Finding Wood for Woodturning and Woodworking

Finding Wood for Woodturning and Woodworking

When woodworkers work on round objects like bowls and candlesticks, as well as flatwork such as desks, cabinets and jewelry boxes, there is a challenge to find wood that meets all their needs. Rather than only having the local lumber merchant as an option you could be investing in a chainsaw mill to better create wood that meets your needs at a far more affordable cost.

Lumber merchants

People who are woodworkers resulting on flat objects usually head to local lumber merchants for boards that are clear from knots and defects, flat, straight and dry. Some have a chain sawmill and they will cut down their own logs, and then mill them to the lumber they require, dry it and use it. Woodturners prefer logs to work with, ones that are solid, green, and have bark, forks and knots too. For a woodturner, they are important things that add character. In general, most lumberyards do not have the kind of wood a woodturner prefers, especially if they are thinking of doing faceplate work which means the wood needs to be thicker than 2 inches. It is hard to find such wood dry as it splits during the processor is very expensive.

Landfill or firewood logs

Landfill logs or firewood are cheap and need some extra work or tooling to process them but are good as turning material. From investing in or using a chainsaw mill to create a single cord of firewood a turner could get something like 200 bowl blanks and then some spindle material and even some smaller pieces in there. 

Local arborists

While there might be some great hardwood trees around your location it does not mean you have access to them in order to use them in woodturning. But what you might not have considered is to connect with arborists and tree removal companies across the different areas you are willing to travel to. When a tree needs removing from a property, these are the people property owners call in to handle it. In most cases, those owners do not want the tree and just want it taken away or it gets turned into wood chips. If you are connected to the tree specialist though they can offer the tree to you or other woodturners to work with. When these trees cannot go through commercial processing for various reasons, sometimes they end up in a landfill. It is a waste of wood a woodturner or woodworker could happily use for a lot of future projects.


There are a number of ways woodturners and woodworkers can source their wood. Having your own chain sawmill is a great option, especially when you have a lot of trees on your property, or when you have friends and family with the same. Then there are lumber yards as well as landfills, firewood and tree removal experts too. It is a win-win situation when the wood is used for making something creative or practical or both!