I am always looking for wood. I am not always intentionally looking, but it's always in the back of my mind. I look for all sorts of wood, new wood, used wood, demolition wood, cut trees ... it's all potential sources of wood. This article will reveal many of my sources and ways of acquiring lumber that may help others get good wood for good prices and in some cases even spare sending wood to the landfill.
There are lots of different places that are great sources of finding new and used wood, but be aware that you are likely not going to be purchasing premium wood, so there will be some work in it for you. There may be excessive trimming or gluing, or the wood may only be suitable for smaller projects. That is what you often get with discounted or free lumber. It just means you need to but a bit more effort into using it, but the savings could be well worth the investment ...
To Pay or Not to Pay`
One of the things I have learned is that if there is any kind of a question about whether or not you should be paying for the wood, ALWAYS offer to pay something. Whenever I am in question about this, I use the line "Do you have a nominal price for this lumber". The word "nominal" is a subtle way of letting the other person know you are interested in the lumber, but not willing to pay top dollar for it. At that point, they can make you an offer on the lumber that you can choose to accept or reject or even make a counter offer on. Even if you walk away from a lumber deal, it means that the next time you might be talking with this person, you have pre-set the conditions that you are not looking for something for nothing, but that you will pay what you believe is a value for their goods.
Surprise Free Lumber
This can happen any time any place. Surprise Lumber is wood that you come across that may literally be sitting on the side of the road. I am seeing this more and more and it's somewhat disturbing that people are leaving, in many cases, their garbage on the streets or back alleys for others to clean up, but along the way, there are, from time to time good pieces of furniture or lumber that can be used for real woodworking projects.
Thrift Stores and Recycle Depots for Reclaimed Wood
Both of these sources are becoming every widely available and are great sources for both raw lumber, used lumber and for broken or unused furniture. Prices for most of the items are extremely reasonable and even unused or broken furniture pieces can often be repurposed or taken apart and reused in other woodworking projects.
Used Building Supply Stores and Demolition Sites
There are many many Used Building Supply stores very widely dispersed, Habitat for Humanity is only one of them and they also provide a worthy cause. These stores normally carry a wide variety of used building supplies as well as some tools and parts and pieces for building remodeling and reconstruction. For woodworkers, they are an excellent source for lumber and depending on your region, and from their supplies, you may find some useful items from time to time, but it is not a regular source for supplies as the items they get in can often be sporadic in stocking.
One of the most popular of these is Craigslist, an internet site that is a source for many, many items and services, and a great place to search for lumber. There is anything you could possibly imagine ... from time to time, that is posted on this site. I have seen everything from newly imported exotic hardwood boards offered for sale to used cedar fences. What I often see are piles of lumber in peoples backyards offered for sale and for free. These can be good sources or bad, depending on the kind of lumber being offered and its condition. Lumber that has been sitting out in the weather for periods of time will be subject to rot and infestation by bugs and grubs that will damage or eat the wood. Any wood that is acquired from these sources needs to be examined closely before bringing it home, you could bring home more trouble than it's worth, or you may be getting a great deal on lumber.
Hardware, Lumber and Big Box Stores
These are often among our most popular places for wood and they are good, consistent sources of quality products and sometimes, that is exactly what you may need. These stores also often have their own "defects" area or "cut" areas or what I call the "boneyard of lumber" which is just wood that for a variety of reasons they cannot sell with their normal, quality stacks of wood. Often nobody has had the time to go through these piles, or they really don't know what to do with them. Not every hardware or lumber store has these, and they are often not easily visible ... but they will be there and how much lumber they have will vary from time to time and season to sea
Link to Woodworkweb Amazon Affiliate Store - https://www.amazon.com/shop/woodworkweb
There are lots and lots of different places that we can acquire both new and used lumber ... want to share some of yours, add a comment to the YouTube video with your suggestions ...
Copyright Colin Knecht