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Yup, you have to be willing to pay the price, but good lumber is worth it. I was at Rockler the other day, all their lumber is 25% off, but sheesh, I perused through their walnut and would have selected maybe 2 boards.

Buying direct off the sawmill is cheapest, but has its drawbacks too, the main one being bugs and kiln drying. Ideally you have your own kiln. But you also have to be doing enough work to justify the expense. The other advantage is often you can buy several boards originating from the same log.

I have to drive 7 hours to a sawmill owned by an excellent sawyer to get that kind of lumber I want.
 

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We have a local Amish mill about 45 minutes away. They carry all domestic wood, 4/4, 6/4, 8/4, and live edge slabs. The dimensionAl lumber is surfaced 3 sides FAS. They also carry some #1 common, ingrown bark, curly, wormy, gummy, and cutoffs at half price. Curly maple used to be $3.30, it’s now over $5. Walnut is $7-8, depending on thickness, #1 common is $4.20. Red oak is still in the $3-4 range. Their wood is dry, live edge slabs are surfaced on two sides. Nice place to go to and nice people.
Mike Hawkins
You are very fortunate!
 
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