Why is it so hard to find untreated 4x and 6x lumber?

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Forum topic by Billy E posted 09-01-2015 06:15 PM 1511 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Billy E

162 posts in 1498 days

09-01-2015 06:15 PM

So I thought I would make it easier on myself by using 4x or even 6x SYP for my next workbench. Lowes and Home Depot only carry pressure treated lumber in that thickness, which I understand because they are mostly selling to people who are building decks or whatever. But even calling local lumber yards, nobody can even special order untreated 4x or 6x material. I got a call back from my last lead and she told me that the only untreated 4x material she can find is in cedar??? This is really surprising to me. Has anyone had any luck sourcing thicker SYP boards that are not treated?

-- Billy, Florence SC

14 replies so far

View ste6168's profile


250 posts in 589 days

#1 posted 09-01-2015 06:27 PM

Did you ask at Home Depot? Only reason I say that, is I have purchased them from HD in the past, and they weren’t in the lumber section where I would have expected. Cant speak for Lowes. This was probably close to 8 years ago though, I built a small-ish trebuchet as a college project.

Edit: Here is a link to the product at Home Depot. I did a search for my parents zip (Pittsburgh, PA) and it appeared as though 3 local stores had them in stock. My zip (Eastern NC) yielded none. Good luck.

View Ripthorn's profile


1402 posts in 2403 days

#2 posted 09-01-2015 06:35 PM

Part of the reason it is so hard is because it takes a much larger tree to yield a nice 6x piece than it does a 2x. Today’s companies want to turn out as much product as possible, and letting a tree grow the extra however many years to yield a nice 6x piece does not get them their money back as well. Factor in reduced demand relative to 2x, and those are your most common reasons.

On a side note, I went to a construction supply place with our Boy Scout troop to ask for material donations for boats we are building. The guy said we could help ourselves to a pile of weathered material out back, which had a couple 6×6 fir beams, about 12’ long each. You might see if any construction supply place around there has anything like that.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View AlaskaGuy's profile


2392 posts in 1727 days

#3 posted 09-01-2015 06:37 PM

No shortage here but then I go to a real lumber yard.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

483 posts in 1098 days

#4 posted 09-01-2015 06:38 PM

Maybe it’s based on where you live. When I built my last bench I had no issues finding 4X6’s even in select grades. Even the big box store had wet nasty looking untreated 4X6’s but they did have them. My guess would be laminated beams have pretty much replaced these pieces for indoors construction so there just isn’t the need for them anymore but that’s just a guess.

View BasementShop's profile


69 posts in 718 days

#5 posted 09-01-2015 07:49 PM

No shortage here but then I go to a real lumber yard.

- AlaskaGuy

Braggart! Chuckling. Color me jealous…

View chrisstef's profile


15456 posts in 2424 days

#6 posted 09-01-2015 07:57 PM

I would suggest 4×4’s. I just finished my bench out of 6×6’s and I had to farm out all the jointing. They were just too darn heavy and unwieldy for my shop equipment. They whooped me.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View JoeinGa's profile


7360 posts in 1425 days

#7 posted 09-01-2015 08:16 PM

I would suggest 4×4 s. I just finished my bench out of 6×6 s and I had to farm out all the jointing. They were just too darn heavy and unwieldy for my shop equipment. They whooped me.

- chrisstef

I like this guy’s thinking. If you do build it out of 6X6s, you better build it where you want it to end up, because it’ll take 6 men and a boy to move it if you dont :-)

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1769 days

#8 posted 09-01-2015 09:19 PM

You need to find a local mill, they will have what you need.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View cabmaker's profile


1471 posts in 2227 days

#9 posted 09-01-2015 09:40 PM

As stated… ll need to go to a real lumber yard….

I also recomend glueing up your legs from pepped dimension llbr

Especially if you using syp


View WDHLT15's profile


1562 posts in 1894 days

#10 posted 09-02-2015 12:59 AM

The problem with 4” or 6” thick lumber is the time that it takes to dry. 2” lumber takes over 2x as long to dry as 1” lumber. Try drying 6” thick lumber. Just not profitable for most mills.

I do cut and air dry pine 4×4, but they are not a primary product.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


684 posts in 2691 days

#11 posted 09-02-2015 02:48 AM

Have you thought about Douglas Fir? I realize it is more commonly found on the West Coast, but you might be able to order that. I know that Menards in our area (Midwest) stock it (4×4 and I believe 6×6). When I worked at both Home Depot and at Lowes, we could special order it. I can also get it ordered from our local lumber yard here.

Just a thought. Good luck!


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View PhillipRCW's profile


382 posts in 682 days

#12 posted 09-02-2015 12:51 PM

Search woodmizers website for local saw mills. OR see if HD’s website allows you to ship untreated pieces to that store by you. I’ve never run into this. I can get 4x and 6x untreated here.

-- Phillip- Measure twice, cut onc.... Hey look, it's rustic.

View HokieKen's profile


1519 posts in 556 days

#13 posted 09-02-2015 07:48 PM

Just looked at local big-boxes around here. 4X4 Doug Fir is the only thing bigger than 2X available that’s not treated. No SYP.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Billy E's profile

Billy E

162 posts in 1498 days

#14 posted 09-03-2015 01:39 AM

No Douglas fir here. I have checked around and contacted both real lumberyards and the box stores. Home depot can special order 4×4x16, but there’s a minimum order of 16. Plus if I can’t pick the boards, that’s a deal breaker. I’ll keep checking around. Thanks for the feedback

-- Billy, Florence SC

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