The Decline of Wood Products

Discussion in 'Survival & Sustenance Living Forum' started by TLuker, Jul 6, 2014.

  1. TLuker

    TLuker New Member

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    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 :confused:
     
  2. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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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.
     

  3. primer1

    primer1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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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.
     
  4. KG7IL

    KG7IL Active Member

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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.
     
  5. Chainfire

    Chainfire Well-Known Member Supporter

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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.
     
  6. TLuker

    TLuker New Member

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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. :confused:
     
  7. hiwall

    hiwall Active Member

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    Even most guns have plastic stocks now.
     
  8. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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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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    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
  9. Shoobee

    Shoobee New Member

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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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    Last edited: Jul 7, 2014
  10. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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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.
     
  11. LikeABoss

    LikeABoss Member Lifetime Supporter

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    My wood has been declining for years.
     
  12. primer1

    primer1 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think you have laminate and composite stocks mixed up.
     
  13. GatorDude

    GatorDude New Member

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    Seems to me that the wood products industry needs to do a better job explain that they are "green" and "renewable." If you use a tree to make something, then the forest has economic value. Thus, it pays to preserve and plant forests. However, if you switch away from wood, then the forest would have more economic value as a golf course or retirement community and it can be leveled.
     
  14. DrFootball

    DrFootball disappointed & disgusted, But DETERMINED... Lifetime Supporter

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    Luckily here we have, an Abundance of harvestable Wood. Of course if the idiots keep starting Forrest Fires we won't have SQUAT! The Slide rock Fire was 20 mins from where I live. Like last year when we lost 19 "Hotshots" even us Volunteers get called up for Crowd & Traffic control.

    My workbench and my Desk are Made of Alder. I have Pergo XL wood Laminate Floors,.. And wood kitchen Cabinets. My Bedroom furniture is Real Cherrywood. The only trees I don't like are the two Desert Willows in my back yard, they produce flowers that are mildly poisonous to animals, ESP. "yenta" bulldogs that think everything in the Back yard is edible...until he pukes Green leaves and pink flowers...


    Sent from my iPhone using CC Firearms Talk
     
  15. WebleyFosbery38

    WebleyFosbery38 New Member

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    I love this thread, its so darn true. Even higher quality furniture wood is suspect quality because the base wood is rapid growth and cut from way smaller trees than 100 years ago. Im a wood recyclers for a couple reasons, first because im not rich and cant afford to buy hardwoods that cost $10.00 a BF, second because even if I was rich, many of the US grown hardwoods at that price are very poor quality.

    I do allot of woodworking on my 190 year old house, if I built it and you can see it, it probably either White or Red Oak, Red Elm, Maple or another exotic type but almost all of it is recycled. I work in a university that guts and scraps entire floors of buildings every year and I am one of the few folks that haunts these sites like a ghost. The Contractors all know me and often put scrap aside for me to take home. Ive literally hauled a semi or more of beautiful, old growth, scrap hardwoods out of these sites over the last 20 years and my home is much more beautiful for it.

    Dont get me wrong, its not ready to build with when I get it, often its broken, has a horrible finish on it and often has lots of nails in it. There is a lot of work that goes into scavenging high quality used lumber but its worth it. Some of you have seen the pictures of one of my greatest scavenger achievements, My wifes Kitchen--


    Its about 90% old growth White Oak that came from our Library when they gutted it (I ran out near the end and bought some new stuff from a sawyer on Ebay in Georgia to for some of the trim). The demmo guys tried to disassemble the giant built in book shelves with steel hammers and shattered the old oak! I took about 4 truckloads of what looked like good bonfire material and reworked all of it into this kitchen. In four truckloads their wasnt a single pin knot, it was all #1 100% furniture grade Oak and as straight as the day it was milled first over 50 years ago. I had it stacked away for 3 years before I was ready to attempt my first and only complete kitchen build.

    I spent 2 months just remilling the stuff before I started building the cabinets and another couple months building them. Even though I planed it all, the old patina of the Oak stayed with it and it looks like new old Kitchen cabinets not new junk wood cabinets like the BB Stores sell. Its perfectly filling for a house nearly as old as our nation and met with rave reviews from #1 (wife) and everyone that has seen it since I finished them asks the same q, "Who built these for you?". I just smile and say I did and I will never do another kitchen again!

    Its worth the work but it takes allot of time to get and reuse old lumber, its worth it!
     

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  16. DrFootball

    DrFootball disappointed & disgusted, But DETERMINED... Lifetime Supporter

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    Nice Sarge! Let me know if you plan on any Traveling! My wife will put you to work here!!!! I'm sure your shop tools are better and more Varied then mine,...


    Sent from my iPhone using CC Firearms Talk
     
  17. WebleyFosbery38

    WebleyFosbery38 New Member

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    Thanks Doc! My wife bought most of my tools over the years for B-days, Christmas and other gifts in the last 25 years. Once she figured out she was the primary beneficiary of me getting new tools, no more t-shirts and socks, she asks me what I need in my shop instead.

    As my skills improved, the tools got better and more expensive but I probably still dont have much more than $6K in all of them. I have what you would call a carpentry shop not really a cabinet shop. I cant produce Stickley or Harden Quality but I come pretty close and have found lots of ways to overcome not having $100,000 invested in tools that wouldnt fit in my 24' X 16' Shop anyways!

    Ive had an awful lot of offers like yours to come and visit (Bring tools). Im not a carpenter or cab maker, I repair electronics for a living! Problem is, Im not fast and If Im not building it for me, its not nearly as much fun! As much as Id love to go build for others, my "Honey Do" list is as long as my arm and "happy wife means happy life" so I rarely freelance my carpentry skills out!

    Last week I built a 24' ramp with 6' of rise to the haymow of my barn that I can drive my truck up. It was a crapload of work but it came out pretty awesome. Its not my fun shop build type work, no hardwoods involved but it was needed to unclutter the downstairs of the barn, now I can move much of the good stupp upstairs without breaking my not so tough back.
     

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    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
  18. clr8ter

    clr8ter New Member

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    Opps, you're right. It was late....

    WF, stuff like that gets demoed around here, too, but nearly all of it gets sold. People ask extremely high prices for what IMHO is complete crap. If it's truly nice stuff, the price is even higher. You're lucky you have a ready supply. I have also used recycled wood from time to time. It is more of a challenge, but worth it.
     
  19. WebleyFosbery38

    WebleyFosbery38 New Member

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    Some places have really glommed onto the old wood resale idea, were so full of old wood around here that its not really an industry other than old flooring and really fancy mil-work like fireplaces and staircases (yet). Ive found better stuff at the side of the road than I can get at Home Depot, you just have to keep your eyes open and be ready to jump if you get a chance. You also may need room to store stuff cause some of what Ive stowed away took me a half a decade to use but it cost me nothing to hold it.
     
  20. fa35jsf

    fa35jsf New Member

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    I have to agree on some accounts and disagree on others. First, I of course know what a 2x4 is and believe most other folks in my neck of the woods do. They might not know that it doesn't measure a true 2" by 4" but hey, whatever.

    Secondly, almost every home around me (FL and TX) is built out of wood. Honestly, I can't understand why people don't start using concrete for at least the outer structure on homes in the hurricane prone areas. Probably because you can rebuild a house several times over out of wood for the same cost as doing it with concrete the first time.

    Where I will agree with you is the decline of real wood in most furniture. My wife and I were recently in the market for a new dinning room table and I naturally wanted real wood so it would last our entire lifetime. Probably 90% of the tables in even the most expensive furniture stores were laminate. Let me tell you, they are getting good with that stuff and it was really hard to spot on some pieces. We ended up buying a table made from 2"x2" Parawood (White Mahogany) boards glued together. Solid 2 inch thick table top that I can sand down and refinish however often it is needed. The only catch was it was unfinished and so I had to stain and seal it. That was a lot of work especially when the table top weights 250+ pounds by itself without the legs or additional leafs.


    The decline of wood is just like the decline of metal. How many appliances, tools, and everyday item were made out of metal that you old timers can remember? I bet just about all of them. Now, everything is plastic, plastic, and chrome painted plastic.