How To Source Wood For Woodworking

If you’re a woodworker, sourcing the right type of wood for your project is essential to ensure a successful outcome. The right wood can make all the difference in terms of durability, appearance, and overall quality. However, with so many different types of wood available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

Luckily, there are several ways to source wood for woodworking projects. Whether you’re looking for affordable options or rare and exotic types of wood, there are various avenues to explore.

In this article, we’ll discuss some tips and tricks for finding the perfect wood for your next project, no matter what your budget or preferences may be.

Understanding Different Types Of Wood

When it comes to woodworking, understanding the different types of wood is crucial. Each type has unique characteristics that affect its appearance, durability, and workability. Hardwoods come from deciduous trees and are often more expensive than softwoods, which come from coniferous trees. Some popular hardwoods include oak, maple, and cherry, while popular softwoods include pine and cedar.

One important factor to consider when selecting wood for your project is its grain pattern. Grain refers to the texture of the wood’s surface and can greatly impact the overall look of your finished product. For example, quarter-sawn wood has a distinctive straight grain pattern that creates a beautiful effect on furniture pieces like tables or desks.

Another consideration is the wood’s density. Denser woods tend to be harder and more durable than less dense ones, making them ideal for high-traffic areas or items that will receive a lot of wear and tear. However, denser woods can also be more difficult to work with due to their hardness.

This is something to keep in mind when selecting wood for your project.

Local Sawmills And Lumber Yards

Now that you have an understanding of different types of wood, it’s time to source the right material for your woodworking project.

One option is to look for local sawmills and lumber yards in your area. These places typically sell wood in various sizes and species, allowing you to find the perfect match for your project.

When visiting a sawmill or lumber yard, be sure to bring measurements and specifications of what you need. This will help the staff assist you in finding the right wood for your project.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the wood’s origin, moisture content, and any other relevant information.

Another option is to search online for specialty wood suppliers. These suppliers often offer unique or hard-to-find woods that may not be available at local sawmills or lumber yards.

However, keep in mind that shipping costs can add up quickly when ordering online, so make sure to factor that into your budget before making a purchase.

Overall, sourcing wood for woodworking requires some research and effort on your part, but with the right resources and knowledge, you can find quality materials that will bring your project to life.

Online Wood Suppliers

When it comes to sourcing wood for your woodworking projects, online suppliers can be a great option. Here are some reasons why:

  • Convenience: Instead of going out to physical stores or lumber yards, you can browse and purchase wood from the comfort of your own home.

  • Variety: Online suppliers often have a wider selection of wood species and sizes available than local stores.

  • Price: Depending on where you live, purchasing wood online may be more cost-effective than buying from a brick-and-mortar store.

It’s important to do your research before choosing an online supplier. Look for reviews and ratings from other customers, as well as information about the company’s shipping policies and return/exchange options. Additionally, make sure the supplier offers high-quality wood that fits your specific needs for your project.

While there are certainly benefits to purchasing wood online, it’s also worth considering any potential downsides. Shipping costs can add up quickly, especially if you’re ordering large quantities of wood. Additionally, it can be difficult to accurately assess the quality of the wood without seeing it in person.

Be sure to weigh these factors carefully before making a decision on where to source your woodworking materials.

Salvaged And Reclaimed Wood

When it comes to sourcing wood for woodworking, salvaged and reclaimed wood can be a great option. Not only is this wood often cheaper than brand new lumber, but it also has character and history that can add depth to your projects. As the saying goes, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.’

Salvaged wood can come from a variety of sources such as old buildings, barns, and even shipping pallets. Before using salvaged wood, it’s important to inspect it carefully for any damage or rot that may compromise its integrity. Additionally, some types of salvaged wood may require extra preparation before use such as removing nails or cleaning off dirt and debris.

Reclaimed wood refers specifically to wood that was previously used in construction or other projects and has been repurposed for a new use. This type of wood can be found at salvage yards or through online marketplaces.

When working with reclaimed wood, it’s important to consider its previous use and any potential hazards such as lead paint or chemicals that may have been used on the original project. With proper precautions and preparation, salvaged and reclaimed wood can add unique character and sustainability to your woodworking projects.

Specialty Wood Stores

Specialty wood stores are a great place to find unique and rare types of wood for your woodworking projects. These stores often carry a wider variety of hardwoods, including exotic species that you may not find at your local home improvement store. Some of these woods can be quite expensive, but the quality and beauty they bring to your project can be worth the investment.

When visiting a specialty wood store, it’s important to keep in mind what type of wood you need for your project. Different woods have different characteristics, including hardness, grain patterns, and color. Be sure to ask the staff at the store for advice on which woods will work best for your specific needs.

In addition to providing high-quality wood, specialty stores may also offer services such as custom milling or kiln-drying. These extra services can save you time and effort when preparing your wood for use in your project.

Overall, specialty wood stores are a valuable resource for any serious woodworker looking to source top-quality materials.

Networking With Other Woodworkers

Moving on from specialty wood stores, another great way to source wood for woodworking is by networking with other woodworkers. You can learn a lot from them about where to find the best wood and how to get it at a reasonable price. Plus, you may even be able to collaborate on projects or trade materials with each other.

One way to network with other woodworkers is by attending woodworking classes or workshops. These events provide an excellent opportunity to meet other people who share your passion for woodworking. You can exchange ideas, ask questions, and build relationships that could lead to future collaborations.

Another option is joining online communities or forums dedicated to woodworking. These platforms are full of experienced woodworkers who are always happy to share their knowledge and advice. You can also post questions or requests for specific types of wood, and someone in the community may have what you need or know where to find it.

By networking with other woodworkers, you not only expand your sources of materials but also create a supportive community that can help you grow as a craftsman. So why not give it a try? Reach out and connect with others who share your love for working with wood. Who knows what kind of amazing creations you’ll come up with together!

Considerations For Choosing The Right Wood

When choosing the right wood for your woodworking project, there are several factors to consider.

The first is the purpose of your finished product. Will it be a decorative piece or something that needs to withstand wear and tear? This will determine what type of wood you should use. For example, a softer wood like pine may work well for a decorative piece, but not for furniture that will be frequently used.

Another consideration is the appearance of the wood. Do you want a particular grain pattern or color? Some woods, like cherry or mahogany, have distinct patterns and colors that make them ideal for certain projects.

Additionally, some woods have unique properties such as resistance to rot or insect damage. These should also be taken into account when selecting your wood.

Finally, it’s important to think about the availability and cost of the wood. Some types of wood may be difficult to source in your area or may be expensive due to their rarity. It’s important to balance your desired outcome with what is practical and affordable for you.

By considering all these factors, you can choose the right wood that will not only look great but also meet your functional needs.


In conclusion, sourcing wood for woodworking can be an exciting and fulfilling experience. As a woodworker, it is important to understand the different types of wood available and choose the right one based on your project requirements.

Whether you decide to visit local sawmills or lumber yards, explore online suppliers, or network with other woodworkers, there are plenty of options available.

As you embark on your search for the perfect piece of wood, imagine the feeling of satisfaction that comes from creating something beautiful and useful out of raw materials. Picture yourself in your workshop surrounded by the sweet smell of freshly cut wood as you bring your vision to life.

With a little bit of effort and some careful consideration, you can find the perfect piece of wood for your next woodworking project.