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In Australia, there are 2-3 major hardware stores (Bunnings, Masters, Mitre 10), all of which sell pretty much the same Pine wood/MDF/particle board from the same suppliers.

I'd like to work with wood that isn't Pine/MDF/etc but I realized I have no idea where I could buy it from aside from those three places.

Is there a specific type of store that sells wood? A timber store (I don't even know if that's a thing!)? I'm after high quality hardwood and I don't want to buy online as I expect the shipping would be very expensive for large quantities.

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    This is off topic, but the answer to your question is a lumber yard. – Steven Jun 21 '13 at 0:56
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    If you really think about it, it's not particularly localised. In most places, there will be home improvement type stores with limited wood products, and other lumber yard or timber yard type places that specialise in wood. – MGOwen Jun 21 '13 at 2:09
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    Looks like timber is the right term: google.com/… – Wayfaring Stranger Jun 21 '13 at 3:03
  • Lumber suppliers are there. Look for hardwood supplies. You can even find specific hardwoods online, at places like Woodcraft Supplies. (Not especially cheap though.) There are also small sawmills around, that specialize in hardwoods. Often you can buy directly from them, if a sufficient quantity is desired. – user558 Jun 22 '13 at 2:53
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I ran across this issue when building custom shelves. Found that the right search term is "Specialty Wood Suppliers". Add your area in and you will probably find something near you.

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Look for 'Lumberyard', as they will deal exclusively in different types of wood.

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