Best Places to Buy Lumber for Woodworking

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Purchasing lumber is tricky. Whether you’re making DIY, home, or large projects, variables like shipping cost, dimensions, sizes, shapes, wood species, and quality must be taken into account. 

Lumber yards have been my go-to source, but there are other alternatives where you can find great selections of wood. To give you all the options, here are the best places to buy lumber and wood. 

1. Home Improvement Stores

Home Depot store

Stores like Menard’s, Home Depot, and Lowe’s are prime examples of home improvement stores. Like the name says, stores like these offer products for home improvement, including lumbers. 

These stores are your one-stop-shop for not just lumber, but also other building materials and tools. I find it incredibly convenient when I have a big project and need to pick up various supplies in one trip.

Also, Lowe’s may cut the wood for you, like in Menard’s and Home Depot. 

2. Wood and Lumber Yards

drying lumber from the mill

If you’re really serious about woodworking, I highly recommend checking out lumber yards near you. Unlike big box stores and hardware stores, lumber yards are focused only on making lumber. 

Whenever I’ve got a question or need some specialized knowledge, the staff at lumber yards have always been my go-to. They know their wood, and it shows.

Also, they have far better selections to choose from, and you can even ask for custom cuts! 

3. Online

person using laptop

Online stores skyrocketed these past few years and will continue to grow [1]. Getting wood supplies have been more convenient and often cheaper.

Since lumber’s online availability, stores more dedicated to selling them have grown and become an ideal source for many woodworkers. Here are a couple of online stores that stand out for me:

Rare Wood USA

Rare Wood USA sells over 100 exotic and rare lumber species, hence the name. You can buy lumber from them individually, in pre-cut sizes, or in bulk. While you search, the filter and sort feature is user-friendly, making it easier to find the product you’re looking for. 

Personally, I appreciate their free shipping offer for orders over $100 within various U.S. states.

Rockler

Rockler is another online destination I highly recommend for woodworkers. Aside from lumber, they also offer a wide variety of woodworking supplies. 

Rockler's wood selection

What I particularly like about Rockler is how thorough and honest their product descriptions are. The specifications are explained well, providing all the information you need. And if you have doubts, customer reviews, ratings, and queries are also displayed.

Woodworkers Source

If you’re new to woodworking or just starting to buy lumber, I suggest giving Woodworkers Source a shot. This online store offers a range of both domestic and exotic lumbers.

I like that you can request the wood or standard plywood size you want, and they also guide you in picking the right product. They offer free shipping, too.

Other Online Stores

Lumber is also available in major e-commerce stores like Amazon and eBay. 

However, if you’re looking for a more specialized experience, I’d recommend checking out Steve Wall Lumber, Hardwood Store, and Bell Forest. These stores possess a deeper knowledge of lumber and woodworking, setting them apart from larger, more generalized online retailers.

ebay

If you’re looking for exotic materials, check out Bell Forest. They sell over 100 kinds of exotic wood. You may try Exotic Lumber Inc. as well. 

4. Reclamation Yards

lumber reclamation yard

Reclamation yards have ample stocks of wood. With some luck, you may find a used wood of quality to get the job done at a reasonable price. 

You can draw out inspiration from reclamation yards, as well. Purchasing from these yards is great if you want to create something wonderful out of recycling and reusing scraps. It also helps with the environment, so it’s worth checking out.  

The downside here is that items are random, they don’t have dedicated lumber mills and only rely on the supply of old materials and furniture being thrown out. Availability is not guaranteed, so picking the right materials is harder. 

But don’t worry too much about it since yard owners are usually passionate about guiding you.

5. Sawmills

man operating a saw mill

Sawmills are fully equipped with woodcutting machinery, that’s why it’s also one of the best places to buy lumbers for your next project. Some mills have tools for finishing touches as well. And larger mills are often situated where the source of wood is abundant.

You will usually find lumber bought straight from sawmills better since it’s freshly cut. You will also get more freedom in choosing the lumber size you desire. However, lumbers on sawmills cost a bit more than lumbers sold in retail stores. 

Related ReadThe Priciest Wood Types in the World 

6. Local Hardware & Construction Stores

lumber neatly stacked in a home depot

Besides online stores, local hardware is next to being convenient. I’ve often popped over to one near me for quick pickups, but do keep in mind that the variety and quality can differ significantly from one store to another.

Meanwhile, large construction stores are more guaranteed to sell better quality lumbers. But unlike wood and lumber yards, they may not offer more options to choose from, from different types of plywood to PVC, and so on. 

Nonetheless, it’s still a great place to go if you have other things on your shopping list besides a few planks of wood or PVC for your DIY project.

FAQ

What can be the most affordable way to purchase wood?

The most affordable way to purchase wood is by buying at lumber yards. They have more reasons to drop their prices because lumber is the only thing they make.

However, in terms of overall expenses, you can save more online since they offer discounts and cheap shipping fees. 

Is it more affordable to purchase lumber online?

Purchasing lumber online is more affordable than in traditional stores because they offer lower deals and frequent discounts due to fewer expenses on manpower and facilities. 

Another factor is that you don’t have to spend extra money on travel gas and trucking of the purchased products.

However, it’s essential to consider shipping costs when buying lumber online, as they can vary depending on the size and weight of the order. 

Recommended Read: Cheapest Place to Buy Lumber

Conclusion

E-commerce has revolutionized the market extending to the woodworking industry. People are more inclined to shop online than bother going to a physical store. 

I’ve pointed you toward some online stores that have never let me down, and I hope they’ll meet your expectations just like any traditional store would. Plus, maybe I’ve even introduced you to some new spots you hadn’t considered before.

robert headshot

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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