Where can I find big wood to turn

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Forum topic by Blake Thornton posted 05-09-2011 10:46 AM 1955 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Blake Thornton

152 posts in 2061 days

05-09-2011 10:46 AM

I regularly check ebay, and a few other websites but rare ever see anything that’s bigger than 10” sq and 4” thick

I’d really like to turn some salad bowls or bigger art bowls with unique wood.

Anyone have tips on people who might have some stuff like this? I don’t mind paying up for nice wood.

Most especially I’m looking for something really special for my dad’s 50th this July

18 replies so far

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Blake Thornton

152 posts in 2061 days

#1 posted 05-09-2011 12:05 PM

sweet I just found they have some big wood on there, might find something there worth buying =)

View Barbara Gill's profile

Barbara Gill

153 posts in 2079 days

#2 posted 05-09-2011 12:16 PM

Where do you live? How big do you want?

-- Barbara

View Barbara Gill's profile

Barbara Gill

153 posts in 2079 days

#3 posted 05-09-2011 02:19 PM

I just saw that you live in Alaska. It would cost your first born to send a 80+# chunk of wood that far from VA.

-- Barbara

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3547 days

#4 posted 05-09-2011 02:30 PM

Consider local wood. Alaska has trees. :)
Seek local/regional saw mills and lumbering sources.

-- 温故知新

View Blake Thornton's profile

Blake Thornton

152 posts in 2061 days

#5 posted 05-09-2011 03:15 PM

Barbara, USPS is actually not that bad really I know I’ll pay for it it’s just like a tax to live in this great state

Hobomonk, yup we do have trees but birch is only so interesting, and usually not more than 6 or 7” without heartwood. Cottonwood is useless, that’s pretty much it

View hairy's profile


2377 posts in 2951 days

#6 posted 05-09-2011 03:26 PM

It’s easy! All you need is a chainsaw. And a truck. And a logsplitter, safety gear, more sharpening equipment, big bandsaw, gallons of Anchorseal, a woodshed, and a lot of time to turn, dry and turn again.

Or, you could buy dry lumber and glue up some big blanks.

-- stay thirsty my friends...

View Roper's profile


1370 posts in 3132 days

#7 posted 05-09-2011 04:51 PM

Look up stockmaker on lumberjocks he has some pretty big good looking pieces for sale.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View HerbC's profile


1567 posts in 2279 days

#8 posted 05-09-2011 05:07 PM

Talk to local tree services. Although many convert the trees into firewood they frequently won’t process the crotches and other portions that are difficult to split.

Good Luck!

Be Carefull!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2377 days

#9 posted 05-09-2011 06:36 PM

I have wood that big and bigger; I sliced up some very nicely spalted big leaf maple yesterday, tons of color with just a hint of black line creeping in. I can cut to the size you want, up to about three feet cubed with wood I have now. I’m sawing again after quite a layoff, I have some large black walnut logs with crotches, probably 14-16” heartwood; I have a 40” diameter (approx) silver leaf maple chunk with a huge crotch section; a lot of other logs, but I think I would be limited in block size to around a foot or so. It’s all been cut for a year or two, so it is still wet, meaning it’s heavy. I’m in Oregon, and will gladly cut you what you want if you are prepared to pay for it. $6-$10 a board foot depending on what you want, plus shipping of course. Let me know, I’m Brian @ for further info or just gabbing about it ;-)

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2651 days

#10 posted 05-09-2011 07:31 PM

I am thinking talk to a a local tree service / arborist. Depending on how big you wanted, they may just be able to set aside a few big chunks for a few bucks…

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View Stonekettle's profile


135 posts in 2324 days

#11 posted 05-09-2011 11:24 PM

Blake, I’m a turner who lives in Palmer myself. You might be underestimating just how interesting birch can be. Take a look at some of my projects posted here, all the bowls are Alaskan birch, some are quite large. And the heartwood is the best part!

However, Amy and Terry, the owners of Alaska Hardware Specialties in Anchorage are also turners, and they have started carrying some very large and beautiful turning blanks. You might also join the Alaskan Turners Association, they meet the 1st Saturday of every month at AHS, you’ll find lots of advice and wood sources there as well.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

View Blake Thornton's profile

Blake Thornton

152 posts in 2061 days

#12 posted 05-10-2011 12:03 AM

Hey Jim, I am certain you know the person teaching me… Randy F. He’s on the board of AWA.

You’re absolutely right, birch can be really stunning especially spalted, or figured birch. However it’s pretty tough to find it in large chunks. I know where some really fantastic burl balls are but they’re inaccessible until the ground dries up.

I’m moving in July, but hope I’ll get to meet you sometime before then :)

View Stonekettle's profile


135 posts in 2324 days

#13 posted 05-10-2011 12:11 AM

Blake, yep, figured that’s who you were talking about when you mentioned the lathe you were working on. You’ve got a pretty damned good mentor there. Drop me an email at I’m usually in the shop in the evenings and the weekends. You’re more than welcome to stop by.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

View Blake Thornton's profile

Blake Thornton

152 posts in 2061 days

#14 posted 05-11-2011 12:22 AM

Been calling wood suppliers all over the country, found one guy that’s got some green 12×12x8 claro walnut but @ $200 + S&H I’m kind of leery of turning it green and ending up with two hundred dollar halves

Nomad I emailed you

Jim I added you on FB, let’s try and get together soon :)

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 2689 days

#15 posted 05-11-2011 01:18 AM

Shipping is going to get more and more expensive. So it behooves a woodworker to find and develop sources that are nearby….or some other way of reducing the high cost of transportation…..segmenting (creating a big blank from many smaller pieces) is one way for sure. Cutting your own with a chainsaw is certainly another. I have hauled out my Stihl on many occasions to help a neighbor clear out a deadfall or an ailing tree…etc….and that has netted me some of my best blanks.

I hate to buy from ebay..etc….as I cannot inspect the blanks before I buy them….I have seen many blanks purchased on Ebay that are cut incorrectly (grain orientation)....or are improperly dried/stored…..etc….and you pay alot of money – not only for the blank…but for the shipping….so I try to stay away from that type of market.

I do have some preferred vendors that I will buy from (all of them are turners so they know what to look for….and how to properly treat the blanks before turning). Two of my favorites are Bad Dog Burl Source…and Forgotten Woods – both will supply pics of all sides of the blank and both are great folks to talk with. There are a few more…and if you are interested give me a pm.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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