Lumber Buying Guide Part 1: Where to Buy Lumber
Over the next few episodes I'm going to talk about buying lumber. How to prepare for the trip to the lumber yard and how to talk to the lumber seller. But today I want to start with where to buy lumber. Maybe you have great lumber yards nearby, but maybe you have nothing...or do you.
Big box stores are obvious choices for hardwoods and especially softwoods and while I admit that the quality isn't that great, I will also say that it isn't terrible for hardwoods. These stores shouldn't be ignored but you have to recognize what you are getting and what you should expect to pay.
Speciality retailers are also a different breed where the prices on hardwoods will be VERY expensive but you can also gain access to smaller pieces and species that would be cost prohibitive otherwise.
The traditional lumber yard is the common place but with so many yards adopting a wholesale model it can be hard for the weekend warrior or even the small professional to engage with these yards. There are things you can do to buy from a wholesaler even with a smaller sized order and much of it comes down to knowing exactly what you want and asking the right questions.
Beyond these traditional lumber sellers, the greatest gold I think can be found in finding the manufacturers who use wood in their day to day and are mostly likely buying from a wholesalers somewhere up the supply chain. Their offcuts and leftovers can be a gold mine and building a relationship with your local cabinet shop or millwork house is a great idea.
Buying Lumber Online
Where to buy lumber is a conversation we can't have these days without talking about the online marketplace. I didn't discuss was buying lumber online in this episode because here we have a different topic completely and it needs a bit more conversation. Expect this in a future episode but I am curious to hear from any of you who have bought lumber online and what your experience was.
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Tom Buhl says
re: online purchases. I’ve twice bought 100 b.f. packs of 8/4 cherry from Bell Forest Products and was very pleased. First time they well-exceeded widths and lengths “guaranteed.” Second time they worked with my desires to provide adequate widths with me compromising a bit on lengths. Prices even with shipping less than I paid at my preferred local dealer (who sadly lost their lease…and thus, business).
Also have used Greener Lumber, LLC for sinker H. Mahogany. Selected specific boards from their online images. Very pleased with that as ongoing relationship. Some stunning material, with a story. Inventory can be limited due to nature of their operations. They have not offered thicker than 4/4 (about 1-1/8 inch delivered rough which I appreciate).