I am fortunate to have a wood shop here that builds trusses, cabinets, doors and other high end furnishings. Their scrap pile is out front near the road and free for the taking. I have gotten oak, cedar, pine, red wood and ash just to name a few. I have offered them money in the past and they say "no thanks, take all you want and come back often." And I do!! They have been doing this for nearly 40 years!
But one of my favorite woods to carve is aromatic cedar. The only place I have ever found as a reliable source near me is Woodcraft. Not cheap, but I pass this cost on to my customers. I have not had a single one complain about the extra expense once they see the finished product.
Most of my carvings are made using the cedar fence pickets. Look for the ones slightly damaged. Home Depot and Lowes offer as much as 70% off on these damaged boards. Generally I can make between $75 and $110 per picket board. My costs are somewhere between $1.20 and $3.97 for each board.....depending on the condition of the board and whether I get the 70% discount.
Lastly, I just got a lot of cedar from a house being remodeled by one of my son's friends. There is a ton of cedar from both inside and outside of this house on the scrap pile. So I was able to get a lot of quality wood.....again, for free. I surprise the newly weds with a sign using some of their scrapped wood once they are moved in.
Ya gotta find your material where you can. LOL
I may not know what I'm doing, but I am having fun doing it wrong!!
Happy Day Veterans!!