Cheap Sources Of Wood For Large Or Small Projects

The price of wood can be eye-watering and in some cases, it might be cheaper to buy a piece of furniture rather than make it yourself, especially if you are looking to incorporate some exotic wood species. But where’s the fun in that? No matter whether you want to make your very own chest of drawers or need a small amount of wood to repair a garden shed, there are ways to get your hands on cheaper wood that doesn’t compromise on quality.

In this guide, we will be exploring some of these options as well as detailing the pros and cons of each one.

Why Is Wood So Expensive?

Wood is currently more expensive than ever and, as with many other things, we have the COVID-19 pandemic to thank for that. According to a report in The Sun newspaper, this is the result of lumber yards having to shut down during the worst parts of the crisis, which of course, has led to increased demand and therefore higher prices.

But wood has never been an incredibly cheap raw material and it depends on the type of wood and its quality as to what you will pay for it. What’s more, it is believed that, in the UK alone, we are cutting down more trees than we are able to plant and this means that the amount of timber available on the market is dwindling. Compared to ten years ago, the UK is planting 50% less trees!

Where Can I Get Cheap Wood?

Using wood from other sources as opposed to buying it new is a surefire way to save yourself a few quid. However, there are other benefits. Since there is a shortage of wood and we are struggling to keep up with replacing trees, recycling and reusing timber is excellent for the planet and ensures that there is always enough lumber to go around. But where can you get cheap wood?

Well, the answer to that question is detailed. There are lots of options for DIYers looking for wood. Some are much more convenient than others but in any case, you should be able to get your hands on some cheap or even free wood without much hassle.

Pallet Wood

If you look on social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, you will see that the internet is inundated with Pallet wood furniture ideas. This is a craze that has swept across the globe and taken the world by storm.

Not only do wooden pallets provide you with a viable and often free source of wood but they are usually made from high-quality wood that is incredibly durable. What’s great is that companies have a huge number of deliveries on these wooden pallets and are then left with them without a use. For this reason, you will find that a lot of businesses will hand them over for nothing; you’re actually doing them a favour by taking them away and you get free wood, it’s a win-win for everyone.

The video below gives some good advice as to how to prepare pallets for use in woodworking projects:


Whether you use your own offcuts or source them from elsewhere, this is a great way to make the most out of leftover timber. It can be tempting to let this pile up and then discard it. However, many people use these offcuts for smaller projects like home decor, storage boxes and much more.

You can create things like wall shelves and some wonderful decorative wall hangings, like the ones in this article. If your friends are keen to get rid of their off-cuts, let them know that you are happy to make use of them.

You might also speak to small businesses that would be happy to get rid of their excess wood free of charge rather than having to rely on waste collection to remove it. However, you might also think about approaching larger commercial woodworking firms such as timber yards, furniture makers and the like that will have an enormous amount of off-cuts.

These businesses will have to pay refuse companies to take their offcuts away so it is always worth asking whether they’ll give it to you for free. In some cases, they may charge for their off-cuts but the cost won’t be as high as buying full-sized boards. 

Skip Hunting

Skip hunting for wood
Skip hunting for wood

We have to point out that this is one of the more time-consuming methods of sourcing free wood but it certainly yields excellent results for those who are willing to put in the time. There is also something of a stigma attached to skip hunting but if you can get over this, then you’d be amazed at what some people throw out.

You’ll often see skips sitting outside homes all around the UK and if you notice something that takes your fancy, then it could be yours. Of course, you should always ask the permission of the owners because that’s just common courtesy. Skip hunting is not technically illegal and items in a skip are considered to be free for the taking. However, since skips are normally placed on private property, you could be charged with trespass if you do not get permission. Moreover, you must consider that there are some instances where taking from a skip will be classed as theft.

Second Hand Furniture

Repurposing Old Furniture
Repurposing Old Furniture

There is so much focus on recycling in modern times so why not do your bit by putting old furniture to good use? As you will have seen if you followed our previous tip and did a bit of skip diving, people are always throwing out old furniture, some of which isn’t in terrible condition. You may even have some old pieces lying around your own home.

The other thing about older furniture is that many times, it is made from expensive hardwoods like mahogany or walnut.

You can put a call-out on social media letting your friends and family know that, if they have any wooden furniture that they are throwing out, you’d be happy to take it. Most people will thank you for relieving them of a trip to the tip!

Alternatively, you could visit a local second-hand store and see if there are any furniture items you could use. You will need to pay for these but many second-hand shops charge a reasonable price that is far less than buying new wood.

Online Ads

The internet is one of the most valuable resources of our time and there isn’t much you can’t find on it! Social media is a great way to find almost anything and with things like Facebook Marketplace being the new place to buy second-hand goods, you’re bound to find what you’re looking for.

Many people advertise scrap or leftover wood for free simply to get rid of it whereas other people might charge a small amount. But in any case, you won’t be paying anywhere near as much as you would buying new wood.

Websites such as Freecycle, Preloved and many others often advertise things for free so these are worth checking out too. 


If you’re willing to put in a little effort then chopping up fallen trees can be a great way of sourcing free wood.

However, much like skip hunting, you cannot simply take wood, even if it appears to be on unowned land. All land in the UK belongs to someone whether it is privately owned or owned by the council. We would always urge you to seek permission before removing any fallen trees to avoid getting into trouble with the law. According to the Woodland Trust, it is considered to be theft if you take any wood from a fallen tree without asking.

Community Wood Recycling Centre

Community Wood Recycling Centre

The Community Wood Recycling Project was founded in 2003 with the mind to save resources and create sustainable jobs. They have locations all around the UK and can be contacted at their national office, details of which can be found on their website.

There are opportunities to purchase reclaimed wood as well as donating any wood that you don’t need. This is an entirely self-funded project so you will be supporting a worthwhile cause too.

Local Recycling Centres

Most areas have some kind of recycling centre and it is here that you may find some real gems in terms of timber. Whether this is off-cuts, old furniture or anything else, it is certainly worth a trip.

You will notice that many recycling centres have shops where items that can be reused are sold. In many cases, any money that is made from these shops is given to a charity so you will be doing your bit in more ways than one.


While the cost of wood has risen significantly in recent times, that does not mean that you should not be able to source cheap or even free wood. Many places will be glad to give you their offcuts so that they do not have to dispose of them and if you’ve got a few spare hours you could even go looking through the woods and through skips.

Not only will these methods save you money but they will also ensure that there is as little waste wood as possible. With the UK struggling to replant enough trees as they are harvested, there has never been a better time to reuse and recycle.

Cheap Sources Of Wood For Large Or Small Projects

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