Have you ever tried to fit an 8-foot piece of lumber into a small vehicle, strap a sheet of plywood or OSB on your car’s roof, or carry it on a bus? Even if you do get it home or into your apartment, how do you cut large pieces to size? Have you ever wondered, does Home Depot cut wood for you?
Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards provide courtesy wood cutting services for wood purchased in their stores. Menards usually only does cross-cuts to dimensional lumber, while the other two do that plus have panel saws for longitudinal and latitudinal cuts to plywood and similar materials. However, the number of free cuts and the fee per cut differs from store to store.
In this article, we’ll explore the wood cutting policies and services provided by Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards. We’ll look at the types of cuts and wood they’ll do, associated charges for the service, if they cut online orders to measure, and if they’ll cut wood not purchased at their store. We’ll also look at alternative locations to have wood cut for you. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need for your current and future projects.
- Will Home Depot Cut Wood For You?
- How Much Does Home Depot Charge to Cut Wood?
- Home Depot Wood Cutting Policy
- Does Home Depot Cut Pressure-Treated Wood?
- Will Home Depot Cut Wood for Your Online Order?
- Will Home Depot Cut Wood Not Purchased There?
- Does Home Depot Cut Wood Into Shapes?
- Will Home Depot Cut Wood at an Angle?
- Does Home Depot Cut Plywood?
- Can You Get Other Materials Cut at Home Depot? (OSB, MDF, Shelves, Molding)
- Will Lowes Cut Wood for You?
- Does Menards Cut Wood?
- Courtesy Wood Cutting Services
- Are There Size Restrictions For the Wood?
- How to Approach an Employee to Get Custom Lumber Cuts?
- Does Home Depot or Lowes Cut Wood for You in Canada?
- Other Places That Will Cut Wood for You
Will Home Depot Cut Wood For You?
Wandering through Home Depot looking for lumber, sheet wood, or milled wood just to see what is available can take a couple of minutes or more depending on what you’re looking for. Searching for a specific length or size, though, may take longer, especially if it’s not standard. The other issue is the price; some longer lengths are cheaper by the foot than shorter lengths, and vice versa.
Depending on the project you’re working on, the tools you have available, your skill level, and your mode of transportation, you may want to have pieces cut to rough plan dimensions at the store for easier handling. All Home Depot stores offer an in-store wood cutting service where they will make straight cuts to wood material purchased in their store. The cuts are roughly to measure, but much depends on the accuracy of the operator and equipment, so if you need precision cuts, you may be disappointed.
Many stores also have a handsaw and a box or back saw available in their millwork section so you can make your own cuts too. The power cutting tools are typically restricted for liability reasons to store personnel who have been trained on the machinery. It should be noted too, that this is a service to make wood more manageable, not to build your project.
How Much Does Home Depot Charge to Cut Wood?
Having someone else make wood cuts for you is a courtesy service provided by Home Depot. However, as with any service, there is often a cost. Some store operators view it as part of an employee’s job and absorb the cost, and others view it as a distraction from the job which costs them money, so they charge for it. The fee is also encouragement for you to do it yourself if possible.
Based on what I’ve found, one or two cuts are free with some making up to 6 for free, and others up to a dozen. The number of free cuts depends upon the store and its location. Some stores average 6 cuts an hour, others 30 or more, the greater the number of cuts the less store productivity contributed by an employee, which typically results in stores charging for the service. Once the number of free cuts has been used, the typical charge is 25 or 50-cents a cut, although it may be more in some locations.
One community I’m familiar with has two Home Depot stores. One store will do one cut for free before charging a minimal fee, the other store will do 10 cuts for free before charging. The stores are about a 10-minute drive apart and carry the same products, so if you have more than one cut to do, the choice of stores is simple. It’s best to call ahead and check how many cuts the store does for free.
Home Depot Wood Cutting Policy
Home Depot doesn’t seem to have a generic or corporate wood cutting policy, it seems to be store specific. They will cut most types of wood provided it is purchased in their store. The stores contacted focused on employee and customer safety. Most stores restrict the use of power saws in their cutting area to trained employees for safety and liability reasons. However, there usually is a cutting area with a box or back saw for the general public to use in the Millwork area. It should be noted, though, you cut it – you buy it.
Cuts are typically straight horizontal or perpendicular, not diagonal, and made to materials such as dimensional lumber, plywood, OSB, particleboard, and millwork. Some stores have a minimum cut width of 6-inches too, for employee protection.
Due to potential product damage, most stores won’t cut hard plastic panels, some laminate or melamine panels, cement board, or rip dimensional lumber. It is also best to call ahead to see if they cut the type of material you need to purchase, or if you have a large number of cuts to make.
Does Home Depot Cut Pressure-Treated Wood?
Pressure-treated lumber is regular lumber infused with a chemical coating to protect it from insects, rot, molds, mildew, moisture, or flame. Wood dust is irritating to many people, but the chemicals used to treat wood often present other health risks. For the protection of employees and customers, most Home Depot’s limit the number of cuts to two pieces. So, it’s best to call ahead and check your local store’s policy.
Will Home Depot Cut Wood for Your Online Order?
Online orders are often put together and shipped to your local store for pickup or dropped at your location. They are treated as custom orders and typically prepaid and non-returnable, although exchanges are possible. However, if lumber is cut, it’s yours. So, most wood purchased online isn’t cut.
Having said that though, most Home Depot stores will make rough cuts and bundle materials from their store if provided with a materials list and cut plan or chart, along with payment upfront for the materials and any service charges. They usually require a day or two to complete the order depending on plan specifics and the number of cuts.
Will Home Depot Cut Wood Not Purchased There?
Cutting wood is a courtesy service provided by Home Depot and an encouragement to shop in their stores. Additionally, lumber or materials purchased in store are a known commodity, lumber brought in from outside their store isn’t, so most (if not all) stores won’t cut wood that isn’t purchased onsite.
Does Home Depot Cut Wood Into Shapes?
Home Depot will make straight longitudinal or latitudinal cuts depending on the product being cut, resulting in rectangles and squares. They do not do diagonal cuts. Dimensional lumber and millwork are typically crosscut, not ripped.
Plywood, OSB, MDF, and particleboard sheets or panels may be ripped from end to end or cut from side to side. Some stores limit the minimal cut width to 6” for employee protection too. The wood cutting is a courtesy to make it easier to transport your lumber, not build your project.
Will Home Depot Cut Wood at an Angle?
Home Depot makes 90 or 180-degree cuts to lumber purchased in their store. Their courtesy wood cutting station is located in a public area, so for customer and employee safety, they do not do diagonal cuts or rip dimensional lumber. Nor do they do compound cuts to notch or cut holes in wood. However, if you purchase a countertop and hire their installers to handle the installation, they will miter where counters meet in corners.
Does Home Depot Cut Plywood?
Home Depot cuts plywood into different lengths and widths provided it was purchased in that store. They will cut a sheet in half, quarters, or strips of varying widths or lengths. The accuracy of the cuts will be roughly what is asked for, but when planning multiple cuts, remember to deduct the width of the saw blade used. If you’re hoping to get four 8’ long 12” wide shelves from a 4×8 sheet, you’ll be disappointed with the width of the last shelf.
Can You Get Other Materials Cut at Home Depot? (OSB, MDF, Shelves, Molding)
Home Depot will cut dimensional lumber to requested lengths, plywood, OSB, MDF, particleboard, paneling, shelving, millwork, and a variety of different wood products at their courtesy saw station. The accuracy of cuts is rough and often depends on the operator and equipment. Most stores won’t cut cement board, acrylic or plastic panels, or melamine.
There are a variety of other materials that Home Depot will cut if purchased within their store, including carpet, runners, vinyl flooring, rope, chain, metal and plastic pipe, electrical wire, blinds, plus other items. However, the services provided at different stores vary, so call ahead first.
Will Lowes Cut Wood for You?
Lowes has a courtesy wood cutting area in most stores where employees cut wood for customers. Some stores allow trained non-employees to use their equipment, or offer classes where you can learn to use different power tools and woodworking machines. It’s best to call ahead and see if your store does courtesy wood cutting.
Lowes stores will crosscut most dimensional lumber to requested lengths, and plywood, OSB, and particleboard sheets or panels to smaller sizes to make transportation easier. They don’t make diagonal cuts, just straight longitudinal and latitudinal cuts. It should be noted that the accuracy of cuts depends on the operator and equipment, so it may be best to go with rough-cut sizing. For safety reasons, Lowes doesn’t cut small pieces or certain finishes or materials.
Does Lowes Cut Wood for Free?
Like many other lumber stores, Lowes typically makes 1 or 2 cuts for free. Individual stores set the price for additional cuts, which ranges from 25-cents to a dollar per cut. The number of free cuts is store determined, so it’s best to call ahead and ask. Additionally, some employees may not count all cuts depending on their workload, mood, and your approach.
Lowe’s Wood Cutting Policy
The Lowes website identifies in their “We Cut It” section of ‘Store Services” what their stores cut, which isn’t necessarily a wood cutting policy. Additionally, Lowes services have been undergoing changes, so a current answer may not be correct in a month or two.
Personal experience at Lowes in a variety of States – Washington, Idaho, Texas, Michigan, and New York – supports that they crosscut in-store purchased dimensional lumber to transportable lengths, and sheet wood products into requested widths and lengths. Some locations also do miter cuts, but it’s best to call ahead.
Most cuts are roughly accurate, but not necessarily project-ready. Store-specific policies affect the number of free cuts and the cost per additional cut, plus other wood cutting issues such as sizes and the total number of cuts per visit. So, it’s best to contact your local store.
If you have a lot of accurate cuts required, it’s best to make arrangements with the store and provide time for your order to be made ready – again, this depends on the individual store. Some Lowes stores also have a woodworking shop where they offer lessons and equipment to use for project work.
Can You Order Custom Cut Wood Online?
Lowes’ website doesn’t address custom cuts for online or pick-up orders. Most online orders are assembled elsewhere and dropped at the store or work site, so custom online cuts require a personal touch. Speak to a store manager or their designate to discuss custom or high volume cut requests, and remember, sufficient lead time to complete your order is appreciated.
Does Menards Cut Wood?
Menards will cut wood. Each store, however, sets its own wood cutting policy regarding the type, length, width, and thicknesses of wood they will cut, number of free cuts, cost for cuts above those that are free, and even the number of cuts per customer visit.
Some stores limit customers to a maximum of two cuts and don’t charge, others charge for each cut above two. It’s best to call to check the store’s cut policy, as some charge different amounts based on the type of wood to be cut, cut sizes, as well as the total number of cuts.
Menards Wood Cutting Policy
The Menards chain does offer a wood cutting service for lumber, but the policy and practice differ from store to store. Cuts range from free up to $2 a cut for the first one to ten depending on the store. They will crosscut soft and hardwood lumber depending on length, width, and thickness, but Menards doesn’t cut plywood.
Some Menards only do courtesy cuts so the lumber will fit in your vehicle, others charge $2 a cut after 10 free or $1 each for an unlimited number of cuts. One store contacted will even cut wood brought in from other stores, but that seems to be an anomaly as most will only cut wood purchased in their store.
Does Menards Cut Plywood to Size?
Menards does not cut plywood, only lumber. The stores are set up to crosscut soft and hardwood lumber of various widths and thicknesses for customers, not to cut plywood or make specialty cuts. Some stores only cut up to 2” thick lumber, while others are capable of cutting 10” thick timber; much depends upon the equipment used.
Courtesy Wood Cutting Services
|Courtesy Wood Cutting Services|
|Wood Cutting Service||Home Depot||Lowes||Menards|
|Panel Saw Cuts||Yes||Yes||No|
|Accuracy of Cuts||Rough||Rough||Rough|
|Wood Species||Hard and Softwoods||Hard and Softwoods||Hard and Softwoods|
|Types of Wood Panels||Plywood, OSB, MDF, Particleboard||Plywood, OSB, MDF, Particleboard||none|
|Wood Thicknesses||2” to 8” *||2” to 8” *||2” to 10”*|
|Wood Purchased Elsewhere||No||No||*|
|Number of Free Cuts||1 to 12*||1 to All *||1 to 10*|
|Cost/Additional Cut||25 to 50¢*||$1*||$2*|
|Cap on Number of Cuts||No*||No*||No*|
*Store-specific, so call ahead
Are There Size Restrictions For the Wood?
Home Depot and Lowes typically cut 4’x8’ panels up to 3/4” thick of plywood, OSB, MDF, and particle board on their panel saw. They cut soft and hardwood, as well as pressure-treated lumber up to 6” thick, 6x6s, and up to 16” wide on their crosscut bench saw. Menards will crosscut similar sizes, but don’t use a panel saw, so don’t cut plywood or other panel wood. Wood coated in melamine or plastics is also typically avoided in most wood cutting policies, so don’t ask to have them cut.
How to Approach an Employee to Get Custom Lumber Cuts?
Having wood cut at most home improvement stores is a courtesy service, even if they charge per cut. The employee operating the saw typically has other responsibilities and you are interfering with those tasks, so the more helpful, patient, prepared, and polite you are, the more accurate and helpful the store personnel.
If you want accurate cuts and need more than one or two, call ahead or avoid rush hours when everyone is busy. Be prepared with the exact measurements and number of cuts, maybe even have a cut plan. If it’s possible, drop off the cut plan and material list requirements to pick up later or the next day.
If waiting for a cut, mark the location of cuts, and help lift the lumber or plywood off the cart and back onto it. Don’t interfere with their use of the saw, but if accuracy necessitates a saw adjustment, be polite when pointing it out.
Does Home Depot or Lowes Cut Wood for You in Canada?
Both Home Depot and Lowes cut dimensional lumber, other hard and softwoods, plywood, OSB, MDF, and particleboard at their Canadian locations as a courtesy, similar to their U.S. counterparts. The number of free cuts and charges for additional cuts is set by each store. Most stores offer one or two cuts for free, with some offering up to 10 free cuts. Both brands typically charge $1 for each cut above those that are free.
Other Places That Will Cut Wood for You
Many places that sell building materials or lumber will cut wood smaller for ease of transportation as a courtesy for customers. However, they don’t typically cut it into project size or with precision accuracy, usually only do straight cuts, and many charge after a certain number of free cuts. So, if you need wood cut to specific lengths, it’s best to call ahead and find out what services are available and if there is a charge, especially if you want to bring in wood purchased elsewhere.
Competition for customers is fueling courtesy services across the lumber industry. With many customers living in apartments or smaller homes with little access to shop-tools or space, offering specialty cutting services is becoming a common practice. Lumber prices are often competitive and the selection of hardwood species is often better in some lumber yards than in big box store competitors. However, most only provide the service for wood purchased onsite.
Local woodshops or cabinet makers operate on the fringe of many communities. They provide custom services for businesses and homeowners, and often offer specialty services such as precision project cuts to the material you provide. They charge for the service, but the accuracy is perfect. Some shops even offer evening courses or shop-time for individuals to work on projects under the direction of one of their carpenters. Fees vary, so call around.
Check out your local trade or high school woodshop. Many offer evening courses or ‘open-shop’ sessions for community members. Typically, there is a trained supervisor present to help out and give advice. Some charge a fee and most have a waiver form to sign. Plus, they expect you to supply your own wood, follow safety practices, and clean up after yourself.
Another option is local woodworking clubs, including those in senior centers. The size of the shops and tools available vary, as do the fees charged. This is a great spot to do project cuts, build projects, listen and learn from those with experience, and try out tools you don’t have. As with most groups, be polite, help where you can, respect their rules, and clean up your mess.
Local Maker Spaces
Check online for a Maker Space in your area that has a woodshop, and see if they list the tools available. This is a great location if you have numerous cuts or miter cuts to do, don’t have the space to build projects, or don’t want to purchase the tools.
As good as this sounds, there is a monthly fee (around $40 USD per month) for membership to be able to use the space. Some offer monthly, six months, and yearly rates too, so check around. If you know someone who is a member, they may do the cuts for you and save you the time and fee.
Local carpenters or handi-people are other options if you need wood cut for projects. Much depends on how busy they are, how much you need cut, the type of cuts, and your approach. Don’t expect it to be free, but if they do take it on, provide them with the wood, materials list, and an accurate cut plan so they know what you want and the accuracy required.
Most home or lumber supply stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards will make straight cuts to wood purchased in their stores. While Menards typically only cross-cuts dimensional lumber, Lowes and Home Depot also offer panel saw services to cut plywood, OSB, MDF, and particleboard into smaller sizes for ease of transportation.
The accuracy of cuts, number of free cuts, and cost per additional cuts varies between stores and Companies, so call ahead and check. Don’t hesitate to call around for the best price or courtesy service available. Hopefully, you’ll find the best price and place to get your wood cut for your project.