Is there an "average" price for wood?
Ellis Walentine, Michael Dresdner & Rob Johnstone
img src="images/stackofwood.jpg" width="180" height="175" align="right" vspace="5" hspace="5">Q. I would like to know what the average price I should be paying for red oak, hard maple, and white ash, per board foot. I don't know if I am getting a good price or not?
A. Ellis Walentine: "You could probably find a national average price for these hardwoods, but a lot depends on their availability in your location. If those species don't grow near you, you'll be paying more than average because of shipping costs. Also, price depends on the amount of wood you're ordering. If you want a thousand board feet or a truckload, it's going to be a lot less than you might expect to pay for 10 board feet in a retail store or lumberyard.
"Your best bet would be to call lumberyards and sawmills within a 25 mile radius of your shop and ask for pricing for FAS, kiln-dried lumber in whatever thickness, width and length you need. Don't worry too much about what it sells for a couple hundred miles away unless you can get free freight for your order. If you want, you can go to Woodfinder (www.woodfinder.com) and search for suppliers by ZIP code. Call the ones nearest you and compare their prices. Good luck."
A. Michael Dresdner: "Like the price of gasoline, the prices of various woods go up and down at different times, and some woods are cheaper in their local areas. Rather than tell you average prices today, I'll suggest a way to "shop" prices online, so you can always tell what the going rate should be. Visit www.woodfinder.com and you will encounter dozens of wood dealers and a search engine that will let you quickly find what you want, and compare prices for it from a large group of sellers."
A. Rob Johnstone: " I am not an expert in wood prices. (I always recommend Ellis Walentine's www.woodfinder.com when it comes to searching for wood on the net.) I would like to offer an opinion on buying wood, however. Selecting beautiful stock is one area of woodworking that is often over looked or given short shrift. And yet, when it comes to the success or failure of a piece of furniture, it is one of the most important aspects. There comes a time in our woodworking life when whether you are going to be making good joints and properly fitting doors, drawers, etc is not going to be in question. At that point, wood selection and identifying where to place wood of attractive figure on a project becomes of paramount importance (unless you are painting the project). Going out and taking the time to find exceptionally beautiful wood will cost you extra -- in time and money. But in my opinion will be more than worth it in the long run."
This article originally appeared in the Woodworker's Journal eZine.
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