What separates superior woodworking projects from the average? Quality wood. Having the right materials makes all the difference in appearance, feel and durability. Finding your source for woodworking wood will take a little bit of trying out different spots, but eventually you’ll find the right suppliers for you. To help get you started, we’ve compiled a list of places you can find wood for your next project. From unique exotic wood to discount lumber, this list is a great guide for learning about your wood supply options and what to expect from each.
Woodworking Supply Sources
Online Sources for Buying Woodworking Wood
Online Wood Supply Stores
Thanks to the internet, you can get all your wood and woodworking supplies from the comfort of your own home. When you buy from a reputable online wood supply store, typically you can expect quality wood that arrives in good condition. The main downside? Shipping costs can get pretty expensive, especially if you have a large order. We recommend this option if you have difficulty finding a specific type of wood or don’t have access to a wood supplier in your area.
Craigslist and Other Community Listing Sites
One of the best ways to find cheap lumber is through local listings on websites like Craigslist, Facebook or your local news marketplace. The only downside is that it will be harder to find a specific type of wood. One tip: Search for listings related to cleaning out a space that may have belonged to someone older. You’ll either find an untapped supply of woodworking wood or older furniture made with quality wood begging to be repurposed.
Store Options for Buying Woodworking Wood
Home improvement stores are a convenient option for finding woodworking supplies. Most cities have at least one major retailer, so when you’re in a pinch, you can run out and get what you need fast. The main drawback is these stores often have a smaller wood type selection at higher prices. They will have a lot of stock, however, and that stock is often available in common sizes.
Common wood types at big-box stores: pine, oak, poplar, maple
When you are working on a smaller project or need a small wood piece, a hobby store can be a great choice. This is an especially useful source when you don’t have the tools for technical detail work. Instead of doing it yourself, you can simply buy those pieces. So when you are working on something small or even a little crafty, this is your best bet.
Common wood types at hobby/craft stores: basswood, balsa, light or soft wood
Local Hardware Store
Do a quick search online to find your local hardware store and pop in to check out its lumber offering. Most local hardware stores will carry small wood pieces or specialized items that can be hard to find anywhere else. Look for a “wood scraps” bin that will have random bits and ends of lumber. These pieces can be perfect for a small project or inspire a new one!
Common wood types at local hardware stores: varies by location
Fine Woodworking Store
A fine woodworking store is going to be the best option for finding wood specifically for woodworking. You can expect to find classic wood types like maple and cherry. Not only will you find a strong wood supply, but the employees will most likely have a strong background in woodworking, so they can answer any question you throw at them. So whether you’re new or highly experienced in woodworking, this is a great place to visit, grab some supplies and share some woodworking stories.
Common types of wood at a fine woodworking store: maple, mahogany, cherry, teak
Exotic Hardwood Store
For those looking for something different, try an exotic hardwood store. You’ll find the widest range of wood options that include unique origins and colors. The wood sizes at an exotic hardwood store will vary, but usually you can find bigger pieces here as well.
Common types of wood at an exotic hardwood store: rare or exotic, expect the unexpected!
Your first impulse when getting into woodworking might be to go to the nearest lumberyard. This isn’t a bad option; however, lumberyards mainly carry construction-grade treated wood. This type of wood is often best used for building, as it is made to be strong but not seen. This is a great option for buying discount lumber, as you can get bulk pricing on large orders. You can also find free or very cheap lumber from the salvage section, which is often filled with wood from shipping crates. Again, it probably won’t be pretty but will get the job done.
Common types of wood at a lumberyard: construction-grade treated lumber
Another option for free or cheap lumber? Just about any store that gets large shipments. Think retail, grocery, etc. Typically, these stores will get their shipments wrapped in wood that is of no use to them once they have their goods. You can go in and talk to the store manager and ask if you can buy (or just have!) this wood. It will probably be a little rough around the edges but definitely has a lot of potential.
Common types of wood used in shipping: construction-grade wood or plywood
Secondhand Store or Yard Sale
We briefly touched on this idea earlier, but you can use the wood from old furniture in your woodworking. Older furniture is made from stronger, better-quality wood, so don’t let that go to waste. Check out a secondhand/thrift store and local yard sales for old furniture begging to be repurposed. You’ll have less control over what type of wood you get, but you’ll get a good deal.
Common types of wood used in old furniture: varies