Getting decent wood for the projects

  • Creator
  • #534679
    Mick Mercer

    I find it difficult to source suitable wood for the projects, as I am sure many do. I generally get builders pine from a local timber merchant which works OK, but has its limitations. I recently made the chest of drawers with this material (which turned out fine but it does tend to warp a bit) but it still cost £100+ for the wood; but i would really like to make some pieces with better quality wood, I was looked at cherry for this project and it was over £500, does this sound right?.

    I do have a local timber merchant who has several suitable species but it is expensive and even more so if it is cut to size. Buying “raw” timer and cutting it by hand then planing to size is very time consuming and hard work (though I have done it). My questions are:

    1. What are the thoughts on buying a table saw and thicknesser/planer to prepare the timber so that it is ready as per the cut list for a certain project. Does anyone do this? Is this what Paul does? I would love to know; and if so what machines do you use?

    2. Where do people get their timber from, I am in the NW (Preston), does anyone know of good timber merchants that will provide wood cut and ready to use? and do my prices above seem about right?

    Thanks in advance.


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Viewing 6 replies - 16 through 21 (of 21 total)
  • Author
  • #554109
    Dave Gardner


    Bandsaw would be worth getting. I have a Record 350 and its saved hours when resawing or ripping. With blades get the best quality and tension properly. If it wanders then its not equally sharp or set on both sides. All the guides do is set the route of the blade through the machine not the cut.

    Michael Ross



    Lots of opinions on this sort of topic. To me the most important is wood. The philosophy of woodworking and tools is personal.

    On lumber, it is expensive. Pine isn’t a bad would and is useful in many ways. It took me quite a while to source wood, and there are sometimes surprising resources.

    Surplus lumber from demolition- often in urban locations
    Sawmills if you are more rural.
    You’ve probably tried hardware stores,
    Are there any woodworking clubs in your region. Sometimes members have sources you aren’t aware, sometimes they have surplus lumber, and at the saddest of times; a member dies and their widow struggles with the what to do with all the darn wood.

    Tools of woodworking, everyone has an opinion. I value the fundamental principals I’m learning here. If you want to use power tool, don’t think twice. You must make a choice that works for you. For example, Sam Maloof used to live up the street from me. Most of his furniture was manufactured with power tools. The joinery was routers and reverse shape bits, screws were used ( and he wasn’t ashamed), the shaping of the furniture’s final form was with power sanders. Planers, jointers, routers, bandsaws, power sanders. It was all fair game to make what he wanted. Sam also lost the tip of 2 fingers on separate occasions and on another occasion the sleeve of his sweated was pulled into his jointer. The sweater was taped to the jointer’s exhaust port as a grim reminder with a hand written note.

    Use the tools that suit you! I’ve power tools and use them, but find there is an important place for hand tools. I don’t want to try and tell what I do, because you need take the path that fits your needs.

    In regards to machines, others have valid thoughts. A bandsaw is more useful than a table saw, in my opinion, and less likely to loose fingers. If you don’t plan on cutting slabs, buy some other tools. You can do much with a circular saw and a straight edge for ripping and crosscutting. I do find a thickness planer a useful tool. If you want to 4 square a board precisely using a machine, there is much expense. Dust is its own topic. Power tools to get close, and hand tools for precision is a quiet less expensive possibility.

    I’m interested in hearing about you choose to do, and what you discover on sourcing lumber.

    But as a reminder, rough sawn lumber is always cheaper to purchase than surfaced lumber.


    Peter Gaffney


    I hope this hasn’t been covered in an earlier reply to this post (there are a lot of long posts on this topic), but an idea I heard was to call your local municipality and ask what they do with the wood from fallen trees or trees that need to be removed for safety/logistical reasons within your city. Here in California we have a lot of oak trees that fall or are damaged in storms and get removed by cities. I’ve called and queried them about this and they either contract out or remove the tree through their agency and throw the wood in a chipper or in the local landfill. I’ve been able to get some of these logs/large branches for free. I take it to a local mill (local means 35 miles one way) and they, for a minimal fee will rough cut it to a size I can stack and begin seasoning. A little time and effort and I save on money and frustration. Hope this helps.

    Kurt Schultz


    Great suggestion! My neighbor owns a tree cutter service and has given me tree trunks upon asking. He’ll cut length to spec and I have to pick up when they are cutting down and will haul to have cut at a local yard, of course. However, it sure is worth the effort and knowing that the tree will become something useful (not mulch or firewood) is priceless.

    Rhode Island

    Kurt Schultz


    Another suggestion for lumber source, Craigslist is great resource for lumber, search materials, free, or furniture or yard sales. Even check other categories as some listers are not that clever to list appropriately. I just did a Nottingham, England search on Craigslist and someone has dozens of oak(60£) and pine (35£) doors in materials category. Also, another sale in England is for a lot of reclaimed wood beams for 3500£. Maybe a group buy for you Brits?? The wood is out there. Reclaim it.

    Rhode Island

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Kurt Schultz.
    Keith Walton


    I’m all for people sourcing timber from tree services, but I would still consider firewood very useful and not everytree produces furniture grade lumber so sometimes firewood is the way to go rather than put a ton of labor, hauling, storage and time into sub par timber.

Viewing 6 replies - 16 through 21 (of 21 total)

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