Need Wood?
March 29, 2013 7:24 AM   Subscribe

A professional woodworker is finally closing down his shop post post-retirement and finding some large pieces of exotic hardwood e.g. 12'x16"x1.25" rosewood, that have been stacked for decades. CL and ebay don't seem to have much of a market... How would you try to sell these relics?
posted by to Shopping (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
He could try selling them to luthiers. They use all sorts of exotic woods in instrument repair and construction.
posted by mareli at 7:39 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Luthiers would probably be very interested in rosewood stock - I don't know of any one large online lutherie community, but there are various Yahoo/Google type groups out there, it might be worth looking them up and mentioning it there.

One thing to be aware of: some Rosewoods are endangered and now protected under the CITES treaty and possibly the Lacey Act, so it's worth doing due dilignence on the species and provenance of the wood before making broad public announcements/advertisements. Assuming this is in the US, the Justice Department has been known to raid businesses and confiscate wood.
posted by usonian at 7:44 AM on March 29, 2013

There is probably a community shop near you where you could put up flyers--try searching for "woodworking class."
posted by hydrophonic at 7:44 AM on March 29, 2013

One of the problems you may have with selling exotics to professionals is that the documentation needs to be pretty flawless to avoid running afoul of the Lacey Act. If you can document the chain of ownership fairly well, you mighty try talking to someone like Natalie at Luthier's Mercantile, they move a lot of rosewood.

Other option might be posts on LumberJocks or Sawmill Creek.
posted by straw at 7:46 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Reddit has a woodworking forum that is really popular. Posting there with your location would garner several responses I'm sure.
posted by sanka at 7:49 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

A few ideas:
1. You can get an idea of prices by checking online. One of the better places I've found in the Pacific Northwest is Hardwood Industries in Oregon. There is an example of their current discount lumber here.
2. It wouldn't hurt to contact higher-end custom cabinet shops. There is a shop in my town that stocks exotic woods-- I know because I've bought from them before-- not for cabinets, but for furniture making projects.
3. If your friend can ship to Washington state fairly easily, I might be interested in buying up to $500 for our local Technology Education student club. I wouldn't need an extensive provenance like Straw suggested, but it would need to be documented that the wood is what he says it is. Unfortunately, $500 is the limit of my available funding for this project, but if your friend wants to take a tax break by donating it to my school, then we might be able to take everything and then use the $500 to pay his shipping cost. Memail me if you like.
4. Plenty of other good answers upthread already. Good luck with your friend!
posted by seasparrow at 7:58 AM on March 29, 2013

Where are you ? On my local craigs list, under materials, I regularly see posts about wood -- both "exotics" and locally milled stuff.

There are ~3 typical posters -- someone who owns a woodmiser type mill who sells local stuff, (quarter sawn oak, walnut, cherry, poplar etc) higher end lumber places announcing sales, and then people like your friend - folks who have a collection of wood for some reason or another, and trying to off load it (Usually it's a woodworker who died or is moving and doesn't want to truck their 800 board-feet of whatever they have).

Are you asking for retail or near retail prices ? If so, well, CL isn't for that. Price it to move and it should. Might be in bits/droves (versus whole-lot), but if the right person finds it and you've got it priced well, you may sell the whole lot to one buyer.
posted by k5.user at 8:31 AM on March 29, 2013

Last time I looked, Fine Woodworking magazine had classified ads for exactly this kind of wood sale.
posted by Bruce H. at 8:50 AM on March 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

So a quick scan through's AskMeFi q's suggests central Pennsylvania as a location. I'm on the other coast in an area that's both a hotbed of custom furniture making and instrument building, so my experiences are definitely going to be different, but a few additional notes:
  • Do you have a local woodworking association? In my area, the Sonoma County Woodworker's Association has an announcements list, and we'll occasionally get "hey, so and so has a stash of..." emails.
  • You aren't going to get retail prices for the wood. You don't have a retail store. Or, you might get retail prices if you keep up a steady stream of Craigslist postings and you happen to catch someone when they need exactly that piece of wood. Remember that retail markup is roughly 2x.
  • As a Craigslist buyer, I operate in two modes: "Oh, wow, that looks like a great price, I'll toss that in the attic and wait for a project to come around"; and and "I have a specific need for that item, and it looks like a decent price". "Decent price" is discounted a good bit off retail, "great price" is ~ $2/bd.ft. for figured lumber (yes, that's obscenely low, I have an inventory right now).
  • Can you find a local Woodcraft or similar and see if they'd be interested in buying it from you at a wholesale price?

posted by straw at 8:59 AM on March 29, 2013

Perhaps the local artist community would be interested? I bartered some very large, high quality cedar boards to a local wood artist, in return for two nice bowls.

A win for both of us.
posted by lstanley at 9:03 AM on March 29, 2013

Depending on the price you're looking for and the actual shipping costs, I'd be interested in at least some of the rosewood stock you have. I have a few projects planned that I could make good use of it's properties.
posted by schade at 10:22 AM on March 29, 2013

Your location would be very helpful.

For a few planks being sold to an individual woodworker, I would not worry about the CITES / Lacey stuff; the Feds don't have that kind of time.
posted by jon1270 at 12:45 PM on March 29, 2013

You might want to contact sellers who carry exotics and might have customers for things that are hard to obtain. In the Oxford, PA area, I would try Hearne Hardwoods. From what I gather of your location, that might be close enough.
posted by JMOZ at 5:11 AM on March 30, 2013

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