News Focused on the Wood Market

Poplar’s price leads to sales increase

Written by Jennifer Hicks Monday, 13 February 2012 00:00

While poplar sales dropped considerably a year ago, they’re now working their way back up as the market improves. Known for being the least expensive hardwood that is found throughout the Eastern U.S., as well as a winner for paint-grade applications, the species is an ideal material for home remodeling jobs, mid-grade furniture construction and secondary woodworking applications.



Cherry sales are on their way back up

Written by Jennifer Hicks Monday, 12 December 2011 00:00

The domestic cherry market that plummeted earlier this year has shown signs of rebounding, with prices and product quality becoming more favorable to end users and wholesalers, according to lumber dealers interviewed by Woodshop News.

“For us, cherry did hit a bottom, but sales have been quite strong and we’ve been selling a lot,” said Lou Irion of Irion Lumber Co., a sawmill and retailer in Wellsboro, Pa. “We’ve had a couple of big orders — one was for $75,000 out West. For a while it was just dead as a doornail, but everything was. Walnut is our biggest seller right now because it’s hot, but cherry is in second place. Across the board, there’s definitely a greater interest in cherry.

“What happens is wood gets more expensive as the quality drops. That’s a really bad combination that kills the market. That’s what happened to the cherry market. Basically because all of the good logs were being exported, what was left in the domestic market was really poor quality.”

Jeff Shucker of Bailey Wood Products in Kempton, Pa., says the wholesale price of cherry has declined slightly, primarily on the FAS grade.

“There’s some volume out there and, in order to keep things moving, we’re seeing prices slide back a little bit. Demand isn’t all that strong and that’s part of it as well. A good bit of cherry goes for cabinets and furniture, but pretty much everything is just slow right now. I think the cherry market is tied to consumer confidence and disposable income. It’s a prestigious wood.”

“Cherry seems to be up and down,” said Jerry Anton of O’Shea Lumber Co., a wholesaler in Glen Rock, Pa. “Certainly for us, most of it goes into the cabinet industry and cabinetmakers are not real busy these days. I’ll notice that one month sales will be up, so maybe there’s business there to be had or maybe inventory’s getting low and the next month there might not be much activity. But it really seems cherry and maple is moving pretty well for the cabinet industry.”

Cherry (Prunus seritina), also known as black cherry, grows in North America from the Canadian border south to the Carolinas and west to the Dakotas. It grows particularly well in western Pennsylvania, according to Irion. “The cherry tree is an opportunistic species that is shade-intolerant and doesn’t grow well in the understory of a forest. The strength of western Pennsylvania cherry is that where a large portion of the forests in the Appalachians were clear-cut and burned in the last quarter of the 19th century, cherry had a perfect opportunity to grow.”

Retail prices for 4/4 FAS cherry were quoted at $5 to $5.25/bf.

This article originally appeared in the December 2011 issue.


Alder sales are not what they used to be

Written by Jennifer Hicks Monday, 14 November 2011 00:00

25_wood_marketDemand for alder ranges from strong to slow, depending on who you ask. But no one disputes the wood’s pleasing appearance, workability and palpable price tag, according to lumber dealers interviewed by Woodshop News.



Price of exotics climbs with high demand

Written by Jennifer Hicks Monday, 17 October 2011 00:00

Exotic hardwood sales are strong in the U.S., even though supplies are scarce. While imported species generally make up a smaller part of a hardwood dealer’s business, an increasing lack of availability of non-domestic species has some suppliers worried they won’t have the products their customers want in the future. Dealers interviewed by Woodshop News say they want to continue to carry popular woods, such as purpleheart and zebrawood, even though prices are climbing because of their limited availability.



Quarantines take their toll on ash sales

Written by Jennifer Hicks Monday, 19 September 2011 00:00

31_wood_marketThere have been significant outbreaks of the emerald ash borer in certain U.S. regions since the insect was first discovered nine years ago in Michigan. That has caused federal and state officials to impose quarantines on sales of green ash in highly infested areas. Since ash has traditionally been a popular hardwood to those in the woodworking profession, lumber suppliers are now forced to weigh the risks and benefits of dealing with the species.



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