The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Sawmills and Milling => Topic started by: rooster 58 on January 09, 2013, 07:39:01 AM

Title: Grade lumber - changes in buying practices?
Post by: rooster 58 on January 09, 2013, 07:39:01 AM
    I was informed in conversation yesterday that in our area grade lumber buyers are making big changes.
      First, they now are requiring a longer overcut, from 6" to 8". That one is not to hard to swallow and I can understand the reasoning behind it.
     The next thing I was told was the buyers are beginning to pay for nominal widths only, i.e. 6,8 10" and so on. This would severely restrict the overrun in a log and certainly have an impact on footage and profit. I don't understand why they would do that because you can always use the over width.
      Has anyone else heard anything like this?
Title: Re: Grade lumber - changes in buying practices?
Post by: drobertson on January 09, 2013, 08:57:54 AM
Not down here, that sounds kinda wierd, but possible,  Most all the logs I buy are 9'4"  this gives the logger a better scale per log, gives me 9' lumber to the flooring mill, and allows a trim cut to ensure a solid tie, the off fall goes to the stove,  there are times when logs come in short, and long as well, all the same, just part of the job.  Our flooring mill just wants lumber, the more the better.  david
Title: Re: Grade lumber - changes in buying practices?
Post by: Cedarman on January 09, 2013, 09:41:04 AM
When women are plentiful , men are picky.  When women are scarce, well you know!  When lumber is plentiful...
Title: Re: Grade lumber - changes in buying practices?
Post by: Ron Wenrich on January 09, 2013, 05:05:56 PM
Time to look for a new market.  They're not buying by NHLA rules, just making them up as they go. 

If they're buying by nominal width, are they rounding up or only rounding down?  If they're rounding up, you'll have a lot of boards that will drop in grade because they won't have the necessary cutting units in it to make grade  Your volume might be better, but your grade will drop as will your load value.

If they're rounding down to the nominal width, that should help the grade out, but the volume will be less and your load value will drop.  Sounds like that's the theme.  Drop volume or grade, but not prices.
Title: Re: Grade lumber - changes in buying practices?
Post by: Bibbyman on January 09, 2013, 06:52:07 PM
Early on we had a couple of customers that narrowed the range of sizes and grade.  They only wanted the top grade and 6" and wider and 8' and longer.  As I remember, shorter and narrower boards won't make the grade anyway.  But they also insisted the lumber be sawn a full 1-1/4" thick.    I had the feeling they were processing to 5/4 finished thickness and if any didn't clean up,  they could still make 4/4.

Where we market now targets 1-1/8" thick and has a tolerance of 1" minimum and 1-3/8" maximum. That's plenty generous.
Title: Re: Grade lumber - changes in buying practices?
Post by: GeneWengert-WoodDoc on January 09, 2013, 08:36:18 PM
I travel the country consulting with sawmills of all sizes.  Your lumber buyers are certainly not at all reasonable and are extremely unusual.  The NHLA rules control probably 99% of all purchases and sales of hardwoods.  There is nothing about over length, although it is customary to leave 2" at many mills.  The width issues is something I have never heard of and ceratinly does not help them or you.  You need to find a news buyer.
Title: Re: Grade lumber - changes in buying practices?
Post by: beenthere on January 09, 2013, 08:41:09 PM
Ron
You summarized the affects of that quite well.  smiley_thumbsup
Title: Re: Grade lumber - changes in buying practices?
Post by: rooster 58 on January 09, 2013, 09:22:17 PM
    I have not contacted, or been contacted by buyers such as these. On overlength, when I started logging in the 90's, a 4" overcut was desired. Then a couple years ago, that jumped to 6".
   The practices of buying in unusual widths I only just learned about yesterday, and not from buyers. I was trying to find out if this could be true, and so I asked here. It does seem like a ridiculous idea that would only hurt themselves and certainly is against the nhla rules :P :snowball:
Title: Re: Grade lumber - changes in buying practices?
Post by: Ron Wenrich on January 10, 2013, 06:03:11 AM
The overlength may have to do more with the blocking than with the grade lumber.  8'6" is the standard tie and it could be how the mills get loggers to give them that extra length.  Or it could give a little extra in the pallet shop without paying any extra at the resource end.

It also can help on trimming boards for grade.  You can get some nice upgrade sometimes with that extra few inches. 
Title: Re: Grade lumber - changes in buying practices?
Post by: Bibbyman on January 10, 2013, 06:55:38 AM
Years ago we had a buyer that would upgrade a board if they saw that trimming or edging it would improve its value.  Our current customer does not do that.

More than a year ago or buyer went to "picture grading". This is they use some kind of photo of the end of the bundle and processed by the computer to calculate the board widths.  Then the operator inputs the bundle length. The lumber is then "passed to sticker" and not graded.  They establish a grade trend based on history and pay accordingly.  They random grade a load to verify and adjust the average.
Title: Re: Grade lumber - changes in buying practices?
Post by: harrymontana on January 10, 2013, 07:02:49 AM
When women are plentiful , men are picky.  When women are scarce, well you know!  When lumber is plentiful...

So I am pretty picky..
Anyway for lumber - as far as I can tell for myself for hardwood species (ipe, brazilian redwood etc) the rules for oversize is 1/8" on the width, 1/8" on the thick and 2" for the length. This is not free wood, this is to level out variations on the milling. Reading your post I guess your clients are looking for an undercover discount like our Chines clients buying our hardwood:
cut 10 x 20
invoice 8 x 18
Just looking for discount!
Title: Re: Grade lumber - changes in buying practices?
Post by: Ron Wenrich on January 10, 2013, 07:04:14 AM
We had one outfit that preferred to have a little extra wane on the board as it improved recovery for them.  They paid accordingly by upgrading and had a better grade than most.  They were the end user.  Wholesalers don't do that and are under no obligation to do so.

I'm not sure I like the "picture grading" either from a buying or selling standpoint.  It wouldn't be bad if you're pulling your grade at the mill and separating by grade.  But, if you're sawing a 2 Com & btr type of sale, there is too much variance from one stand of timber to the next.