Online lumber supply recommendations?
February 10, 2011 6:40 AM   Subscribe

Where's a good place to get wood online? [NOT CODE]

I'm getting into wood turning and I'd like to order blocks of lumber cheaply. Planks and timbers from a local hardware store aren't appropriately sized (chunks or blocks are best), or they're treated wood, which isn't appropriate either.

There is a wood-turning store nearby but their blocks are very high quality hardwoods, priced appropriately. As a hobbyist just starting out, I'd rather find a cheaper source for now.

Is there an Amazon-like supplier of wood blocks? Do you have any personal experience ordering from lumber suppliers online, specifically for wood-turners?
posted by odinsdream to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You can find some of that stuff on eBay, but if you live in an area with trees then the cheapest thing is to just get chunks of local stuff from tree services or trees that fall over in storms.
posted by jon1270 at 6:45 AM on February 10, 2011

How big a blank are you looking for?

Lee Valley sells a wide variety of pen blanks online if that's what you are looking for.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:23 AM on February 10, 2011

A couple thoughts, is there a wood turning club in your area? If so join it, the members usually have inside lines on odd suppliers, ie. most towns and cities have some guy with a portable sawmill. Whatever you pay on membership dues will be more than offset by the savings on lumber and tools.

Also, as stated above phone around to your local arborists, some will give you a ring when they are cutting down a nice tree so you can come by and pick up the pieces. If you slip them some cash they can usually leave it in bigger chunks too.

Failing all that you can also laminate blocks together by glueing up a bunch of pieces of lumberyard wood. This can also be done for decorative effect, I have seen guys make celtic knots and the like on the surface with different species of wood.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 7:35 AM on February 10, 2011

Put notices on Craigslist and freecycle. Somebody's got lots of great wood pieces in their garage or basement and will happy to give them to you.
posted by theora55 at 7:52 AM on February 10, 2011

Is there an Amazon-like supplier of wood blocks?

For what it's worth, I found this collection of carving blanks... on Amazon.
posted by mhum at 8:58 AM on February 10, 2011

Berkshire Products has amazing lumber. They will ship most of their inventory. I have killed many hours drooling over their boards.
posted by woodjockey at 9:02 AM on February 10, 2011

Both WoodCraft and Rockler sell turning blanks online.
posted by notyou at 9:11 AM on February 10, 2011

I've had good luck at local sawmills. I like to see what I'm buying beforehand as well as using local materials. When I started out turning, I also came across some black walnut that someone was using as firewood. Paying UPS to ship wood just doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
posted by mearls at 9:21 AM on February 10, 2011

I have had good luck on ebay, especially when I was just learning and half of the pieces turned into a giant pile of shavings.
posted by burlsube at 9:54 AM on February 10, 2011

I have had good luck with Cook woods. They also sell on Ebay
posted by Redhush at 11:27 AM on February 10, 2011

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