Store-bought lumber is cost prohibitive for many people. One good alternative for natural builders is using standing dead trees – trees that have been killed by insects or fire and are still standing. For best results, select trees that have been dead for only a few years. With some practice you’ll learn to identify sound timber that has little or no rot. The dead trees can be used in the round as posts and beams or milled into lumber. One key advantage is the logs have already dried naturally and are ready for use.
In the western US, it’s very easy to find vast quantities of standing dead timber due to bark beetle infestation. Often the Forest Service wants to thin out diseased areas to reduce forest fires and open up the canopy to new trees. You can get firewood permits at very low cost and harvest the trees legally in many areas.