August 2016 – Lumber Update

By Paul Rogers,

The market was relatively off-balance in July, in that the pace of business went from one extreme to the other in terms of activity. While some territories (Cape Cod included) were very active for this time of year, others were suffering for business or experienced a plateauing of sales. Mills and reloads were struggling to gauge what tack to take, as pricing was just about as unpredictable: impending shut downs were keeping prices firm (as dealers were ordering to cover their needs through seasonal mill closures), but thinning order files at the mill level made for nervous managers, so counteroffers were commonly accepted. It seemed that, whether dealers were busy or not, no one really had a grip on what to anticipate for business over the next 4-6 weeks. In any event, pricing has remained firm and the chase is still on for the busier yards to cover for unforeseen business while the slower yards are only reacting to the right opportunities. With mills in shut-down mode and supplies tightening, we can anticipate pricing to remain firm to slightly up for August.

Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to buying lumber, as it will ultimately relate to the overall quality of your project. Grade, species and treatment are all factors that are taken into account when determining what to buy, in order to help ensure that every piece is appropriate for use. Knowing what mill the stock is produced from also helps to monitor quality. One of the guidelines that is used in our industry to better control consistency are grade stamps, which should be present on every piece of lumber and plywood that we purchase and sell.

Grade stamps indicate this important information: the grade (for structural integrity), the wood species and type of treatment. The grade stamp will incorporate the following: 1.The grading association, such as the National Lumber Grade Authority Rule (NLGA) or the Western Wood Products Association (WWPA), 2. The species of lumber (most commonly, S-P-F for spruce-pine-fir), 3. The mill identification name or number, 4. The grade itself, such as No. 2, and 5. The treatment, such as KD (kiln dried) or HT (heat treated)”, or GRN (green). Other stamps present may be “Premium” (which isn’t an actual grade, but a product that is selected for a better appearance), S-Dry (“surface dry”, less than 19% moisture content), S-Grn (“surface green”, greater than 19% moisture content), FSC, for Forestry Stewardship Council or company logos. As these stamps are only seen after the unit is uncovered, occasionally off-grade lumber slips through the process. However, looking for the grade stamp is the first step in identifying the product and better determining the issue. We’d encourage you to make yourself familiar with the grade stamp and be sure to promptly relay to us any issues or comments you may have concerning the wood we have provided.

With the last official month of summer at hand and with what appears to be a busy fall in front of us, we hope that you are able to enjoy the best that Cape Cod, Nantucket and the South Shore have to offer this season and are getting enough relaxation to gear up and be ready for the last stretch of the year. Please know that we are diligently working to best prepare ourselves for incoming business, and are anxious to do whatever we can to help you with your project. As always, please keep in close contact with your lumber sales person should you have any questions or concerns. Thank you for your business!



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