Buying wood is an expensive proposition. Once wood is used in a project it is gone forever so making smart purchases is very wise. Lumber is always expensive no matter what type or cut you are using. It is important to get the best value from wood because it is the "Woodworker's Consumable Product" and there are many ways of buying and using wood that can save you money and look good as well.
Buying Shorter Boards ... is a great start. Very often lumber suppliers end up with boards that are too short for "commercial" use and will discount shorter boards and boards with defects in them. And don't be afraid to ask if there is a discount for boards with defects, sometimes these are overlooked. This may be a time to look into buying a good router and a "finger splicing" bit like the Freud Variable Height Finger Joint bit.
Build parts that are less visible with lower grade lumber ... or use veneer strips where you can. Less expensive woods like plywood and composite boards are stable and adapt well glueing and veneering techniques.
Form a Buying Group ... this is much easier than it appears. Why not get together with other woodworkers and make a bulk buy. If you are not a member of a woodworkers club, this alone could save you huge amounts of money buying wood by meeting other woodworkers and sharing in bulk buys.
Watch for Sales ... lumber stores like all other stores have sales from time to time and the best time to stalk up on lumber is during these sales. Also, watch for "Woodworking Shows" or other similar events in your area. There are always good deals on lumber at woodworking shows, go their with that in mind and you will get some great deals.
Look For a Sawmill ... there are large and small sawmills (like Wood-mizer) all over the planet. Sometimes looking in the classified section of your local newspaper will help. Many of the smaller mills will sell rough cut lumber at very attractive rates. This is an excellent way to purchase wood, although if it is green you may have to wait a year or so for it to dry out.
Don't Forget Local Trees ... this goes along with the tip above. Urban areas always have trees that are blown down of cut down for various reasons. Sometimes people are looking for people to get rid of trees for them. Here is an excellent opportunity to purchase a raw log, take it to your local small wood mill and have it milled the way you want.
Become a Faker ... there is no reason that you can't stain less expensive woods too look like exotic woods. There is a plethora of different wood treatments and stains available and it's quite easy to make birch and alder look like cherry or ash look like oak. Check out some of the wood treatment options from Minwax and Deft. Browse the Internet ... there are lots of small wood-lots and mill operators who sell wood over the Internet. There are often some very good deals, just beware of shipping costs, of maybe you can find someone in your area.
Get The Most ... out of every board. This will mean you may have to plan you work before you start cutting. There are even some very computer software programs that can help you plan your projects.
So to get the most value for your dollar, try some of these options ... they can only help enhance your buying power.
Copyright - Colin Knecht