Where are the best places to buy hardwood lumber? It’s tough to do much woodworking without wood. Keeping the following five sources in mind can save you money and expand your options while sometimes also uncovering some truly extraordinary material. Thinking outside the “big box” can save money while providing more and better choices for great hardwood lumber.

Best Places to Shop for Hardwood Lumber

1. Woodworking Retail Stores
Woodworking retail stores such as Rockler are staffed with experienced woodworkers and carry a moderate to extensive range of wood species and sizes. The lumber selection at Rockler stores is generally surfaced and can provide good value. A woodworking retail store has the added advantage of being a one-stop shop for everything else you need — hardware, glues, finishes, tooling, jigs and many other supplies. Rockler has doubled and even tripled their lumber selection by introducing hardwood lumber outlets in many of their retail locations. They also sell some hardwood online.

Rockler lumber selection

Rockler Hardwood Lumber Outlets Near You

Shop quality hardwoods, exotics, live-edge slabs & turning lumber for all your woodworking project needs. Cut to length and rip-to-width cutting, and thickness planing services are also available

Rockler Maplewood, Minnesota store front

Rockler Lumber Outlet Maplewood
1872 Beam Ave.
Maplewood, MN 55109
phone: (651) 773-5285

Rockler Seattle Washington store front

Rockler Lumber Outlet Seattle
832 NE Northgate Way
Seattle, WA 98125
phone: (206) 634-3222

Rockler Cincinnati Ohio store front

Rockler Lumber Outlet Cincinnati
333 E Kemper Road
Cincinnati, OH 45246
phone: (513) 671-7711

Rockler Garland, Texas store front

Rockler Lumber Outlet Garland
584 W I-30 Suite 403
Garland, TX 75043
phone: (469) 329-0971

Rockler Altamonte Springs, Florida store front

Rockler Lumber Outlet Altamonte Springs
515 E Altamonte Drive Suite 1018
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
phone: (407) 775-2355

2. Specialty Lumberyards
Specialty lumberyards, advertised in woodworking publications and online, typically stock a wide variety of both domestic and exotic species options and board sizes. Many carry one-of-a-kind figured and slab lumber. Their staff are often woodworkers who tend to gladly share their expertise. A yard that specializes in furniture-grade lumber for the general public can become your best friend. Some of these specialty yards also sell their lumber on the Internet, increasing your options for species not found in your region.

3. Home Centers
Home centers are convenient and obvious destinations for building supplies, including wood, but inventory is limited to mostly construction lumber and plywood. A small selection of hardwoods will have top-dollar pricing. You can do much better elsewhere.

4. Classified Ads
Ads on Craigslist and other similar listing sources can put you in touch with local sawyers who cut, dry and sell lumber on a smaller scale. Want ads are also a great option for buying caches of boards stored in barns, sheds and home shops. Often, families of deceased woodworkers are willing to sell off inventories of lumber for very modest prices, particularly to buyers who will put a loved one’s precious boards to good use.

5. Backyard Lumber
Finding lumber in your backyard might seem implausible, but there’s no reason your storm-downed maple or overgrown oak tree couldn’t become excellent lumber if you can process the log. Here again, classified ads can help. Find an enterprising sawyer with a portable band saw mill who can come and slice the log into green lumber. You’ll need to air-dry the material for at least a year, or have it kiln-dried, but the sawyer may have suggestions for who could take care of that part of the process, too.

sawmill saw
A smaller sawmill like this could process and dry your special backyard tree that fell in last summer’s storm.
Imagine making one-of-a-kind lumber instead of firewood!