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Home > Lumber

Tip: Where To Find Lumber

Home improvement warehouses are good places to go for lumber if you need pine (white or southern yellow) and cedar, if you only need a small amount. Trust me you’re paying to be able to shop for your surfaced planed wood in air-conditioned comfort. But what if you need (or as my wife might say, "want", but I prefer "need") maple or cherry? Or what if you need a lot of white pine? You would go broke at one of the warehouse stores buying a lot of pine and forget finding maple or cherry. So where can you go? I'll suggest two places. First go to your phone book. Look up sawmills or lumber and call a few of them. Ask if they sell in small quantities. Most places will, but some only like to sell in hundreds of board feet. Also ask if the lumber they have is dry, meaning it has been either air dried (usually a year for every inch in thickness) or kiln dried (in an oven). If the wood is still "wet" and you use it for a project, the wood will eventually dry on its own and probably twist and crack (not a good thing). Next, if you don't have a surface planer or a jointer, (or some hand planes and a lot of time) you're going to have to pay the lumberyard to do this for you. Sawmill lumber is what's called rough lumber. This means that it hasn't been surfaced or smoothed at all. Ask if they can do this for you and if so how much does it cost. Make sure you figure all this into the final price before you go rushing down to your neighborhood sawmill and faint from sticker shock!

If you strike out finding a sawmill that will do the things you need, here's another way. Go to www.woodmizer.com. They sell portable sawmills (no you don't have to buy your own, although that would be cool), and call them direct. They will find someone that's close to you who has a Woodmizer and contact them. The owner of the sawmill will then contact you. This seems like a lot of work just to find someone to give your money to, but it's usually worth it. Most of these guys have a small operation and don't advertise in the phone book. Word of mouth is what keeps them busy. Because of this you might get some really nice wood at a great price. Some might be able to surface plane and joint the wood for you as well. But again, this will cost you. All the more reason to get that planer or jointer you've been eyeballing. But that's another newsletter.