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Wood Buying Tips: Don't Get Ripped off

You will find better deals buying directly from the local sawmill versus Home Depot or other home-improvement stores.

If you're willing to scrounge, you can find some good bargains at the sawmill. Wear heavy boots and take gloves so you can scavenge through piles of wood lumped together as offcuts, short ends, trimmings, or pieces that are waney-edged.

Choose local softwood instead of costly imported hardwood or wood that has been highly planed or prepared. Local softwood is cheaper and "forest-friendly."

Be flexible when you're buying wood. The sawmill might not carry exactly what you're looking for, but you can always cut down a larger piece or adjust your project slightly.

Be careful about buying pressure-treated woods. They last a long time, but they're also highly toxic. Instead, you can buy sawn wood and use a paint or preservative of your choice on it.

Sawmills tend to be populated by mostly men. If you are a woman, know what you want ahead of time, and don't let yourself feel intimidated.


This information came from Outdoor Woodwork which focuses on woodworking projects on the smallish side (playhouses for children and arbors versus installing an entire deck), but much of this information should be applicable to buying wood for larger projects as well.

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