buying rought cut lumber

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Forum topic by Guss posted 12-05-2011 10:13 PM 11350 views 1 time favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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94 posts in 3407 days

12-05-2011 10:13 PM

I have a couple of Questions about buying rough cut lumber. Is it cheaper to buy by square foot or by broad foot? Do you guys have any online suppliers that you guys use for rough cut lumber that are reasonable on there prices?

25 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5329 posts in 4927 days

#1 posted 12-05-2011 10:21 PM

Most will sell by the board foot. Each seller is different. Can you process the rough sawn?

-- [email protected]

View usnret's profile


184 posts in 3475 days

#2 posted 12-05-2011 10:24 PM

A board foot is 144 cubic inches, and a square foot is 144 cubic inches. They are the same thing. The way you figure it out is multiply length (in) x width (in) x thickness (in) / 144 = board feet.
so 24”x6”x1”/144=1 bf, = 1 sq ft. Now board feet are determined by the thickness so 12”x6”x2”/144=1bf, = .5 sqft. So they are the same if you buy 1” thick.

-- Chief Petty Officer USN(RET) 1991-2011

View pintodeluxe's profile


6290 posts in 3780 days

#3 posted 12-05-2011 10:38 PM

Any rough cut lumber will save you money, lots of money.
When I used to buy finished S4S lumber, I would come home with a few boards (always one short of a finished project). Now I come home with trailer loads full of lumber.
You will buy it by the board foot, and I suggest looking locally from small mills or property owners.
If the lumber has air dried for more than a year, you can often finish drying with a home dehumidifyer, heater and fans. Avoid green lumber unless you want to stack and sticker it for a year or more.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Guss's profile


94 posts in 3407 days

#4 posted 12-06-2011 01:36 AM

The problem i have is there are no local hard wood suppliers and no hardwood trees we (have pine and aspen)
I have been getting finished lumber from Paxton lumber in Denver (its a 4 hour drive one way) but i think that they are a little high on there prices. what grade do you guys use I make mostly small projects and cutting boards. Im planning on making some furniture in the future.

View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 4709 days

#5 posted 12-06-2011 01:40 AM

The price for rough cut is much lower, but you will spend significant time cleaning it up.

If it is all hobby (time is free) then you save big bucks.
If you want to spend more time making THINGS, and less time making Flat Boards… then the economics vary.

Note that even if you buy planed lumber, it wont be flat and ready for use, but you will save a ton of wear on your planer and jointer knives.

I get my stuff in Kansas City, prices are good, from Metro Hardwoods. They are the “Consumer/Retail seller” side of Liberty Hardwoods in KC.
I can get it delivered to Salina Kansas – 170 miles for a 40 dollar drop fee.

Steve Wall Lumber is very popular, though I have not used them. They usually ship to a freight terminal (probably Denver) not to residential but you might see what thier cost is. Since you do a lot of small stuff they also have UPS bundles as specials that will ship by UPS for a not crazy fee, given gas cost to go to denver and back.

Basically all the good lumber is East and West coasts.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3889 days

#6 posted 12-06-2011 01:45 AM

Check out Lumber Locator. If you are driving 4 hours one way it might be advantageous to buy online and have it shipped.

-- Life is good.

View DrDirt's profile


4615 posts in 4709 days

#7 posted 12-06-2011 01:53 AM

EDIT to the above
Wall Lumber doesn’t do the UPS bundle – - they call it a 20 BF bundle and it ships Fedex Ground

It is more expensive than I remember – 20BF of 4/4 red oak is 98 bucks – so 4.90/bf whichi is pretty high.

Metro hardwoods – My supplier:





-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View RogerM's profile


807 posts in 3365 days

#8 posted 12-06-2011 03:01 AM

Gus – A square foot is an area of measurement comprised of 144 square inches. In even terms, an area bounded by 4 sides that are 12 inches in length. A board foot is a measure of volume. In even terms, it also is 12 inches square (just like a square foot) but is one inch thick which makes a board foot 144 cubic inches.. When calculating multiply the width (in inches), length (in inches), and thickness (in inches) of a board and divide by 144 for the number of board feet in a board. Most all wood (especially hardwood) is sold by the board foot. I grew up in Elkhart, Kansas (on the Colorado line) and have been through your are many times. I throughly understand about the limited availability of good wood out there. I understand that there is a Paxton’s in Albuquerque as well. You might give them a try.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View DanceParty's profile


59 posts in 3488 days

#9 posted 12-06-2011 03:05 AM

As others have mentioned, s4s is never truly square and flat. Best and cheapest option is getting lumber rough and then milling it yourself if you have the equipment.

First check this website

Second, not all places that sell lumber list on that website. I.e. distributors who usually are hesitant about selling retail won’t really list on that website. But, they often have the best prices because your cutting out the middle man. Luckily, I don’t have problems purchasing from those types of places. Although, you might be just buying small quantities, to them at least, you might be able to pick up “shorts” (stuff that is scraps to them) which to us is a pretty good board. Another option is to purchase shorts and scraps from millwork shops or cabinet shops, just call around… a lot of shops, which have a lot of work, don’t have the room to keep all the spoilage from jobs another option.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10917 posts in 4614 days

#10 posted 12-06-2011 06:03 AM

Some plywood dealers also sell hardwoods, but don’t really advertise
it since they service industry primarily. I’d be surprised if there’s
only one show in town in a city the size of Denver.

View ZiggyZ's profile


65 posts in 3351 days

#11 posted 12-06-2011 06:38 AM


I am in Colorado Springs. If you go to Denver, check out Austin Hardwoods. Google it for their website and you can see what they all have. You can get S4S, rough, millwork, or just about anything there and their prices are the best I’ve found. Also, if you can establish a wholesale account, they do that along with Wellco Hardwoods here in the Springs.


View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3442 days

#12 posted 12-07-2011 05:56 AM

That is what I do! I sell to local woodworkers rough sawn, air dried hardwood.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View Guss's profile


94 posts in 3407 days

#13 posted 12-08-2011 03:35 AM

thanks. ziggyz what does it take to have an wholesale account there. I talked to paxtons about an industrial account there is some what of a discount. I also talked to a local cabinet shop and they said they would order me wood . bit i still think its seems on the pricy side. how much do you guys pay for 4/4 rough cut Walnut, Purple heart, padauk, and soft maple? here is what I got for Quote at paxtons on a industrial account. this was all high grade lumber which i know i don’t need. Walnut was 7.05 bf Soft maple 2.95 bf Paduke 8.00 bf Purple heart 10.60 bf

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 4333 days

#14 posted 12-08-2011 04:09 AM


You might try Liberty Hardwoods in Kansas City, they are the parent company of Metro Hardwoods.

Metro is the retail outlet for Liberty Hardwoods. The prices are a lot less with Liberty than Metro.


View IrreverentJack's profile


728 posts in 3809 days

#15 posted 12-08-2011 04:38 AM

Gus, Here is a Search Tempest/CL search around your zip. You could try -hardwood, oak, walnut, etc. instead of ‘lumber’. Good Luck. -Jack

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