Cutting wood to size is a critical part of woodworking. It is good for woodworking efficiency and eliminates or minimizes safety risks.
Additionally, cutting wood to size makes transportation easier, and shaping the wood often reveals beautiful grains that increase the value of wooden items.
Fortunately, there are at least three ways to cut wood to size. First, you can purchase pre-cut wood. This way, you don’t need to worry about cutting the wood in the first place.
Alternatively, you can cut the wood yourself or find/hire someone to cut it for you. Today, we want to focus on places that will cut wood for you for free or at a small fee.
Which are the Best Places that Will Cut Wood for You?
- Home Depot
- Hardware stores
- Lumber yards
- Home improvement stores
Cutting Wood Yourself at Home is the Best Solution
Many woodworkers already understand that cutting your wood yourself is your best bet. Although it presents a few challenges, it’s much more advantageous than getting someone else to cut wood for you.
- Convenience: You can cut any logs any time you want; no queues, no calls. Additionally, you can cut the wood whichever way you wish; no questions.
- Save on costs: Cutting wood yourself can be highly cost-saving, especially for full-out woodworkers. You can potentially save thousands of dollars yearly.
- Minimize wood waste: A portable sawmill allows you to reclaim construction wood, old flooring, used furniture, etc.
- Upfront costs: Cutting tools are expensive. A portable sawmill costs several hundred to a few thousand dollars. Moreover, you need several tools.
- Do you have the skills? You need special technical skills to saw lumber professionally. Do you have those skills?
How to DIY-Mill Lumber from Home
If you decide to mill lumber from home, make sure you find the right location for the sawmill, get the proper tools, and stay safe throughout. Therefore, protective equipment is a must.
Two other critical matters are;
1. Prepping lumber/logs for cutting
Always cut longer wood planks than you need. We recommend a 4-6 inch trim clearance. Also, identify catch points to avoid low-quality wood planks and prevent accidents. Sealing both ends of the logs can help reduce cracking and promote drying.
2. Understanding the different cutting techniques
There are many ways to cut wood. For instance, you can plain saw, rift-cut, or quartersaw it. Plain sawing means sawing right through the center of the log down.
Meanwhile, quartersawing means sawing wood into quarters at a radial handle, then plain sawing the quarters. Finally, rift sawing often refers to sawing and turning logs to produce higher quality lumber.
Alternative Places to Cut Wood
Unfortunately, not everyone has the tools to cut lumber at home. Moreover, few people possess the requisite technical skills. Therefore, finding someone to cut the timber for you is the only solution in such circumstances.
Pros and Cons of Wood Cutting Services
- Advanced cutting techniques: Professional service providers have advanced cutting tools and hire highly experienced professionals. So, you can request any sawmilling style, and the professional services provider will almost certainly deliver.
- Professional advice: Professional saw millers are happy to advise clients on sawing techniques, finishing, and other issues.
- No learning curve: You don’t need any technical skills to begin using commercial sawmilling services.
- Extra costs: Having your wood cut at a commercial saw mill comes with extra costs. For instance, most places charge a small fee.
- Several inconveniences: Issues such as transportation and long queues make professional service providers inconvenient. Additionally, you can only use the services during the premise’s open hours.
Related Post: Is There Money in Woodworking?
13 Alternative Places that Will Cut Wood for You
The following are thirteen places where you can have your wood cut. Some of them do it for free, while others may charge you a small fee.
1. Home Depot
Most people purchase lumber at the big box stores. This is because they are highly accessible, generally affordable, and almost always have popular lumber types in stock.
Unsurprisingly, most big box stores offer basic wood cutting services for free and additional cuts at a small fee. The Home Depot is an excellent example.
Every Home Depot store has a cutting service at the back of the store, offering straight cuts in line with the Home Depot wood cutting policy.
However, different stores offer a different number of cuts. For instance, your local Home Depot store may offer three or more cuts, whereas some stores only offer one cut.
A trained store associate oversees the services. Therefore, you can expect highly professional services. Additionally, Home Depot saws can accommodate all types of cuts and all wood types. They even offer dimensional cuts.
Will Home Depot cut wood to size? Unfortunately, no. Additionally, be warned that Home Depot doesn’t typically cut engineered wood products unless you make an express request.
- Cuts all types of solid wood
- Provides dimensional cutting services
- Services are professional
- Basic cuts are free of charge
- It doesn’t cut engineered wood
- Only cuts wood purchased at Home Depot
Another big box store that offers wood cutting services is Lowes. Indeed, it readily cuts engineered wood, unlike Home Depot, which waits for formal requests. Nevertheless, there are a few things you need to know about Lowe’s wood cutting services.
First, does lowes cut wood for you for free? Unfortunately, no. Initially, the store cut wood for free. However, the recent Lowes policy review did away with the free wood cutting services.
So instead, only the first cut is free of charge now, while successive cuts cost a small fee. The idea is only to cut wood to fit into your car/truck. Anything beyond that is charged.
Secondly, does Lowes cut wood to size? Again, it’s not as straightforward as before. Of course, you’ll be charged for the extra cuts. But more importantly, Lowe’s is on a mission to get workers more productive.
Therefore, you must come prepared with the number of cuts, markers, and measurements to have your wood cut to size.
- Lowe’s cuts solid boards and engineered wood
- It offers angled cuts, circle cuts, wood lattices, holes, etc.
- Highly professional assistants
- No more free wood cutting services
- It doesn’t allow wood from outside the store
Any Menards near you will also cut lumber for you. Perhaps you’ve seen a few blogs saying it doesn’t. The opposite is true. The only problem is that it’s not for free.
Additionally, Menards doesn’t cut wood originating outside the store. That’s the company policy. Each Menards store independently determines the type of cuts and length of wood they can cut.
Every store also determines the wood cutting charges. Costs typically depend on the type of wood, type of cut, and length of cut. However, many stores charge $1 for every rough cut. You may get the first few cuts for free if you’re lucky.
The store cuts treated wood, pine boards, plastic lumber, and hardwood lumber and boards. However, it doesn’t cut plywood as it already offers plywood in many sizes.
- Affordable and free cutting services
- You can rent tools from Menards
- Highly professional services
- It sells and cuts scrap wood
- Forget about precision cuts
- It doesn’t cut plywood
4. Hardware stores
Most home improvement stores are happy to cut lumber for customers. In fact, home improvement stores are much better for wood cutting services because they offer precision cuts. The only stumbling block is cost.
An excellent example of a local hardware store that will happily cut lumber for you is ACE. ACE hardware stores are retailer-owned stores. Currently, there are 5,500+ stores globally.
So, there’s probably one close to you. You can have your lumber cut at any of these stores relatively easily. Most ACE outlets cut lumber. So, you can request the assistants to cut the wood for you.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, not all hardware stores cut lumber. Indeed, a few ACE outlets don’t provide wood cutting services. Secondly, you may pay a small fee for the wood cutting services.
- They cut most wood types
- Rates are typically low
- Long queues
5. Lumber yards
Local lumber yards are arguably the best place to buy and cut wood. Why? Because they specialize in lumber. A lumber yard employs persons who are highly knowledgeable in wood, wood types, and wood preparation.
So, they know everything about cutting wood, the different types of cuts, and the ideal cut for each wood type. More importantly, lumber yards offer specialty cuts you cannot find in big-box stores and hardware stores.
For instance, most big box stores such as Home Depot don’t quartersaw wood. However, lumber yards do. You can also request S4S (surfaced-on-four-sides) at a lumber yard. Unsurprisingly, the Home Depot, Lowes, and ACE don’t offer this service.
- You can bring lumber from elsewhere
- You can request specialty cuts
- Benefit from valuable referrals
- Expensive cutting services
6. Local sawmill
If you’re lucky enough to have one near you, a commercial sawmill would be an excellent place to cut your wood. It’s the only place on this list that exists purposely to saw logs into wood pieces and large boards into smaller, perfect-size plates.
So, you can already foretell the benefits. Generally, a sawmill offers anything you may want from a wood cutting service. For instance, sawmills have large power tools cut any type of wood, hard or soft.
They also have knowledgeable staff on standby to offer professional advice and extra services. The only downside is that sawmills are best for large projects.
Carrying a few planks of wood to the sawmill to cut to size makes little sense and may be expensive.
- Sawmills offer all wood-cutting services
- They have powerful tools for perfect cuts
- Generally cost-effective for large projects
- Sawmills are expensive for small cutting projects
7. Local workshop
Workshops may not be the best place to cut your wood. However, a few owners are kind enough to do it, sometimes free of charge. Often, it depends on your relationship with the owner and the amount of work.
For example, a workshop owner may not be prepared to cut a truckload of timber for free. Indeed, some won’t do it for money.
So, we advise that you only take wood to the local workshop for cutting if you have a rapport with the owner/assistant. Secondly, only consider this option for small loads. A few cuts now and then is fine.
A major advantage of cutting wood at the local workshop is that you can request any wood-cutting service. Most workshops are equipped with circular saws, band saws, power saws, etc., as they too need these tools for regular work.
- Easily accessible
- No long queues
- You can request specialty cuts
- Not suitable for large projects
- Some workshops lack advanced tools
8. Local carpenters
You likely know a few local carpenters. Of course, many run workshops, which we’ve already mentioned. However, others work quietly at home or are employed at larger companies where they offer professional services.
You want to contact them if you have a few wood pieces to cut to size. The main advantage of working with a local carpenter is convenience. The carpenter may even be willing to come to your location for smaller projects.
This means you get to save on transportation costs. Carpenters are also flexible enough to serve you at your convenience. So, they’ll wait for you in the morning or evening as you wish.
Additionally, local carpenters offer something established businesses don’t – follow up. The carpenter will gladly check up on you to see if everything is going to plan. The only downside is that they may lack some tools.
- Highly convenient engagements
- Opportunity to build relationships
- Friendly price rates
- Carpenters may lack some tools
9. Trade schools
Trade schools are an excellent place to have your wood cut – if you get access. They have all the tools in the world and the talent to cut pieces of wood whichever way you want.
Of course, trainees are often prepared to cut wood for free. So, you can save on costs while benefiting from professional services. However, there are a few roadblocks to keep in mind.
For instance, trade schools work within strict rules and regulations. Unfortunately, the rules prohibit profitable projects in many schools. In this case, you may not be able to benefit from the cheap labor.
So, perhaps you should begin by contacting the school’s administration to inquire about their policies. Can they can your wood? If so, then find out the rates and arrange a date.
- Opportunity for cheap labor
- Learners get the chance to gain hands-on experience
- It’s an excellent opportunity for project-cutting services
- Many trade schools don’t offer commercial cutting services
10. Neighborhood makerspace
A maker space (or maker’s space) is a community of people who share ideas and regularly meet to work on projects. So, a woodworking maker space is filled with professionals and various woodworking tools.
Therefore, the first major advantage of heading to marker spaces is interacting with professionals and making a few connections.
For instance, you can get advice on places that offer the best wood cutting services. More importantly, you will find professionals happy to cut your wood.
Unfortunately, you need to be a member of the maker space to enter. Additionally, many such communities rarely have the most advanced woodworking tools because maintenance is a headache.
- Learn from a professional community
- Enjoy affordable wood cutting services
- No queues
- You must be a member
- The community may lack advanced tools
11. Woodworking clubs
Woodworking clubs are almost similar to maker spaces. People who share dreams and inspirations meet to interact and pick each other’s minds.
Indeed, similar to maker spaces, woodworking clubs typically have workshops and tools where professionals practice and share ideas on projects.
So, it’s a great place to learn woodworking skills and enjoy a few benefits, such as getting your wood cut for free. Indeed, you may even cut the wood yourself or ask a partner to help.
Unfortunately, like maker spaces, you must be a member of the club to access its resources, including the tools and professionals.
- Free wood cutting services
- Opportunity for long-term engagement
- Most clubs charge a membership fee
12. Hobby-themed stores
Hobby shops are not the first place that comes to mind when seeking somewhere to cut your wood. However, it might just be where your solution lies.
A hobby shop sells recreational woodworking items, including exotic furniture, instruments, and tools. However, they also offer repair services and thus have the tools to cut wood pieces.
A major advantage of trying your luck at the local hobby shop is that these shops deal in unique items. Therefore, any unique wood cutting style you may imagine, they likely know about it.
- Opportunity to get professional advice
- You can ask for exotic cutting techniques
- Hobby shops are rare
- Some don’t even offer wood-cutting services
13. Buy pre-cut wood
Finally, if all else fails, it might be best to purchase pre-cut lumber. An excellent place to begin your search is online. Check out a few websites to find stores that sell what you seek.
For instance, if you want quartersawn 4×4 oak pieces, find out who sells 4×4 oak pieces in your town or stores that ship the product.
The good news is that it doesn’t take very long to find an online store that sells what you seek. Alternatively, you may find a local hardware store, lumber yard, or lumbermill with the desired wood types.
Buying pre-cut wood saves you the trouble of searching for someone to cut your wood. More importantly, you can pick the best pre-cut wood, eliminating the risk of returning home with poorly sawn lumber.
- It saves time and money
- You can pick the best pre-cut pieces
- Pre-cut wood is expensive
Read to Learn: How to Measure and Cut a 45-degree Angle Cut in Wood
Where can I get wood cut to size?
You can cut your wood in size at a local hardware store, a sawmill, a woodworking store, or a lumber factory. You can also ask your friends’ assistance to size and even cut a square hole in wood if they have the required equipment. Unless it’s such a hassle consider buying pre-cut wood from retailers.
Does ace hardware cut wood?
Yes, Ace hardware will cut wood for you as it strives to earn excellent customer service. The hardware is super helpful and has just about everything, including lumber. If you lack a saw, you can still proceed with your projects by buying the materials at a hardware-like ace that cuts wood to your desired length.
Read also: Woodworking projects for profit.
Does Menards cut wood for you?
It depends. Most Menard stores will cut wood for you, yet some do not cut at all. Every store operates on its policy, so some offer the service to cut while others do not. Please note, that the prices of the wood vary when it’s cut, and also depend on the size, and the type of wood.
Will hardware stores cut wood for you?
Yes, most hardware stores will cut wood for you as long as you buy from their stores. Otherwise, they do not allow anyone to bring their wood from outside. While they cut the wood, the first few cuts may be free but charge some fee for additional cuts.
Where can I get plywood cut to size?
You can get plywood cut to size from home depot or lowes but with dimensional limitations. The widest range of plywood products cut to size are also available online, so you have an alternative option. This will save your time and money if the sizes are cut correctly.
Explore this guide for valuable tips on how to cut balsa wood accurately and effectively.
Where to get custom wood cut?
You can purchase custom wood cut from Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards. Unfortunately, the stores may not cut up an entire project for you. The stores work on order, but this must be on a large scale. Some small local lumber yards may also be selling custom woodcut.
Do lumber yards cut wood for you?
Yes, lumber yards will cut wood for you. In fact, they go further to custom your wood to whatever width and length you desire. Just in case you don’t have the wood yet, purchase it at a lumber yard.
Read also: What does a cord of wood weigh?
You can have lumber cut for you in many places, from the lumber yard across the street to the big box stores in your town/city.
It all depends on where you live, the type and source of the timber, and the cutting techniques involved. Even your local carpenter can cut a few lumber pieces for you if you talk to them nicely.