I visited Amazon Exotic Hardwoods (going to call it AEH) today, they are only open 8-5 Monday through Friday so it is not as convenient as woodcraft, but it’s certainly cheaper. Wood was 1-3+ dollars cheaper than at my local woodcraft (from prices that I could remember off the top of my head). When I walked into a nice little checkout room that had a bunch of milled lumber with price tags on it. Tons of pen blanks, bowl blanks and small to medium sized boards already milled (not just skip planed). If you don’t have a jointer/planer and need to pick up some wood they have a pretty nice selection of already milled lumber to pick from.
They have a work area that you’re not allowed to enter where I heard the saws and such going crazy, a nice young man came into the little sales/checkout room and I introduced myself. Fortunately they had more than just the already milled lumber and turning blanks, he showed me to the lumber storage area and they had a pretty good selection of wood. Not truckloads of wood (they only had 1 board of red oak not that I needed any at the time), but a wide variety to choose from.
They do carry some plywood, but I couldn’t see any so I didn’t see any prices for that sort of thing, but I did ask if they cut wood and he said they will cut it to fit in the car, but if you want half a board you need to buy the whole board. This was perfectly reasonable to me, I told him about my mini cooper and we had a good laugh and he mentioned cutting the wood to fit in the car would not be a problem. He also mentioned they can mill the lumber but I bet that costs money and since I have a jointer and planer and I enjoy milling the lumber myself I didn’t inquire about that further.
While the lumber is cheaper than the local woodcraft store, maple was $0.25 more from the mail order place (that includes shipping) that I’ve gotten wood from. I don’t know if AEH has a bulk discount if you buy 20BF or more since I have to buy 20BF at a time from the mail order place, poplar was about $1 cheaper at at AEH so the other woods may be cheaper there I don’t know I don’t have an active price list for AEH to compare.
I may print out some prices from CR Muterspaw to compare for a full range with AEH I don’t know but at very least, AEH should be a good place to get wood when I need a small amount of something and don’t want to have to buy a full 20BF pack from the mail order. Also AEH had several woods that CR Muterspaw does not have in packs like purple heart, and I like working with purple heart so I’ll be getting that from AEH for sure.
I’m a little torn, I do like the convenience of mail order lumber, I just order it and it shows up a week later. But I also like supporting local companies and building a good reputation with them. I guess we’ll have to see how things pan out but at least I know where this place is and everyone there was friendly so they will likely see me more in the future.
I’ve visited all the lumber places that I know about, now to see if I can find anymore.
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