What are your local woods?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 28 total)
  • Author
  • #14396

    Since we have people on both sides of the pond as well as some from all other locations I thought it would be interesting to see what is considered your normal local working woods. To me it is amazing that some things that we here in the US consider exotic is pallet wood in other countries. I’ll start it off. I am in Maryland, USA and we have Cherry, Oak, Maple, Walnut and pine (eastern white mostly but southern yellow as well) at the ready everywhere. Our lumberyards carry almost everything as Maryland is heavily populated and we have a large customer base. But when I see local air dried for sale it is usually those species. So what is laying around in your back yards? :).

    Charles Cleland

    Typically what I see here in the Puget Sound area of Washington state are Alder, Cedar, Big Leaf Maple (A local maple, much softer than what is seen on the east coast), Fir of various types, some cherry and walnut, and Ponderosa Pine. I am really liking the workability of Alder, it’s a dream to chop and pare, but I’m a bit concerned about it’s durability as it’s quite soft. But I can buy it rough sawn from a local mill for $1.70 a board foot, so it’s an excellent inexpensive wood to cut my teeth on. Turns out quite beautiful if boiled linseed oil is applied, not too happy with the way it stains though.

    Washington State, USA
    My own humble blog:

    Steve Follis

    I am in Memphis, TN, USA. Commercially, I would say Pine is the most popular farmed and harvested product from this area. But there is a lot of Oak growing in this area, and it can be picked up fairly inexpensively from the local guys cutting it and air drying it, mostly Red, but some White also. There is also a fair amount of Poplar, Walnut, Hickory, Pecan, and Eastern Cedar. Not much Cherry grown in this area, but it is easy to get. We are also far enough south that we have easy access to Cypress, it is very prominent the further south you get.

    For the most part, you can get pretty much anthing you want in this area, including exotics. There are a few dealers here that are more than happy to bring in anything you want for the right price.

    One thing that is not easy to get that I would like to see more of here is Douglas Fir.

    Memphis, Tennessee


    I live west of Chicago and a local hobby Sawyer has on stock; cherry, walnut, ash, white oak, Osage, maple and hackberry. He mills this mostly from his land in north western and southern Illinois. Some softwoods are available, but these are mostly removed from people’s lots when they want a tree removed.

    Imported exotics are available, but to expensive for my blood.


    Here in Southwest Michigan there is a predominance of pine, oak, maple and walnut. Cherry and hickory are also easily had; in addition, ash, poplar, elm and sassafrass are also fairly common although not quite so much as those listed earlier. Hearing the difficulty some of our friends in the UK have in finding affordable woods, I am somewhat embarrassed to say how cheaply many high quality woods can be had; even oak, cherry and hickory can be found for as low as $2-3 per Bf sometimes. Walnut is more expensive, but still much more affordable than elsewhere.

    Although relatively new to woodworking, I have spent a fair amount of time looking for small-scale local sources. There are several in the area I am happy to say.

    It is also fairly easy to find sources of reclaimed barn wood almost weekly simply by checking Craigslist, often for as little as $1 a Bf.

    Mark Armstrong

    It very hard for us in UK most of lumber imported wether it be softwood or hardwood. I would say 95% imported
    I would think Oak and Meranti are the most available hardwoods.
    Softwood would be mainly white wood horrible stuff no good for joinery really and probably southern yellow Pine.
    I am quite lucky as I have a timber yard about 12 miles away that dose a bit of a variety of timbers. Oak E ,Oak White USA, Maple , Ash USA, Tullpwood, Black Walnut USA, Cherry USA, Meranti, Sapele, Iroka, Keruing, Idigbo, Western Red Cedar, and Southern Yellow Pine.
    Less I say about cost the better. 🙁

    Dagenham, Essex, England

    George Bridgeman

    I’m in England, and the woods most available to me are redwood, oak, walnut and maple. Other than oak, none of these are grown locally (or even in this country!) but are what the guy I get my timber from has most of. He also sometimes has beech and sapele. My supplier is a guy on a farm who collects timber (he doesn’t mill it from logs himself) – the home centers over here only carry poor quality softwoods at incredibly high prices. Higher quality softwoods; redwood, as well as generally acceptable SP&F type timbers, are stocked by most of the builders yards so are easy to get either sawn or PAR.

    Speaking of woods readily available in the US but not over here, cherry and red oak are two examples. I’d like to try working both of these but they’re hard to get hold of over here unless you’re in the trade and can go to the big timber yards – they don’t really accommodate small scale buyers making one-off pieces.


    "To know and not do is to not know"


    Hardwoods are out of the price range for a lot of us in the UK, for us that have to count the pennies anyway. As said quality softwood like redwood is stocked by most timber merchants. I love redwood, but it would be nice to have a choice of hardwoods at an affordable price. A friend of mine that lives in Canada, could not believe the price we pay for hardwoods here in the UK.

    HaHa we don’t need a saw to get ripped off eh! 😉


    I live in Montreal in Eastern Canada and there are several lumberyards in the area that have good quality, low-cost maple, oak, cherry, pine, aspen, and birch. Walnut, birds-eye maple and douglas fir are more expensive. I can also obtain exotic woods but I never bother as I live close to one of the largest veneer suppliers in North America and they supply me with my rare veneer needs.

    I usually pick out my rough boards and pay the yard $10-15 to surface plane them and rip one good edge. I have the tools to do this but it is much easier on my machines (and my car!) and faster to have them do it for me.


    Is the redwood mentioned by the guys in the UK the same as the US redwood grown on the west coast? IF so I find it interesting that it is imported over there but hard for me to get on the east coast of the US.

    Thanks for all the replies, keep em coming I do find it interesting to see the other species we are using. Many of which I am wearing Google out with as I never heard of them :). Meranti for one I have never heard of but find interesting.

    George Bridgeman

    @griz I think the redwood over here is Scandinavian, although most merchants just list it as ‘International’. Next time I pick up a board I’ll check the marks on the endgrain to see if that has any more information on it.


    "To know and not do is to not know"

    Mark Armstrong

    Meranti sometimes known as luarn or phillipino Mahogany not a mahogany probably the cheapest hardwood available to us in UK.

    Dagenham, Essex, England

    Brent Ingvardsen

    In Louisiana, white pine, southern yellow pine, red oak, and poplar are commonly found. Sometimes black cherry and walnut can be found from a local sawmill.

    Meridianville, Alabama, USA


    I’m in San Antonio Texas and Mesquite, Red Cedar, and Live Oak are the local woods.

    1st picture is Texas Red Cedar

    2nd is mesquite burl


    Found a new source hardwoods from a local sawmill/lumber dealer. They source as much of their timber as possible from trees that would otherwise be wasted such as storm damaged trees, trees removed in the course of construction, civil engineering, property improvements, etc.

    The prices are *very* reasonable. I consider myself very lucky to be near such a place. I haven’t yet made a trip out there, but am going tomorrow to pick up some curly maple for a jewelry box project for the wife and some walnut for my tool chest. Maybe something else as well, no idea what will jump out at me! Can’t wait!

    Here’s a sample of what they carry and what the prices are like:

    Ash 4/4 $2.35/bf, 5/4 $2.45/bf, $6/4 $2.75
    Basswood 8/4 $3.00/bf
    Beech 4/4 $2.75/bf, quarter sawn 6/4 $3.25/bf
    Catalpa (ungraded) 4/4 $1.75/bf, 8/4 $3.00/bf
    Cherry 4/4 $3.85/bf, 5/4 $4.20/bf, 6/4 $4.60/bf, 8/4 $4.95/bf
    Cherry (character grade) 4/4 $2.25/bf
    Elm Red 4/4 $2.80/bf, 8/4 $3.40/bf
    Elm white (American) 4/4 $2.50/bf
    Hickory 4/4 $2.45/bf, 5/4 $2.65/bf, 6/4 $2.85/bf, 8/4 $3.10/bf
    Hickory (character grade) 4/4 $1.95/bf, 8/4 $2.75/bf
    Locust (black) 4/4 $2.85/bf
    Maple (hard) white 4/4 $2.95/bf, 5/4 $3.10/bf, 6/4 $3.50/bf, 8/4 $4.00/bf
    Maple (hard) brown/white 4/4 $1.95/bf, 6/4 $2.50/bf
    Maple (soft) white 4/4 $2.35/bf, 8/4 $2.90/bf
    Maple Ambrosia or wormy 4/4 $2.95/bf
    Oak Red 4/4 $2.50/bf, 5/4 $2.65/bf, 6/4 $2.85, 8/4 $3.45/bf
    Oak Red Quarter sawn 4/4 $3.50/bf, 5/4 $3.65/bf
    Oak Red Rift sawn 4/4 $2.75/bf
    Oak White 4/4 $2.60/bf, 5/4 $ 2.70/bf
    Oak White Quarter sawn 4/4 $3.75, Premium ray fleck $4.25/bf
    Oak White Rift sawn 4/4 $2.90/bf
    Poplar 4/4 $1.85, 5/4 $2.10/bf, 6/4 $2.30/bf, 8/4 $2.70/bf
    Sassafras 4/4 $2.55/bf, 8/4 $2.90/bf
    Sycamore Quarter sawn $3.50/bf
    Walnut 4/4 $4.75/bf, 5/4 $4.85/bf, 6/4 $5.15/bf, 8/4 $5.55/bf

    They also sometimes have rarer grain configurations like flame walnut, curly cherry, curly/quilted/birdseye maple, etc.

    They also separate boards according to cut, so it is possible to hand pick all your boards according to need; riftsawn, flat sawn, etc.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 28 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.