A wonderful approach to helping your customers save money and possibly even receive better-quality lumber than you thought your budget would allow is by purchasing short boards. In addition to receiving better value for your money, you’ll also contribute to lowering lumber waste. But even though you already had to think outside the box (or at least outside the presumptive standards of the North American timber industry), we’re going to push your thinking even farther by pointing out that you can actually save money by buying longer or thicker boards than what you’re used to using. You might be surprised, but let’s examine how purchasing thicker size boards can actually help reduce some of your up front costs.
Understanding Why Thick Boards Are More Easily Available
We comprehend that, as a consumer of US lumber, you view 4/4 lumber sizing as “normal.” At J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber, it’s unquestionably the thickness we offer in the highest quantity. However, African species like African Mahogany, Sapele, and Utile are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain in that particular thickness in recent times. The problem, however, is that the available boards are thicker than 4/4 rather than being thinner. Those trees create a lot of broad, thick boards, because they get rather big. In such species, we can actually find a lot of 8/4 and 12/4 boards!
It’s not a shortage of raw materials that prevents certain species from producing 4/4 boards; rather, it’s a result of rising global demand. Similar to the problem with short boards, these African species are milled with the intention of selling them on the world market. Additionally, markets outside of the US are more prone to wanting thicker boards for varying reasons. Whatever the causes of these disparate tastes, it is a reality that the European and Asian markets favor thicker boards, often 8/4 and above. When the majority of a lumber mill’s clients desire that thickness, that is what they focus on providing.
Knowing the Price of 4/4 Boards
Mills have other good reasons for not wishing to mill 4/4 lumber, in addition to the fact that the majority of their customers favors thicker boards. As a result of the additional sawing needed to output 4/4 boards, this requires more labor and wastes a larger portion of the log. Sawing 4/4 boards that are only acceptable on the US market is discouraged further by concerns over grade and quality. The narrower 4/4 boards are less sturdy because they are more likely to contain more sapwood, because they must be sawed closer to the edge of a log. As a result, these boards are more likely to be categorized as Common.
Check out Part 2 to learn how all of this translates into board pricing.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the Capitol building, celebrity homes, Supreme Court, luxury boats, the White House, and Smithsonian museums. For more information on J. Gibson McIlvain’s lumber products and services, call toll free (800) 638-9100 Monday-Friday to speak with one of their lumber reps.