It seems obvious that discovering wood in a hardwood store is something that would happen there, but there is more to it than it looks. When you go to a hardwood store to buy wood, you have a better chance of discovering something inspiring.
Discovering Wood in a Hardwood Store
If you’ve stuck with me past the headline, you know that I’m talking about finding inspiration in the hardwood store. There are many places to buy wood, and I go into more places in 15 Great Places to Get Woodworking Wood.
However, the hardwood store is special. There is just something about seeing all the different types of wood all in one place that gets you excited about making a project.
If you are brand new to woodworking, give yourself at least a few hours to wander around the store. Especially if this is your first time in a dedicated wood store. The sheer number of different species and colors is amazing. You have to see it to understand it. Nature is incredible, and the types of wood that are available is a perfect demonstration.
In order to get the most from the hardwood store, no matter how many times you have been there, you have to give yourself the opportunity to discover new wood…
The Opportunity for Discovery
If you run into the hardwood store, get exactly what you need, and leave, you are not giving yourself much of an opportunity to discover new things. You need to stop and smell the rosewood, and take your time.
Instead of diving right into the store and running out, allow yourself some extra time. In fact, if you give yourself an assignment, that can work out even better. Maybe you want to learn about tonewood? If that is the case, find a species you don’t know about and go see it when you are in the hardwood store.
Do you build things from colorful wood types? Research another beautiful and colorful species, and make it a point to take a look when you are in the store. It is through taking the time and seeking out a new species that you allow yourself to discover new woods to work with in your shop.
Wandering and Learning
Wandering around the wood store as a beginner is actually a good thing. Just wander around, and look at things. Pick up different pieces of wood. Feel their weight, smell them, and learn about their properties from handling the pieces.
Look in scrap bins, deal bins, and in places that might not get as much traffic inside the store. Look deep in the back where people travel less, and see what kinds of wood are stored away back there.
Again, pick things up, touch them, and learn about the materials. If you have questions, ask one of the staff members. Anyone worth buying wood from will be glad to answer some questions and help you as a beginner.
Taking it Home With You
All the wood in the store does you no good if you don’t take some of it home. On every trip you can, plan for a little extra in the budget to take home something new. Even a small piece of a new species is a great start.
Once you get the piece of wood home, play with it in your shop. You can make cuts, drill holes, and try finishes. It’s just a learning block, so don’t worry about ruining it. The more you teach yourself about the wood, the better you can choose to use it again or not.
Once you know what the wood is about, decide if you would like to make a project using that species. If the answer is yes, the next time you go to the wood store you can buy a larger amount and make that project. Who knows, you might discover your next favorite species.
For a head start on discovering new wood, my 7 Beautiful Types of Wood for Ring Making is a good start. The wood can be used for anything, but I wrote about ring making in the article.
Discovering Wood Homework
Your assignment is to go to the wood store and plan on spending an hour just walking around and looking at all the different types of wood. Don’t go with any other agenda, just go and look at new types of wood that you have little experience with.
Many times, you can get so busy that you just walk right past things that are amazing and beautiful. On this trip, you are all about finding and identifying those things. You can’t buzz past them, because you have been tasked with finding them.
Take some pictures with your phone of some of the pieces that you really like. Then, take a picture of the name of the wood. When you get home, Google search the name and see what kind of properties the wood has. You might just find a new wood to use for your projects.
You can also search the name, and the word project, like “cocobolo project” and you will get more results having to do with that people are making. Do an image search, and you can see the projects too.
Additional Information About Westfarthing Woodworks
My newest book, A Beginners Guide to Woodworking is designed to help new woodworkers get the best start possible.
You can see my other books on my Available Books Page, and they cover several different woodworking disciplines.
You can also Join the Community, and receive updates from me about new articles, upcoming books, and when I release new books. It’s completely free, and full of great tutorials, freebies, and great content.
If you have any questions on Discovering Wood in a Hardwood Store, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.