Author Topic: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?  (Read 2727 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline lshah72414

  • Posts: 15
  • Still trying to learn
Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« on: February 12, 2017, 02:19 PM »
I am new to forum, and basically know nothing. I have done two small projects so far and have bought my wood from home depot and lowes. I spent probably and hour both times picking through wood and when I get it home to use, I find it is bowed or cupped. I leave wood sit for 2- 3 days in house before I touch it.

 The question I have, this is for you people in Michigan(I live in the thumb), Where can I get decent quality wood at a reasonable price?  Or do you have to go to a lumbermill and buy roughsawn wood? Thank you for your help.

Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline antss

  • Posts: 1163
Re: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2017, 02:31 PM »
What kind of wood are you looking for exactly?  About all the BORG sells is pine, poplar, and sometimes a selection of oak cedar. 

Will you define reasonable ?

The BORG's prices to me are reasonable for what it is.  Available all across the country, and decent boards too.  Not the cheapest, but they aren't super expensive like say , Rockler.

You might start scanning your local Craigslist for a sawyer in your area.  From the source will almost always be your least expensive route.  You will sometimes find guys with garage sales just trying to get rid stuff.  I recently saw a stack or 6" wide s4s white oak - no board less than 5' long and the stack was thigh high , 8 boards across.  Guy wanted $200 bucks for it.  Oh, and it was quartersawn.

Offline tms0425

  • Posts: 99
Re: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2017, 02:39 PM »
Depending on where you are in MI, I've used L.L. Johnson (Johnson's Workbench) in Charlotte MI. Nice veneered plywood variety and good stock of hardwoods. You won't find this stuff at a BORG.

http://theworkbench.com/

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 525
Re: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2017, 03:07 PM »
Local forests in Colorado don't produce great woodworking lumber for the most part, but the cities do.  I use a lot of urban lumber.  There are several local small sawmills - sometimes I buy stuff they have cut, sometimes I find the logs and have them cut it.  Logs are heavy, but I've gotten some great 8' logs over the years.  You will have to pay attention to drying, but in Colorado a 2" thick plank will pretty much air dry itself in a couple of years - sometimes too fast.  If you're willing to go this route, put your name out with local tree surgeons and landscapers - tell them what you are looking for and ask them to let you know when one is being cut down.  The cash trees (black cherry, walnut) are hard to get, but you can get a lot of lesser known woods for next to nothing.  In the past I've gotten apricot, plum, Russian olive, Siberian elm, orchard cherry, ash, burr oak, and maple for just the cost of sawing it.

For a while there was a guy who drove in once a month from Iowa and sold out of a small industrial unit.  He had great rough sawn stuff at 1/2 the going rate at local retailers.

I've also had good luck with the "pallet" oak used to package metal buildings.

At any rate, it takes a while to ferret out the people who can help you get wood for less, but it's worth the time to find them.

Almost any source of cheap wood will require a jointer and a planer.  If you source lumber locally, you'll  probably want a 20" planer minimum.  You'll probably also want to invest in a metal detector of some sort.  Blades are not cheap, and the sawyer I use charges for hitting even one nail, barbed wire, or other metal.  The good news is that I've only been bit by that once.

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 122
Re: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2017, 09:57 PM »
There is plenty of quality wood available here in MI.  For rough hardwood LL Johnson in Charlotte is a fine source.  If you are in Metro Detroit and the drive to Charlotte is an issue Armstrong Hardwood in Highland Twp has very nice material but at a 10% to 20% premium to LL Johnson.  Pollums and Dryden as well as Public Lumber in Detroit are also good sources.  If you are not setup to deal with rough lumber you will need to pay a premium for planing and jointing, but you will end up with a quality product at better prices than the big box stores.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 07:20 AM by kevinculle »

Offline lshah72414

  • Posts: 15
  • Still trying to learn
Re: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2017, 07:18 PM »
Sorry it took me so long to get back, haven't been home.

At antss, I am looking for pine, birch plywood and oak. As far as reasonable, I don't know what is reasonable because all this is new to me, but I was surprised when I paid about $53.00 dollars for a 3/4 x 4x 8 piece of birch plywood.

At kevinculle, I live in Vassar area, but, have been driving by Armstrong Hardwood for thirty years and never realized it was a viable business.

I have been asking people I know and am getting the names of other mills, so I think I need to go and check out their prices. If any body knows of any other mills I would appreciate the names.

Thanks to all.

Offline dusteater

  • Posts: 54
Re: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2017, 09:25 PM »
Living in Iowa where I am lucky hardwood mill is close. When it comes to good plywood like baltic birch or veneer wood I find I have to order it from my lumber yard. Walnut,maple and cherry are easy to get here. I can travel about 70 miles and get what I need.

Offline Lettusbee

  • Posts: 28
Re: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2017, 09:32 PM »
Local forests in Colorado don't produce great woodworking lumber for the most part, but the cities do.  I use a lot of urban lumber.  There are several local small sawmills - sometimes I buy stuff they have cut, sometimes I find the logs and have them cut it.  Logs are heavy, but I've gotten some great 8' logs over the years.  You will have to pay attention to drying, but in Colorado a 2" thick plank will pretty much air dry itself in a couple of years - sometimes too fast.  If you're willing to go this route, put your name out with local tree surgeons and landscapers - tell them what you are looking for and ask them to let you know when one is being cut down.  The cash trees (black cherry, walnut) are hard to get, but you can get a lot of lesser known woods for next to nothing.  In the past I've gotten apricot, plum, Russian olive, Siberian elm, orchard cherry, ash, burr oak, and maple for just the cost of sawing it.

For a while there was a guy who drove in once a month from Iowa and sold out of a small industrial unit.  He had great rough sawn stuff at 1/2 the going rate at local retailers.

I've also had good luck with the "pallet" oak used to package metal buildings.

At any rate, it takes a while to ferret out the people who can help you get wood for less, but it's worth the time to find them.

Almost any source of cheap wood will require a jointer and a planer.  If you source lumber locally, you'll  probably want a 20" planer minimum.  You'll probably also want to invest in a metal detector of some sort.  Blades are not cheap, and the sawyer I use charges for hitting even one nail, barbed wire, or other metal.  The good news is that I've only been bit by that once.

Russian Olive?  I didn't realize there was any woodworking value in that.   I had five of them removed from yard.  Nasty trees.  There's certainly plenty of those around here.

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 525
Re: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2017, 10:04 PM »
... In the past I've gotten apricot, plum, Russian olive, Siberian elm, orchard cherry, ash, burr oak, and maple for just the cost of sawing it.
...

Russian Olive?  I didn't realize there was any woodworking value in that.   I had five of them removed from yard.  Nasty trees.  There's certainly plenty of those around here.

Yep - the challenge is to get a straight log big enough to do something interesting with.  When freshly cut, the wood is a brownish olive green (appropriately enough), and dulls to a mid-olive brown over time.  It is very open grained, similar to oak, but not as hard.  Because of the way it grows, you can get some funky live edge looks from it.  If you do get large enough pieces, it is actually a very nice wood to work with.

You'll never see it in a retail store because people can't cut pieces that are long enough and straight enough and wide enough all at the same time - at least not in high enough quantities to make it worthwhile.  It's a dry climate tree and branches out low.  A lot of Russian olive is nothing more than scrub.  The good stuff tends to be from landscaping where the trees have been pruned.  I got mine when a local business cut some down on their campus.

I also realized after I made the first post that I could add black locust, mulberry and pear to the list.  Black locust is great, and nice logs are easier to come by than Russian olive, but again it is a dry climate tree and suffers from the same disadvantages as Russian olive, but to a lesser degree.

There is a guy east of I-25 around the Longmont exit somewhere who specializes in urban slabs, including black locust and Russian olive.  He charges marginally competitive rates for his slabs, but if you can get your own logs, he'll saw them for you.  He moved in the last five years, and I haven't used his services since he moved, so I can't give you the exact location.


Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 525
Re: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2017, 10:22 PM »
Just a general philosophical observation to complement my last post.  Don't assume that the only woods worth working are ones that are commercially viable.  I've found a lot of wood that is not commercially viable that is great for woodworking if you take the effort to saw and dry it properly yourself.  When people are taking down trees, they are usually happy to let you take away the logs unless they know they can sell them.  I've never been able to get a walnut tree, for example, because they are always spoken for by the time I hear about them.  But in general, do a little research online and you can usually figure out if the wood is worth the effort or not.  If it looks half-way decent, take a risk!  The only wood I've turned down is cottonwood - because it has such a bad reputation for warping.

The other thing I've found is that urban wood can have great character.  Since it's not forest grown, it's not shooting up as fast as possible to reach the canopy.  It branches out (crotches) and grows crooked.  I've found ripple and quilting where I never would have imagined.  Colorado orchard cherry (usually highly pruned and controlled for size) has way more color variation and grain swirl than your typical piece of lumber yard forest cherry, for example.  Urban wood also has more voids, inclusions, and other defects.  I've worked around a lot of those with black-dye epoxy, or just designed them out of the piece.  Urban wood takes work, but it has it's own charm.

If you get urban wood, take time drying it.  Get a moisture meter and be patient.  I've never had a kiln, but Colorado averages about 60% humidity, so air drying is a relatively good option.  I don't know what it's like in moister climates, but I assume it just takes more time.

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 122
Re: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2017, 07:29 AM »

At kevinculle, I live in Vassar area, but, have been driving by Armstrong Hardwood for thirty years and never realized it was a viable business.


Just to clarify Armstrong Millworks is on M59 in Highland Twp.  From your location Pollums in Lapeer is probably the best option...I haven't been there in a few years but they have good stocks of roughsawn lumber and offer planing at reasonable prices ($0.30 per board foot).  Oh and that price you paid for plywood isn't bad if it was good quality stuff...I recently bought a stock of prefinished maple ply for cabinet boxes and it was around $80 for a 4x8 and there was not a defect in the lot, no voids or delams.  I happy to pay for the best material.

Offline sac3848

  • Posts: 39
Re: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2017, 08:16 AM »
Steve Wall's lumber in NC They ship and I've always gotten good product and service

Offline WarnerConstCo.

  • Posts: 4072
    • Warner Mill Works
Re: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« Reply #12 on: February 21, 2017, 06:25 PM »
I buy almost all my lumber at Johnsons. Great lumber, great prices(I usually buy 500bf minimum )

Offline Runhard

  • Posts: 730
Re: Where do you get decent wood at a reasonable price?
« Reply #13 on: February 21, 2017, 09:04 PM »
I also buy my lumber from Johnson's Workbench. It also helps that I get a discount, I get any amount of lumber at the 1000bf price. Even without the discount I would still buy my lumber from them.
Daniel