The Decline of Wood Products
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The Decline of Wood Products


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Old 07-07-2014, 12:27 AM   #1
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Default The Decline of Wood Products

This might not seem very interesting but the market for wood products has really declined over the last few decades. The reason it should be of some interest is because wood is one of the most useful resources available to us. At one time houses were built almost entirely of wood along with most of the contents in them. Today there isn't much wood left in a house and that includes the structure and interior contents.

I do a little wood working just because I enjoy making nice tings but quality wood is getting harder and harder to find despite it still being an abundant material. Tree service companies literally throw away most the hardwood they cut so that should give an idea as to how plentiful the wood is but there just isn't a demand for it.

Where this really got interesting for me from a subsistence living standpoint is realizing that being dependent on all the other materials available now makes us more dependent on the global economy and less self sufficient. There isn't much you can't make for yourself from wood but how many today even know what a 2x4 is much less what to do with it? I'm not advocating using more wood or anything like that I just found it interesting at the realization that with the decline of wood we become less self sufficient. And as we become less self sufficient things made of real wood have become luxury items (go price a solid cherry dinning room table).

Just an Observation
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Old 07-07-2014, 12:35 AM   #2
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Agree. Grew up on a farm. You had to buy strap iron- so it was used sparsely- and wood was used for a lot of things- including gate latches, hinges, pegged construction of doors, etc.

To work wood into a usable form- a draw knife, a brace & bit, chisels and planes. All of which are hanging in my shop, and require no electricity to operate.
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Old 07-07-2014, 04:24 PM   #3
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Sign of the times. A solid cherry dining room table will last a lifetime, but most people want a good deal. So they go to wally world and buy the sawdust press board furniture which looks good. Then Jr spills his kool aid on it and the whole thing warps. It lasted for awhile holding up the $1500 flat screen, and was pretty cheap, so let's try one at that other box store. It never ends, drive for five minutes on garbage day and count the sawdust furniture items on the curb.
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Old 07-07-2014, 07:24 PM   #4
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Wood may be plentiful, but it sure get's marked up along the way from the forest to my workbench.

I have had several friends indicate that they took down large trees, just to cut them into firewood length. Some even paid to have this done.
I do wood working. Some pieces are air-dry that I have cut, most is dimensional lumber , some is hardwood.

I would like to build more from my own air-dried harvest, but finding a source here in the PNW limits it to alder and fir.
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Old 07-07-2014, 08:21 PM   #5
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People just aren't willing to pay for the real wood. If you are, you can still get wood products. I too enjoy shaping wood into useful items. There are no pressed wood products in my house.

Where I live, I am surrounded by tens of thousands of acres that are planted in pines that are planted and harvested in cycles. (It makes for a hunter's paradise.) Most of this timber used to be used for paper, but a good deal of it is used in plywood or particle board construction.

The Pacific Northwest exported 2.4 million cubic meters of lumber to China. In return, we get container loads disposable plastic junk that ends up in landfills, where it will stay until doomsday.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:14 AM   #6
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The furniture and our declining standards are one thing. I mean we have replaced furniture like this from the Colonial Williamsburg collection:

Desktop.jpg

With this:

table-find-or.jpg

The part I can't understand is why we would continue to become less and less self sufficient. The piece shown at the top is well over 200 years old and was made with hand tools. Very few of us could afford a piece like that so I can understand buying the cheap stuff instead, but most of us could make something like it. Quality hand made items that used to be common place are now luxury items like wooden furniture and hand made quilts. The sad part is most of us are capable of making those luxury items for ourselves. So why would we give up our self sufficiency for cheap junk? That's the part I have a hard time understanding.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:29 AM   #7
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Even most guns have plastic stocks now.
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Old 07-08-2014, 12:59 AM   #8
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TLuker, I'll have to partially disagree. Where I live, wood is still the dominant building material. Even for some commercial buildings. Firewood is in high demand, a lot of trees are chipped and sent to the power plant, and I have a choice of specialty hardwood lumber supply places that stock high-quality lumber from Africa, S. America, and the USA.

Having said that, the custom woodworking shops are struggling. One guy down the street closed outright, and he became my preferred gun shop. Another guy lives at his shop with his family, I think. The problem is that people want their TV stand NOW, not in 2 or 6 months. And skilled US labor is not cheap.

I just finished building a cherry nightstand for myself. It matches the one I built for the wife. I also completed the clock recently. It's replacing the crappy plastic one from Walmart.
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:01 AM   #9
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I have a heavy old wooden desk which I love, which is from the 1950's when all office desks were heavy. It is big enough to hold 3 P/C's and two additional monitors/screens. I have owned it for 35 years since my old firm auctioned it off after having owned it for at least another 30 years before that. It's old, and quite scratched, but beautiful in its own way. Everything else that I have which is "wood" is fake wood -- the composite glued stuff. So sad how popular the fake stuff is.

My old M-14 at OCS had a wooden stock also -- the main advantage of which was that you could use this battle rifle as a baseball bat too, if you had to.

For rifles, otherwise, I generally prefer composite stocks -- they don't warp or swell when they get wet. And I don't plan to use mine as a baseball bat anymore -- infantry days are definitely over.
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Old 07-08-2014, 01:17 AM   #10
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BUT, composite stocks are still real wood. It's many thin layers laminated together, and has to be worked like a solid piece of wood. So it totally counts.
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