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Where do you all find your wood to build things with?  When I tried the usuals, Home Depot and Lowes, I found I would be spending 250 bucks just to make a bookshelf!!!

Any ideas where to find cheaper lumber?

thanks!

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Well Jason try some of the cabnet shop's around you like off color oak and and ply wood as well good luck.
Dave
I have gone as far as going on Craigslist and look for entertainment centers bookshelves anything made of wood etc take the cabinets home and take apart the good parts and stockpile all hardware for future projects.

Now that is cheap but I do lots of recycling of old non wanted stuff
I would not recommend pallets.You might get nails out and get it in planner and find out there was a broken staple and there goes a set of 50.00 knives and maybe even some injury to yourself

James Waller said:
You must be talking about hardwood like cherry, walnut, etc. I usually just use southern yellow pine 1x3, 1x4, 1x5, 1x6 and 2x4'son most of my projects. These are cheap and since I am somewhat still a beginner, it won't hurt to make mistakes on these.

I have read posts from others how they were able to recycle some very good wood from places that were being torn down and also some have salvage some wood from pallets. I even think some of those ware maybe made from hardwood.

You can talk to fore-people or someone in charge at a construction site and ask for scraps.
I use a lot of cheapo homedepot pine. It's cheap so I dont feel too bad when I ruin my project. Something that happens 9 of 10 times. You'd think at some point I would improve.. but no, not really...... Anyway's pine is cheap, as are book shelves from craigslist as mentioned earlyer. At the moment I am seriously considering taking apart an oak computor desk that I have had for some time. Of course I wpould have to get the okay from the boss!
I use a local millwork place that's local to me. They do special millwork/mouldings/flooring etc, but everything they have comes in rough sawn. Recently I bought some cherry and some red oak from them. The red oak was $2.50 a board ft and the cherry was $4.25 a board ft. They will plane it and straight line and edge for $25 on your order too. It does require tools at home to dimension the boards as most are wider than 9 inches or so.
craigslist materials section

http://www.woodfinder.com/ might be a good way to find sawyers or lumber mills near you. Home depot and Lowes are way over priced.
Look on craig's list you can find oak for 2.00 a bf And watch the free stuff I found a table that had a maple top on there the legs were metal junk butthe top was large and 1 inch thick, So if you don't mind recycling you can find wood every were just watch,
I have purchased lots of wood from Lowe's and as mentioned before using good plywood wisely can make a huge difference in the budget. I really like oak and poplar. My uncle has a sawmill. Last winter left many good trees in my area damaged. This resulted in lots of local wood! When sawing trees for people my uncle has saved the great pieces for me (including quartersawn oak)!! What a blessing! I have a great stack of oak drying just waiting to be Kregified! (I need a good planer though!!!)
A woodworker I know gets some of his hardwood from the thrift stores [Salvation Army, Goodwill, St. Vincent DePaul]. He claims sometimes he can pay next to nothing for wood there depending on its appeal [or lack of it] to the general public. Of course it usually has to be milled, so 3/4 material will be thinner after you plane off the finish if you are not into chemical removers. There also will be fasteners to remove so you don't damage your equipment. He makes very light passes with his planer to protect the knives. His finished products do look very good. So he may be on to something, but my own experience has not led me to acquisitions from this source. Good luck in your pursuits.
wood is everywhere! for example I had furniture delivered the other day for our house. one of the pieces had supports in the box that are apparently made of teak! the other one was on a pallet and that seems to be made of some VERY nice quality douglas fir when I put a sander to it.

I am a junkie when it comes to salvaging wood. I can't stand the idea that something as beautiful as a tree is cut down unnecessarily. We all should be using and re-using and salvaging and repurposing wood.

something like 75% or higher of the content in landfills in the US is a by-product of construction debris. a HUGE percentage of that is perfectly usable wood.
I have had no luck with wood from HomeDepot or Lowes unless you spend the $200 for the packaged oak. I have a Menards near me that has a fantastic selection. Menards has different levels of quality making it possible to find standard pine boards of all sizes that are actually straight. I recently used 1x3 choice select boards that were about $3 for 8' and are perfectly straight. Makes projects much easier when you start with good wood.
Well i work for a local mill work manufacturer and we stock pine,ash,red oak,maple, and poplar in different sizes. We do have many exotics but those are usually rough, but can be plained down to a specific thickness. The issue i run into with alot of people is they think that local mill work companies only sale to cabinet makers or contractors and that isnt always the case. We are open to the public and you can walk in and buy 1 foot or 1000 feet. Usually you can find what your looking for at a place like this. I would try to avoid lowes and home depot when searching for lumber. Just to give you an idea on pricing. We have sold material to one of the two that you have been to. So i think its time we cut the middle man out.

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