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If you aren't lucky enough to find a local supplier then next best thing is to order it. I have ordered through a couple different companies when my local suppplier doesn't have stock I need. One is in Wisconsin and other Minnisota. Of course you aren't able to look through stock and choose what you want but most places that provide this service gaurentee thier stock.
A few things to be aware of when ordering lumber. First make sure you specify whether you want rough or dressed stock. The main advantage with rough stock is it give you flexiblity to dress wood as you choose. You aren't limited to standard dimensions. Rough stock will cost less up front, but will take some time in shop to prepare. Plus if you don't have all proper tools for dressing lumber it may be more hassle then it is worth.
Dressed lumber is going to cost more but for weekend wood worker this may be worth cost. I have spent quite a bit of time dressing stock before starting a project. If you just want to get to work then this is probably best option for you.
Bottom line... If you have access to a lumber yard that supplies good hardwood and will let you snoop through all stock, then this is probably best option. If not then you need to consider ordering it.
Before ordering or buying lumber it helps to be fluent on terminology used. Hardwood is mostly sold by "board foot". 1 Board Foot is equal to 144 cubic inches. So, for example a 2"x6"x1' board is equal to 1 board foot ( 2in x 6in x 12in = 144 cubic inches).
For your reference here are standard lumber sizes.
4/4 (four/quarter) rough = 1" thick board 5/4 rough = 1.25" thick board 6/4 rough = 1.5" thivk board 8/4 rough = 2" thick board 10/4 rough = 2.5" thick board
4/4 dressed = 3/4" thick board 5/4 dressed = 1" thick board 6/4 dressed = 1.25" thick board 8/4 dressed = 1.75" thick board
Dave Markel is the author of "The All Wood Working Journal". He has helped hundreds of individuals improve their wood working skills. Visit his site at http://all-wood-working-plans.com