Mountaineer Woodturners

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Introduction to woodturning 101

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Getting Started

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Where to Get Wood

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by Jason Carnes

At some point along your path to becoming a woodturner you are going to ask yourself "Where Do I Get Wood"?  It seems like such an odd question as most of us are not used to the idea of having to find wood for turning purposes in our modern era.  There are seven basic ways to get wood.


1. Harvest it yourself.


Thats right, good old manual labor.  You take a chainsaw and go out and cut down a tree.  You might get lucky and the tree might already be down, maybe your friend's tree fell down and he needs help "removing" it from his yard.  I know I got my first tree from a situation just like that.  You will need a chainsaw.  I suggest you have a wheelbarrow too, or you can do it the old fashion way.  You will also most likely need a vehicle, unless the tree is close to your house.  A truck would be very helpful too.  It is a lot of hard work, but it is also the cheapest way to get lots of wood.


2. FOG Wood


Also known as Found On Ground.  Basically I am talking about free wood.  The stuff you see laying on the ground.  Some people also call it mystery wood, because you might not know what it is or if it will even work.


3. Free Wood from a Friend


It is amazing when a friend gives you a free piece of walnut, maple, or cherry, but I would not expect it to supply all your needs.  It is a gift, not a supply chain.


4. You pay someone to harvest wood for you.


You might find someone who is willing to cut down the tree and haul it back to your place for a nominal fee.  They might even cut it up into usable pieces for another fee.


5. You buy the wood from a retailer.


You can buy wood online from locations like Woodcraft.com or westpennhardwoods.com.  Westpenn is the cheapest place to buy online.  Don't let my phrase cheapest fool you though, buying wood at this stage in the process is expensive no matter what. I suggest you wait for 50% off sales if you buy online.


You can also buy from a brick and mortar store like home depot or lowes.  But the lumber will not be very good for turning.  They might have a small supply of poplar or cedar.


One of the best places in our region to buy wood from is Keim Lumber in Charm, OH.  You can buy better woods like maple and walnut there.  They have odd hours, so check their website before you take a trip up there.  I literally had the door shut and locked in front of my face at noon on Saturday.


6. Barder/Trade Wood


You might have some Cherry Wood your would to trade for some Walnut or vice versa to a fellow club member.  Club members might trade various surplus they have for limited supplies of other woods they are looking for to complete a project.


7. Auctions for Wood


There is an annual auction at the club where wood is auctioned off by the club.