In order to find the best cheap lumber, you need to consider the type of project you are working on. Cheap lumber typically has some type of defect, so it is important to look for wood that is well suited to your particular purpose. Lumber yards and commercial woodworkers will often sell you cheap dimensional lumber, though the lower price is often due to irregularities or insect problems. Other sources of inexpensive lumber include old furniture, wood from deconstruction projects, and construction sites, all of which can be good choices if you know what you are looking for. You may also want to consider the fact that some types of lumber, such as pine, are simply less expensive than others.
Since lumber can be used in so many different ways, there are a number of different factors you may need to consider when looking for inexpensive sources. If you know the requirements of your project, that can help you find the best inexpensive lumber. A few good places to start looking are lumber yards and commercial woodworkers, both of which typically have large quantities of lumber that can be obtained for low prices.
Scraps from commercial woodworkers can be a good choice if you are working on a small project, while potentially infested dimensional wood from a lumber yard can be a viable option if you need long, flat boards and know how to deal with insect problems. Before you buy this type of cheap lumber, always make sure to check into your local laws. If your area has problems with an invasive species of insects, it may be illegal to transport potentially infested wood.
Certain types of lumber are also less expensive than others, if you are looking to buy new boards from a lumber yard. If you are looking for a good type of cheap lumber for construction projects, pine is usually a good choice. Softwoods are typically the least expensive options, though some projects call for hardwoods. In those cases you may want to look at hardwood alternatives, such as bamboo flooring, or check into other sources.
For other projects, reclaimed wood is an option you may want to consider. Wood from old furniture and buildings can often be obtained for very little money, and this type of lumber is well suited to certain uses. Weathered boards from old buildings are often used for rustic hardwood floors, shelves, and many other similar projects. If you are interested in this type of cheap lumber, you will typically need to invest a lot of time and labor into preparing the wood for reuse.