wooden beamsSometimes finding great lumber is simple. Other times, you may have an idea of what you are looking for, but can’t find just the right wood with just the right grain for the project you have planned. Whether you are a beginner or have already completed many woodworking projects, finding great materials can be a challenge. Today we would like to offer our thoughts on finding quality wood for your projects.

Many beginners typically purchase their wood from major home improvement retailers. There is nothing wrong with that, but understand that you do not have to purchase the first board in the pile just because it is on top. Visually inspect the piece for blemishes. Knots, warping, and twists may hamper your final result before you’ve even begun. Cutting these pieces straight can be very difficult, so pass on any inferior boards. Beware of the last few pieces in the pile. They are there because every other customer has passed over them. Also, beware of the pieces on the outermost edge of the bunk, since sometimes they become damaged during transport.

Most major home improvement retailers carry a limited supply of wood types. If they do not carry what you are seeking, check out the selection of wood at your local lumber distributor.  While their customer base mostly consists of builders and contractors, most are happy to do business with the general public as well. Their prices tend to be more competitive than those of major retailers, however, before purchasing, consider how you will transport your lumber. Some lumber yards do not rip pieces, and unless you own a truck, you may want to inquire as to their delivery policy and calculate delivery fees into the cost of your purchase.

If neither a major home improvement retailer nor your local lumber yard stocks a particular type of specialty wood that you are looking for, check with your local cabinet supply warehouse.

Finding great lumber can be tricky, but considering the time and effort put into your woodworking projects, spending time and money to find quality materials is a worthy investment.