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Sustainable and Cheap Ways to Source Wood for your Woodworking Projects


Sourcing wood for your projects can be just as expensive as the initial setup cost of your workshop over time, but it doesn't need to be. There are many guides on the internet that can help you choose the right tools for the projects you have in mind. Set-up costs can range range from a few hundred pounds to thousands, depending on your budget. You don't always need to buy in the most expensive wood to end up with the best end result, and if you follow some of our advice below you will be helping the planet too.

1. Facebook


There are always people having work done around their house or garden, clearing out old cupboards or updating their furniture and many of them turn to Facebook selling groups or the marketplace to quickly clear out their rubbish. Although many of these will be general rubbish and much of the wood (especially kitchen cupboards) is just MDF or chipboard with a veneer there is the occasional golden find. The listings to look out for are those that don't require you to take everything, you can go and have a look at only take the useful bits. You can often find pallets being offered for free or at a very reasonable prices and you can always haggle a bit to get an even better deal. Pallet wood is great for many projects, the downside being you'll probably need to take your own tools to cut them down to size and you are probably best avoiding the heavily treated ones.


Advantages:

  • Free or very cheap

  • You don't have to travel far to collect

  • Can source wood at short notice

Disadvantages:

  • Have to spend time searching for suitable listings

  • You have to collect it, sometimes having to take wood you don't want


Facebook is great for sourcing your wood very cheaply, and as you are re-using old wood instead of buying new, you are saving wood that otherwise might be going to landfill. Unfortunately it is a more time consuming way of sourcing wood and you sometimes end up with bits you don't want, although you can always put them up on Facebook yourself to get rid of them quickly.

2. eBay


eBay is another great place for sourcing wood online, with the added benefit that it is usually better quality than that found on Facebook as there are no free listings. Many of the listings are auction style and you can often grab a bargain from business sellers, such as £5 for a tonne of offcuts. Unlike on Facebook you don't have the advantage of being able to pick and choose which pieces you would like to take, although as the wood is usually higher quality you will have more usable pieces of wood. eBay will also help you discover local sources that you might not find on other platforms such as Facebook, and from an initial purchase you might be able to build a relationship with a supplier that enables you to have a cheap regular supply of high quality usable wood.


Advantages:

  • No need to haggle, bid as high as you want

  • Opportunity to establish a regular supply

  • Secure payments

Disadvantages:

  • No opportunity for free wood

  • Can't pick and choose, you have to take the whole lot


eBay is best for someone who is constantly working on new projects that can utilise the different shapes, sizes and varieties of wood found when using a bulk supply. If you haven't got much storage space you are probably better using a method that allows you to be more selective about the pieces you are bringing back to your workshop. That being said, you can sometimes find smaller quantities available as well as kiln dried logs and other rare pieces of wood at discounted prices. Combined with the fact your payments are secure through eBay, we think it's a great way of sourcing your supply.

3. Local Businesses


We've touched on this a little bit earlier in regards to how when using eBay you can build relationships with suppliers. Try searching for local businesses that may be dealing with large quantities of new wood, such as shed builders, who will have large amounts of offcuts that you can get for next to nothing as you will be doing them a favour by disposing of it. Get in touch with them to see if you can have any of their offcuts for a small fee or even for free and someone is sure to take you up on your offer. You will need a large amount of storage room if you choose this method as your likely going to have to collect a tonne bag at a time. You also won't be able to pick and choose the pieces you want, although, you should find yourself being able to make use of most of it, and when you can't, you can always use it as firewood or sell it yourself.


Advantages:

  • Very cost-effective

  • Large amounts perfect for bigger projects

  • Can source at short notice

  • Usually very high quality wood

Disadvantages:

  • Lots of storage space needed

  • Have to collect large amounts in one go

  • Can't pick and choose the pieces you want


Sourcing from local businesses can end up being the most cost-effective way to find wood for your projects and by using wood that could otherwise end up in landfill you are doing the environment a favour too. Although it's not suitable for someone with a smaller workshop or who needs very specific pieces of wood to complete a project, if you have the space and the know how to make use of what you get then it's the cheapest and most sustainable supply.


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