Scroll Saw Ready Boards:A question that I hear very often is " Where can I get cheap boards for scroll saw projects ?". Unfortunately there is no easy answer for that question. Lumber is expensive. Especially if you want to buy nice hardwoods.
If you have the tools available the cheapest way is to buy lumber in the rough and mill it to the thickness you need. The problem with this approach is that the tools to mill lumber are expensive. You need at a minimum a band saw with a re-saw ability of 6 inches or more. More is better. Then you need a planner that has a 12" capacity. It takes a pretty decent band saw to re-saw 12" boards so you are looking at above $1000 for that. If you go with a 6" re-saw capacity you are still looking at around $600. You have to be pretty invested in the hobby to spend that kind of money. If you are very active with your scroll saw this is definitely the way to go for the long run.
If you are very lucky you may find a lumber yard who will mill the boards for you but they are hard to find. They will also charge a milling fee so that's added expense. Even with the milling charge it will be cheaper than buying from Woodcraft or the big box stores.
The big box stores like Home Depot and Lowes sell a very limited supply of what they call craft boards. They usually only have Oak and Poplar. They will have 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" boards. I will sometimes buy these boards just for the convenience. I have all the tools in my shop to mill rough lumber but it's a lot of work and sometimes it's worth the extra money just to buy the boards ready to go. You often don't need a lot of wood to make a project on the scroll saw so that keeps the cost down.
The next option is to buy scroll saw ready boards online. There are a few suppliers who are very trust worthy and offer excellent boards. One such supplier is http://www.ocoochhardwoods.com/ . They have been around for quite a while and have a good reputation. They carry a nice selection of different species. The width's for the different species will vary from 6" to 12" and you can get them in 1/8" to 3/4" thicknesses. All the scroll saw ready boards they sell come in 24" lengths. A couple examples of pricing are: Walnut 1/4" thick X 8" wide X 24" long is $12. The same size Poplar board is $7.25. Of course the more exotic species can get more expensive. Wenge in the same size is $26.50. These are all fair prices considering they are ready to go. There will be shipping charges to add to the cost you have to consider.
Another source is Ebay.com. This one is a little trickier because you have to do your research on the seller. It's really not that difficult because Ebay gives you the tools you need to check out the seller before you buy. It's a good idea to only buy a small quantity from an Ebay seller until you become more comfortable with them. To get started just do a search for "Thin Lumber"
Just the other day I purchased some boards from an Ebay seller. I bought 10 boards of Maple. They are 1/4" thick X 24" long in widths from 7-8 inches. The cost was $27.70 + $8.62 for shipping. This is the first order I placed with this particular seller so I looked at their feed back. They have a rating of 99.2% satisfied. That's good but not great. In the last year they have had 1669 positive, 17 neutral and 9 negative feed-backs. My order is small so I'm not too concerned and I'll make my judgement after I get my boards. I purchased on July 19th and the expected arrival date is between the July 25th and Aug 4th. That's just a tad slower than my normal seller I buy from on Ebay but not terrible if they follow through.
There is good news for scroller's when it comes to buying lumber. We often only need a small amount of material to build a project. Back before I started the Scrollsaw Workshop I would build furniture in my shop. The sticker shock for buying enough lumber to build a project was just plain scary. That was one of the major reasons I started spending more time on the scroll saw. I could still get the fun of working in the shop without spending hundreds on lumber.
It might take a little effort but you can find the boards you need for your scroll saw projects. For the novice scroller with a limited set of tools, online buying is a great option. If you are more hardcore then milling your own boards is going to be the cheapest and you will have more options available to buy your lumber.
DVD and the 2013 update DVD at this link. DVD #1 is $20 and contains over 1,100 patterns. The 2013 update DVD is $7.50 and has another 178 patterns.