Getting stock/wood for projects

I remember seeing a post within the past couple of weeks about this but a Google search and manually checking individual forums isn’t turning anything up.


Where does everyone source affordable lumber for their projects? Home Depot has MDF sheets and some small planks of Oak, Poplar, and Birch. I’m looking for something like Maple to make cutting boards/bread slicing guides with and don’t want to spend too much. Is that not really possible as cheap lumber wouldn’t have much quality, or lumber and cheap don’t really go together?

Live in suburban area in CA so I don’t have natural trees growing on our property that I could get stock from.

There are some chains, like rockler or woodcraft that keep some wood in stock, but they are (in my experience) more expensive, unless you need something very small.

I live in Colorado, and there are a couple of stores that specialize in lumber, but AFAIK, they aren’t chains. I think that’s pretty common, and you’ll have to find the dealer near where you live.

Some terms to search in google are: Lumber, hardwoods (although also gets flooring stores), building materials (this is hit or miss in Denver), sawmill.

Chances are, if you called one of these places and they didn’t sell hardwoods, then they would know where to go to find it.

I also really like BB plywood (not the home center stuff) they sell. It’s pricey, but it’s almost like sugar cookie dough when it’s milling.

In Denver, I like:

  • The Front Range Lumber Company
  • Frank Paxton Lumber Company
  • Austin Hardwoods

There are several more that I’ve never visited. I usually go to FR, because they will cut the sheets to fit in my car for free. Austin charges $5 per cut. Frank Paxton has a “Hardwood of the month” where they have some huge amount of one wood on sale each month.

The rough cut stuff is the cheapest, but you’ll need the machines to clean it up (planer, joiner).

There are also local plastic places I’ve found here in Denver, if that interests you. There is a remnant sale at one shop here that has >50% off discounts if you just need something small and are willing to rummage through a box of scraps.

Also, they price things by the board foot there. So know what you need going in.

Cormack International is a huge importer of exotic woods.

They are about an hour drive from me & I have been there a couple of times. They have quite a bit of selection & they do shipping. Some of their prices are kind of expensive relative to buying something from Home Depot or Lowes but they have just about any kind of wood there.

An interesting option I have looked at before are stair treads which are a real 1" thick & 11.5" wide & 3’-4’ long. You can get them in pine, white oak, red oak, maple, hickory & probably some other types. Here is the link to the hickory tread on Homedepot website. You can usually order online & have it shipped to the store near you without paying shipping.

I made a table for my 3d printer by cutting a 4’ pine tread in half & gluing the ends to make about a 24"square top & it is solid.

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Pretty much what the others have said…

You need to find a lumber store and be willing to drive a bit. I’m lucky in that the two largest lumber stores in Dallas are right by where I work. I’ll swing buy during my lunch break and then park the truck where I can see it for the rest of the day, or I’ll leave work a little early and pick it up on the way home.

The one store will face the boards for you.

I’d do a google maps search for lumber.