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

The Trump and Biden administrations’ new tariffs on imported hardwoods and softwoods have raised rates. While this is good news for American lumber producers, it is bad news for consumers, particularly DIYers and contractors.

Prices have increased for all kinds of solid wood, but some are more pricey than others. Hardwood has seen the biggest increase since they are more robust than softwood. Oak is among the best value 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. Timber harvested before the tariffs went into effect is still at a low price. While timber harvested after the tariffs took effect is more expensive. So if you’re planning some major home improvement and need a lot of timber, get it before September 1st!

Cheapest timber

What Is The Cheapest Type Of Wood To Buy?

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

Pressure-treated wood is best for durability if used outside for decking or the like. Cedar is popular for outdoor applications because of its strength and durability.

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

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 best deals available are usually found at centres like Home Depot or Lowe’s. It’s not the most durable, but it’s OK for many woodworking projects.

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

For general projects, 3 Common is a good choice because it’s strong and affordable. Suppose you’re looking for something a little bit nicer. In that case, 2 Common can be substituted for 1 without too much sacrifice in terms of strength. Remember that it will have large knot holes and visible defects throughout the wood.

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 shopping around is important.
  3. It’s always a good idea to compare quotes before purchasing.

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

Bulk purchases are another strategy to earn savings. Big stores offer discounts if you purchase more than 10 or 20 pieces of timber. This can be a wise decision if you’re working on a big project. Ensure the store has a good return policy if you don’t use all your purchased materials.

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

Where To Buy Cheap Wood?

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

Try searching online for wood products like MDF and particle boards. These sheet materials can typically be bought at cheaper rates than other pieces of wood. They might not be suitable for everything, but they can be an ideal candidate for some.

If you want the least expensive wood, there are plenty of places to look, including joinery shops for shorts or offcuts. Commercial premises that are being refitted or skip diving for scrap wood. Woodturners should try making friends with local arborists for a supply of greenwood.

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

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

a pile of wood offcuts and shorts

What Are The 3 Types Of Wood?


Softwoods are lower priced, grow faster and are more sustainable. Reasonably cheap softwoods come from coniferous trees such as fir, redwood or pine.

Pine: an inexpensive lightweight wood and also very easy to work with. You can plane or sand to a nice finish, perfect for cheaper furniture.


Temperate hardwoods are found in the UK, North America, Canada, Europe, China, and Russia. Deciduous trees are trees that lose their leaves and produce fruit. Common examples of temperate wood include hard and soft maple, elm, and walnut.

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

Tropical Hardwood grows on continents around the Equator; Africa, South America and Asia. Exotics are 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 various 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. Usually used for 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 costs less to produce.

Least Expensive Hardwoods List

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

  1. Poplar: $2.40 – 3.10. A soft, inexpensive wood that is a greenish-white color and easily machined.
  2. Alder: $3.75 – 5.25. less costly and easier to work with than other woods, but it can dent easily.
  3. Hard Maple: $4.50 – 11.50. Among the most popular variety in North America because of its fine-grained light cream color variations. It is also one of the lowest priced.
  4. Birch: $3.75 – 7.00. It is affordable and often employed 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. 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. Strong and heavy and 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. Fairly cheap ash is strong and has a straight grain and uniform texture. This makes it ideal for custom wooden products.

Wide Board Sizes

Sometimes you’ll notice pricing variations based on the size of the board. Very wide boards are typically more costly since there are fewer trees to select planks from. Very small planks are pretty dear, considering how little you are getting. Cutting wood into all those small strips takes a lot of processing.

Is Oak Wood Expensive?

Oakwood is tough, long-lasting and develops more slowly than softwood. This means it is more expensive. However, it’s classified as mid-priced, so it’s not as dear as some more exotic ones.

Robust, it is commonly used in entry doors and high-quality furniture around the world. It has a beautiful “ray flake” grain pattern that makes it attractive for wood flooring. Red oak is more economical than others, but the white variety has a more attractive figure.

Salvaged pallet wood furniture
Seating from pallets with storage

What About Reclaimed Wood?

There are several reasons to consider using reclaimed wood for projects. For starters, it’s readily available, easy to acquire, or even free. It’s a more sustainable choice than buying timber new 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. Designing your idea around the specifications of shipping crates requires creativity.

Another thing to watch out for is lower quality wood. Some pieces may be warped, rotted or have screw holes or nails, so wear gloves. Ensure you do a careful inspection before starting the build.

Recycled wood is excellent if you want to bring some unique rustic character. 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 or free wood lying around someone’s house or garage. Some pieces might be covered in paint, varnish, or other coatings

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