Updated: Feb 2, 2022
Ready to start a woodworking project with your kids, but not quite sure what wood to buy?
Don't get lost in the lumber aisle. Use these 5 tips as a guide when buying wood, and you’ll be shopping with confidence!
1. Get the right size and quantity for your project.
If you have a specific project in mind, do the math beforehand to make sure you buy enough wood, and make a list of how much you’ll need in each size.
For the majority of our HSD projects, we use 1x3s and 1 1/8” lattice trim. Refer to our downloadable project guides to find the quantities needed for each project.
Bonus tip: As an alternative to lattice, use paint stirring sticks! These are usually about the same size as lattice, and very affordable.
2. Only use soft wood.
Depending on the type of tree it came from, wood can be either soft or hard. Soft wood is much easier for kids to work with, which means more fun and less frustration for beginning woodworkers.
When selecting lumber, look for white pine.
3. Use premium #2 grade lumber.
Lumber is categorized into grades, which reflect the quality and appearance of the boards. Premium #2 grade lumber is affordable, but still a good quality, making it a great choice for kid’s projects.
4. Check each board for cracks, knots, and warps.
Look over each board carefully before making a selection.
Make sure there are no cracks in the board. Avoid boards that have numerous, or very large knots. (Knots are the dark, circular spots on the wood. They are very hard, and can be difficult to work through.) Finally, look down the length of the board to make sure it is not warped.
Did you know? Knots are formed where a branch was growing out of the tree.
5. Ask the seller to cut the boards in half.
Lumber is sold in long boards, typically 6’ or longer. These can be cumbersome and difficult to fit in your vehicle.
Thankfully, most home improvement stores will cut the board in half for you. It is much easier to transport and store shorter pieces, and as a bonus, your kids will be able to carry them on their own!
With these tips, you should have no trouble finding the right wood for your projects. For easy reference to these tips while you're shopping, please download my freebie bundle on Teachers Pay Teachers. It includes a Wood Buying Guide, along with a Woodworking Safety Rules printable, Tools and Supplies Checklist, links to helpful Hammer Saw Drill videos, and more.
Still wondering how to pick out your tools? Read our "Beginner's Guide to the Essential Tools & Supplies You Need for Woodworking With Kids".
Once you have everything you need, head over to our online courses for tool tips and project videos!