in 4053 days

#3 posted 02-15-2008 09:49 PM

In the lumber yards here the majority of the wood is imported, but I will try to break it down to available native and imported woods.

Native woods available in the lumber yards

Birch, Alsder Aspen, Maple (Norwegian) Pine and Fir.

Imported wood at my local lumber yard (168 km away)

White Oak (European & American), Ash (US), Cherry (US), Walnut (EU & US), Hard Maple (US), Beech (Eu),

Abachi, Teak, Mahogany, Iroko, Jatoba, Zebra wood (Exotics).

Other wood available here but self felled/milled

Bird Cherry, Rowan, Lime, Oak, Elm, Larch.

Luckily the prices are not to far away from what you pay in the US, providing you buy about 432bf at a time!

By the way the Baltic/Finnish Birch ply wood is imported from Spain into to Finland – we export them the trees, the Spaniards make and sell it back to us (styrange economic logic there!) an 8*4 3/4” is 96€ (US$ 140) a sheet.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View jcees's profile


1060 posts in 3822 days

#4 posted 02-15-2008 09:53 PM

Up until a couple of years ago, I’d have to travel 35 miles to get a selection. Now I have a fully stocked hardwoods supplier [domestic and exotic] about 10 minutes away from my house. Sweet!


-- When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. -- John Muir

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4148 days

#5 posted 02-15-2008 10:20 PM

Down there in the central coast y’all have Jackel Enterprises. You lucky dogs.

Up here in the North Bay we’ve got Mount Storm's prodigious list, and of course I could always drive down to MacBeath, and the Woodcraft in Santa Rosa has a moderate selection of all sorts of fancy woods, and I’d really have to haunt those places more to find out what specific woods cost, however…

Right now I’ve got enough South American mahogany, western maple and birch to do a bathroom vanity, our baseboards, and all the solid wood bits (including door frames and faces) of the planned kitchen remodel, all because I kept my eyes out on Craig’s List. The maple and birch came in at $2/bd.ft., surfaced (although there’s just a bit more thickness variation than the seller claimed, at that price I’m not complaining).

Sure, I’d like some nicely figured cherry for the office (current plan is to do the office/guest room up “man room” style), and I’m also wanting some, I don’t know, maybe white oak to do some dining room chairs, but I don’t have space to store the wood right now, and by the time I get there I’m sure I’ll have found another cabinet shop that needs to get rid of its “scraps”, or what-have-you.

Thus I’ve looked beyond the “grown locally” or what-have-you to “what’s available used or reclaimed”. Not a consistent supply, but if, like me, you’re doing small to mid-sized projects and don’t mind buying a hundred or two board feet at a time there’s a lot of really cool stuff out there second-hand.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1141 posts in 4014 days

#6 posted 02-15-2008 10:57 PM

East Bay Area – CA: I prefer PALS West Oakland to MacBeath. The selection isn’t quite as good for lumber (MacBeath has everything you can think of) but they are much friendlier to the weekender and for sheet goods they simply can’t be beat, huge, huge selection. They also have a decent sized sustainable section called EarthSource (in the same building)

Between MacBeath and PALS though you can get anything you can think of.

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3845 days

#7 posted 02-16-2008 12:48 AM

Hi Blake,

The dealer that I use routinely supplies the following:

Oak, Cherry, Walnut, Poplar, Ash, Sassafras, Maple, Cedar, Coffee bean, Hickory, and Knotty Pine

But if I wanted to go to the retail stores then just about anything else is available but they are pricey.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3897 days

#8 posted 02-16-2008 01:08 AM

Sassafras? Coffee Bean? Crazy. Never heard of some of these being sold regularly as lumber. Very interesting. Please don’t forget to include your geographic area in the post. Scott, looks like you’re in Kentucky.

-- Happy woodworking!

View jeremy's profile


53 posts in 3802 days

#9 posted 02-16-2008 01:10 AM

I use a local lumber yard that has all the basics; oak, poplar, pine, maple (hard, soft, birds eye, spalted, ash, basswood, walnut, cherry, and on and on. Here’s their website for anyone interested:

-- Jeremy, Saratoga, NY

View matter's profile


210 posts in 3792 days

#10 posted 02-16-2008 01:14 AM

Go to

(Jealous yet?)

That’s my local lumber yard- 1/4 mile from my house. Your discount improves with each round of double doubles and donuts

Locally we get:

Black Cherry
Hard & Soft Maple
Red Oak
White Oak
Chestnut (occasionally)
White Pine
Poplar (Called Tulipwood in some locales)
Eastern White Cedar

I also have my own personal stash of apple, pear, Manitoba Maple, cherry, walnut, chestnut, catalpa, pine, poplar, hard maple, black locust (for bows), and aspen, all at the farm where I grew up. You just have to plan ahead when you harvest your own.

-- The only easy wood project is a fire

View matter's profile


210 posts in 3792 days

#11 posted 02-16-2008 01:15 AM

The farm is usually where the “easy” wood projects are built. LOL

-- The only easy wood project is a fire

View grovemadman's profile


556 posts in 3795 days

#12 posted 02-16-2008 02:52 AM

Rockler has a decent selection of hardwoods. The place I go to when I want a certain type of wood is Eisenbrand in Torrance, CA., they usually have anything you want or could possibly want! If they don’t, just ask and they can get it. They usually carry select grades and figured species.

Most of the big box stores have basically the same selections nationwide plus a few oddballs specific to your region.

-- --Chuck

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4011 days

#13 posted 02-16-2008 03:06 AM

grovermadman – I have been to Eisenbrand and found it to be one of the most expensive places
around. That’s why I usually don’t mention them. He does have a fantastic selection though . Lots of stuff in
those trailers upstairs.

It’s a bit of a drive for you to Carlsbad but the price is worth it.

A couple of examples: (per BF)

$23 vs $15.25 for Holly
$9.50 vs $5.80 for Purple Heart

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

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