Last Updated on February 19, 2022 by Barry Gray
If you are into woodworking, you know that a great piece starts with a great piece of wood. But with lumber suppliers concentrating more on their wood than their websites, it can be tough to find supplies. So, where are the best retailers to buy wood for woodworking in the US?
Various lumber yards across the US offer retail stores for home woodworkers, providing wood and other services. In addition, it is possible to order wood from online retailers and have it delivered by freight delivery. As a last resort, you can get wood from home center superstores.
There are many options to choose from once you know where to look, and each has its particular strengths. I’ll give you a rundown on the various options so that you can choose the perfect source of wood for your specific requirements.
The 6 Online Retailers Of Woodworking Wood
Wood for woodworking can be bought online and delivered by freight delivery in large packages of 100 board feet or more.
You may be uncomfortable with this option, as you cannot inspect the wood yourself, but retailers are keen for repeat business, and most accept and allow returns.
If you didn’t get the wood you ordered, or you get defective wood, you can usually send it back for the retailer to replace free of charge.
I would recommend this method for time-saving. If I select the right kind of wood myself in a lumber yard, it can take an entire day, whereas the online retailers do this work for me. I only have to specify what I am looking for, and they send it to me.
The following suppliers are an excellent place to start:
Woodcraft has been supplying woodworkers with wood for almost 100 years. They have stores in over 70 major metros and a high-quality online store.
They offer dimensioned lumber under 36 inches, exotic woods, plywood, veneers, and dowels.
Leading online retailer Amazon offers dimensioned lumber under 24 inches, variety boxes of hardwood scraps, variety boxes of exotic woods, pen blanks, veneers, and dowels.
Rockler offers domestic and exotic hardwood, pen blanks, turning blanks, veneer, and dowels.
Woodworkers source is a freight shipper that offers dimensioned or rough lumber, craft packs, plywood, veneers, and dowels. They ship out of Arizona to locations across the US.
Also a freight shipper, Advantage Lumber offers dimensioned or rough lumber, turning blanks, pecky wood, wood slabs, and veneers. They ship from the East Coast.
I’ve found that it’s sometimes possible to pick up good deals on wood for woodworking projects from local sources using Facebook Marketplace, so don’t ignore this search tool. It gives me the ability to search online and inspect the wood myself before buying.
Local Suppliers Of Woodworking Wood
If you want to inspect the wood yourself before buying it, various options are available to you.
Local Lumber Yards As Suppliers Of Wood
Although they can end up taking a lot of your time, I recommend your local lumber yards as your first stop when looking for wood.
They offer greater variety and better quality than the superstores and better prices than either the superstores or the online retailers. And you can inspect the wood for yourself.
Some lumber yards offer specialties, such as figured maple, sunken wood, burls, or discounted ‘shorts’ bins. These specialties are something that you will battle to find any other way.
Not many local lumber yards offer online shopping, so you will have to visit them yourself, but most offer regional and even national shipping, so once you have sourced the wood, you can get it to where you are based.
To find a good local lumber yard, I suggest looking in the Yellow Pages under woodworking, hardwoods, or lumber, and then call around to find somewhere suitable.
Local Sawmills As Suppliers Of Wood
Sometimes it is worth getting the wood as close to the source as possible, and I’ve discovered you can hardly get closer than a good local sawmill.
If you have a planer and a jointer, look on Google Maps to locate a good local sawmill. Make sure that it has a kiln: any reputable sawmill will offer kiln-dried wood.
Be sure to use dried wood for your projects to minimize the risk of wood warping and twisting.
I’ve found that if you build up a relationship with the folks at the sawmill, you can get plenty of good, locally-sourced wood at an excellent price. What kind of wood you get will depend on where in the country you are, so for more exotic types of wood, you will have to look elsewhere.
Home Center Superstores As Suppliers Of Wood
Home center superstores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot offer some common species of wood such as pine, red oak, poplar, birch, cedar, and redwood.
However, you will not find more exotic woods, except occasionally maple and cherry, and you will have to search for boards that are not warped or split. What’s more, their prices are astronomical. I would only use them if I needed wood desperately.
If you do have to use such a store, I recommend that you go to their back sections and ask if they have more in their storage section. You might find a greater variety of woods, including hardwoods, than what you see on display in the front of the store.
Look in the Yellow Pages under hardware stores, home improvement, or building materials to find a home center close to you.
If you need wood for a woodworking project in the US, I recommend the following sources in descending order of preference: local lumber yards, local sawmills, online retailers, and home center superstores.
Local lumber yards will give you the greatest variety and reasonable prices while allowing you to inspect the wood yourself. Local sawmills are a source of good, cheap wood. Online retailers have a considerable time-saving advantage. I’d only use a superstore in a pinch.