Why is wood is so Expensive

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Forum topic by andy6601 posted 02-21-2012 08:22 PM 17570 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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91 posts in 2491 days

02-21-2012 08:22 PM

I really just want to rant here I guess but, why is wood so da#% expensive anymore! I have been woodworking for about 5 years now and wood does nothing but keep going up! No wonder no one can afford good furniture anynore, but even “cheap” wood like pine and poplar is getting stupid! I troll craigslist looking for “deals” but those are almost non existent and I try to find saw mills but those are going away too. So does anyone have any ideas or solutions as to how they aquire wood. I am not looking for exotic stuff just the usaual cherry, walnut, maple and of course pine and poplar for interior furniture parts. I really wonder what is going to happen, because even if you want to make a simple chest of drawers you can plunk down $600.00 just in wood and that is not tiger maple or birds eye type stuff. Or should I look into trying to incorperate some plywood into my furniture building? Really I would love to hear what other fellow LJ’s have to say about this.

33 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3398 days

#1 posted 02-21-2012 08:42 PM

It even grows on trees, and it’s still expensive!

...Mom & Dad have some explaining to do….. ;-)

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#2 posted 02-21-2012 08:51 PM

Just keep an eye out for when your neighbors are out of town and then grab your chain saw and clear off all of their trees LOL
I’m afraid it’s like everything ,it cost more for power to mill the trees it cost more to ship it , employees need better wages,advertising cost more…. Even if all these things don’t effect the mill you buy from they still feel like they should get the same amount for their product as the guys who does charge more.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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Bill White

4948 posts in 3983 days

#3 posted 02-21-2012 08:52 PM

Find it, cut it, haul it, saw it, dry it, plane it, sell it, haul it again, sell it again to us who want only the best…..
Yep, its pricey, but I don’t own a sawmill (darn it).


View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3097 days

#4 posted 02-21-2012 08:52 PM

I advise everyone to keep an eye on Craig’s list in your area. You will often find good deals on lumber.

I once got a great deal on some walnut and cherry when, via Craig’s List, I found a family that was selling their deceased father’s material.

Make certain to search Craig’s list using multiple search terms such as: lumber, wood, walnut, cherry, etc.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View dbhost's profile


5723 posts in 3254 days

#5 posted 02-21-2012 08:52 PM

Seek out free wood where you can. At least for small project wood, if you have a band saw, it’s pretty easy to rig up a resaw sled and cut down smallish planks to use once dried. I try to find firewood sellers that will work with me. I save them a bit of labor as I have them cut up the pieces into 36 to 48” long segments instead of the typical sub 18” chunks used for fireplaces… I then run it through my band saw, typically to about 5/4, sticker it, and let it dry for a year or so. Once dried just S4S the stuff and get busy…

Another source for free wood is reclaiming wood from various sources. Once source for free wood to reclaim that I have had good luck with is people throwing out old waterbed frames. If nothing else, the side rails tend to be solid wood, and more often than not, I have found red oak in there. Yeah it’s rift sawn, but it’s also usually 6/4 stuff… You can do something with that…

Like is mentioned above, Craigslist is often a good source. I have gotten my walnut, maple, and cherry from CL and haven’t paid more than $2.00 bd/ft for it.

If appropriate, you might consider plywood for interior / non exposed parts. Like flat panels for frame and panel construction…

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View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#6 posted 02-21-2012 08:58 PM

Here’s another way to save
have good friends

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 2377 days

#7 posted 02-21-2012 09:08 PM

I cant say why its so expensive but I agree. Its horrendous. And by summertime you wont be able to afford the gas to go anb buy it anyway. Buts thats another story.

I use Craigslist. Pick up peoples throwaway end tables and shelves and the like. Mostly get pine and oak but have had some luck with small pieces of walnut and Maple. I sure think 3 times before I cut thats for sure!!

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

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404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2992 days

#8 posted 02-21-2012 09:25 PM

I don’t know about timber prices where you are, but I have a couple of theories as to why even in this challenging economic climate, prices have gone up, up, up…

The places I go to for materials don’t carry half as much stock as they did four years ago. Anything you want out of the ordinary is brought in – and guess who pays for the transport? It wouldn’t be so bad if you could have the pick of the bale, but what they bring in might be only a dozen planks, and some of those might only be suitable for boatbuilding.

There is less competition now. Sadly, one of my favourite timber suppliers (who had the whole lot) closed down about three years ago. This place was within a stone’s throw of the more established specialist timber merchant in town.
This other guy has put up his prices to pre competition levels.

There isn’t the same volume of business as there was four years ago… overheads are the same, they have to be met somehow and tacked onto fewer bd ft than before.

View lazyoakfarm's profile


144 posts in 2820 days

#9 posted 02-21-2012 09:36 PM

I have to travel 120 miles to Jacksonville FL or pay freight. when i have it shipped in, I think I am getting the stuff nobody else takes. it is very frustrating.

View HamS's profile


1829 posts in 2411 days

#10 posted 02-21-2012 10:16 PM

You are in Ohio so there should be some local mills in a reasonable distance. I am priveleged to work at a company that pays profit sharing bonuses. Every six months I go to the local sawmill and buy common hardwood at 50-75 Cents a bd ft. I buy $300 at a time and then take it and stack and sticker it in my barn. Yes, I waste a lot cutting around knots and planing out twists and checks, but for cherry and walnut that is a great price. They have a hard time selling less than first quality to the furniture guys who need to feed machines with perfect stock. Search on Wood Web. If you are near Indiana, I know of several small mills that will work with a small guy because their bad lumber can be used with some effort and they can make some $$ out of it.

-- Haming it up in the 'bash.

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4755 posts in 2374 days

#11 posted 02-21-2012 10:21 PM

Lumber is heavy it has to be transported to a sawmill as a log, then again to a lumber yard. It takes fuel and lots of it to make boards available to the consumer. As long as fuel prices continue to rise so will lumber prices.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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1829 posts in 2411 days

#12 posted 02-21-2012 10:23 PM
I know every question can be answered here at LJ, but this other site has interesting information. One of the pages has a listing of sawmills.

-- Haming it up in the 'bash.

View patron's profile (online now)


13606 posts in 3363 days

#13 posted 02-21-2012 10:26 PM

i saw a patio table on sale
from northern tool yesterday
$17 (then shipping)

i cant even buy the wood for that price

maybe i’ll get one
and sell it for $20
and work my way up to a corporation

so i can buy my own president
who will give me free wood

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2820 days

#14 posted 02-21-2012 10:39 PM

One good way to save is to make better use of the material in the first place. Build your casework out of cheaper materials and veneer with the exotics. Yes, I know that veneer is getting more and more expensive too but in many cases you can saw your own and make a single board go a very long way.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View DS's profile


2924 posts in 2443 days

#15 posted 02-21-2012 10:46 PM

The inverse of this same question is, “Why are we so broke?”

Someone devalued our currency… hmmm (Starting to sound poilitcal—I’ll step off now.)

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

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