What Is The Cheapest Wood (Beginner Woodworking)

Beginner Woodworking: What is the cheapest wood?

When you’re a beginner woodworker, every penny counts. You may not know what sort of wood to look for or how much it costs per linear foot. In this post, I will help teach you about the cheapest woods!

How Much More Expensive Is Wood Right Now

The price of lumber has been on the rise lately, and it’s now more expensive than ever before. In fact, prices have spiked by 25% in the past month alone. This is due to several factors, including a construction boom and labour shortages. As a result, home building prices have increased significantly. Sadly this trend is unlikely to change soon as the demand for lumber shows no signs of abating.

The Trump and Biden administrations’ new tariffs on imported timber have driven up the price. While this is good news for American lumber producers, it is bad news for consumers, particularly DIYers and contractors.

Prices have gone up for all kinds of solid wood, but some are more pricey than others. Hardwood has seen the most price increases since they are more robust than softwood. Oak is among the cheapest on a grand scale, but it’s pricey because it’s classified as hardwood.

Choosing the right timber is about the selection and when to use it. Lumber harvested before the tariffs went into effect is still at a lower price. While lumber harvested after the tariffs took effect is more expensive. So if you’re planning a major project and need a lot of timber, get it before September 1st!

Cheapest lumber

What Is The Cheapest Type Of Wood?

There are many different types of wood, and each has its own unique properties. Some wood species, like pine, spruce, and fir, are classified as softwood. This means they’re not as dense and are easier to deal with.

Another type of wood is SPF lumber or “structural lumber.” It’s the cheapest wood you can buy, and it’s perfect for beginners because it’s easy to process.

Cedar is popular for outdoor applications because of its strength and durability.

When it comes to woodwork, the saying goes that you get what you pay for. This may be true in some cases, but there are a number of woods that are both cheap and strong.

The cheapest wood available is usually found at centres like Home Depot or Lowe’s. It’s not the most durable, but it’s OK for basic projects.

What you choose has to be fit for its intended purpose. Homegrown species like American white oak or maple perform well for DIY furniture projects.

For a general project, 3 Common is a good option because it’s strong and inexpensive. Suppose you’re looking for something a little bit nicer. In that case, 2 Common can be substituted for 1 Common without too much sacrifice in terms of strength. Keep in mind that it probably has large knots and visible defects.

How To Get The Best Deals On Wood?

There are a few things to keep in mind when searching for the best deals on wood:

  1. Remember that not all wood is created equal, and costs vary.
  2. Not all stores have the same pricing, so it’s important to shop around.
  3. It’s always a good idea to get a few quotes before purchasing.

Online shopping is one of the greatest methods to locate excellent deals on wood. Many online stores sell wood at a discounted price. You can generally discover what you want without searching multiple websites. Another advantage of buying online is you can locate rare or hard-to-find woods.

Another way to get discounts is by buying in bulk. Big stores offer discounts if you purchase more than 10 or 20 pieces of lumber. This can be a good option if you’re doing a large project. It’s essential to ensure that the store has a good return policy if you don’t use all your purchased lumber.

Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate with the store owner or salesman. They will usually be willing to lower the price if they know that you’re serious about buying the wood.

Where To Buy Cheap Wood?

Finding cheap wood can be a challenge, but there are a few places you can look. Checking with local lumber yards and hardware stores is a fine place to start. They sometimes have special deals on certain sorts or even offer discounts for large orders.

Try searching online for wood materials like MDF and particle boards. These materials can typically be bought at cheaper rates than other wood. They might not be suitable for all things, but they can be a good option for some.

If you want free scrap wood, there are plenty of places to look, including joinery shops for shorts or offcuts. Commercial premises being refitted or skip diving. Woodturners should get friendly with local arborists for a good supply of greenwood.

Once you start looking, there are lots of places to go. To discover the greatest deals, you need to do some research and perhaps travel. You can source plenty of wood lying around waiting to be picked up for your next DIY project. The Internet is another great option.

Finally, don’t forget about your nearby scrapyard. For a fraction of the cost, you might be able to get just what you need for your woodworking project. Before purchase, scrutinize them as they may not be in good condition.

cheap wood offcuts and shorts

What Are The 3 Types Of Wood?


Softwoods are lower priced than hardwood, grow faster and are more sustainable. Softwoods come from coniferous trees such as cedar, fir, and pine.

Pine: the cheapest wood you can buy. It’s soft, light to work with, and has a nice finish, perfect for cheaper furniture.


Temperate hardwoods are found in the UK, North America, Canada, Europe, China, and Russia. The trees that fall into this category have broad leaves and produce fruit. Common examples of temperate hardwood include maple, elm, and beech.

These are often used for solid hardwood flooring, cabinetry, and other construction purposes. In addition, they tend to cost less.

Tropical Hardwood grows on continents around the Equator; Africa, South America and Asia. Exotic hardwood is more costly than others, so choose sustainable resources when possible. The National Hardwood Lumber Association advocates sustainable forestry to protect this precious resource.

Engineered Woods

Engineered wood has various applications, including carpentry, manufacturing, and interior design. It can be produced using any timber and comes in a vast range of colors, textures, and grains.

These boards include plywood, particleboard, or medium-density fiberboard (MDF). They have a bad reputation due to flat-pack furniture or not using it properly.

  • Plywood: comes in different grades and finishes, including veneered wood.
  • Particleboard: made up of wood chips which give it a rough texture. It may be employed for tasks like cabinets or shelves where a flawless surface finish isn’t required.
  • Medium Density Fibreboard: a composite material made from wood fibres and resins. It has a plywood texture, but it is cheaper to produce.

Least Expensive Hardwoods List

There are a variety of less expensive hardwoods, but availability depends on the area. Do some research to see whatever is accessible in your region.

  1. Poplar: $2.40 – 3.10 board foot. A soft, inexpensive wood that is easily machined.
  2. Alder: $3.75 – 5.25 board foot. less costly and easier to work with than other woods, but it can dent easily.
  3. Hard Maple: $4.50 – 11.50 board foot. Among the most popular hardwood in North America because of its tight grain and subtle color variations. It is also one of the cheapest hardwood’s.
  4. Birch: $3.75 – 7.00 board foot. It is an affordable and good material often used for furniture making. Birch is stable but difficult to stain; you might prefer to paint anything you make from it.
  5. Oak: $5.50 – 12.50 board foot. It has a warm tan color that is amplified by the finish. Strong, tough, looks good and the perfect choice for many people.
  6. Beech: $3.95 – 10.00 board foot. Strong and heavy frequently used in wooden furniture and floorboards. It has a light colour, making it an attractive option for a multitude of applications.
  7. Ash: $4.00 – 8.00 board foot. Ash is strong and has a straight grain with a uniform texture. This makes it ideal for custom wooden products.

Wide Board Sizes

Sometimes you’ll notice price differences related to the size of the board. Very wide planks are more costly since there are fewer trees to select boards from. Very small planks are pretty dear, considering how little you are getting. It takes a lot of processing to cut the wood into all those small strips.

Is Oak Wood Expensive?

Oakwood is a tough, long-lasting hardwood that develops more slowly than softwood. This means that oak wood is more expensive than softwood like pine or cedar. However, it’s classified as a mid-priced hardwood, so it’s not as dear as some more exotic ones.

Robust, it can be found in houses across the world. In addition, it has a beautiful “ray flake” pattern to it that makes it attractive for wood flooring. Red oak is cheaper than other hardwoods like cherry, but white oak has a more attractive figure.

Reclaimed pallet wood furniture
Pallet seating with storage

What About Cheap Reclaimed Wood?

There are several reasons to consider using cheap reclaimed wood in your next carpentry project. For one, it’s readily available and easy to acquire. It’s a more sustainable choice than buying new lumber from a store. You can find interesting pieces that would cost too much or be difficult to track down otherwise.

The biggest downside of reclaimed material is that it’s already dimensioned. You need to get creative in designing your project around the dimensions of the material.

Another thing to watch out for is the quality of the wood – some pieces may be warped, rotted or have screw holes or nails. Make sure you do a careful inspection before starting the building.

However, recycled wood can be a nice way to add some unique character to your next furniture build. Just ensure you come prepared for the quirks!

Final Tips

Check the small ads for old furniture, kitchen cabinets, etc., in the community paper. You might discover some good deals on used wood lying around someone’s house or garage. Some pieces might be covered in paint, varnish, or other coatings.

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