I guess it’s true that I was born to be a lumberman. Some have even asked if I was named after Paul Bunyan, which suggests an alignment more closely tied to a lumberjack. And as if anyone needed proof, now comes scientific confirmation that there’s a certain manliness tied to being a lumberjack. Time reports here that researchers at the University of California have discovered that chopping wood increases testosterone production by over 40%. In fact the results indicated a 46.8% increase in testosterone levels after cutting wood, “a full 17% higher than the testosterone bump caused by playing soccer.” Evidently testosterone not only increases your desire and ability (to chop trees), it also helps increase lean muscle mass and bone density, and can help ward off conditions like depression and osteoporosis.

Of course none of this discovery minimizes the pain I’ve endured with a badly sprained ankle as result of a soccer mishap last week – meaning a suddenly wide open field at the 26th Annual BCWLA Golf Tourney this afternoon – and bringing into serious doubt any aspirations for an eventual call-up to the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps.

“I got into the woods industry ‘cause I heard good things come in trees.”


An early mill visit to Stuart Lake Lumber, with brother Matt (left) and my dad Ernie

Stress Relief in Lumber?

We’ve never really given much thought to adding “stress-reduction therapist” to our role as lumber traders – until now! Back in June, we learned here that physicians around the world are increasingly recommending their patients spend time amongst trees. Now comes word that the mere presence of wood in the ‘built indoor environment’ offers a myriad of stress-related health benefits. This recent study at UBC concluded that, in addition to all the traditional advantages that wood offers, your well-being – general health – could well be enhanced by that wooden office paneling. The report adds that in architecture “evidence-based design is a growing field that seeks to promote health and optimize outcomes based on scientifically credible evidence. The UBC study establishes wood as a tool in the pursuit of evidence-based design and healthy building occupants.”


– B.C. is positioning itself to be a world leader in future wood applications. The announcement this week of two unique masters programs for the University of Northern B.C. (UNBC) at Prince George has drawn widespread support from Industry and educational interests. The two programs announced by the provincial government are a Master of Applied Science in Engineering and a Master of Engineering in Integrated Wood Design. The new UNBC-trained engineers are expected to be experts in the use of wood as a versatile, sustainable and cost-effective building material. Trademarked in 2007 as “Canada’s Green University”, UNBC will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2015. According to their website here, UNBC was voted #1 in Canada by students for environmental commitment in 2011, the year the University BioEnergy Plant opened. The plant uses local sawmill residue to reduce the use of fossil fuel for campus heating by 85%. Emissions from the plant are lower than natural gas, making it one of the cleanest bioenergy plants in North America. The masters programs will reside in the Wood Innovation and Design Centre now under construction in downtown Prince George.

– Chris Sainas, President of the B.C. Wholesale Lumber Association, reports only a few singles remain for this evening’s 7th Annual Night at the Nat. Local lumber wholesalers and their families will find some shade under the umbrellas while our Vancouver Canadians take on the team with the best name in baseball – the Hillsboro Hops. It’s the opener of a five-game series through August 4th. BCWLA Barbecue 6:00 pm. First pitch 7:05 pm. See you there!


Tuba Fore!

As the Canadian Open heads into the weekend, it’s perhaps some consolation to golfers who don’t make the cut to learn that registration opened today for the 26th Annual B.C. Wholesale Golf Tournament scheduled for Tuesday August 27th at The University Golf Club, UBC. For more details, contact BCWLA President Chris Sainas here at Dakeryn. Images below provided courtesy of the BCWLA, from last year’s tourney at UBC.

Some Days are Diamonds


resort shuttle to the golf course

Coeur d’Alene 7-19-13

“Floating Green” – Coer d’Alene Resort Golf Course

This image of the floating green at the Coer d’Alene Resort Golf Course was taken upon approach, during the The Inland Lumber Producers 30th Annual Golf Tournament this morning. We certainly hope Brett’s trip report will also include the coveted “Certificate of Achievement” from Coer d’Alene, presented to those who score par on the famously challenging 14th.


With temperatures forecast to reach a balmy 26c, it’s a spectacular day here in Vancouver for the Nooner at the Nat, an afternoon at the ballpark hosted by The Building Supply Industry Association of B.C. I’ll be departing the Dakeryn headquarters early to join local suppliers and retailers just in time for the first pitch at 1:05 pm, at sold out Nat Bailey Stadium. Former BCWLA Lumberman of the Year Jake Kerr’s Vancouver Canadians, Northwest League affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, will meet the Eugene Emeralds. For some 😉 it’s the opener of a lumberman’s double header of sorts, with July 31st and the B.C. Wholesale Lumber Association’s Night at the Nat fast-approaching. Play ball!

Seeing Value in Wood

I caught a riveting episode of Shark Tank Tuesday evening that evidently first aired back in February. Three brothers from Boise, Idaho pitched an investment opportunity in which they were looking for money to expand their business for making hand-crafted eyeglass frames – from wood.  With roots in the family sawmill going back 60 years, this generation pursued  ‘adding value’. ‘Seeing’ the value potential by creating unique wooden eyeglass frames, the Dame brothers established Proof Eyewear in 2010. With cash constraints in the face of a rapidly expanding order file, they came to the Sharks looking for $150,000 for a 10% stake in the company. In the end the boys shocked the Sharks, walking away from $150,000 firm for a 25% stake. “You let greed cloud your vision!” barked Kevin O’Leary as they left the set. The creation of a Proof Eye Clinic in India as part of their corporate mission (announced last month here), indicates a broader focus. Of course, every lumber wholesaler who sees the episode (available under videos at the company’s Facebook page here) will want to order a pair of Proof wooden designers.. rose colored glasses through which to view the market..

~ Sawdust ~

Happy July 4th to our friends south of the border. No doubt celebrations will include time at many ball games scheduled across the United States. Meanwhile, the B.C. Wholesale Lumber Association’s 7th Annual Night at the Nat, in support of B.C. Challenger Baseball, is set for July 31st. The BCWLA has a longtime connection to the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Club… not to mention the Canadians’ owner, and former BCWLA Lumberman of the Year, Jake Kerr’s ties to the lumber industry. Next to the Lumberman of the Year Roast, this family barbecue at the ball park is my favorite BCWLA event. And unlike the desperate efforts required to fill seats in honor of LotY Tom Davis, this event is an easy sell. For all ticket inquiries, contact BCWLA President Chris Sainas at Dakeryn Industries.

Ten Questions for Tom Davis


Tom Davis – June ’12

The countdown is on for the 33rd Annual BCWLA Lumberman of the Year Roast at the Terminal City Club in Vancouver. The recipient of the 2013 B.C. Wholesale Lumberman of the Year Award is Tom Davis, lumber buyer extraordinaire at Taiga Building Products Ltd. Having had the good fortune of working with Tom from 1992 to 2010, Harderblog recently had a chance to sit down with Thursday’s guest of honour:

1) How did you get into the business, Tom?
In the summer of 1969, I was working as a car hop at the White Spot here in Vancouver at Burrard and Robson, and had applied at BCIT. The day my letter of acceptance arrived from BCIT, my mother phoned me at the White Spot with the news. That lunch hour, I served a group of people from Balfour Guthrie which included Vice President Peter Hall. When he was conducting interviews at BCIT two years later, he remembered me. I was not hired for the position because I had no experience (they hired Bill Braaten instead), but he liked my enthusiasm; if I was willing to go to Prince George and work in their mill they would hire me as a trainee. I worked in the planer, under the sawmill on cleanup, ran lines in the bush, burned slash, did local sales, and any other jobs when they needed someone. I had a brief opportunity to work with Reno Gobbi, a well-known lumber salesman. When Morey Mackay went to Widman Industries, I was brought back to Vancouver. Forty-two years later…

2) Any mentors?
Doug Butterworth – Taiga
George Cruikshank – Pacific Overland Timber
John Whitmer – Netherlands Overseas Mills.

3) Others who had a positive influence on your career?
Pete Alexander, Dalton Lewis, Ron Fourchuk, Steve Granger, Cavin Bachert, Jim Honeysett, Bob Leffler, Marcel Picard, Alex Robertson, Jim Simmons, Steve Parkinson, Charlie Loo.

4) Which mills have you been talking to the longest? Favorite mill salespeople?
Mills: Dunkley, Carrier, Vanderwell, Buchanan, Sinclar
People: Dave Dunkley, John Thorlakson, Judi Barnes, Reg Foot, Ron Gettling, Blain Hicks, to name a few..

5) Does one particular lumber purchase stand out over the years?
Last year we had 40 truckloads 2×4-8’ Sinclar Premium Studs on order when I learned of the tragedy at Lakeland Mills on my drive to work. We cancelled the order.

6) What is your fondest memory at Taiga?
The period from 1987 to 2000.. when the company was in wholesale and distribution. We had a lot of fun everyday, even when the market stunk.

7) What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the industry?
From telex to email and smartphone.

8) Biggest challenges?
One Spotted Owl, countervailing duties, the subprime mortgage crisis, surviving six market recessions, cheap salesmen.

9) Your most oft-used expressions on the trading floor?
–          “Turn out the lights, the party’s over”
–          “It’s only money and it’s not mine”
–          “Drink Drano”
–          “Shoot the puck centre ice coureur de bois”
–          “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”
–          “That dog don’t hunt”
–          “Go fish”
–          “Rig for dive”
–          “He doesn’t know whether to take a sh-t or wind his watch”
–          “Time wounds all heals” (Granger)
–          “Time to fish or cut bait”

10) Lumberman of the Year is quite the honour, congratulations. Any plans to retire?
No – rewire.

What Happened?

Evidently the “fractured supply chain” we heard about at so many industry conferences earlier this year works just fine when it’s chock-full of wood. Mark Kennedy, Executive Director, Equity Research at CIBC World Markets, cites a combination of four market factors which created an oversupplied North American supply chain:

  1. The over extension of prices (caused by momentum, with little fundamental demand support)
  2. Construction delays caused by poor weather
  3. The ramping up of production at sawmills in the U.S. and Canada in the face of strong market pricing
  4. Push back from China.

‘Push back from China’ is explained as follows:
“Lumber prices (on North American lumber) in China hit an all-time high in Q1/2013 of about US$280 per m3 on utility grade SPF (equivalent to about US$370/M mill net). China’s response to this record level of lumber pricing was to push back on several fronts. They picked up more lumber volume from other countries. In addition, some Chinese lumber buyers switched back to buying logs and then doing the product conversion in China. The combination of these two events was to reduce Chinese purchasing of North American lumber – particularly in the recent months of March, April, and May.” Mark was on BNN earlier today to talk about the ‘lumber tumble’ here.

Meanwhile, some lumber wholesalers point to the lumber market having plummeted ever since Tom Davis was announced this year’s recipient of the BCWLA Lumberman of the Year Award (click image for larger size).
Tom Davis vs CME Chart May 2013-page-0 (1)

Promotions Promotions!

customLogoThe 2013 B.C. Wholesale Lumber Association’s Annual General Meeting was held February 7th at the Delta Burnaby Hotel.
The culmination of a grueling campaign season this election year, the AGM was a highly anticipated event. In a decisive victory, we’re pleased to announce that Chris Sainas of Dakeryn Industries was elected President.
With roots going back to 1946, the BCWLA’s function “is to represent the interests of lumber wholesalers in British Columbia and to promote high standards of business conduct and integrity in the lumber wholesaling industry.” Annual association events include the prestigious Lumberman of The Year Roast in June, the BCWLA Golf Tournament, and Challenger Baseball (“Night at the Nat”). Dakeryn Industries continues to be a strong supporter of the BCWLA, underscoring the value and appreciation for the full-service wholesaler in ever-changing dynamics of global markets. Good luck Chris!


.. with BCWLA President Chris Sainas (2-20-13)


The 26th Annual B.C. Wholesale Lumber Association Golf Tournament was held yesterday at The University Golf Club.  The sun delivered as promised, when the first of a dozen foursomes teed off in a Texas Scramble at 11:10am.  I had the pleasure of golfing with Craig Nicholson (Marnor Transport), Ian White (Dakeryn Industries), and my dad, Ernie Harder (Retired).   A very fine dinner followed at UBC, where BCWLA President Carl Dobler concluded his remarks by presenting the coveted cup to a most familiar team from Conifex Fibre Marketing, who cruised to their 4th consecutive tournament win at nine under par.  A great day all ‘round!

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