New to woodworking, need advice

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Forum topic by Ems070310 posted 05-27-2016 03:43 PM 1825 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6 posts in 1647 days

05-27-2016 03:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: cedar cherry maple oak pine ash alder teak walnut willow question

Hi everyone, I am new to woodworking although I am not as familiar with this particular skill as far as actually building things myself, it is in my blood as my late father built the house we lived in until I was three and many of the furniture pieces I’ve inherited. Anyway, I am looking to have lumber on hand for the simple projects I plan on starting. My family is working at going green so I would prefer to reuse wood. I am in no way looking for a free ride as far as “cheap or free” goes however, we don’t have a lot of money to spend on the beautiful reclaimed woods I’ve seen online. We also live in the desert and any lumber we find out here is either weathered to the point of splitting or such poor quality I can’t do anything with it let alone salvage it. Does anyone know of a reputable lumber site I can order from that has reclaimed wood for a fair price? I apologize for the silly question but, it has been my dream to build things that people love and that makes them happy. I appreciate any help given. Hope all is well with everyone.

21 replies so far

View HokieKen's profile


15326 posts in 2055 days

#1 posted 05-27-2016 05:03 PM

Hi EMS. Welcome to the site. I don’t have any suggestions for what you’ve asked. But, I can tell you what I’ve found for small projects. When I need small pieces of wood, I swing by a local place that mills mouldings. They let me dig through their “burn pile” where I can usually find what I need as long as I don’t need anything longer than 24” or so. It’s not exactly recycled but it’s wood that would otherwise just be burned or put in a landfill so IMHO it’s still a “green” initiative :) I know that a lot of people do the same thing at cabinet shops or furniture makers that are local to them.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1665 days

#2 posted 05-27-2016 06:14 PM

My usual wood supply places are Houston Hardwood (in Houston) and Dakota Hardwoods in Waco. I’m sure you can order from either. The Houston place is set up so that you roam the stacks of surfaced and unsurfaced and pick what you want. And they have a ‘cut-off’ area with smaller pieces of many wood types. Probably they are far from you, but I thought I’d mention them. Houston Hardwood has some rather exotic woods.

And, my brother sells reclaimed heart pine and Cypress from old homes built in the back half of the 1800’s, if that would interest you. I think you can google him up at 601 Salvage in Natchez, MS.

View AZWoody's profile


1478 posts in 2140 days

#3 posted 05-27-2016 06:26 PM

I would agree with the others and look for cutoffs rather than reclaimed if price is a factor. Somehow, “reclaimed” has became another word for overpriced used lumber and it’s gotten ridiculous what people are charging for wood with that label nowadays.

View Loren's profile


10788 posts in 4564 days

#4 posted 05-27-2016 07:15 PM

You can reclaim lumber from yard sale finds, furniture
in dumpsters and so forth. It can be a fair amount
of work to take existing furniture pieces apart for
material, but it’s a great way to save money. Everything
to do with woodworking is expensive if you pay retail,
so I’ve always tried to buy used tools when I could find
what I wanted on the secondhand market.

Be patient, keep your eye open and a pair of gloves
and some demolition tools in your car. A round table
top can be removed from a pedestal base with a screwdriver
usually and after that it’s not too hard to break it in
half to stick it in a car trunk. That’s just an example
of how I think about salvaging.

Doors can be good sources of wood too.

View Robert's profile


4152 posts in 2397 days

#5 posted 05-27-2016 09:19 PM

Generally speaking, reclaimed lumber goes for crazy money up to $10 BF around me.

I think you’re odds of finding enough in dumpsters, etc. are pretty slim.

One option so look into is finding beams and having them resawed but of course you loose the patina.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Aj2's profile (online now)


3499 posts in 2714 days

#6 posted 05-27-2016 09:28 PM

Reclaimed woods are more difficult to work than new.And as others mentioned will cost you more than new if it’s got any kinda value.
Your best hope is to find someone to mentor you or find a group of woodworker that you can hangout with when they meet.
There’s lots to learn but you don’t have learn the hard way.


-- Aj

View firefighterontheside's profile


21278 posts in 2773 days

#7 posted 05-27-2016 09:29 PM

Look at craigslist materials section every day.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View Ems070310's profile


6 posts in 1647 days

#8 posted 05-27-2016 10:52 PM

Thanks so much for all of the help! You are all awesome! I forgot to mention. I found a brand new, still in box, never used craftsmen miter saw for $60 bucks at a yard sale! This is going to be the best investment I’ve ever made as I will get a lot of use out of it. I’ve checked the hardware stores like Home Depot and lowes and craftsmen miter saws were anywhere from 180-200 USD. I am SO EXCITED! I’ve already started on one project. I’m turning a full sized head and foot board into a bench! I cannot wait! I will post pics of the project soon! Again, thank you for your help. I look forward to posting again soon!

View Ems070310's profile


6 posts in 1647 days

#9 posted 05-27-2016 10:56 PM

@ Aj, thank you so much for your positive feedback! It speaks volumes. I will definitely keep that in mind.

View Ems070310's profile


6 posts in 1647 days

#10 posted 05-27-2016 10:59 PM

Reclaimed woods are more difficult to work than new.And as others mentioned will cost you more than new if it s got any kinda value.
Your best hope is to find someone to mentor you or find a group of woodworker that you can hangout with when they meet.
There s lots to learn but you don t have learn the hard way.


- Aj2

Thank you so much Aj. You don’t know how nice it is to hear that. That means a lot.

View Ger21's profile


1099 posts in 4047 days

#11 posted 05-28-2016 12:20 AM

See if you have a Habitat for Humanity “re-store” near you.

-- Gerry,

View Kirk650's profile


680 posts in 1665 days

#12 posted 05-28-2016 12:57 AM

I don’t know where the OP lives, and that may make my suggestion worthless, but look around for fellows with those small sawmills (wood miser type). They may have wood they don’t need or want. I used to get a good bit of nice lumber from a friend near where we live. People would bring him logs to saw into planks, but then not show up to pay for it. And, on occasion, I’d tractor over an oak log or cedar log for him to mill. It was pretty cheap. Now my friend has passed away, and my one big nut tree (walnut or butternut, I think) died and fell over. Gotta find another small mill.

Old Friend Pete gave me: walnut, cedar, hackberry, persimmon, pine and mesquite.

View kizerpea's profile


775 posts in 3284 days

#13 posted 05-28-2016 01:47 AM

First welcome! It’s your dream peruse it.


View onoitsmatt's profile


446 posts in 2092 days

#14 posted 05-28-2016 03:00 AM

Welcome to the forum! Where are you located? That information will generate better replies. You won’t want to pay shipping on lumber.

-- Matt - Phoenix, AZ

View MustacheMike's profile


263 posts in 3005 days

#15 posted 05-28-2016 11:29 AM


-- You can trust Mike -" because I will never pull your stash!" See my show weekly at

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