Over the years, I have made dozens of trips to Home Depot and Lowes for wood. And in that time, I have never owned a truck, trailer, or even a large SUV to haul it. That means that I am getting the wood cut down to length with almost every trip to fit it into my car. Luckily, both Lowes and Home Depot will cut wood for you!
Does Menards Cut Wood For You?
Does Menards Cut Wood For You?
Now, I do have to warn you that each store may have their own individual policies or equipment on hand. I recently visited a Lowes that could only cut sheet goods like plywood. I had a cart full of 12 foot cedar boards I was going to cut in half but ended up just having to put them all back on the shelf and visit anther store.
With that said, there are a few tricks I’ll show you for how to get the best value from your lumber purchases and make sure you’ll be walking home with all of your pieces cut to the right size.
Getting Wood Cut to Size at Home Depot or Lowes
Getting wood cut to size at Home Depot or Lowes is usually a fairly simple process. Just pick out the boards or sheet goods you need and head to the back of the lumber area. Occasionally I have seen the sheet good cutting station near the front of the store but 99% of the time all the cutting is done near the back.
All of the boards cut at Home Depot or Lowes are cut on a modified radial arm saw. Unlike a miter saw which is pulled down onto the wood, a radial arm saw is pulled across the wood. That is combined with a large safety shield that covers the wood to prevent any chance of injury for the employee making the cuts.
The nice thing about these saws is that they are usually fairly square. The not as nice thing is they can be a bit tougher to line up cuts. So, if you need precise cuts, you are probably best buying a miter saw and making them yourself.
The employee will usually ask you how long you want the pieces cut and will make the wood accordingly. If I’m looking to have the wood cut into multiple pieces I will usually grab a tape measure and pencil and mark the wood myself.
Project Cuts vs Rough Cuts
We’ll get more into the exact store rules in a bit but for now let’s take a second to talk about rough cuts versus project cuts.
The “official policy” for most big box lumber stores is they only make rough cuts designed to break down sheet goods or lumber so it can fit in a customer’s car. This rule serves two purposes: to keep customers from tying up the saw (and employee time) by asking for dozens of small cuts and preventing customer complaints when the cuts don’t match their exact dimensions.
These saws are also used dozens of times every single day and often have dull blades, so the cut quality will usually be, at best, rough.
Project cuts would be described as making numerous cuts to exact dimensions so you can take the cut boards home and assemble them into your new raised planter box or whichever project you’re working on.
There are a few steps you can take to maximize your chance of a store associate going the extra mile to help you out with your project cuts.
- Visit the store during off hours. I usually have good luck in the mornings on weekends and weekday evenings. Avoid showing up right before closing time though as the stores are usually pretty short staffed by then.
- Be prepared to plan out your cuts. Bring a pencil, tape measure and speed square (or grab one to use off the rack) and mark out all of your cuts ahead of time. This will save a ton of time for the wood cutting associate.
- Be nice to the wood cutting associate. A little goes a long ways here. Say hi. Talk about your project. Understand that if there are other people waiting in line behind you that they may feel rushed to get the job done so don’t micromanage their job.
- Help them out. Help load the wood onto the saw or grab pieces from them after the cuts. Show them your measurements so they can quickly line up the cuts.
What Types of Wood Do They Cut at Home Depot or Lowes?
You can get almost all lumber and project boards cut at Home Depot or Lowes. Their saws do have size restrictions though so you may not be able to have wider project boards cut as they are too wide for the radial arm saw and too thick for the panel saw.
If you need to cut trim there is usually a hand saw station in the trim department. Once again, these saws get a lot of use so they may be dull but trim is easy to cut through.
If you need to cut pressure treated wood your luck will vary by store. Some stores cut it without question while others won’t touch it. The same tends to go for MDF although they sell plenty of smaller MDF sheets ready for transport.
Getting Plywood Cut to Size at Home Depot or Lowes
Even if your local Lowes or Home Depot doesn’t have a radial arm saw for cutting lumber, they will almost always have a panel saw for breaking down sheet goods like plywood.
The panel saws hold a full sheet of plywood and are adjustable to make both rip and crosscuts. This means you can break down a full 4×8 sheet of plywood into two 4×4 pieces or two 2×8 pieces.
The saws at these stores will often leave a very rough edge on sheet goods due to their blades designed for rough cuts and often dull. This means if you’re hoping to leave any plywood edges exposed on your projects, it may require a lot of cleanup or more cuts once you get the wood home.
Many folks have had good luck with getting decent cuts on sheet goods but be aware that this is certainly not always the case.
If you’re going to be building many projects with sheet goods, then a decent circular saw and straightedge guide are a good investment to make. They are relatively cheap and take up very little space.
Home Depot and Lowes Wood Cutting Rules
I said earlier that we’d take a look at the store’s rules for cutting wood at Home Depot or Lowes, but the fact of that matter is there doesn’t seem to be any precise rules that cover all stores!
Some stores allow 1 cut per board for free, others 2, some even offer up to 5 cuts for free. After that, the charge may be $.25/cut, $.50/cut, or even $1/cut.
Some stores will even limit you to 1 cut per piece of wood, period!
There are some general rules that you will run into at almost all stores. Don’t expect cuts of less than 12 inches. Don’t expect to get free cuts if the store is busy or you’re asking for a dozen or more cuts for your project. Don’t expect the cuts to be all that precise. Other than that, your mileage will vary, and often it is up to you to present yourself in a manner that will encourage the store associates to be helpful with your project.
Other Places that Will Cut Wood for You
There are plenty of other places to look to get your lumber cut down to size if your local Home Depot or Lowes just isn’t cutting it. Pardon the pun!
Dedicated lumber yards can be another option for places that will cut wood for you. Look for lumber stores that carry specialty lumber like walnut, cherry, maple, etc. This would is often purchased rough milled, and these stores will have on-site milling capabilities. This means they can cut the boards to length and flatten and square all four sides.
If you are working on a project that requires more specific lumber dimensions, this can be a great option. And you’ll still be able to work with cheaper, paint-grade woods like poplar if needed. I recommend doing a quick online search for lumber yards near you and call around to see what services they offer.
My old lumber yard near Seattle had full milling capabilities and well-trained staff who were more than happy to cut my lumber and sheet goods down to any size I wanted. The best part was the cuts were always free as well!
Maker spaces are more popular than ever and are popping up in cities all over the country. These spaces are typically well equipped with woodworking tools, and the space can be rented by the hour. Typically a short safety training session is required before you can start using the tools. Once that is done, though, you can drop in almost any time to quickly break down lumber for a project.
Some spaces even stock lumber for purchase onsite, so you don’t have to worry about dragging it from the lumber yard.
Woodworking Shops or Cooperatives
Some woodworking shops or cooperatives will rent out services by the hour for the use of their machines. Most of the use will typically be for large machines like wide belt sanders. These machines are typically not an option for home woodworkers, so these shops can make some decent income renting them out for one-off projects.
It never hurts to ask if anyone wouldn’t mind breaking down a stack of lumber as well. If it’s a quick job, the rates shouldn’t be too high.
Final Thoughts on Having Wood Cut at Home Depot or Lowes
If you’re new to woodworking or don’t have room for a set of power tools, then Lowes or Home Depot can be a great resource for getting your woodworking projects started.
By taking some time to plan out your trip, you can end up with a pile of wood ready to turn into your next home project.
Derek grew up woodworking in his father’s shop and has since gone on to start up a successful woodworking business on Etsy. In his spare time, you can find him mountain biking, skiing, or writing.
Purchase your lumber from Lowe's in order to score free wood-cutting services before you take it home. Home Depot will also cut wood for free, but there are some limits to their services. For example, you only get two cuts each on up to 10 pieces of wood.How much does Lowes charge to cut wood? ›
How much does Lowes charge for cutting wood? Most Lowes locations will do 1 cut per board purchased in their store that day for free. Some stores will do 2 cuts. If you go asking for more cuts than that, some stores will charge a dollar or less per additional cut.How many wood cuts will Home Depot do for free? ›
Get your wood cut twice for free at Home Depot.
Take your lumber of choice to the wood cutting station and ask for up to two cuts of wood for free on up to 10 different pieces of lumber.
We make your projects easy. We can cut lumber, mini-blinds, pipe, rope, chain and more. Lowe's also offers free pipe threading and cutting for any size of galvanized or black iron pipe. The process involves a machine‐based cutting operation with a metal wheel that creates threads in the ends of pipes.How much does Home Depot charge for cutting wood? ›
How much does it cost for Home Depot to cut your wood? Home Depot will give you a few cuts completely free when you purchase wood in store. After around 5 cuts, you can expect to pay around $. 25 per cut, unless you make friends with the associate.Can someone cut wood for me at Home Depot? ›
If you have a big project coming up and don't have a truck, you might be wondering “will Home Depot cut wood for me?” The short answer is yes, they will cut wood for you.Is it cheaper to cut your own lumber? ›
Milling the lumber yourself is faster and cheaper for an enthusiastic hobbyist. You'll make better use of your own resources in the process.Can you get scrap wood from Lowes? ›
Both Home Depot and Lowe's have a scrap wood pile where you can find discounted wood that's perfect for your next Pinterest project.How does getting wood cut at Lowes work? ›
The store will have a designated area for wood cutting, so you'll need to wait until it's clear before bringing your boards over. Once it's your turn, an employee will help you set up your wood on the cutting table. They'll measure and mark the wood for you, and then they'll cut it to size.Can Home Depot cut wood in a circle? ›
Home Depot will only cut wood at a straight right angle. The don't cut curves, shapes or make miter cuts. Home Depot doesn't make precision wood cuts.
Lowe's can only lumber cut in straight cuts, and they cannot make angled cuts or cut the wood into circles or holes. However, Lowe's does have a pre-cut lumber lattice available for purchase, if you don't have the necessary tools. In addition to their services, they also offer free pipe threading .Where does Lowes get their lumber? ›
Lowe's long-term goal is to ensure that all wood products sold in our stores originate from well-managed, non-endangered forests. Lowe's Wood Sourcing Policy is intended to inform the public and suppliers of our philosophy and commitments.Will Lowes cut plexiglass to size? ›
Thinking of purchasing Plexiglass sheets at Home Depot or Plexiglass at Lowes? This is not the thin film masked material you see there. They don't cut and frankly, we are less expensive and offer an array of services so you get exactly what you want. Square, rectangle, trapezoid, circle - you draw it, we can cut it!Does Home Depot price match competitors? ›
If you find a current lower price on an identical, in-stock item from any other retailer, we will match the price. Just bring the ad, printout or photo with you to the register for validation. (This may involve the associate contacting the competitor).Do stores cut wood for you? ›
If you want to get your wood cut, the best place to get it done is in a store that offers fresh lumber. Most lumber stores and mainstream hardware stores have a wood cutting service for cheap.Do I have to buy the whole piece of wood at Home Depot? ›
They will cut the wood for you (if you need it)
Most stores will cut the wood for you or at least enough to fit in your vehicle. Measure your vehicle ahead of time and bring your measurements for your project so you know exactly how much you need to cut off for the project.
Rift sawing is the most expensive and rare of the milling methods, though sometimes it is mistaken for quarter sawn boards as they are commonly milled as a compliment to a quarter sawn floor. The boards are milled perpendicular to the tree's growth rings.What is the best tool for cutting craft wood? ›
In the world of wood crafts, the circular saw is the go-to tool among woodworking professionals and hobbyists. The saw is also a favorite among homeowners who like DIY home repair projects. A circular saw can work with high volumes. The saw is also good for cutting brick and metal.Is it better to cut wood wet or dry? ›
Wet Wood Vs Dry Wood
But wet wood is actually much easier to cut than dry wood. With dry wood lacking moisture content, more friction is created as the chainsaw chain comes into contact with the wood fibers. This friction results in the chain slowing down.
Rough cut lumber is known to be cheaper than treated lumber. However, it is quite a bit more to haul and deliver because it is heavier than treated lumber. But if you are picking the lumber up yourself, it will almost always be cheaper.
Rift Sawn lumber is the most dimensionally stable cut of lumber available. Often Rift Sawn and Quarter Sawn lumber is combined in flooring – better known as Rift & Quartered.What is the first cut off a log called? ›
What Is the First Cut Off a Log Called? The first log cut above the stump is called a butt log or butt cut. Butt off refers to cutting a piece of a log due to a defect. Most of a tree's value is in the butt log.Does Lowes have free scrap wood? ›
Lowes does not have Scrap bins per say to sell. If you need a 4″ piece of 2x4 that they have laying by the board cutting station most of the time they will let you have it for free.What is scrap wood called? ›
Other names for cull lumber include culled lumber or scrap bin lumber.Can you return unused lumber to Lowes? ›
If you're not completely satisfied with your Lowe's purchase, simply return the merchandise to any Lowe's store in the US. Most new, unused merchandise can be refunded or exchanged with proof of purchase within 90 days of the original purchase date, unless noted in our Return Policy Exceptions.What is the easiest wood to cut? ›
Poplar. As one of the softest hardwoods, poplar is very easy to shape and cut. It's inexpensive compared to other hardwoods as well. Poplar isn't the most attractive wood, with a white appearance streaked with brown or green.Can I cut wood with an exacto knife? ›
From the Manufacturer. The X-ACTO Woodcarving Knife comes with a 5-inch positive grip, heavy duty handle for deep carving and whittling. It can be used on wood, linoleum and plastic.Why doesn t Lowes sell Milwaukee? ›
Milwaukee Electric signed an agreement in September 2006 to supply power tools to Lowe's stores. It shipped tools through 2007. The companies did not renew their supplier relationship for 2008. At the end of the agreement, the retailer owed Milwaukee Electric more than $1.2 million, the suit says.Will hardware store cut plywood? ›
Home Depot and Lowes both cut lumber (like 2x4s) and sheet goods (like plywood) purchased in-store. The first few cuts are free, but the stores reserve the right to charge for excess cuts.What is Lowes 1 800 number? ›
When appearance matters, make cuts with the good side facing down, as circular saws can splinter the wood on the top side. Making your cut line on masking tape can reduce splintering.How much does it cost to cut plywood at Home Depot? ›
I generally tip the associate about $5-$10 depending on how many cuts. At least $5 and then roughly $2 per cut. John Cowart on June 13, 2019: After reading this excellent article I went cheerfully to my local Home Depot to get a piece of 2'X4' 3/4 exterior plywood for a shelf project.What is the best tool to cut lattice? ›
Use a Carbide Blade on a Circular Saw to Cut the Lattice Panels. Put on a pair of safety glasses, recommends Universal Forest Products. Attach a carbide-tipped blade to the circular saw. Rest the saw's bottom plate on the edge of the panel and align the saw blade with the chalk line.What saw is best for cutting lattice wood? ›
The best technique for cutting lattice is to use a circular saw with a fine-toothed blade and firmly clamp the lattice to a work surface. When using a saw, be sure to observe the safety precautions recommended by the saw manufacturer, which may include safety goggles, hearing protection and a respirator.Where is wood cheaper Home Depot or Lowes? ›
Based on reviews and pricing, we believe the better deal is at Lowe's. While Home Depot is cheaper, it appears you'll get more bang for your buck at Lowe's.Is it cheaper to buy lumber from Lowes or a lumber yard? ›
In many cases, your local lumber distributor is less expensive for one reason – specialization. Lumber yards are well-versed in the business of wood and how to purchase it at a good price. Prices always vary with different types of wood, but you can be sure your local lumber yard is competitive in price.
Your pressure-treated wood may feel wet because of waterborne chemicals in the wood's pores introduced during the wood treatment for moisture resistance. So, when dispatched, the wood may feel wet and heavy.Does Ace Hardware cut acrylic? ›
Toole's Ace Hardware offers glass and acrylic cutting services. Just bring your measurements and our expert associates will cut you a piece of glass or acrylic sheeting to size. Contact your local Toole's Ace for more information.What's the difference between acrylic and plexiglass? ›
We regularly get asked the question: what is the difference between Plexiglass and acrylic? We can give a short answer to this: there is absolutely no difference. This is because acrylic is the usual abbreviation for polymethylmethacrylate, and Plexiglas® is one of the many brand names of this plastic.What is easier to cut plexiglass or acrylic? ›
Thin acrylic sheets (3/16” or less) are very easy to cut by hand using a scoring knife or dull utility blade. Thicker plexiglass can also be cut by hand, but it's much easier and more efficient if you use a power tool to achieve clean, straight cuts.
No, Home Depot will only cut wood for you at a right angle. They do not make curved cuts. The saw they use is called a panel saw and it only cuts at straight right angles. They don't make precision, mitered, compound or curved cuts.Will Home Depot cut pressure treated lumber? ›
Most stores will offer to cut a few pieces for free but will proceed to charge $0.25 per cut on average for all additional cuts. The accuracy of the cuts required are not guaranteed. For your convenience, Home Depot will also cut one or two cuts of pressure-treated wood upon request.Will Menards cut wood for you? ›
Just like Lowe's and Home Depot, Menards stores will cut wood for you in most cases. While the cost will vary from store to store, it generally costs around $1 to $2 per cut. Additionally, Menards will cut wood purchased from other stores – whereas many other stores won't.Can you cut wood in a Home Depot parking lot? ›
Now we have a lot of tools and sometimes even bring a circular saw in the car so we can cut wood down on the spot, in the parking lot, to fit in our SUV. But, you can definitely take advantage of the cutting service that Home Depot offers.Can Lowes cut wood in a circle? ›
Lowes stores only offer straight cuts of wood – so if you need a speciality cut you'll need to use another method.What is wood cut with a circular saw called? ›
The two main types of cuts you can do with a circular saw are called a cross-cut and a rip-cut. A cross-cut is a simple cut across the length of a piece of timber, against the grain. A rip-cut follows the length of the timber and goes with the grain. Rip-cuts are trickier and can take a little practice to get right.What can I use instead of pressure treated lumber? ›
The most basic alternative to treated lumber is wood that has natural resistance to decay. Some of the common decay-resistant species are cedar, white oak, cypress and redwood.Will pressure treated wood rot if cut? ›
Therefore when you trim the end off of a piece store-bought Pressure Treated Lumber, you are exposing wood fibre that is not suitable for exterior application without chemical treatment, to water, fungus and insects that it would otherwise be protected against by the Pressure Treatment.
Milling the lumber yourself is faster and cheaper for an enthusiastic hobbyist. You'll make better use of your own resources in the process.Does Lowes or Menards cut wood? ›
Home Depot and Lowes both cut lumber (like 2x4s) and sheet goods (like plywood) purchased in-store. The first few cuts are free, but the stores reserve the right to charge for excess cuts. Menards does not cut wood, although some stores have a self-serve miter saw station available.