DIY woodworking projects for every budget and skill level

Slab Wood Buyers Guide

How to buy Slab wood, like a pro

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Where to buy slab wood 

The is is the slab wood buyers guide cheat sheet. It might very well be the shortest page on this website but that doesn’t mean that it is any less important.

The main thing with buying slab wood is to keep a pulse on your local community.

I break these opportunities up into two categories: (1) Local small shop lumber (2) Local hobbyist. The former offers consistent material at (hopefully) a fair price. The latter is where you can really snag some good deals.


You can use our board foot calculator below to get a better understanding of what your costs might be.

Board Foot Calculator

slab wood
Four slabs of Live Edge Walnut

Hobbyist find

I found these four eight foot slabs of walnut from a local hobbyist for $40 total. He had them stored in his garage for over a year and never finished the project that he was working on.

I was able to make 6 shelves, a small bench for my daughter,  gave one eight footer away and still have one left for another project!

DIY Hidden Doorway Bookcase - back of the bookcase door. Hidden Door ideas. Rustic barn secret door

Rustic wall bundle deal

I was able to grab ALL of the wood in this picture (and a bit more) for $40 from a local hobbyist who was cleaning out their garage. Some of this wood is over 100 years old with amazing character. Click to learn more.

where to buy slab wood, spalted maple slab wood

Spalted Maple Bartop

I bought this beautiful piece of spalted maple (unfinished) from a local mill for $75. It is one of the main focal points of the room.

Local Small Shop Lumber

Let’s enter the wonderful world of e-commerce. A world where curly maple can be found on Facebook marketplace.

It is likely that someone within driving range is slicing up trees and selling them online. Typically, these people will price slab wood at a price per board foot.

The problem? A lot of listings show numerous boards while listing a generic price. 

So, how do you get the board you want for a fair price? Better yet, how can you budget for your project?

The key is understand board foot pricing. This is not something that you would typically encounter in a Home Depot (though some boards are priced this way). You are probably used to walking into a Home Depot and purchasing plywood and 2×4’s on a per unit basis. It doesn’t matter which sheet of plywood you buy in the bundle – they are all priced the same.

The formula for calculating board feet is as (length x width x thickness)/144. You can then multiply this value by the cost per board foot. 

Now that you know the formula, you can back out any of the variables. For example, if someone quotes you $50 on a piece of wood, reverse the calculation to see if their price per board foot is on par with the rest of the market. It gives you some credibility and will help you negotiate a fair price.

Lastly, it doesn’t  hurt to ask if the seller has any offcuts laying around.  What they may consider scrap may prove to be priceless practice boards for you. I would say I’ve walked away with scraps about half of the time that I ask.

Local Hobbyist

This is the fun part, where you can score amazing deals from local hobbyists that are looking to unload.

My strategy is to purchase what I need from small shop lumber (above) and stock up when local deals present themselves.

The key is to always keep a pulse on the market, checking facebook marketplace regularly by searching for “wood”, “Slab wood”, “scrap wood” etc…

Pay attention to how long a listing has been out there. If it is longer than a week then you have some negotiating power. If it is less than a week, but you feel it is overpriced (or it is out of your budget) then politely message the seller and tell them that you are interested but only if you can’t sell it for the price that you are asking. I always end a message like this with “but good luck selling it for what you want!”. If they can get the price they want, great. If you absolutely love the listing then offer full price. If not, play the waiting game and see how far things drop. Scrap wood isn’t exactly flying off of the shelves. Also, keep in mind that you will always get the best deal if you offer something for the entire lot. 

I often get bundles for 50%-75% less than ask this way and I have made some of my favorite things from deals. The wall showcased above would never have been built if I didn’t score a $40 deal for the entire lot.  Just remember, patience and politeness is key.