Locating a good source of lumber?

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Forum topic by MikeDVB posted 08-03-2018 08:17 PM 1291 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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180 posts in 1789 days

08-03-2018 08:17 PM


So I just got a divorce not long ago and will actually be able to spend some of my time woodworking now.

That said all I’ve ever gotten before now is wood from the big box stores – Lowes, Menard’s, etc.

I’d like to find an actual mill or lumber yard of some kind but I’m not sure where to look / what to look for. I have a 6” Jointer and a planer so I can finish some smaller boards myself and would be interested in lumber with only a single flat side.

That said the selection at the local box stores is usually less than impressive and quite expensive.

Any suggestions on where to look and what to look for specifically?

-- Mike

26 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2134 posts in 770 days

#1 posted 08-03-2018 08:46 PM

check your local CraigsList for lumber in “all” categories.

for example: Lumber Boards



-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View MikeDVB's profile


180 posts in 1789 days

#2 posted 08-03-2018 08:49 PM

check your local CraigsList for lumber in “all” categories.



- John Smith

I’ll give that a look. Trying to find a source I can go to over and over.

-- Mike

View AandCstyle's profile


3265 posts in 2864 days

#3 posted 08-03-2018 09:24 PM

Mike, you can also look at for any mills in your area that have paid to be listed meaning that it is not all inclusive. FWIW

-- Art

View Snowbeast's profile


121 posts in 1946 days

#4 posted 08-03-2018 09:25 PM

Find a local trophy shop and ask where their plaque maker gets his wood. A lot of trophy shops sell specialty plaques, etc., that can’t be ordered from big suppliers.

Or, try a Bing search for “hardwood lumber dealers in (your local area)”. That should give you a starting point.

View Rayne's profile


1298 posts in 2147 days

#5 posted 08-03-2018 11:27 PM

You can always buy online from places like Bell Forest, which has a very good selection with good prices (well for me anyways as I’m somewhat limited in Central FL). And as someone else mentioned, Craigslist / FB Marketplace are also good places to look. I’ve bought a few from those listings for a good price.

View diverlloyd's profile


3759 posts in 2465 days

#6 posted 08-04-2018 12:03 AM

There are numerous mills in Indiana but not many are advertised. Also lots of nice lumberjocks in our state. Where are you located so we can narrow down the search for you and how far do you want to drive?

View ruger's profile


134 posts in 703 days

#7 posted 08-04-2018 01:45 AM

i live in wisconsin, and have purchased a lot of hardwood from local venders.. then i found a great place with great prices below what i had been paying. Ocooch hardwoods in viola wi. my wife and i drove there last month to check it out..they run their store out of a barn on their property. the young kids running the buisness were very cool. we went for a tour of the place. the young man who gave me the look around the lumber barn was bare foot and chickens every laid back. they have a web site and ship world wide. purchased yellow heart,,purple heart and some zebra wood. they were almost half the price of my previous lumber purchase. can’t say enough about the place,great people. I don’t think the village has more than 500 people living there. S and S cycle has an engine plant there, i think every one in the town works there.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


2251 posts in 2102 days

#8 posted 08-04-2018 11:30 AM

Profile says central Indiana?
I lived in that area for 10+ years when I was younger wood worker.

There are MANY MANY hardwood lumber sources ‘nearby’, if you search right places.

#1) Woodmizer world head quarters in located in Indianapolis. There are a lot of local wood workers and farmers who own saw mills and sell excess lumber. Challenge is that most smaller sawyers sell by word of mouth, and not internet advertising. Many folks also get into wood farming for short period and then stop; so finding sources is a constant effort. WoodMizer has a find a local sawyer page.

#2) Visit Rockler and Woodcraft in Indianapolis. Check the business card boards for local wood sources. Ask folks in store where they buy wood at decent prices. (hint-it is not a BORG, will likely be some from Woodmizer list)

#3) Go to Google Maps and search for ‘hardwood lumber’ in the area you are willing to drive.
- You will find a couple hardwood lumber yards in Indianapolis.
- Hollingsworth in Russiaville mills local lumber and used to have nice local selection when I lived there.

#3) Search on Craigslist as others have suggested. Many urban recycle sawyers are selling on Craigslist these day.

#4) On north and south ends of state there numerous sources for hardwood hiding in woods. Those currently operating should be on WoodMizer search list. What I remember:
There are a couple of sawyers clustered near Elkheart on north. On drive between then Indianapolis and Louisville there used to be over a dozen small/medium volume hardwood sawyers less than 20 mile drive off of I65? There are also 4-5 mills located within 10 miles of I74 between Shelbyville and Ohio state line.
Example – Used to pick up 1/2 price oak/cherry lumber shorts from Carson’s Lumber in Sunman, that was left overs from their wood flooring sales.

I live in Arizona desert, wished I still had that much lumber near me all the time.
Enjoy your plentiful bounty!

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Redoak49's profile


4355 posts in 2596 days

#9 posted 08-04-2018 11:32 AM

Northwest Lumber in Indianapolis

View therealSteveN's profile


4648 posts in 1182 days

#10 posted 08-04-2018 12:07 PM

South Central Indiana is just swimming with trees. If Central means around Indy then Google for woodworking clubs there. IIRC there are 2, inquire where they go for hardwoods. Just say it will be worth whatever effort you put forth in savings on a much better, lower cost source of wood. You might want to invest the few bucks for entry to a woodworking club. I belong to WOW (Western Ohio Woodworkers), and the dirt cheap membership has saved me thousands on wood over the years, plus gotten me sources I may not have found without them.

Good luck, half the fun is hunting.

-- Think safe, be safe

View therealSteveN's profile


4648 posts in 1182 days

#11 posted 08-04-2018 12:14 PM

Northwest Lumber in Indianapolis

- Redoak49

Looks like a lot of inventory, but prices are screaming high. If you can get down to Union City on the Indiana side, check Frank Miler Lumber, much more reasonable for the same stock. Northwest probably buys from them.

-- Think safe, be safe

View therealSteveN's profile


4648 posts in 1182 days

#12 posted 08-04-2018 12:23 PM

Probably closer to me but in Eastern Indiana where I call it west western Cincinnati Ohio is John Carsons Lumber Mill John is as nice a guy as you’ll meet, he buys trees, does all his own milling, finishing and drying, and you can buy stock from rough, and green to dimensioned and kiln dried. I’ve always found his prices to be acceptable, but he is a guy who doesn’t have anyone but himself telling him what he needs to get, so if you keep buying, the price keeps dropping. I usually call him to see if he has a selection of what I am looking for, and he is honest about what he has so you don’t waste a trip, but if you don’t need it today, he will put you on his list to follow up when he gets whatever it is you need. Still does business like your Grandpa did.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Robert's profile


3602 posts in 2088 days

#13 posted 08-04-2018 06:59 PM

Woodfinder is just going to give you commercial suppliers.

Its harder to find sawmills but not impossible they show up on Craigslist alot. Try Google Maps and search for sawmills.

You’re going to be pretty limited milling rough stock with a 6” planer.

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

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4369 days

#14 posted 08-05-2018 01:50 AM

The Frank Miller Lumber Co. is in Union City Indiana, right on the Indiana/Ohio line, and about 25 miles North of I70. This is a 100 year old operation that mills millions of board feet per year.

That said, they have a retail outlet that caters to the smaller user. They have all the domestic hardwoods and a wide selection of imported woods as well. They specialize in quarter sawn woods.

This is a woodworker’s “candy store”. Be sure to take a pick-up truck or van that can haul all your stash.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View MikeDVB's profile


180 posts in 1789 days

#15 posted 08-05-2018 02:03 AM

I appreciate everybody that has replied.

To be honest I’m just new to this so I didn’t even know where to start. I do know the box stores are more expensive with a limited selection. I’m honestly not even sure what reasonable pricing is vs expensive. I suppose that’s something I’ll need to figure out.

I’m hoping to work with maple or oak.

-- Mike

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