Chris Schwarz's Blog

Why You Should Visit Midwest Woodworking Co.

In this business, there are a few things you don’t share: Finishing secrets, wood sources and saliva.

This post breaks one of those three cardinal rules – revealing excellent wood sources. Last week Andy Brownell took me to a lumber supplier that has been sitting under my nose since I moved to Cincinnati in 1996.

It’s Midwest Woodworking Company Inc. at 4019 Montgomery Road in Cincinnati. It’s a sprawling 19th-century complex that I drove by almost every day when Popular Woodworking magazine was headquartered in the old Coca-Cola plant in the Evanston neighborhood.

I can remember thinking, “Huh, Midwest Woodworking. I wonder what they do?” many times as I drove past the company’s sign. But I never stopped – I had doughnuts to buy at Busken after all.

The Midwest Woodworking building is shockingly huge and filled with machinery, veneer and lumber that absolutely drained my salivary glands. And much of the lumber stock is available for sale to the woodworking public.

So what are we talking about here? Some amazing stuff that my head is still processing after the weekend. Things I remember: Stacks of 30-year-old walnut and cherry, wide and thick. Many piles of mahogany, some of it 18” wide and 18’ long that was straight and clear. Dozens of African species in thick and clear lengths.

And the veneer room…. shelves and shelves of thick veneer – some of it 1/16” or thicker – from some species I had to look up on my phone.

But back to the solid stock. On the domestic front, there were loads of sugar pine, birch, maple, oak of all sorts and pre-blight chestnut.

Yes, you read that right.

At the back of one room was a stack of thick chestnut that was cut before the blight. I’ve never seen so many clear long and thick boards of this species ever in my life. It was like traveling back in time.

The prices were incredibly reasonable for both domestics and exotics across the board.

If you live in the Midwest and need wood, it’s worth a phone call and a drive. Bring a wad of cash and an empty truck. Oh, and you might have to Indian leg wrestle me to get at some of the stuff I want. Just saying.

For details on hours and availability, call Frank David at Midwest: 513-631-6684.

— Christopher Schwarz

10 thoughts on “Why You Should Visit Midwest Woodworking Co.

  1. stitzljq

    Admittedly, I’m a new-ish woodworker, but I do not understand why you wouldn’t want to share wood sources. If a business does an excellent job and makes you a happy customer, wouldn’t you want to support them? To send more customers their way? To help make sure they stay in business? I sure would.

    Kudos to Chris for sharing this with us. Doubly so, because I live in Ohio. Hopefully I can make it down to Cincinnati sometime to check out Midwest Woodworking :0)

  2. allenworb

    For those of you interested in checking out what the wood from Midwest Woodworking looks like when finished, take a look at the follow-up post I made here: http://wp.me/p1Cera-av

    Big thanks as always to Frank David @ Midwest Woodworking and Chris Schwarz.

    Andy Brownell

  3. xMike

    Wow! This looks like a treasure.
    You Sir, are a Gentleman and a Scholar!

    By the way, when I was trying to find a local source a couple of years ago you recommended Frank Miller Lumber at 1690 Frank Miller Rd. in Union City. They have since been a great source of figured maple for me. They can be trusted to select good boards over the phone (I know…blasphemy!), and they deliver to Louisville!
    Thanks, Chris.

    Mike Dyer

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