Fortunately, in today’s marketplace, we have many options to choose from, so it’s important to think through the entire process in order to know best where to start.
Your buying process might begin with questions like, is this going to be an heirloom piece, a seasonal project, a gift, or strictly one that fulfills a temporary need?
What type of wood or species follows next, domestic hardwood, exotic imports, or reclaimed wood?
A sawmill or specialty wood supplier, like Ohio Wood Connection, would be able to supply almost all of your domestic hardwood needs. A company like Bohlke or GL Veneer can serve as a veneer distributor and lastly for reclaimed wood I would search places like architectural salvage, demolition sites, or reclaimed lumber yards.
The budget seems to find its way in the mix more often than not, so if I were working with a lower end budget I would search Facebook marketplace(and know that most of it are not kiln dried lumber), Craigslist (not always going to be a professional), or eBay ( which pictures can be deceiving).
For your middle to upper-end selections, you would seek out places like OhioWoodConnection, a specialty wood supplier, cabinet making shops, or interior designers.
The timeline would be my next consideration, when do I need to have it completed? This will drive many of your choices. If you need it in 2-4 weeks, then retail suppliers are your answers, like Home Depot, Menards, Woodcraft, or Rockler. Retail can also mean online kits through Amazon?
If you have up to 6 months, then a Cabinet shop or specialty supplier like Ohio Wood Connection is my choice. If you have the luxury of up to 12 months or so, then I would look to harvest my own log(s) off a private forest/land and take it for kiln drying at Ohio Wood Connection.
The bottom line is….if you have the time and the resources to build a quality/ heirloom project, then work with a specialty/ professional supplier of wood.