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Author Topic: Lumber Prices?!  (Read 551 times)

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Offline Solar_HoneyBee0

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Lumber Prices?!
« on: July 12, 2018, 01:52:39 AM »
Hello everyone. I just wanted to say sorry for the long delay, but work got the best of me and am now just getting time to play catch up. As for my last post, I just wanted to mention that everyone that said Willow was correct. Long story short the guy he bought it from said it was ash and ripped him off. Hopefully he can figure out something to do with it.

Anyways, what's the deal with lumber prices? I mean, i've been in the industry logging for years, but never really paid attention to the lumber prices as it never directly affected me. Well, now that i'm buying lumber (and selling some here and there) the prices are so drastic by me (upper midwest, WI to be exact). How do you all determine the prices that you are willing to buy and sell lumber for? I mean just today I was looking at Red Oak 4/4 x 8' x random widths and the prices ranged from $.45 cents/bft to $3.95/bft. I mean, there was nothing specific separating all of the lumber. From what I could tell the people selling privately don't even separate the grades of lumber out, but sell it for less than companies! What gives?

Well, that was my rant. Thanks for reading. I might be missing something obvious here and I would appreciate it if someone could explain this to me. If I need some hard loving and you need to explain it like i'm a 5 year old go ahead. I'm a adult and can handle the learning curve.

Thanks everyone.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Lumber Prices?!
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2018, 06:12:29 AM »
Unless you were subcontracting as a logger, you should have seen the effects of lumber prices on log prices and on stumpage.

For hardwood lumber, price is fixed by grade and by demand.  I remember when red oak wasn't in very high demand and we sold it mainly for casket lumber.  Tulip poplar was a higher priced item than red oak.  Also remember when not too many mills cut RR ties.  Markets change.

The 45 wood that you are seeing is probably the pricing on pallet quality wood.  I haven't been around the market for a number of years, but that's about where it seems it should be.  Grade prices then get separated by usage.  The yield in clear face cuttings will determine the price.  As the grade gets better, the cuttings are bigger and the percentage is higher in fewer cuttings.

Hardwoods are graded on the worst side, which makes sawing interesting.  2 and 3 Common Red Oak is used in a lot of strip flooring.  Some will go for cabinet and furniture panels.  Yield is at least 50% in clear cuttings, with the smallest allowed cutting 3"x2'.  But, the 50% will only be in a limited amount of cuts.  This lumber is above a pallet grade and the price is dependent on demand.  Some wholesalers won't buy it, due to their markets.  

1 Common needs at least 67-75% in clear face cuttings and a lot goes into furniture and cabinet panels.  Minimum cutting is 4"x 2' or 3"x 3'.  A lot less defect, which makes it more valuable.  The higher grades are Selects, F1F (a FAS face and a 1 Common back) and FAS (Firsts and Seconds).  These need 83-92% in clear cuttings with a minimum cut of a 4" x 5' or 3" x 7'.  This is where the trim comes from.

Typically, the upper grades will be about double the price of 2 Common, depending on species.  But, there are add-ons to price.  The 45 is green.  You start adding prices when you have some drying expense, whether air or kiln.  Also added to price is planing and joining.  Quantity also matters, as smaller lots means more time finding customers and is reflected in price.  Specialty pieces will spec out at a higher price due to them being more of a custom item or rarity.  Quartersawn is an example of more of a specialty item.  There are other uses for lumber, such as interior parts for furniture.  But, the usage and quality are general market factors.

People selling privately might not separate their lumber.  They limit their marketplace.  I always tried to match the customer's usage for the quality and pricing of material.  I didn't sell a clear board for a fence board or a knotty board for a tabletop.  A happy customer gives good recommendations and is the cheapest advertising you can buy.  
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Re: Lumber Prices?!
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2018, 08:04:24 AM »
As for my last post, I just wanted to mention that everyone that said Willow was correct. Long story short the guy he bought it from said it was ash and ripped him off. Hopefully he can figure out something to do with it.
Please go to  your ID topic and make an update there.  It helps when a beginning has an ending.  I.D. This Tree Please in Tree, Plant and Wood I.D.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Lumber Prices?!
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2018, 08:16:26 AM »
There is a weekly report that details the average selling price, truckload quantities, F.O.B. the sawmill, wholesale, that the larger producers get for their lumber.  It is called the Hardwood Market Report.  I use it as a guide to set my retail prices. 
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