Are coastal trees of lower quality?

      Is there a in the quality of lumber between trees grown in coastal, versus inland, areas? August 10, 2000

Q.
I was playing around with the idea of having a logging truck load of maple and alder milled up for wood. I have an associate who has talked about milling the wood for $.20/BF and there are some kilns around that will take lumber for .$15-$.20/BF.

The guy I called about logs was looking for $300-500/1000BF. I do not know how good of a deal it was (I do not think it was great), but he tried to talk me out of milling the wood, saying that fast-growing coastal hardwoods do not make good "facial" woods, and if I wanted secondary wood, I should contact a good local supplier and get pallet stock.

I will probably have the wood that I can get for free milled up, but I do not know about paying for coastal trees. Are coastal trees (Seattle area) significantly lower in quality than Midwest or Eastern trees?



While coastal hardwoods (mostly red alder and bigleaf maple) do not compare on price average with the value of eastern species, they are certainly not "significantly lower in quality."

In fact, the opposite is sometimes true.

Good quality alder is much in demand for veneer, furniture wood, and flooring. Spalted alder is a prized product for carvers and cabinetmakers alike.

Maple is sold for the same uses, as well as being highly regarded for carving blocks and musical instruments. I have seen figured maple sell at over $100,000/MBF in some cases.

On the other hand, a lot of low-grade maple and alder is sold for firewood. The key is to learn which logs are suitable for sawing, and how to saw them up for the best value.

A logging truck load is a lot of lumber, perhaps five MBF. One of the most difficult aspects of manufacturing alder is that it is very time-sensitive. By that, I mean it needs to be sawn as quickly as possible after harvesting, and needs to be dried immediately after it is sawn. Failing to adhere to this rigid program will result in severe red staining, cracking, warping and other defects.

By following accepted manufacturing practices, you can be assured of having a good supply of beautiful lumber.



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