Here in Northern California, my local home centers and lumber yards only carry red oak and poplar for hardwoods. With the exception of Lowes which has some very hi-grade clear pine. I've also found a cabinet shop that will let search their scrap bins but its pretty rare to find anything more than 12" long.
I would really like to work with some other varieties of wood. Theres lots on ebay, but shipping is way high. I found several other online sources that sell "craft" or "project" paks that include shipping. Does anyone have any experience with these types of companies? Or any recommendations?