Woodworking is not that cheap.
Expanding a workshop and purchasing power tools costs money, sometimes a lot of money.
But of course, you can do nothing with just machines, you will also need wood to work with.
This is also associated with high costs, depending on the type of wood you choose.
But like many of us, you have to do it on a budget.
So why not look for ways to find free lumber?
In this blog, I offer you 7 very easy ways to find free lumber and save money on these costs.
If you are going to make salable items with this free lumber, your profit margin will also increase.
Money that you can reinvest in your workshop to expand and get better into the beautiful craft of woodworking.
If you want to use wood for free, you are better prepared.
Once you have all the necessary tools, you can enjoy free wood for years to come.
There are a few things to consider when you want to collect free wood.
1 How to bring the wood to your home.
Putting wood in a car is not only impractical, but it also makes your car dirty.
Invest in a good and sturdy trailer. If you handle this with care, this is a purchase that you will most likely only make once in your life.
2 Where will you store your wood?
If it can be stocked in a warehouse, I’m sure you want to make maximum use of the space. A lumber rack is an absolute must in order to store as much wood as possible. Watch for a sturdy rack that can support heavyweights.
However, if you have to leave your wood outside, cover it well so that it does not get wet. Use a good cover that is waterproof and does not break down quickly by UV light.
7 ways to find free lumber
I’m sure there will be more ways to find free lumber, but I will discuss the 7 most successful ways to find free lumber.
- Free lumber from wooden pallets
- Free lumber from old furniture
- Demolition projects
- Construction sites
- Fallen trees
- Local farms
In the free lumber that you can find through the ways I discuss here, nails or screws may be present.
Pay attention to this and always make sure that they have all been removed before you cut.
This is not only bad for the saw blade of the saw table, but it can also injure you (be sure to check out my blog on how to put together a first aid kit correctly)
You can use a metal detector to ensure that all nails are removed.
Below you can compare a few examples of good metal detectors for woodworking with each other.
A metal detector is a must-have for every workshop.
Investing in a good metal detector can save you a lot of money on damaged saw blades or planer blades.
Free lumber from wooden pallets
I’m going to start with a free type of wood that I love and use often.
The reason why I like to use it is that each pallet has a different discoloration due to the weather conditions to which it has been exposed.
Items made with pallet wood have an aged look as if they had been around for a century.
You will probably have watched dozens of blogs or youtube videos about all the incredible projects you can make with free lumber from pallets.
Pallets are popular sources of cheap wood. Why are they so popular?
When you see a pallet you would not immediately see it, but each pallet has a surprising amount of wood.
The wood used for making pallets is light but at the same time also quite strong.
It has to be able to withstand hundreds of kilos and rough handling during shipping.
It is a sturdy type of wood that you can find almost everywhere.
However, there is a major drawback to working with free lumber that comes from pallets and that is the incredible amount of work.
Pallets are usually nailed together with some manufacturers using ribbed nails. That means they are built to last, but the downside is that the nails don’t come out that easily.
You will need a crowbar, a hammer, and a lot of patience to take apart a pallet.
In many cases, pallets have been left outside and the moisture content in the wood will be high.
Therefore, let pallet wood dry long enough before you will use it.
This will prevent shrinkage of the wood.
Pallet wood Pros
Pallet wood Cons
Where can you find wooden pallets?
The best chance to find pallets is to go to companies and ask about them. The larger the company, the more likely they are to have many waste pallets.
Go in and try to talk to someone who can make a decision about this.
Never take pallets with you without asking.
You can also make an appointment with that company to store the pallets for you and to collect them regularly.
Every way of obtaining wood that I describe in this blog, networking will be an important factor.
If you want to obtain free lumber, networking with others is the only way to find and get free lumber from someone else.
The idea is simple: let people know what you want.
Tell family and friends that you are looking for free wood.
If they have free wood or they know someone who gives wood away for free, they will immediately think of you.
If you want a wider reach for even more free lumber, head to the papers or the internet.
Second-hand websites are a good place to set up a search ad for some free wood. Be sure to look for free wood that is offered on those sites, many people try to get rid of their waste for free.
Don’t forget social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Post on your profile that you are looking for free wood.
You can join local Facebook groups near you that specialize in free stuff.
Free lumber from old furniture
Many people give away furniture for free because it is easier than dragging it to a waste bin or taking it to the city dump.
If you think “hey Christofix, I need wood and not new furniture”, you might miss an opportunity on free wood.
Furniture is in almost all cases made of wood. Depending on the age of the furniture and the type of furniture, it may even be made of hardwood.
When you disassemble this furniture, solid pieces of wood can be recovered that you can use in new projects.
However, the greatest concern when using old furniture is insects, space, and effort.
Old furniture may have developed mold or insects.
Make sure to inspect it thoroughly before you bring it to your workshop.
You will also need to find plenty of space to store the furniture until you can disassemble it.
Finally, disassembling old furniture takes some effort and work.
Old furniture Pros
Old furniture Cons
Where can you find old furniture?
Second-hand websites are the ideal place to find free furniture.
You can also find out via your network where you can pick up free cabinets.
Free lumber from demolition projects
Undoubtedly, a building in your area will be demolished every now and then.
The people who do the demolition will gladly give you the wood they take out of the building.
After all, they must not dispose of it, which saves them costs.
Depending on the age of the building, you could get great free lumber.
Old buildings used wood from forests that can be 200 or 300 years old.
This makes the wood denser, stronger, more resistant to rot, and richer in color.
It is the best wood for any hardwood project.
Demolition projects are a great source of wood because you will find large amounts of them.
Some of it can even be rustic or hereditary hardwood with which you can create unique items that radiate an individual character.
Just think of wood that was used for windows and doors and that had several layers of paint over the years.
Demolition projects Pros
Demolition projects Cons
Where can you find demolition projects?
Search nearby for demolition works or look for companies that do demolition works.
Tell them what you are looking for.
Who knows, you can arrange with them that they bring the wood home for you for free.
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Visit construction sites
When building houses and buildings, a mountain of waste is created that can be used well for your next project.
On construction sites, you will find waste consisting of packaging materials, materials that have been used in the construction but not in the end product, and discarded building materials.
Wood will often be found in between.
A sawn-off part of a beam, damaged wood, wood that was used as protection for transport, all wood that you can often take with you for free.
It saves them the hassle and expense of having to transport it, and you have free lumber.
Talk to someone at this construction site and make sure you know what you can and cannot take with you.
However, keep in mind that the free lumber is thrown away for a reason.
In many cases, it will be cracked, drenched, or stained. You may only be able to use a small amount of that large amount of wood.
Construction sites Pros
Construction sites Cons
Where can you find construction sites?
Just like you can find demolition sites you can look around for construction sites or look for companies that do construction works.
Look out for fallen trees
After a storm, take a walk through wooded areas.
There are always trees or branches that have come down from the storm and are perfectly usable for future projects.
Some can easily be fifty to one hundred years old.
If you know who owns the trees, you can offer to help clear up the fallen trees. In return, you can keep the wood.
Fallen trees are an excellent source of free lumber because they are often of higher quality than you could otherwise afford. They also produce an incredible amount of wood.
The disadvantage of sawing fallen trees is that the wood is wet and has to dry for a longer time before it can be used in the workshop.
Fallen trees Pros
Fallen trees Cons
Check out local farms
What is the best place to find old barn wood?
On a farm of course!
Go there and ask the farmer if he has old barn wood he wants to get rid of.
If he doesn’t have anything at the moment, give him your phone number for when he renovates that old shed in the future.
When an old barn is demolished, a large amount of wood is released from the same material with a unique color, pattern, and character.
Local farms Pros
Local farms Cons
Build your workshop on a budget
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I know because I was there too. Thanks to this training, I gained better insights into building a workshop so that I could spend my budget more efficiently.
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These were 7 simple ways to find free lumber.
If you have another tip on how to find free lumber, please share it below in the comments.
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Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration