Wall of Wood

“Leave us Canucks out of it!” a lumber trader was heard to say. The donnybrook that was last evening’s Republican Debate is “none of our business” another one offered. But then again, a wall, you say? Hmm. A wall of wood? Now you’re talkin’. No problem. We can add a shift. And, with the help of our new prime minister, ‘Justin Time’ delivery. Some of it’s within a stone’s throw of the 49th as we speak. Get it done before Super Tuesday, maybe. We got special fencing, pattern stock, boards, timbers, short lengths, long lengths, finger-joined lumber. Spruce-Pine-Fir? What’s that you say? “Canada’s not our biggest problem”. “And if we build it they might not come,” countered Disney’s travel agent. Aw shucks, a lost opportunity? One lumber trader wondered. It’s not the first time we’ve contemplated impact of a wall of wood at the U.S. Canadian border.

Softwood ‘n Hard Cheese

Is it a trend that will one day see 100 per cent slivers of grated Spruce-Pine-Fir on our pasta as fake parmesan cheese? A recent report says the cheese police are on guard. Grated parmesan cheese is now being tested for wood-pulp content found to be laced by manufacturers of the product beyond “acceptable levels”. Who knew? While 2-4 per cent cellulose in your hard cheese is evidently considered to be a safe additive, over 60 per cent of grated ‘cheese’ recently tested by the FDA turned out to be wood fibre. We’re told that cheese makers commit adulterations because it saves money. “Consumers are innocent, and they’re not getting what they bargained for. And that’s just wrong,” says Neil Schuman, whose New Jersey-based company is the biggest seller of hard Italian cheeses in the United States. It’s been suggested the only solution to this issue is for the price of lumber to increase to the point it would not be a cost saving to add to the grated cheese.

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The Lost Tapes

We’re pleased to confirm the painstaking audio restoration of two more timeless musical offerings is now complete – from the BCWLA Roasts for 1995 Lumberman of the Year Duthie Welsford and 1999 LOTY Doug Butterworth. The digital transfers from brittle VHS tapes of Ernie Harder singing “The Welsford Wagon” and “You Are Our Sunshine” available below (also added to the roast song archives at bottom of this post).

For roast aficionados, full audio of roaster Ernie Harder at the 1999 roast for LOTY Doug Butterworth:

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Searching for Lumber Man

Volatility that characterizes global financial market activity seems less pronounced in North American lumber markets these days. While winter weather contributes to a pause this week in especially Northeastern jobsite activity, there is evidence of general price support as reflected in mill order files. Despite unseasonably active markets, the Framing Lumber Composite Price has drifted sideways since the October 12th expiry of the SLA ($311 Oct 13 vs $313 today). A weak Canadian dollar has so far helped keep a lid on significant US price increases.  Dealer hand-to-mouth buying patterns and pressure on timely deliveries also suggest the memory of last year’s market collapse still lingers.

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In keeping with the preservation of old growth timber these days, now comes word Random Lengths is searching for the industry’s oldest active lumber trader. According to Random Lengths, candidates “must work full time in the U.S. or Canada, and spend at least half their time buying and/or selling lumber or panels”. It’s been suggested that at minimum, applicants should demonstrate a vague recollection of their last sale and/or purchase.

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2016 BCWLA Smoker

Vishva Ramlal, Deputy Director, Softwood Lumber Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, was the distinguished speaker at the 15th Annual B.C. Wholesale Lumber Association Smoker yesterday afternoon, downtown Vancouver. Having led a team of officers in the implementation and management of the 2006 SLA, Ramlal is responsible for all consultations with provinces, territories, and industry with eye to possible negotiations regarding future softwood lumber trade with the United States. It was an informal talk touching mostly on a diverse array of Ramlal’s experiences in the public, private, and non-governmental sectors.

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