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Where to Buy Quality Wood for Turning: Supplier Recommendations

Woodturning, the art of transforming a rough piece of wood into a beautifully crafted object, requires not just skill and creativity but also quality wood. The quality of wood you use significantly influences the final outcome of your turning projects. [Woodturning] enthusiasts often seek reliable sources for top-notch wood that suits their specific turning needs. In this guide, we’ll explore the best places to buy quality wood for turning.

Local Sawmills

Local sawmills are a hidden gem for woodturners, offering an array of wood species at competitive prices. Visiting a nearby sawmill allows you to handpick the wood and assess its quality firsthand. Some sawmills even offer specialty woods, allowing you to experiment and create unique turning projects. Local sawmills stand as a treasure trove for woodturners, offering a unique opportunity to connect with the origins of their craft. From choosing the right wood to understanding its potential, here’s why local sawmills should be your go-to source for quality turning wood.

1. Proximity and Accessibility

Local sawmills are conveniently located, reducing transportation time and costs. Being nearby allows you to visit and explore their offerings at your convenience, ensuring a seamless wood-buying experience.

2. Hands-On Selection

One of the prime advantages of local sawmills is the ability to physically inspect and handpick the wood. Touch, feel, and examine the wood’s grain, texture, and overall quality before making a selection, guaranteeing you get exactly what you need.

a. Assessing Wood Quality

By visiting a sawmill, you can assess the wood’s moisture content, a critical factor in determining its suitability for turning. Opt for well-seasoned wood to avoid warping and cracking during the turning process.

3. Tailored Cuts and Sizes

Local sawmills often offer customization options, allowing you to request specific cuts and sizes tailored to your turning projects. This flexibility ensures that you get the right wood dimensions for your lathe.

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a. Minimizing Waste

Custom cuts help in reducing wastage, optimizing the use of the wood and making your purchase cost-effective.

4. Cost-Effectiveness

Sawmills usually offer competitive prices for their wood products, potentially providing cost savings compared to purchasing from specialty stores or online suppliers. This affordability is particularly beneficial when you’re working on multiple turning projects.

5. Knowledgeable Staff

The staff at local sawmills are often well-versed in various wood types and can offer valuable advice regarding the best wood for turning. Their expertise can guide you in making informed choices based on your project requirements.

a. Learning from the Experts

Engage in conversations with the sawmill staff to gain insights into the characteristics, durability, and workability of different wood species. This knowledge is indispensable for achieving your desired turning outcomes.

6. Supporting Local Economy

By purchasing wood from local sawmills, you contribute to your community’s economy and support small businesses. It’s a win-win situation, as you obtain quality wood while fostering local growth.

7. Building Relationships

Frequenting local sawmills helps you establish relationships with the owners and staff. Over time, this rapport can lead to personalized services and even better deals on wood purchases.

8. Environmentally Friendly Choice

Choosing wood from local sawmills often means less transportation, reducing your carbon footprint. It’s a sustainable choice that aligns with eco-friendly practices.

9. Discovering Hidden Gems

Local sawmills sometimes stock unique or rare wood species that aren’t readily available elsewhere. Exploring these mills can unveil hidden gems for your turning projects.

10. Contribution to Craftsmanship

By sourcing wood locally, you become a part of the traditional woodworking and crafting heritage. Your projects carry a piece of local craftsmanship, making your woodturning journey even more special.

Local sawmills embody the essence of woodturning, offering an authentic and enriching experience. Make it a point to visit your nearby sawmill and unlock a world of woodturning potential, right in your neighborhood. Happy turning!

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Advantages of Choosing Local Sawmills

  1. Diverse Selection: Local sawmills often provide a diverse range of wood species, enabling you to choose based on your preferences and project requirements.
  2. Custom Cuts: Sawmills can often accommodate custom cutting requests, providing you with the perfect-sized wood pieces for your turning projects.
  3. Personal Interaction: Interacting with the mill owner or staff allows you to gain valuable insights into the characteristics and best uses of various wood types.

Online Wood Suppliers

In the digital age, online wood suppliers have gained immense popularity among woodturners. These platforms offer a vast selection of wood, often including rare and exotic species, delivered right to your doorstep.

Reasons to Consider Online Wood Suppliers

  1. Wide Variety: Online suppliers showcase a vast range of wood species, giving you access to a broader selection than what might be available locally.
  2. Convenience: Ordering wood online saves you time and effort, allowing you to focus more on your woodturning projects.
  3. Reviews and Recommendations: Online platforms usually have customer reviews and ratings, helping you make informed decisions about the wood you intend to purchase.

Specialty Woodworking Stores: Tailored for Woodturners

Specialty woodworking stores are dedicated to providing woodturning enthusiasts with the best tools and materials. These stores often stock high-quality wood specifically curated for turning projects.

Why Choose Specialty Woodworking Stores?

  1. Expert Guidance: Store staff in specialty woodworking stores are usually knowledgeable about woodturning and can guide you in selecting the right wood for your projects.
  2. Quality Assurance: These stores prioritize quality and often source their wood from reputable suppliers, ensuring a high standard of materials.
  3. Exclusive Selection: Specialty stores may carry unique wood species or wood blanks that are ideal for turning and might not be readily available elsewhere.
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Woodworking Shows and Expos: A One-Stop Destination

Woodworking shows and expos are a goldmine for wood enthusiasts, offering an immersive experience where you can see, touch, and sometimes purchase wood directly from various vendors.

Perks of Visiting Woodworking Shows

  1. Hands-on Experience: At expos, you can physically examine the wood and assess its quality, grain patterns, and figure.
  2. Networking Opportunities: These events provide a platform to connect with fellow woodturners and vendors, expanding your knowledge and resources in the woodworking community.
  3. Discover New Suppliers: Woodworking shows often feature lesser-known suppliers or artisans, giving you the chance to discover unique wood sources.

Local Woodworking Clubs: A Community of Knowledge and Resources

Joining a local woodworking club can open doors to valuable resources, including recommendations for reliable wood suppliers. Club members often share their experiences and insights, helping you find the best sources for quality turning wood.

Why Engage with Woodworking Clubs?

  1. Collective Wisdom: Club members often have extensive experience and can provide recommendations based on their wood-buying experiences.
  2. Group Purchases: Some clubs organize group purchases, enabling you to buy wood in bulk at discounted prices.
  3. Learning Opportunities: Being part of a woodworking club offers opportunities for workshops and demonstrations, enhancing your turning skills.


As a woodturner, the quality of the wood you work with is paramount to the success of your projects. Exploring various sources such as local sawmills, online wood suppliers, specialty woodworking stores, woodworking shows, and local woodworking clubs can help you discover the best wood for your turning ventures.

Remember, the journey of a craftsman begins with a carefully chosen piece of wood, and each turn of the lathe is a step toward bringing out its inherent beauty. So, go ahead, find that perfect piece of wood, and let your creativity spin into a masterpiece. Happy turning!