Buying cheapest wood for woodwork practice in the UK

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gyuunyuu

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Timber is quite expensive but even engineered wood (Plywood and MDF) is not exactly cheap. For a person that is learning woodworking, they would like to make some stuff (just to throw away later) to improve the skill and experiment with different techniques. How and from where can a person buy the cheapest possible wood for this purpose? It could have a lot of knots. It could be 2nd or 3rd hand. Is there a well known method to obtain such lot quality basically throw away wood? So far I have bought it from B&Q and Travis Perkins but that was not for throw away purpose.

One idea is facebook marketplace. Are there any other options, maybe there is some sort of designated place where such wood can be bought since it won't be from B&Q or Travis Perkins?
 
Timber is quite expensive but even engineered wood (Plywood and MDF) is not exactly cheap. For a person that is learning woodworking, they would like to make some stuff (just to throw away later) to improve the skill and experiment with different techniques. How and from where can a person buy the cheapest possible wood for this purpose? It could have a lot of knots. It could be 2nd or 3rd hand. Is there a well known method to obtain such lot quality basically throw away wood? So far I have bought it from B&Q and Travis Perkins but that was not for throw away purpose.

One idea is facebook marketplace. Are there any other options, maybe there is some sort of designated place where such wood can be bought since it won't be from B&Q or Travis Perkins?
Have a drive around your local small industrial estate in search of Architectural Joiners. You will be surprised at what you can get as they generally discount anything less than about 600mm in length and are happy to get a small return on what they have.

Colin
 
Could you kindly elaborate a bit more on "local small industrial estate in search of Architectural Joiners"? Thanks.

I threw away a 50£ computer desk I bought since it just started coming apart 2 weeks after it was assembled. I threw it away. Maybe I should have saved the panels and ruined them with practice cuts. But I did not have all the power tools I have today at that time.
 
Quite a lot of wood recycling centres operating as local charities have popped up - you still have to pay but it is obviously a lot cheaper. You'll have to see if any exist in your area.

You can also go along to your local tip and see if you can fish anything out of the wood bin.

B&Q / Wickes will have damaged boards, cut boards etc. in a charity bin usually at the front of the store. The other week my local Wickes had 4 18mm 8x4 MDF boards available for free due to some water damage on each one.

Facebook marketplace is great for pine furniture. It's not in vogue currently so it can be had very cheap. Just looked local to me and there are 3 wardrobes going for free or £15 etc.
 
+1 for sites like Freecycle, Gumtree etc. if the price is free or fairly low, make sure its solid wood though as some people have different ideas on what exactly that is. I've gathered up loads of pine from such places that one day I hope to turn into something useful (very much inspired by Matthias W).
 
Could you kindly elaborate a bit more on "local small industrial estate in search of Architectural Joiners"? Thanks.

I threw away a 50£ computer desk I bought since it just started coming apart 2 weeks after it was assembled. I threw it away. Maybe I should have saved the panels and ruined them with practice cuts. But I did not have all the power tools I have today at that time.
that would be my suggestion, join freecycle or similar, look at facebook market place, gumtree etc and grab whatever solid wood items you can get hold of and strip for bits. I've had several wooden bed frames which offer a lot of useable wood with minimal effort, personally I'd avoid pallets as there is a lot of work to get not much wood, and or varying quality
 
I find that many items of Victorian furniture are out of fashion these days and are given away on Facebook, etc.. Extending hardwood dining tables in particular offer lots of good wood and those emptying houses seem to find it hard to get rid of them. The difficult bit is allowing yourself to cut up a lovingly crafted piece of old furniture just because it's out of fashion for the time being.
 
I buy 5x1 sawn timber for a cladding company at £1/m. It's very dense and clear of many knots.

A scrub plane and no 5 soon make it smooth.

Also floor boards new and old are good source. Used ones will give your furniture patina as Drew would say!

I've even used the grove as a rebate for draw bottoms just plane one of the groves off.
 
Before covid I brought loads from marketplace beech, hardwoods pine since covid its much scarcer. I brought some decent redwood from a reclaim yard. It was 11 by 3 and 4.5m and 9 by 3 4m for £57. But without a big saw and planer it's not feasible. 9 by 2 rough sawn is only £6/m and that's a chunk!
 
Timber is quite expensive but even engineered wood (Plywood and MDF) is not exactly cheap. For a person that is learning woodworking, they would like to make some stuff (just to throw away later) to improve the skill and experiment with different techniques. How and from where can a person buy the cheapest possible wood for this purpose? It could have a lot of knots. It could be 2nd or 3rd hand. Is there a well known method to obtain such lot quality basically throw away wood? So far I have bought it from B&Q and Travis Perkins but that was not for throw away purpose.

One idea is facebook marketplace. Are there any other options, maybe there is some sort of designated place where such wood can be bought since it won't be from B&Q or Travis Perkins?
Maybe you could a post on your local Facebook village group.

There will be carpenters and builders doing jobs with offcuts and they will be chucking them in the bin.

As somebody mentioned above you could do a Google search for joinery companies, if there’s on locally call in and ask
 
Timber Yards sometimes stack wood horizontally on lengths of 4x2 3x2 wood about a metre long between the stacks as dividers/separators. Quite recently I was looking at wood and noticed a few abandoned/dumped on the floor. Can I have some - yes help yourself with the comment pick the heavy ones they will be more dense wood and useful so I left the lightweight ones and got some nice bits of wood.
 
Buy? Look in skips for starters. Joinery companies often have skips full of offcuts, some burn it during the winter but in summer have nowhere to store it.
Auction rooms, what happens to furniture they cant sell? A mate of mine gets some prime mahogany & oak this way for peanuts if he has to pay at all.
I look on the seawall & find stuff washed up, Im always looking!
 
It just says UK on your nameplate, perhaps you might get some offers from members if we knew roughly where about you were. I have a solid Mahogany dining table going begging soon which would give you practice pieces for a long long while. ( it’s a beautiful table but nobody wants them nowadays)
Ian
 
Builders skips with permission of course , building sites , and as above recycling centres etc -if you are going to throw it away then you need to spend as little as possible-within reason . But you will be surprised what gets thrown out as long as you don’t mind cleaning it up or removing nails ets etc then you can get some decent wood for a few bucks..good luck 🍀
 
I cannot remember he last time I ever paid for timber. Here are my 3 top tips for getting your hands on wood.

1. Freecycle: By far the most productive method of acquiring wood. Obvious items from Freecycle, many include Furniture, but I have often found that after speaking to people who you collect from, mentioning that you "work with wood" opens up other doors. I once met a couple who were clearing their house, due to a house move and were offering a particularly 'mankey' cabinet which really had seen better days, which I took saying I would look at upcycling it, but really I only had eyes for the beech legs. They did however, offer an old mantle piece made from Iroko and a number of Mahogany pieces, some of which I glued together to turn into vases and bowls, which I later returned to the couple gifted a piece that I made. We still keep in touch.
However, most of the offered furniture on Freecycle usually described as solid Oak, were simply an Oak veneer pieces.

2. Ikea: The IKEA store in Wednesbury in the West Midlands had an area of the car park which they described as "free wood". Of course 99% of the stuff on offer has chipboard or even air inside. So at best you are looking for pine/spruce or even pieces of old kitchen tops, which make excellent work surfaces. The small vase below was made from recycled spruce sourced at Ikea.

3. Scavenging: Jacob's advice is spot on: "Skip diving. Keep your eyes open everywhere you go" . I have taken pieces of felled timber the Council had simply just felled after a Winter and just left around. Of course this takes more work, to handle the timber, cutting and drying etc...
 

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Building sites are a good option, skips are expensive so if you can take stuff that would otherwise be thrown out most sites will be more than happy to let you have waht you want, back when I was a site manager I would often be passed a few £££ wood/scrap that would have gone in the skip.
 
I'm an massive advocate of buying unsorted red deal. It's cheap nice to use and potentially could be anything. From furniture to firewood. Seriously don't waste time doing to much scavenging as time is what's precious not materials. Don't put a limit on materials as you put a limit on potential.
Ps
I do understand scavenging but most struggle with available time.
 
It is far too easy to devote a great deal of time trying to minimise material costs - and it's always a 'compromise'.

As @johnnyb has pointed out, time is the most precious. We are each given 24 hours every day to use as we see fit - no one can 'carry over' any unused part to use the following day!

The material cost for the Oak Pendant I made were less than £15 but there were many hours used to turn the basic materials into the product.
 

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