A few days ago I had a post about starting out and building a bench. One of
the replies said to forget about getting wood from Home Depot or Lowes for
my new bench top and get some S4S Red Oak from my 'local hardwood yard'.
What is a 'local hardwood yard'? WoodCraft (I dont think so from what I've
seen)? Would it be the local 'lumber company'? Yellow pages don't turn
anything up but flooring when I look for 'hardwood'.
Im going to be building a version of this bench:
So I want to be a little picky about the quality of the wood I get for the
top. I'm just starting in 'serious' <please hold the chuckles back>
woodworking so I'm rewinding to the basics from my
Thanks for all of the advice.
Check your yellow pages under lumber, look for the ads that say
"hardwood" then hop in the vehicle and pay a visit.
We have a couple here. Both have rough cut hardwoods, but only one has
any finished wood in stock. Both will plane and joint for you at
aprice, and the one that only carries rough will also rent shop space
with all their tools (except the resaw bandsaw) at about $30 CDN an
Check under hardwood, but also check woodfinders on line, or run a google
search for hardwood dealers who work by mail.
If your local yellow pages has nothing under hardwood, check under cabinetry
supplies. Also check under sawmills, lumber, logging companies, etc.
"The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf."
You can always go into HD or Lowes, look for an older guy in the lumber
area who looks like he knows what he's about and ask him. The kids
won't have a clue but the older guys probably will.
Mike W. wrote:
I live near Middletown, Ohio. In the 'middle' of Cincinnati and Dayton.
Doing a search on woodfinder.com got me to a store 24 miles away. At least
a store that isn't Woodcraft. I don't have anything against Woodcraft, but
they don't have the 2x4 stock Im looking for... seems like they have mostly
slabs that I'd have to have milled to use.
I have heard of Paxton (the next closest hardwood retailer)... are they like
I live in Cincinnati. I get a lot of wood from a place called Wholesale
Hardwood Interiors . They have a shop in Dayton as well as Cincinnati. I
think there website is www.wholesalehardwoodint.com They only carry poplar
and oak though. If you happen to go there and talk to Dale Lowe Sr. tell him
I sent you (I don't know Dale Jr. so there's no reason to mention my name to
him.) The lumber is top quality and the service is excellent.
Another place which has been very helpful (if they're still in business and
you don't mind a good drive) is Okeana Hardwoods. They're located kind of
North and a little West of Cincinnati out on the Indiana border towards
Brookville. Again excellent service and quality and they'll sell you
rough-sawn or they'll plane it for you.
I can't (won't) recommend Paxton the Wood Source because I've never dealt
with them. I've heard there lumber is high priced and they gave me a
screwing on some windows a couple years ago.
Hope this helps.
Kevin L. Bowling
I am in Columbus and my neighbor and i order from
they are in Indiana but have free dilivery (100 bf +) east to i-70 and sr
310. I live 500' inside sr 310.
we are expecting a delivery tomorrow .
I have bought from Wilhelm Lumber over near Batesville, IN, not too
far from you. They other name the pops up is Frank Miller Lumber.
Don't know if they still sell retail, but when I co-oped at Hartzell
Propellor in Piqua, OH back in the mid 80's, Hartzell Hardwoods
(http://www.hartzellhardwoods.com /) had a small showroom and would let
you purchase retail quanities. As an aside, both concerns were
connected many, many years ago, but no longer. Even at that time,
they were mostly wholesale, big shippment, but took care of those that
bothered to personally stop by. It was the first place I saw large
quanities, and large boards of rare African hardwoods. And the guy
that showed me around was more than happy to give me the scoop, even
though I wasn't going to purchase any.
From a message I saved a few years ago:
"The Hardwood Store (now called Appalachian Millworks) has a web site,
a large selection of s2s, and plywood. They are just north of I70 at
route 235. (North of Dayton).
Miller's saw mill has rough sawn domestics at better prices than the
hardwood store. They are just north of 70 at route 127. (northwest of
I've not purchased from either of these, they might be possible leads.
Willis Lumber in Washington C.H. has rough sawn hardwood but may only
offer larger quantities (wholesale). I've also heard of another
Millers Lumber just over the Indiana border.
Then you should be able to make your bench from maple or beech. Beech
is the traditional wood for woodworkers planes, mallets etc, now it is
often the case that maple is substituted. Ironically, in recent years
beech has begun to be substituted for maple in furniture.
Nothing wrong with being picky. I've actually had some good finds at HD and
Lowes, but you have to dig through the pile a little. Like everyone else
said, it all depends on where you are. I'm in Oklahoma, and where I am the
local lumber yard doesn't sell anything but trash. All the wood is usually
knotted and splintered, and don't forget warped beyond use. So, everything
I build comes from Lowes or HD, but I spend about an hour digging through
the pile to find the grain and quality I want, as well as a straight board.
The prices are lower than the "local" yard and the quality is generally
better. Where you are, there may be a huge difference. Back home in
Virginia, there were many local yokel places that I would definitely visit
before a retail chain.
You might try asking a local cabinet maker where he gets his wood.
In our area, hardwood yards sell rough cut lumber at about half the cost
of Home Depot (except they have a lot more varieties at the hardwood
yard). They will also mill the lumber to dimension for a reasonable
fee. You want to find one that caters to small potatoes woodworkers and
that will let you pick and choose the lumber, then have them dimension it.
So, for example, instead of paying over $5 a board foot (board foot 1 square foot, 3/4" thick) for dimensioned red oak at Home Depot, I can
go to the lumber yard, pay maybe $3 a board foot for rough cut (various
lengths and widths, 7/8" thick instead of 3/4", and sawn, not planed and
jointed, surfaces) and then pay them maybe 50 cents a board foot to
plane two sides to 3/4" and joint one edge. Ready for the table saw.
Now, this is based on a phone quote from one of the Dallas area yards; I
haven't actually done it because I found a cabinet maker that will sell
me enough cutoffs (maple, ash and red oak) for under a dollar a board
foot that I have been building stuff from that instead. So there's
another reason to get to know a cabinet maker.
And if anybody in the North Dallas/Plano area wants some of this
inexpensive hardwood, let me know, because the cabinet maker has come up
with more wood than I can use, lately (I know he has at least 25 BF of
planed red oak that I didn't take). I'd like to help him sell it just
to keep myself in the loop.
Don't underestimate the joys of buying hardwood online and over the phone.
There is an absolute wealth of wood buying opportunities on the web now.
I've had some excellent results with Sandy Pond Hardwoods (for figured
maple) and Berea Hardwoods (for cherry and figured cherry). Prices are
decent and delivery via UPS to your garage (or shop) door can't be beat.
The key is to have a good idea of what you need in terms of dimensions,
grain, figure and to talk to someone there about those needs. If you're
specific, the places I've dealt with are very conscientious about picking
out some good (and matching) boards for you.
It may not be as ideal as actually going into a yard and handpicking your
own boards, but I've had very good luck with it.
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