Keeping track of wood prices

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Forum topic by Wiley posted 06-28-2010 08:38 PM 2467 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Wiley's profile


71 posts in 4000 days

06-28-2010 08:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question prices

So far here in Denver I’ve shopped for wood at Paxton, Austin, Woodcraft, and Rockler. And I’m close to giving up on keeping track of prices. None of them have pricing information online, Austin doesn’t even have pricing available in the store without talking to the sales staff, and the price differences can be quite significant. And completely unpredictable. Woodcraft is more expensive than Paxton on Wenge, but their Walnut is half the price by board foot. What do most people do? Spreadsheets to keep track of prices on different woods at different stores, or just picking one store and hoping it all evens out?

-- "When you lose the power to laugh, you lose the power to think straight" - Inherit the Wind

23 replies so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4697 days

#1 posted 06-28-2010 09:18 PM

you are lucky to have options. i have one lumber retailer plus woodcraft. the dealer wins every time, but not by as much as i wish.

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 4010 days

#2 posted 06-28-2010 09:36 PM

I have two near me. Bluelinks, which merged with Austin they have good prices. And I have Adam’s that is a Molding company but sells hardwood mostly domestic and they will e-mail their pricing when asked. So I have one for Exotics and Imports. Everything else is 200 miles away.

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3955 days

#3 posted 06-28-2010 11:04 PM

I do not have that many choices. For domestic I do, but I stick with the same few sawmills because they are very good to me. That definitely falls in the area of things where I will be loyal and not worry if I’m getting the absolute best deal “today”. For the amount of free lumber they often throw in, I’m getting the best deal.

As far as exotic, I’ve only bought at Woodcraft. I’ve heard there is another place.. and some local lumberyards… (am new to this city) but haven’t checked them out yet. I wish we had a Rockler! I love their website. I do not mind being loyal to Woodcraft – the store is great, and I’d like it to continue being there.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 3924 days

#4 posted 06-29-2010 12:14 AM

Hey Wiley, I just checked Craigslist real quick and found a few small sawyers in the Denver area … you’ll probably get better prices from them than you will the retail stores. (But, if you are looking for exotics, you’ll be stuck with the retail outlets.)

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 3924 days

#5 posted 06-29-2010 12:18 AM

As far as what to do to keep track … there’s no real good answer. Experience goes a long way, but also stop in at the stores from time to time to see what they’ve got. It would be nice if there was a standard, but realistically that’s not going to happen due to the variability in figure in the wood.

View a1Jim's profile


118153 posts in 4546 days

#6 posted 06-29-2010 12:49 AM

I shop for what I need and who has what I need at the best price when I need it. Delivery is a big factor for me since I’m far away from all of the suppliers.


View KayBee's profile


1083 posts in 4215 days

#7 posted 06-29-2010 08:32 AM

I’ll call them a lot of times. Then go look at the cheapest one first to see if it’s anything worth buying. Also helps to have the name of the person who quoted price because you can get different answer in person. Their price can change with every shipment. woodcraft and rockler usually pretty steady on price though.

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4043 days

#8 posted 06-29-2010 02:13 PM

I almost always buy my domestic lumber directly from a sawmill and they always give me a great price.

Exotic lumber is a different matter. It is very difficult to compare prices because selection is so limited. If I see it and I like it and I intuitively think the price is fair – I buy it. I have a pretty good knowledge of what exotics should cost based on my experience.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3895 days

#9 posted 06-29-2010 03:50 PM

Jim, have you ever purchased from Crosscuts in Portland?

It may be a distance from you, but definately worth a look.

They had a huge selection of exotics when I was there last (it has been a few years), including a lift of purpleheart planks about 4” thick x 10” wide x 20’+ long that had just arrived.

I purchased purpleheart, yellowheart, lacewood, bubinga, and a sampling of other woods, some I had never seen before (only in books).

On the topic, in Edmonton Alberta, we have three main lumber suppliers for hardwoods, two have exotics.
I set up accounts with all three, and do keep checking in with them “in case I NEED something”...

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 3924 days

#10 posted 06-29-2010 05:40 PM

Crosscut is fairly expensive … but, if you want exotics it is one of the better places to go in town.

View childress's profile


841 posts in 4510 days

#11 posted 06-30-2010 05:31 PM

Wiley, what I’ve found out is that the price of lumber fluctuates almost daily, Kinda like gas. That is why you don’t find any prices without talking to someone.

I think that’s why A1jim said “I shop for what I need and who has what I need at the best price when I need it”

Of course, this come from experience with dealing with lumberyards only, not retailers, but I’m sure that’s why you are having trouble with “keeping track” of the prices. You will probably just need to shop around at the time you need what you need. Hope this helps

-- Childress Woodworks

View noknot's profile


548 posts in 4410 days

#12 posted 06-30-2010 07:51 PM

If you have a home depo they will order what ever you want


View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 4861 days

#13 posted 06-30-2010 10:20 PM

I hate living near a big city (Atlanta), but one good thing about it is the selection of lumber suppliers. I can buy just about anything, exotic or domestic, rough from 4/4 to 12/4 at good prices.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View sandhill's profile


2128 posts in 4893 days

#14 posted 07-01-2010 12:31 AM

And you will pay top price from HD and not get the better stuff that you get when you can pick your own but that even goes for mail order unless you see a picture of what you actually ordered.

View 76winger's profile


151 posts in 4086 days

#15 posted 07-01-2010 03:32 AM

I need to find some lumber mills in my area for future projects where I need longer pieces of lumber. I can get a lot of what I need at Woodcraft or Rocker when I only need a single piece, but I can see how the price would quickly skyrocket for a larger project needing sever boards.

For local timber in use with my turning projects, I’m getting a lot of stuff given to me. Cherry, Walnut, Boxelder and even Persimmon (is this any good?) is starting to build up in my storage. Of course it’s firewood length and green so I have to halve or quater it, seal the ends and set it aside for a long time before I can used it, but it’s inventory none the less!

For exotic woods of any size though, retailers seem to be about the only choice whether storefront or Internet.

-- Dave, See some of my creations at:

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