Hot Spots for Cool Lumber

Photo courtesy Todd Damon, Wood Werks Supply.

In a recent eZine issue, Rob asked you all to tell him which wood species is your favorite. Not surprisingly, and to our delight, the emails poured in. He was downright cyber buried! If you didn’t happen to read his editorial, click here to catch up.

So, now that we know which woods are good as gold to you, I want to ask the logical extension to his question: Where do you get the wood you love most?

I’m lucky enough to live about 20 minutes away from one of my favorite sources—Wood Werks Supply, here in Columbus, Ohio. But, I’ve ordered plenty of it from out of state for certain projects, too. West Penn Hardwoods once shipped me some beautiful quartersawn white oak for a big commissioned Arts & Crafts piece. The rays and flakes were unbelievable. I purchased some lovely Port Orford Cedar from Northwest Timber years back for another story, and I’ve driven a long distances for it, too. Thankfully, here in central Ohio, lumber suppliers aren’t that hard to come buy. A good deal of what I can find around here is actually harvested only a state or two away—Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, Kentucky—or it’s felled right here in Ohio.

I know that for many of you, wood comes from less commercial venues as well. Some of you cut and dry it from your own land. Others own portable mills and make good use of what nature drops after a big storm. “Backyard” lumber, for lack of a better term, offers great savings if you have the means to process it. I once bought a pile of black walnut from my mailman, of all people. He took a different route entirely to get it. The city sold the log to him after they removed the huge tree from a boulevard location. It would have been turned to mulch had he not taken action to save it. He had it sawn into boards by a local Amish mill, then he stickered and dried it out out back of his house for a couple years. I bought it for $1.50 a board foot. While most of it wasn’t primo quality, I sure made some nice things from it. I also appreciated knowing exactly where it came from. A few of the boards were clear and 18 in. wide!

But enough rambling from me. How about you? Where are your “hot spots” for great lumber? Tell us about the sources you trust for quality material or excellent service. Maybe you know just where to go for extraordinary fiddleback maple or 10/4 clear cherry. If, like my mailman, you’re the really resourceful sort, fill us in on how we might find lumber from unlikely sources close to home. We all know it’s not getting any cheaper. So, where do you spend your board bucks?

Hope you’ll offer up some good sources and even some smart tips!

Catch you in the shop,

Chris Marshall, Field Editor

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