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Buying wood directly from a mill is not something everyone can do, even if you have sawmills in your vicinity, but it is available for many woodworkers and for those who belong to clubs and associations, it's even possible to get together and do "group purchases". Not all mills will sell to the general public, Often the large sawmills are wholesale only, but many of medium and smaller independent mills are happy to sell smaller quantities of wood. Do NOT show up at a mill and expect to buy one or 2 boards. These people make their living selling volumes, and just the way they store and stack their wood, it's not really an option for them in most cases. When you do show up at a mill, they will ask you that right away ... "How much wood are you looking for?" So you will need to be prepared with an answer in either board feet, or a number of boards, truckload, 1/2 truckload etc.
Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/FCqAHAcevCk
There are basically 3 sizes of mills, Small, Medium and Large. Small mills are normally one person operations, often part-time and they will have a small gas driven, probably portable bandsaw mill. Medium size mills may have a larger circular saw and/or a bandsaw and probably operate full time or at least season full time. Large mills will often have a multitude of saws and will be driving truckloads of lumber through their mill on a full-time basis. They probably will also have a kiln to dry the wood they are cutting and often these do not sell to the public, but you can still ask them, some do ...