Going to the hardwood dealer can be very confusing, but it is the place to be for nice furniture woods. I’ve only been a couple of times and there is a lot to think about; sizes of boards, converting linear to board feet, picking the nice stock, trying not to look like a newbie…
But which woods should we be considering for a project? Which are in a sensible price range? There are no prices on the shelves so we can be in for a surprise at checkout unless we ask the staff to check prices every time we see a good looking piece of wood. And I feel bad asking too many questions when I know they have larger-budget clients than I to take care of.
So I put together the chart shown at the top of this post. I gathered pricing information from five online hardwood retailers and averaged them for each species of wood. Now the absolute prices vary from region to region, online vs. at a yard, and will surely rise with time, but the graphs give a good look at the relative prices of 4/4 hardwoods (that means 1 inch thick). 8/4 (2 inch) stock is usually a couple of dollars more expensive.
Using the graph, I now know that Ash is very affordable and that I shouldn’t make a Macassar Ebony dining table until I strike oil.