Messages

Subject:
You use what you got
Response To:
Re: American Beech market ()

Bill Tindall, E.Tn.
I read in a timber publication that 75% of the world's hardwood lumber comes from the Appalachian mountains. We have more abundant choices when it comes to what local wood to use, for many are available in plentiful supply.

In colonial north poplar and white pine were used for secondary wood. In the south it was yellow pine. England used white oak drawer sides. In many ways a poor choice, but there weren't better choices growing nearby. Ditto for beech. It could be the European beech produces more useful logs but in any case it was readily at hand, while poplar and maple were not. Growing next door and good enough is, well, good enough. I suspect shipping is much cheaper now than 50 years ago which has changed the market.

When there is a shortage of oak tie logs the market will open for beech and get promptly flooded with supply. Ties are impregnated with preservative. Inherent rot resistance is irrelevant. Wood is chosen for its mechanical properties. Beech must almost measure up to oak but not quite because it isn't always accepted.

Recent price list

Red oak tie logs $400/1000bdft
White Oak $450
Maple and scarlet oak $400
Beech $250

For comparison prime 16" and greater logs for lumber: Cherry $500, poplar $400, white oak $900. (Barrel stave market is driving white oak prices. ) In 2006 before housing collapse these prices were near twice as high.

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