LumberJocks

Cost of lumber

  • Advertise with us

« back to Wood & Lumber forum

Forum topic by Martini1 posted 09-11-2019 11:48 PM 654 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Martini1's profile

Martini1

9 posts in 345 days


09-11-2019 11:48 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question cherry walnut ash oak maple

General question on what people pay for lumber in different regions of the United States. Obviously there are different costs and quality associated with getting lumber from a store (not a box store) and some guy in the country milling it himself. Just a curiosity thing, but what do you pay for kiln dried 4/4 rough cut cherry, black walnut, red oak, white oak or other common lumber in your state/area?

Upstate NY its about $4-5 a BF for cherry, red oak and maple. A little more for white oak. And around $10 for black walnut Everything is a lot cheaper if you find a guy cutting it himself out in the country.


20 replies so far

View cmacnaughton's profile

cmacnaughton

79 posts in 125 days


#1 posted 09-11-2019 11:57 PM

It’s more expensive than that in Connecticut. The oak price looks about the same but maple costs more than that here and so does walnut. And we’re a pretty forested state.

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

View avsmusic1's profile

avsmusic1

508 posts in 1166 days


#2 posted 09-12-2019 12:20 AM

Yeah CT prices are certainly higher retail. Local millers will sell air dried oak pretty cheap but you have to be on the look out for moisture content. I can get cherry about 4-5 a bdft from local guys too

View Knockonit's profile

Knockonit

603 posts in 683 days


#3 posted 09-12-2019 12:31 AM

Here in Az its expensive, not a whole lotta joints have the nice stuff from midwest, even mesquite here is getting pricey. I try to use some small mill wright fellas, but they are falling by wayside,

I”m headed back to midwest in the spring, gonna drag a trailer i think and or just buy one back there and haul some good stuff back, probably visit my oldest in ATlanta as i did make some contacts there for some goods. time will tell
Rj in az

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

3629 posts in 1055 days


#4 posted 09-12-2019 12:49 AM

We have trees here in Ohio which makes us more affordable than a lot of states. You’ll find transportation being the “cost” to states with no trees. Imports are the different thing, since they come from elsewhere their points of entry have the lowest costs, so our watery border states win there, but again it differs due to transportation to move it further inland.

Beyond that the occasional pile of good luck can strike anywhere, like you see a Craig’s List ad for thousands of BD/FT of choice lumber selling for pennies. Never question that just get in your car. On the scene you will quickly know if you wasted some gas.

-- Think safe, be safe

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1762 posts in 1975 days


#5 posted 09-12-2019 09:53 AM

I am cheap when it comes to lumber prices. If I can not find domestic lumber for $2-4 bdft, then I won’t use it.
But I have no issues finding inexpensively priced lumber. Just about burned through 400 bdft of cherry that cost me $2 bdft, bought ~5 years ago; while local retail price is $6-7.

If I can’t find it reasonable here in AZ, then I haul a trailer load back from forests in OH/IN when I visit family. Walnut is about only domestic wood that breaks the piggy bank, but I can get it locally for $7, and $5 in Midwest.

Biggest issue for AZ is lack of hardwood forests. All the domestic species shipped from east coast are $2-3 bdft higher here than where it grows. We have a lot of juniper and western cedar at reasonable prices from north central mountain ranges in state. Alder is also cheap in AZ, compared to elsewhere. FAS alder is just over $2 bdft.

IMHO – If you want low cost lumber, you have to constantly hunt for it. Skip the retail stores unless you need 1 board for a project. Want the cheap stuff, need to look for commercial sawmills, small sawyers, and lumber yards that process lumber for cabinet shops (and generate cull/shorts). Prices are always lower when buying 2-300 bdft, then they are for 20-30; so comparing prices on a board or three is not fair comparison.
Have to always be prepared to buy in bulk, and store it, for when the deal pops into your life.
Don’t forget when you buy cheap, and share deal with friends too. :)

If don’t know already about lumber hunting, use these tools:

Woodmizer web site – find a local sawyer:
https://woodmizer.com/us/Services/Find-a-Local-Sawyer

You mentioned upstate NY? That covers a lot of area.
Here is google maps search for sawmills near Syracuse as example of how to find mills hiding near you, or places you are willing to drive to get wood:
https://www.google.com/maps/search/sawmill+near+syracuse

Also try looking for “hardwood lumber near XXXX” replacing XXXX with a local town.

FWIW – Another thing to watch for is any company that imports exotic lumber located in your area. There are several importers located in S.CA; which provides lower cost shipping to AZ, compared to east coast.
One of them has been flooding AZ with $4 bdft 4/4 African Mahogany last 6 months. Some of the rift sawn boards look like QS sapele, which makes a stunning project wood for the half the price of sapele. It is almost insulting, mahogany from Africa is cheaper than hard maple from east coast?

+1 on Craigslist deals. Set an email alert for ‘lumber’, and deals eventually show up. Especially during home moving season. Lumber is usually not accepted by commercial moving services, and gets dumped at last minute cheap.

Best luck.

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

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2827 posts in 1703 days


#6 posted 09-12-2019 05:12 PM

In NM it is also expensive, RO about $3, WO about $4, Walnut $8, cherry $5.

One key is to look for alternate sources. I’ve had good luck by checking out flooring suppliers. I get beautiful jatoba for $3-$4 per sq.ft. The pieces clean up to 5/8” thick, but otherwise excellent wood. I also check there clearance boards in the store where they may have leftovers of a few 100 sq.ft. for dirt cheap.

Less so now, but in the past I’ve got trailer loads of red oak for pennies a bf at local university auctions. The wood comes from dorm furniture made from solid hardwoods.

View Knockonit's profile

Knockonit

603 posts in 683 days


#7 posted 09-13-2019 01:22 PM

Many thanks to gene howe for heads up on a vendor who has great price on mesquite, while aways from phoenix, still on a path of my travels.
thanks Gene
Rj in az

View Wintergreen78's profile

Wintergreen78

29 posts in 220 days


#8 posted 09-13-2019 03:43 PM

The local place that only sells s4s lumber sells 8/4 maple for about $20/bd-ft. Needless to say, I don’t buy much from them. The place 35 miles away sells s2s 8/4 maple for about $6/bd-ft. I’m in California so all the typical hardwoods are expensive compared to what I see people back east quote.

View TungOil's profile

TungOil

1319 posts in 975 days


#9 posted 09-15-2019 12:01 PM

Not enough info in your request to answer, you need to specify lumber grade which is the biggest driver to cost. Minimum widths and the size of the order will also impact pricing. The difference between highly figured Cherry, FAS and number 1 common is probably 20x or more. I’ve paid over $50/bf for highly figured 16/4 Cherry, but I’ve also bought it as low as $2.19/bf for FAS random width & lengths in 1,000 bf quantities….

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View cmacnaughton's profile

cmacnaughton

79 posts in 125 days


#10 posted 09-15-2019 11:02 PM

A bit of an addendum to my original post. A local mill (Manchester, CT) just had a sale this weekend. While they had a variety of stock on sale, they had hard maple at $3/BF and $1/BF iwhen you purchase 100 BF or more. It was all 5/4 “character,” there was quite a bit of nice stock to pick from and much of it was jointed on one edge and planed both sides. I got some curly and spalted stock along with regular old maple.

I also discovered happily that I can fit 100BF of maple in my Prius with ease!

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

View Andre's profile

Andre

2750 posts in 2286 days


#11 posted 09-15-2019 11:16 PM

Seems every time I go looking for any wood it has gone up in price? Maple and Walnut used to be about $5.00 bd/ft now over $20.00 for 8/4. I seldom look at 4/4. Not sure why our lumber in Canada is all based on U.S. prices?
Plus anything from the East that’s heading West gets doubled in price and any “good” Cedar from the West heading East gets tripled!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1762 posts in 1975 days


#12 posted 09-15-2019 11:40 PM


Seems every time I go looking for any wood it has gone up in price?
- Andre

+1 Any time I actually need or want a particular species of wood, it always seems to be selling for highest price ever recorded in human history. Drives me nuts!


Sale:
.
. $1/BF iwhen you purchase 100 BF or more. It was all 5/4 “character,” there was quite a bit of nice stock to pick from and much of it was jointed on one edge and planed both sides. I got some curly and spalted stock along with regular old maple.
- cmacnaughton

+1 just confirms my earlier post.
Look for sales, buy in 100+ bdft quantity, and cheapest stuff is usually rustic or common lumber that often has figure hiding inside.
BTW – Congratulations, $1 bdft for kiln dried lumber is stock up price. Go back and get another load.

Cheers!

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

View cmacnaughton's profile

cmacnaughton

79 posts in 125 days


#13 posted 09-15-2019 11:47 PM


+1 just confirms my earlier post.
Look for sales, buy in 100+ bdft quantity, and cheapest stuff is usually rustic or common lumber that often has figure hiding inside.
BTW – Congratulations, $1 bdft for kiln dried lumber is stock up price. Go back and get another load.

Cheers!

- CaptainKlutz


Sadly it was a 5-hour sale. I think 100BF will last me until the next sale, though!

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

View BMichs75's profile

BMichs75

81 posts in 2139 days


#14 posted 09-15-2019 11:57 PM

View Woodmaster1's profile

Woodmaster1

1210 posts in 3068 days


#15 posted 09-16-2019 12:08 AM

Domestic hardwood that I buy from the woodworking club is relatively inexpensive. We cut and solar kiln dry our own from donated logs. Last year we cut 23 walnut logs as well as some poplar, oak, sycamore and maple. We also bought 700 bdft of cherry for a $1 a bdft at an auction. Profits from wood sales pays half the cost of running the club’s shop.

showing 1 through 15 of 20 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com