Where do buy wood at? and best prices?

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Forum topic by nalgene posted 06-12-2012 07:58 PM 34582 views 1 time favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 2374 days

06-12-2012 07:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: resource question

I am a beginner at wood working and have just started building small things such as tables and work benches for the garages.

I have a general question where do most people buy their wood at? Places like Home Depot, Lowes, etc. Or do people typically go to lumber yards. Or is there something else.

22 replies so far

View Dusty2004's profile


22 posts in 2375 days

#1 posted 06-12-2012 08:03 PM

What type of wood do you use? I use Oak, Cherry, Walnut and Maple. I purchase them from a sawmill not a retail store. The issue there is you need to have a planer and joiner or hand planes to get the wood ready for working. If you are looking for S4S then you will have to find someone who will work with you or continue to deal with Home Depot / lumber yards.

Where are you located and how much wood do you use?


View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5175 posts in 2693 days

#2 posted 06-12-2012 08:03 PM

Typically a specialty hardwood supplier, the one I uses has all cuts, but specializes in quarter sawn and rift sawn wood. It’s also a sawmill as opposed to just a lumber retailer. But the best buys I’ve gotten came in private sales….sometimes they show up on woodworking forum classifieds. Other than construction lumber, I never buy wood at the box stores…much too expensive. Buying it rough sawn and milling it down your self also saves….once you have the tools to do it.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View nalgene's profile


4 posts in 2374 days

#3 posted 06-12-2012 08:43 PM

As for the type of wood I will be using the near future I will be using cedar or pine for a table top. I am going to make a book case probably made out of Oak but not sure yet.

I am located in Austin, TX and not really sure how much wood I will use. For the table top maybe a 1” by 3’ by 4’. For the book case not exactly sure yet still have to plan it out. Probably 1’ thickness.

I do not have the tools yet to sawn and mill it down yet as all I have for cutting is a miter saw and a skil saw.

View theoldfart's profile


10167 posts in 2651 days

#4 posted 06-12-2012 09:01 PM

Not being able to dimension lumber is going to limit your choices. The problem with the chain retailers is that they buy kiln dried stock and the moisture content is highly variable. See if you can find a dealer that has air dried stock. It will behave better, less warp and so on. If you can’t find air dried stock, use the big box store stuff but sticker it carefully and let it acclimate to your shop for a while, then work on it. Less frustration and better results!
As far as power tools to mill wood, when you can get a 13” or so planer and a band saw. The money you save on buying rough lumber will offset the cost of the machines in time
Good luck

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2464 days

#5 posted 06-12-2012 09:02 PM

Lowes and Home Depot are usually not your friends when it comes to affordable, quality hardwoods. They are usually open though (compared to the smaller lumber shops) so that is one thing they have going for them.

Try to find a local hardwood supplier if possible. They’ll usually have the best prices on quality pieces. HD and Lowes have decent prices at times, but they usually only offer lower grades of wood (try buying Western Red cedar from either of those places and all you get is construction grade).

Compared to my lumberyard and local hardwood supplier, the big box store prices are usually 25-100% more depending on the wood and grade and there really is no comparison on selection since HD/Lowes usually only carry a handful of different species.

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

View Kookaburra's profile


748 posts in 2424 days

#6 posted 06-12-2012 09:03 PM

Hopefully someone near Austin can give you a lead to a great supplier, but you typically will not get furniture quality wood at a big box store – there is just not the volume or margin in carrying it. BUT if you find a good local mill, you will have a friend in the business.

I do not buy anything locally as I have not found a tradesman I have confidence in, so I wait for one of my frequent trips to Chicago (6 hours away). My woodworking mentor introduced me to a great store – all they sell is hardwood, nothing else, not books, not hardware, not tools. And they know their wood.

A couple of the guys there are willing to spend an hour going through my list with me and picking out the right pieces. And they always give me a discount – they give any woodworking club member or student a discount. it is a place I buy with confidence and I always learn something while I am there. You need to find the Austin equivilent.

-- Kay - Just a girl who loves wood.

View Joe Weaver's profile

Joe Weaver

518 posts in 3886 days

#7 posted 06-12-2012 11:25 PM

try a site called

just put in your zip code and what kind of wood you want

-- Joe, Ga

View machserv's profile


2 posts in 2429 days

#8 posted 06-12-2012 11:48 PM

A good source is to haunt the demolition industry for older buidings and barns. A 75 year old barn can have some wonderful woods such as chestnut, oak, cherry, etc. The drawback is you need to do a micro inspection for imbedded nails, stones, and dirt or else you have a safety hazard and the expense of replacing your equipment. Rule of thumb for air dry here in the northeast is one year air dry for each inch of thickness. Good drying is a fine art that is rarely done by producers since their business is based on volume. Without attention to the basic materials, drying and lumber stability project results will be poor at best. machserv

-- Stu

View pdanielson's profile


8 posts in 2541 days

#9 posted 06-12-2012 11:57 PM

I generally like to buy my wood at the local hardwood/flooring/lumberyard. I have found that there is good selection, and prices are reasonable. I don’t use that much wood, so I’m ok with paying a bit more per board foot if they will cut boards up for me and sell me parts of them. It all depends on what you need.

-- Paul, Age 17, New York

View cracknpop's profile


334 posts in 2549 days

#10 posted 06-13-2012 12:25 AM

I usually buy from a local individual who has a small sawmill and dries it himself. I have also bought a large stack of walnut and hickory at an auction.

How about making friends at a local cabinet shop and ask if they will sell you what you are looking for. I had a local cabinet shop glue up and surface plane/sand the larger pieces for my projects until I got the equipment to do it myself. You will pay more than if you surfaced it yourself but you will get quality, ready to use pieces.

-- Rick - I know I am not perfect, but I will keep pressing on toward the goal of becoming all I am called to be.

View BenI's profile


333 posts in 2378 days

#11 posted 06-13-2012 01:29 AM

I’m sort of a beginning woodworker as well. I started by buying lumber at Home Depot and was pretty pleased with it, price wasn’t bad and quality was decent, but they were simple projects. Now that I’ve switched to an actual lumber yard, probably won’t go back to HD for wood.

I tried google and found a really good hardwood lumber company right near my house with an excellent selection.

I’ve tried before but the results it gives aren’t always helpful. By that I mean, for whatever reason there are several that it didn’t list that were a lot closer.

As long as you spend the time to look, you’ll find a good place to buy your lumber sooner or later. Good luck with your searching and your woodworking!

-- Ben from IL

View WDHLT15's profile


1792 posts in 2676 days

#12 posted 06-13-2012 02:48 AM

I have a sawmill and cut and sell hardwood. I advertise on Craigslist, and so do a lot of other sawyers.

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

View jc88's profile


10 posts in 2374 days

#13 posted 06-13-2012 03:10 AM

I’ve been grabbing dimensional lumber, 1x etc, at Menards here in Michigan, when i need it, but if you have the tools to do your own from rough sawn, i.e jointer, planer, tablesaw with a nice jig or fence for straighten out a board you can start with a local woodcraft store or local sawmill. If you ask around you’ll find one in your area. The woodfinder website is a good start but it leaves out about a dozen local sellers in a 25 mile radius (my location) that I know about. Happy hunting…

View nalgene's profile


4 posts in 2374 days

#14 posted 06-13-2012 12:46 PM

Thank you everyone for the responses. These are really helpful. I will take a look at a couple of different options and post again this weekend.

View UKCat's profile


82 posts in 2267 days

#15 posted 10-16-2012 12:14 AM

Anyone from the western Kentucky area know of a good place to buy lumber? I’m only able to find spruce, fir and pine.

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