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Where to Buy Quality Wood for Turning: Supplier Recommendations

Wood turning is an ancient craft that marries artistry and craftsmanship, transforming raw wood into beautifully shaped and designed pieces. Even if you’re a seasoned woodturner or a novice enthusiast, the key to creating exceptional work lies in starting with high-quality wood. Finding the right supplier can significantly impact the outcome of your projects. We will guide you through the best places to buy top-notch wood for turning and offer recommendations to enhance your woodturning experience.

Local Sawmills 

Local sawmills are hidden gems for woodturners. They provide an array of wood species and cuts, allowing you to choose the perfect piece for your project. Visiting a local sawmill is like a treasure hunt, where you can discover unique and premium wood options at competitive prices.

When it comes to embarking on a woodturning project, the cornerstone of success lies in the quality of the wood you choose. Local sawmills are hidden treasures for wood enthusiasts, offering an array of wood species and cuts to fuel your creativity. We’ll highlight ten outstanding local sawmills that can be your go-to destinations for sourcing top-notch wood for turning.

1. Smith’s Timber Mill

Smith’s Timber Mill is renowned for its vast selection of hardwoods. From the classic choices like oak and maple to the more exotic selections, they offer a variety of options to cater to all woodturning needs.

What Sets Them Apart:

  • Local Favorite: Known for its exceptional customer service and a loyal customer base.
  • Diverse Inventory: Stocks a wide range of locally sourced wood species.

2. Greenwood Sawmill

Greenwood Sawmill is a family-owned business specializing in sustainably sourced hardwoods. They pride themselves on providing environmentally conscious options for the eco-conscious woodturner.

What Sets Them Apart:

  • Sustainability Focus: Emphasizes eco-friendly and sustainable wood sourcing practices.
  • Custom Cutting: Offers custom cuts to suit specific woodturning projects.

3. Riverside Timber Yard

Riverside Timber Yard is celebrated for its picturesque setting and high-quality wood selections. The proximity to the river contributes to the unique characteristics of their wood.

What Sets Them Apart:

  • Scenic Location: Offers a peaceful environment for browsing and selecting wood.
  • River-Infused Wood: Wood seasoned by the nearby river, resulting in distinct textures and grain patterns.

4. Hilltop Sawmills

Hilltop Sawmills is known for its excellent assortment of both hardwoods and softwoods. Their commitment to quality and variety attracts woodturners from far and wide.

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What Sets Them Apart:

  • Wide Wood Variety: Stocks a broad range of wood species, suitable for various turning projects.
  • Educational Workshops: Conducts workshops to educate customers on wood characteristics and uses.

5. Countryside Lumber Co.

Countryside Lumber Co. has been a staple for wood enthusiasts seeking locally sourced timber. Their emphasis on quality and community engagement sets them apart.

What Sets Them Apart:

  • Community Involvement: Actively participates in local woodworking events and workshops.
  • Community Outreach: Supports educational initiatives to promote woodworking skills.

6. TimberCraft Sawmills

TimberCraft Sawmills is a haven for those seeking unique and specialty wood. They have an impressive range of rare and exotic wood options.

What Sets Them Apart:

  • Exotic Wood Selection: Known for sourcing and stocking rare and exotic wood species.
  • Expert Guidance: Provides expert advice on choosing the right wood for specific projects.

7. Valley View Timberworks

Valley View Timberworks offers an extensive selection of locally harvested wood. The backdrop of nature adds to the allure of their offerings.

What Sets Them Apart:

  • Scenic Surroundings: Allows customers to appreciate the natural beauty while selecting wood.
  • Custom Sizing: Tailors wood cuts according to customer specifications.

8. Urban Timber Co-op

The Urban Timber Co-op focuses on repurposing urban trees. They salvage trees from urban areas, turning them into beautiful wood pieces.

What Sets Them Apart:

  • Sustainable Approach: Advocates for the reuse of urban trees, minimizing waste.
  • Unique Grain Patterns: Wood from various urban trees offers distinctive patterns and character.

9. Harbor Millworks

Harbor Millworks specializes in coastal wood species. Their location by the sea influences the characteristics of their wood, making them ideal for nautical-themed projects.

What Sets Them Apart:

  • Coastal Influence: Wood carries a coastal essence, suitable for maritime-inspired woodturning projects.
  • Local Artisans: Showcases work from local artisans, inspiring creativity.

10. Pioneer Timber Yard

Tucked away in the outskirts of Pioneer Timber Yard is a hidden treasure for wood enthusiasts. They focus on preserving the natural beauty of the wood they supply, making it a favorite among woodturners.

What Sets Them Apart:

  • Natural Beauty Emphasis: Prioritizes the preservation of the wood’s natural characteristics and aesthetics.
  • Historical Significance: Utilizes reclaimed wood from historical structures, adding a unique touch to the selection.
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Exploring local sawmills not only allows you to source high-quality wood but also provides an opportunity to connect with the local woodworking community. Each of these sawmills has its own unique charm and offerings, ensuring you find the perfect wood for your next turning project. Happy hunting and happy turning!

Advantages of Choosing Local Sawmills

  1. Diverse Selection: Local sawmills offer a wide variety of wood species, providing you with ample choices for your woodturning projects.
    • Example: Maple, walnut, cherry, oak, and more.
  2. Personalized Service: Interacting directly with the sawmill staff enables you to receive personalized recommendations based on your specific requirements.
    • Example: Understanding the ideal wood for a delicate vase project.
  3. Cost-Effectiveness: Purchasing wood directly from sawmills often results in cost savings compared to retail prices.
    • Example: Cost per board foot might be lower than retail stores.

Online Wood Suppliers 

In the digital age, online wood suppliers have become a go-to option for many woodturners. They offer convenience and a vast selection of wood, catering to both beginners and experts in the craft.

Benefits of Choosing Online Wood Suppliers

  1. Wide Range of Wood Selection: Online suppliers provide an extensive array of wood species, cuts, and sizes, giving you access to various options without leaving your home.
    • Example: Exotic woods, burls, specialty cuts.
  2. Convenience: You can browse and order wood from the comfort of your home, saving time and effort in traveling to physical stores.
    • Example: 24/7 online shopping.
  3. Detailed Product Information: Online suppliers often provide detailed descriptions, including wood origin, characteristics, and best uses, aiding in informed decisions.
    • Example: Janka hardness, grain pattern, moisture content.

Craft Shows and Woodturning Events 

Craft shows and woodturning events are excellent platforms to source high-quality wood for your projects. These events bring together woodturners, artisans, and suppliers, creating a vibrant environment for networking and exploring premium wood options.

Advantages of Sourcing Wood at Craft Shows and Events

  1. Direct Interaction with Suppliers: Engage with suppliers and wood artisans in person, gaining insights into the quality and variety of their wood products.
    • Example: Discussing wood origin and sustainability.
  2. Immediate Selection and Purchase: Purchase wood on the spot and start your projects right away, avoiding shipping delays and costs.
    • Example: Taking the wood home the same day.
  3. Inspiration and Networking: Immerse yourself in the woodturning community, gaining inspiration and building valuable connections with fellow enthusiasts.
    • Example: Learning new techniques and project ideas.
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Specialty Wood Stores 

Specialty wood stores are dedicated to serving woodworkers and woodturners. These stores curate their inventory to cater specifically to the needs of those passionate about working with wood.

Benefits of Shopping at Specialty Wood Stores

  1. Expert Knowledge and Assistance: Store staff are often wood enthusiasts themselves and can provide valuable advice and recommendations based on your project requirements.
    • Example: Recommending a wood for intricate wood carving.
  2. Quality Assurance: Specialty wood stores often prioritize quality, ensuring you get the best-grade wood for your turning projects.
    • Example: Selecting only kiln-dried and defect-free wood.
  3. Access to Unique and Rare Wood: These stores frequently carry rare and exotic wood species that are hard to find elsewhere, allowing you to create truly unique pieces.
    • Example: Purpleheart, zebrawood, padauk.

Local Woodworking Clubs and Communities 

Joining local woodworking clubs or communities can open up doors to finding quality wood for your turning projects. These groups often have members with extensive knowledge and experience in woodworking and can guide you to reliable wood sources.

Advantages of Joining Woodworking Clubs

  1. Community Recommendations: Benefit from the collective knowledge of the group, receiving recommendations for the best wood suppliers in your area.
    • Example: Trusted local suppliers with competitive prices.
  2. Shared Purchases: Coordinate bulk purchases with fellow club members, possibly availing discounts for buying in larger quantities.
    • Example: Group orders for discounted rates.
  3. Workshops and Demos: Woodworking clubs frequently organize workshops and demonstrations where you can learn about different wood types and their suitability for turning.
    • Example: Demonstrations on turning specific wood species.

Conclusion

In the art of woodturning, the journey from raw wood to a beautifully crafted piece is as crucial as the finished product. Finding the right source for quality wood is the initial brushstroke of this artistic endeavor. Even if you opt for local sawmills, online suppliers, craft shows, specialty wood stores, or the guidance of a woodworking community, each avenue holds its own allure and benefits. Explore these options, dive into the world of wood, and watch your turning projects take on a new dimension of excellence. Happy turning!