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cost of lumber

2900 Views 12 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  taylorbarkermusic
I live in the burbs right outside Boston.

I have been woodworking as a hobby for about 4 years and I simply am having a hard time affording lumber. I see prices on this forum that are unheard of here.

There's a couple of places that sell species other than the typical red oaks and white pine (big box which is crap)

I'm looking at $11 / bf For a 4/4 walnut. Even Cherry 7.50 /bf. Not even getting into exotics. No one even carries mahogany here its all the African stuff...maybe all the US Mahogany has been logged?

We're talking $300 for basic Walnut bookcase and I make mistakes so closer to 400$, plus hardware, lower cabinets. 600$.

I read an article saturday in the NYT that there is a ton of illegal logging going on primarily in south america for the mahogany's and other exotics and how feds are cracking down on importing of it, which will raise prices even higher. (lumber liquidators is apparently buying illegally logged Russian Oak)

Where do you guys find a good source, CL? I don't really like online purchase of lumber cause I had a bad experience on 2 occasions (the pieces were not true 4/4 and marred)
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If you check your area Yellow Pages, look for a hardwood supplier, or a real lumberyard. Or call a local cabinet shop and ask nicely for some information.

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I've been away from my woodworking hobby for 10 years or so, and now that I'm getting back into it I'm finding that the prices are like 3 times what I remember. If it's any consolation, look at the prices of nice furniture today -

You might look here: http://www.woodfinder.com

Thanks for the tip about the NYC article. I'd missed that.
Do you have the tools necessary to process rough cut lumber? That's the easiest way to save IMO.
I got a majority of my wood from my father-in-law. He had a couple of large oaks killed by Gypsy moths, I took 6 of the largest logs and had them sawn up by a local sawmill. I think it ended up being $250 for about 800 bd. ft. I didn't have machinery to surface it at the time, but since it had to dry for a few years I had time to save up for it. There is a local lumber yard that will run it through the planer and jointer for me.. They ran a few boards once and charged me less than $5.

Lumber also goes very cheap at auctions around here. I've seen an entire storage shed of cherry and walnut go for $35. I picked up some walnut at an auction house this year - they ran it in lots but the bid was by the board. I paid $4/board - I think total was $66 and I think the cost came out to be around $2/bd ft.
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I also live near Boston, and I've just started looking for lumberyards. There are a few I've been planning to try to get to:

http://www.downesandreader.com/ (Stoughton)
http://www.wooderylumber.com/index.html (Lunenburg)
http://artisanlumber.com/ (Lunenburg)
Man you guys are lucky to have places like that within reach. I have never even been to a lumber yard. All the wood round here has to be found through local sawyers. It's usually cheaper, bit it can be very very hard to find if your looking for a specific type of wood, and usually its not dry.
Oh... and if you're heading out to the Western end of the state, there's a place in Ware called "Canadian Tree Experts." I found out about them about an hour before I left the area for good. Their slogan is "Rough cut lumber at rough cut prices", so they might be worth checking out. It looks like they mostly have white oak, red oak, and pine.

amckenzie4, the Woodery is very expensive but a nice place with a ton of options.

I typically go to Boulter Plywood in Somerville MA, they have a large selection downstairs of pretty nice stuff, upstairs is any kind of ply imaginable. I think a lot of cabinet makers use them. Still boku dollars for my imperfect bookcase or whatever I make that I will be too self conscious of to put anywhere in sight.

I need to start looking at CL. I've heard about great deals, just that its not on demand. You buy a large lot and use it over the years.
Here in PA, prices will vary wildly.

The closer you are to Philly, the higher the pricing gets. Mr Roberts in SNJ quoted me $16 pbf for 8/4 FAS walnut and $11 for 4/4 same. I hung up on him.

Willard Brothers near Trenton NJ bills 8.50 4/4 fas walnut.

Hearnes Hardwoods bills 5.50 and about the same for cherry up to 9" width. So I drive over there. A lot.

No matter what, this stuff is expensive, pushing lot of people out of being able to buy the stuff.

I see posts on CL all the time of people looking for scrap wood. At one point, I offered a heap of it for free but nobody wanted any of it as I am very careful and my waste is thin and minimal. Even then, I hold on to anything I can make something with. Right now its cutting boards. Lots and lots of cheese and cutting boards.
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Have you tried Anderson-Mcquaid in Cambridge. Some of their prices on R1E are pretty good. In general though lumber is expensive
I buy my lumber at our local pallet company here in east Tennessee. I buy 4" x 8" square beams that are ten feet long for $7.25 each. I get seven 1x4x 10' out of one log. Oak, cherry, maple, ash, and sometimes walnut. Only bad thing is, the wood is green and has to be dried....also, I get the majority of my wood for free. I help tear down old barns and old houses. A half a days labor usually nets me three or four pickup loads of strait, wide hardwood. ..
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