July 28, 2021
John Boos & Co., based in Effingham, Illinois, has set September 1st as the effective date for the company’s newest price list. While there has been considerable news coverage of the elevated cost of softwood lumber, including 2 x 4s and other home framing materials, there’s less awareness of the material cost pressure impacting firms reliant on hardwood lumber as a key or primary raw material. While softwood lumber prices have pulled back from their recent all-time record highs, that has not been the case for hardwood lumber.
Whereas softwood lumber is harvested from conifers (trees that bear cones and needle-shaped or scalelike leaves) or evergreens (plants that retain green leaves year-round), hardwood lumber is derived from deciduous trees – slower-growing species that feature broad leaves that drop every fall. Maple, Oak, Cherry and Walnut are the most popular North American hardwood species.
Hardwoods are more expensive than softwoods partly because they grow more slowly, and hence, produce less usable wood. In addition, hardwoods contain fewer unsightly knots, making them more suitable for applications where appearance is the overriding consideration, as with respect to kitchen countertops and island tops, cabinets, fine furniture, mouldings and flooring.
Prices of hardwood lumber – regardless of the species, grade or thickness – have increased dramatically since the beginning of 2021, impacted by heightened activity in new home construction and home repairs and remodeling, and exacerbated by lagging inventories and delivery delays that trace to heightened demand for trucks, drivers and general laborers in this newly re-opened U.S. economy.
Hard Maple prices rose 37% through April to $1340 per thousand board feet; Black Cherry prices increased 41% to $895; and Red Oak prices jumped 25% to $915. Given the robust pace of new home construction and the follow-on demand for furniture to furnish them, the expectation is that hardwood markets will remain strong the remainder of this year and into the next.
In a letter to the company’s dealer network, here’s how Ted Gravenhorst, Jr., Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Boos & Co., explained the situation: “We are continuing to experience significant ramifications from the events that have caught the country by surprise. Challenges associated with supply chain insufficiency, rising costs of most commodities, labor, and transportation shortages, continue to spiral. All of which are amplified by the surge in demand. We are making every effort to work around the disruptions presented and strive to the best of our abilities to deliver product to you and your customers’ expectancies.”
This homebuilding and home remodeling news update is presented by the Butcher Block Co. - an online store specializing in John Boos butcher block and stainless-steel products designed for both residential and commercial users.
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Name: Kathleen Grodsky
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