How much should I expect to pay for Lumber?

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Forum topic by lumberjoe posted 04-03-2012 07:45 PM 1197 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2899 posts in 2451 days

04-03-2012 07:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

As I am fairly new to this hobby, I have some questions about lumber pricing. I’ve been making quite a few projects out of common pine from local big box stores. At first it was a 9 out of 10 firewood to finished piece ratio, but after about a year, I am getting pretty good and feel like I won’t completely ruin wood that costs more than a quarter a board foot.

There is a mill very close to me that sells a variety of hardwoods. I’ve been there and talked to the owner. The wood looks to be of excellent quality. No case hardening, very minimal knots and defects. Here is an example of what he charges for some common woods.
Prices listed are per board foot, KD, 4/4 F1F. He charges .25/bft a side for planing

Hard Maple 2.50
Cherry 3.50
Red Oak 2.00

Is this an accurate representation of market prices for domestic hardwoods? Online Prices seem to be really high.


6 replies so far

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2467 days

#1 posted 04-03-2012 07:50 PM

It’s more dependent on your local market and how good the wood actually looks. Is it knot-free? Have a really nice pattern or grain?

Usually, the wood that you are talking about should be easy enough to inspect without giving too much thought to the pattern or grain, but when talking about wood in general there are lots of things that matter. When you start talking about more exotic pieces, the little things can really start to add up making one 6’ board cost several times more than another of the same species.

Also, do you have a moisture meter? You might want to make sure their wood is dry. I’ve seen some boards that are “kiln-dried” that come out to some pretty high moisture contents… something that is usually a dead giveaway in the price.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View carguy460's profile


807 posts in 2538 days

#2 posted 04-03-2012 07:56 PM

Wow…I’m new to all this too but I priced hard maple at 3.98 bft…of course, my location could be the cause for the price…

-- Jason K

View superstretch's profile


1531 posts in 2896 days

#3 posted 04-03-2012 08:01 PM

Joe, sounds like a good price to me, especially for KDed wood

-- Dan, Rochester, NY

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2451 days

#4 posted 04-03-2012 08:02 PM

I’m in the north east, the mill owner owns the trees/land as well.

Doss, I inquired about the moisture content and got quite a lesson in the form of a 45 minute lecture. Since this mill operates it’s own Kiln, he was able to show me (unless he has a doctored meter). The wood comes out of the kin with a relative humidity of around 6%. As it sits covered outside and acclimates, it gains a little back. The pieces I was looking were between 8 and 11% The grain pattern wasn’t particularly interesting, but not off-putting either. There were very few if any knots that I could see, but it is all rough sawn.


View pintodeluxe's profile


5798 posts in 3016 days

#5 posted 04-03-2012 08:18 PM

I pay $1.50 per b.f for air dried quartersawn white oak. Compare that to $5.85 in my area for kiln dried qswo in my area. Of course I have to finish drying it in a dehumidification kiln for two weeks, but heck it saves me over $2000 per 500 b.f. of lumber.
Green lumber by contrast takes at least a year to dry.
For resale lumber, your supplier is priced right.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View WDHLT15's profile


1792 posts in 2678 days

#6 posted 04-04-2012 01:02 AM

Those are very fair prices.

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

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