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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 03:05 AM Thread Starter
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Question New to woodworking...where to buy lumber?

Hello everyone. I am just getting into woodworking. I am planning to make some fairly simple furniture. I have some experience with rough carpentry, but not furniture.
I am wondering where the best place to get nice wood is. The only place I know of near me is Lowe's, and the furniture-grade wood seems rather expensive. One of the items I would like to make is a dining table, and just for the wood for the top (of 1" maple) would be $120.
There aren't any Home Depots near me. There is an 84 Lumber, but I believe they only sell construction grade lumber (correct me if I'm wrong please). The yellow pages don't have any other listing for lumber.
I found a place on the internet that is somewhat close to me that sells hardwoods. The website is
I am trying to figure out the price list.

For expample, it says for plainsawn hard maple:
Below are prices/ board foot of plain sawn lumber

Hard Maple_____________________________________________ __
______4/4_____3.00_____2.50______2.50_______1.50______.85_ _
______8/4_____3.50_____2.75______3.00_______2.00_____1.00_ _

facing and planing the lumber costs .50/surface foot, or edge 2 sides for .10/lineal foot.

Does the 4/4 mean a 1" board that is 4" wide and 4 feet long? An the 8/4 is 1" board that is 4" wide and 8 feet long?
If the prices are per board foot, does that mean the 4/4 board would be $1 per foot? I don't think this is right because it seems too cheap.
Overall, do the prices above seem reasonable?

Thanks for any help you can provide me. I'm sure I will have a lot more questions later, but first I need to figure out where to get the wood from.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 07:02 AM
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Hello Embo, welcome to the forum. Before you start shopping, you need to get the terminolgy correct. Fractions like 4/4 are used in hardwood, and refers to the lumber in the rough, each quarter being 1/4" of the thickness. 4/4 is a board 1 inch thick, 8/4
would be a board 2 inches thick. Prices are usually given in a board foot. A board foot
is would be a board 4/4 thick by 12 inches long and 12 inches wide. But since the width of hard wood is usually random the, it could be two boards that are 6 inches wide 1" thick and 12" long. A board 2 inches thick is 8/4 and a board foot could be
6 inches wide and 12 " long, which is the equivalent of the 4/4 inch board in the example given above. It also pays to find out how the company ships and who pays the shipping, or if it is included in the price. Hope this helps. Woodnut65
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 10:13 AM
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If you don't have a jointer and a planer you will need to purchase your lumber S4S(surfaced on four sides). It would be necessary to add .70 per (lineal)surface foot to the prices listed. The major expense will be shipping costs which is in addtion to the prices listed.


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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 10:42 AM
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One of the best spots I have found is eBay BUT you must take a hard look at shipping cost, it can be high some times.
And with in a week or so it will be on your door step and now that gas is not cheap that can be big saving on the bottom end price.

I have found out that most of the hard wood will be done that's to say it's dry and planed on all 4 sides that can save you big bucks.
You can also get great deals on plank lumber (but you need to rework the lumber b/4 you can used it. (plank=A piece of lumber cut thicker than a standard board)

You can also find a good deal or two at Rocklers when they run a wood sale.

You can also look in the Yellow Pages ,under Used lumber, you can find some great deals, when they demo a building they will some times find some neat wood that they resale.
I got a pickup load of 2" x 10" x some 6'/8' long boards of Oak for 100.oo bucks they had green paint on them and a bolt hole or two but under the green paint ,WOW nice Oak.
Just a note about used lumber, when you plane it or remove the old paint you must take care because of the old paint type (Lead Base) most of the time.

I old fart at the used lumber yard gave me this tip and he was coved from head to toe with green paint at the time from planing a stack of the used lumber down to 5/4 stock that looked just like the same stuff I just put in my truck.

Good Luck

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 10:57 AM
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Embo, it is a good idea to list your city/state or provence on your profile. This way you get meaningful answers when asking about where to buy. We have members world wide so a great price from Template Tom in Australia wont do you a bit of good. Since you have a Lowes and an 84 lumber I am guessing somewhere in the midwest US? Check to see if there is a Woodcraft or Rockler store near you. They carry decent hardwood and exotic woods. Your local lumber yard may not stock hardwood but will be happy to order it in for you and this can save a bunch of money on the shipping. There are also suppliers like Millcraft in Flint, MI who build custom cabinets and millwork who will also sell you rough or dimensioned lumber. Van Dykes is an online company that sells restoration hardware and wooden components for restoring antiques. Nothing says you can't save some time and money by purchasing table aprons, sliding leaf supports, pedestals or even a table top premilled and then customize it. Wood magazine has their online "Wood mall" which features suppliers of lumber and all manner of hardware.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 07:15 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the info guys. I now understand what the dimensions mean. I actually live close to the place that i found those prices for. So i could just go get them and not have to pay for shipping. i live outside of morgantown, wv.
Also, for a decent looking table top, what grade should i get?
it has listed:

it says facing and planing costs .50 cents per board foot or edge on both sides for $0.10. I don't have a planer or jointer and i don't plan on buying one. so i guess i would have to have this done when i order it. Planing is the thickness of the board, and the edge on both sides would be what the jointer does, correct? What does facing mean? is that the end of the board?
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 05-09-2006, 08:05 PM
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"what grade should i get?"

The best you can afford.

Definitions of Facing

Process of making a flat surface across the face of a workpiece. The faced surface.


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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 10:26 AM
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Default Hardwood

check "Craig's List" or "Search Tempest" then type of wood you want or Hardwood or kiln dried.

Google "sawmill" and your town or county.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 12:19 PM
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Embo; trying to do fine woodworking without a planer and a jointer would be very challenging. In the kindest way possible I'm strongly suggesting that you do a bit of reading up on woodworking...the library should have loads of good books on the topic.
A nightshool course on woodworking would be another great avenue to check out. Well worth the money.
Incidentally, you can do both planing and jointing manually, with hand planes, but again, learned skills and requiring investing in a couple of good quality planes and sharpening equipment. This is not a cheap hobby!

As for 'face' and 'edge' you normally joint one face absolutely flat, then one edge straight and at exactly 90deg. to the flat face. This is now your reference line/point for width measuring.
Now you can run it through the planer which will make both faces parallel to each other and the correct thickness. The tablsaw will rip your wood to the exact width you want (allowing a bit over for planing and sanding). All of the above can be done with the hand planes but it's pretty time consuming...but very satisfying!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 12:40 PM
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Sorry to say this, guys, but this post is more then 6 years old. I have a feeling that the OP is loooooooong gone



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