wooden shipping pallet

Wooden Shipping Pallet

July 5, 2016

How to Get Your Hands on Low Cost or Free Lumber

Contributed by Ted Leger, http://WooDesigner.net

Are you new to woodworking and DIY projects, and want to know how to get some cheap or free lumber? Here are some suggestions that will help you keep your materials costs down, AND re-use wood that might have been thrown away.

Re-purposed wood and pallets are great sources of low cost and even free lumber. Not only do your projects look great from these materials, they also help keep costs to a minimum. Literally thousands of projects are being cranked out from reclaimed materials, and you can get involved with them as well. Home decor, outdoor furniture, gardening, and even art can be made from these items. DIY projects yield great results from these as well.

This brings us to the question:

“Where do I get my hands on pallets and other reclaimed wood?”

Locating Pallets

Finding clean pallets that are in great shape for your woodworking and craft projects isn’t difficult. You do want to make sure that you do find pallets that are safe to work with and clean. The best source for these are smaller stores. There are plenty of them out there that have a nice supply of clean pallets. If you put your effort into locating a few smaller stores, they usually can provide you with a continuous supply to fill whatever needs you may have. What are some of the best spots to find this great source of free lumber?

Nurseries and smaller garden stores, lawn shops, specialty equipment suppliers, and even mom and pop shops like automotive repair shops get a good supply of them. The items that these places receive are delivered to them on pallets much of the time. And the manufacturer normally ships with clean ones that have no need of repair. Many of these stores are happy to have you take them away so they don’t have to deal with it. Outlets that get power equipment and parts also have the advantage of getting most of their supplies on pallets.

To find a large supply of clean lumber to maintain your hobby of woodworking, locating sources like these is important. After the right shops are found, you tend to have the advantage of going back to get more as the need may be. If there is a new business opening up, be sure to jump right on them. Normally, they get a large supply all at once to fill up the shelves and store. This could create an opportunity for you to get a boat load of great pallet material, and get first dibs on more that come in later.

"reclaimed lumber" burned into board promoting reuse and recycling of old lumber

“Reclaimed Lumber” Burned into Board To Promote Reuse and Recycling of Wood

Reclaimed Lumber And Wood

Scrap lumber in plentiful supply can be found at various construction sites, such as commercial building sites, and new homes that are being constructed. You will see that there is not just a large volume of scrap lumber there, but you can also stumble upon plywood pieces as well.

Those in the building field typically have to haul their scrap wood to the local dump station, or even burn it. Because of this, you are definitely doing them a favor. I have actually asked construction teams if I can help tear the buildings down in exchange for them giving me whatever materials I want from an old building at no cost. You will be surprised at how quickly they will agree to this endeavor. It saves them time and labor costs.

All it takes to find out if you can get materials from their scrap pile is to walk up to the crew and ask. They could very well give you whatever you are looking for. Plywood, 2×4’s, 2×6’s, and larger wood stock will typically be in the pile, in addition to a good bit of 1x lumber. Once more, you will want to focus your efforts on small companies, rather than large ones. They are more likely to give you the help you need.

Why Small Businesses Are Better Resources

Large retailers aren’t the best places to find what you desire. You will have a harder time getting quality materials from these companies. If you see large stacks of pallets on the outside of these big box stores, it is tempting to check on them, but the odds are that you will be disappointed. They tend to have a process for recycling these materials already, or have crews that pick them up.

Pile of wood, trash from building construction

Pile of Wood and Trash from Building Construction

Usually they have no interest in letting individuals take a few scrap pieces that they have discarded. Especially when it comes to reclaimed materials, you will find this to be the case. A smaller retailer or store will be inclined to just throw the materials in the dumpster out back, or even purposely leave it out for others to pick it up. Again, this is where checking with local hardware stores, flooring shops, and even garden stores can make you land the mother lode.

The low cost and free materials are out there. You have to do a little pavement pounding at first, but take heart. Soon you should find a number of continuous sources of free materials to keep your woodworking, craft, or DIY costs down to a minimum.

About The Author:

Ted Leger is a woodworking enthusiast who turned his hobby into a passion. You can find more woodworking tips and advice from him at his woodworking blog, http://www.WooDesigner.net