Cheap Places for Lumber

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Kagord
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Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Kagord »

I went to some of the big box stores, apparently lumber is 4X-6X more than it was a few years ago, like $8 a stud, and OSB is well over $50. Are there any mail order places where you can buy studs for $1.50, and just have them delivered free?
puddingfox
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by puddingfox »

I don't think 8' 2x4 studs have been $1.50 for 10+ years. A couple years ago I was buying individual studs for $3.50-$4 in a medium cost-of-living area.

OSB and other sheet goods have shot up more than dimensional lumber from what I can tell. Maybe 2x for dimensional vs 4x for sheet goods.

Interestingly, hardwood prices (oak, cherry, ...) are unchanged. I can still get 4/4 rough-sawn oak for ~$3.50/bdft here which is about the price it has been for many years. It is mostly the "softwoods" or construction materials that are effected.
bloom2708
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by bloom2708 »

Amazon Lumber. :D

50 sheets of OSB, free 2 day shipping.

Lumber is HEAVY. Online orders are not going to work without big freight costs.
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daheld
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by daheld »

Nope.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by RickBoglehead »

My FIL used to fish pieces from the lake he lived on after a storm. I had a workbench made of "floaters".
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davemanjam
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by davemanjam »

Short answer is no.
Big box stores as well as local lumber yards are going to have essentially the same prices.
Call around and ask, but i doubt prices would vary by more than 5-10%.
My advice would be to wait it out if you can.
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lthenderson
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by lthenderson »

Construction grade lumber is costly due to a number of factors. Tariffs passed before the pandemic caused the initial spike, production shut downs at the beginning of the pandemic and an unexpected sharp increase in demand due to the pandemic all affected pricing negatively.

However, that doesn't mean all lumber is expensive. My local hardwood dealer has only seen a relatively small inflation increase. But compared to pine studs that are 6X the price they were, I still wouldn't want to build my addition out of solid cherry.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by forgeblast »

Wait it out. If its not pressure treated that you need see if there is a local saw mill. They might be cheaper at this point.
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gwe67
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by gwe67 »

Kagord wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 8:29 am I went to some of the big box stores, apparently lumber is 4X-6X more than it was a few years ago, like $8 a stud, and OSB is well over $50. Are there any mail order places where you can buy studs for $1.50, and just have them delivered free?
If this were possible, I would have lots of them delivered to me for free for $1.50 each and then re-sell them for $8 to unsuspecting goobers. Econ 101.
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dukeblue219
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by dukeblue219 »

Contractors are still buying tons of wood at the big box stores. If there was a magic source of cheap wood, they'd be all over it as their livelihood depends on it.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by ponyboy »

The only way to save money is to buy gift cards at a discounted price and use credit cards with good rewards. Yeah, its not going to amount to much but there's no other way to get a deal at the moment.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Ramjet »

Out of the big box stores Menards seems cheaper and better quality for wood than Lowes and Home Depot
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davemanjam
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by davemanjam »

Here is the latest on Lumber futures.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/19/lumber- ... winds.html

What that means for retail prices i'm not sure.
MAKsdad
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by MAKsdad »

Kagord wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 8:29 am I went to some of the big box stores, apparently lumber is 4X-6X more than it was a few years ago, like $8 a stud, and OSB is well over $50. Are there any mail order places where you can buy studs for $1.50, and just have them delivered free?
Lumber prices are actually 4x higher than they were just ONE year ago
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lthenderson
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by lthenderson »

Ramjet wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 10:18 am Out of the big box stores Menards seems cheaper and better quality for wood than Lowes and Home Depot
I only have access to Menards and they can have their fair share of crappy lumber, especially if the bundle is less than half of the starting amount which means it has been heavily sorted through at that point. I improve my odds by taking a pair of snips and if there is a new bundle queued up nearby, cutting the bands and getting my boards from there first.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Ramjet »

lthenderson wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 10:40 am
Ramjet wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 10:18 am Out of the big box stores Menards seems cheaper and better quality for wood than Lowes and Home Depot
I only have access to Menards and they can have their fair share of crappy lumber, especially if the bundle is less than half of the starting amount which means it has been heavily sorted through at that point. I improve my odds by taking a pair of snips and if there is a new bundle queued up nearby, cutting the bands and getting my boards from there first.
Funny, I do the same thing. At Home Depot though, because of how close it is
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squirm
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by squirm »

Really??? You're asking where to buy lumber studs for a buck and change with free shipping??

Go to a demo site, maybe they'll let you sift through the debris for free.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by hicabob »

MAKsdad wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 10:39 am
Kagord wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 8:29 am I went to some of the big box stores, apparently lumber is 4X-6X more than it was a few years ago, like $8 a stud, and OSB is well over $50. Are there any mail order places where you can buy studs for $1.50, and just have them delivered free?
Lumber prices are actually 4x higher than they were just ONE year ago
Lumber futures are dropping fast! Quick sell those extra 2x4's. :D
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... wood-rally
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Valuethinker »

Kagord wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 8:29 am I went to some of the big box stores, apparently lumber is 4X-6X more than it was a few years ago, like $8 a stud, and OSB is well over $50. Are there any mail order places where you can buy studs for $1.50, and just have them delivered free?
It's a transparent market. If there were significantly cheaper sources, all of those home renovation contractors would have flooded the source and bought up the stock (and maybe resold some of it-- at least to other contractors). I would not be surprised to read of significant thefts**.

You might find a mill that needs to shift off-take or output that is in some way flawed. If you can provide the transport, then you might get a deal.

From what I understand, *no one* has any stock. If you are a housebuilder, you cannot get what you need - at almost any price (depending on volume).

These things tend to be self-correcting, in that sawmills can put on extra shifts - supply can "flex" quite quickly.

However there may be weather & Covid related factors (I don't know).

AND this shortage is basically global. So your American mill may have sold to a Chinese buyer.

** Stealing scrap metal became a thing as China boomed in the 00s. In one case in South London, one or two of the thieves were killed while stealing copper power cables from the local commuter rail. Their partners in crime just went ahead with the theft - showing an admirable pragmatic bent and coolness under fire (and reminding us what shocking lowlifes criminals can be).

Glasgow, they were [edited, triggered another poster - my fault]
Last edited by Valuethinker on Fri May 21, 2021 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by willthrill81 »

gwe67 wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 9:57 am
Kagord wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 8:29 am I went to some of the big box stores, apparently lumber is 4X-6X more than it was a few years ago, like $8 a stud, and OSB is well over $50. Are there any mail order places where you can buy studs for $1.50, and just have them delivered free?
If this were possible, I would have lots of them delivered to me for free for $1.50 each and then re-sell them for $8 to unsuspecting goobers. Econ 101.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Sandtrap »

Kagord wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 8:29 am I went to some of the big box stores, apparently lumber is 4X-6X more than it was a few years ago, like $8 a stud, and OSB is well over $50. Are there any mail order places where you can buy studs for $1.50, and just have them delivered free?
Studs have not been $1.50 (A grade or kd for quality framing, not green or low grade whitewood) for decades.
There was a time, back when, when it was $1 for a quality wood stud and $1 for a steel stud. But, those days are long gone.

Some stores buy "B" grade, then take the best pieces out and sell that for B+ or A- grade, and it's pretty marginal.
Much of what is sold now as "standard" studs is unstable.

Cheap places selling cheap low grade marginal or sub marginal lumber do exist. But, ultimately, are not cheap to build with.

Back in the day, there were lumber salvage yards where studs and framing members, etc, were "harvested" from companies that specialized in demolition of existing structures. There could be found excellent lumber. But, those days have also gone.

The alternative is to switch to using steel framing and studs, etc, where possible if it can be had for cheaper. But, realize that material costs are just part of the building cost total.

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Monsterflockster
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Monsterflockster »

Kagord wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 8:29 am I went to some of the big box stores, apparently lumber is 4X-6X more than it was a few years ago, like $8 a stud, and OSB is well over $50. Are there any mail order places where you can buy studs for $1.50, and just have them delivered free?
So you want to buy something at 18% of what it costs and have them deliver it for free?
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JoeRetire
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by JoeRetire »

Monsterflockster wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 2:27 pm
Kagord wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 8:29 am I went to some of the big box stores, apparently lumber is 4X-6X more than it was a few years ago, like $8 a stud, and OSB is well over $50. Are there any mail order places where you can buy studs for $1.50, and just have them delivered free?
So you want to buy something at 18% of what it costs and have them deliver it for free?
I know that I do.
Just remember: it's not a lie if you believe it.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by iamlucky13 »

davemanjam wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 10:39 am Here is the latest on Lumber futures.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/19/lumber- ... winds.html

What that means for retail prices i'm not sure.
I don't think that article gives a good overall sense of what prices have been doing. It just offers a couple specific milestones - up 37% since the start of the year sounds dramatic, but even more startling, lumber commodity prices are up something like 200% to 250% from the 5-year average prior to the pandemic.

There's a price chart here:
https://www.nasdaq.com/market-activity/commodities/lbs

I don't know where exactly production currently sits, but at some point late last year, it was reported to be about 10% down compared to 2019. I would have thought even doubling in price would push demand down by more than that much, but apparently people really want to build right now.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by wfrobinette »

forgeblast wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 9:45 am Wait it out. If its not pressure treated that you need see if there is a local saw mill. They might be cheaper at this point.
Wouldn't that be market timing? :D
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by iamlucky13 »

Sandtrap wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 2:01 pm
Kagord wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 8:29 am I went to some of the big box stores, apparently lumber is 4X-6X more than it was a few years ago, like $8 a stud, and OSB is well over $50. Are there any mail order places where you can buy studs for $1.50, and just have them delivered free?
Studs have not been $1.50 (A grade or kd for quality framing, not green or low grade whitewood) for decades.
There was a time, back when, when it was $1 for a quality wood stud and $1 for a steel stud. But, those days are long gone.
I don't think I have paid more than $2.50 per 2x4 in the last few years. I'm guessing you paid more if you were building in Hawaii. I have not checked in person in a while, but the website (which is not always accurate for lumber) for the local store currently says $8. Fortunately, I do not have any major new projects planned at the moment. The last thing I built I had odds-and-ends on hand for.

Also the big box stores don't sell the higher grades of framing lumber, as far as I've seen. It's always been #2 grade, KD.

They like to label it as "premium," but anybody who's ever looked at a lumber grade chart knows that is just a marketing label.

It's still generally usable, but if building anything that needs inspection, it is prudent to make sure the chosen grade, span, and spacing is appropriate per a standard span table, or whether a higher grade was specified by the architect or engineer.
A440
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by A440 »

If you live near Philly, Carter Lumber seems to have some good prices.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Nate79 »

I love a good humor thread.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by tenkuky »

Valuethinker wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 11:49 am
Glasgow, they were stealing manhole covers for the scrap steel. Unscrupulous dealers would buy them. Of course this meant old ladies with poor eyesight were falling down open manholes. If you know Glasgow and its reputation, then this state of affairs should not entirely surprise you.
Oh man thanks for the PTSD on this.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Californiastate »

squirm wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 11:06 am Really??? You're asking where to buy lumber studs for a buck and change with free shipping??

Go to a demo site, maybe they'll let you sift through the debris for free.
My father was a GC. He started in the 50s building apartments in the Bay Area. When he started he would pull old buildings over with his 53 Chevy pickup. Scrappers would then come in and salvage the lumber. His insurance stopped him within a few years. The liability was too much.
Lalamimi
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Lalamimi »

All building materials are crazy prices right now. They blame Covid. Bite the bullet and buy it, or wait it out. New home prices have sky rocketed here in Houston, as has everything.
TT
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by TT »

Depending were you live you could check local saw mills that sell rough sawn unplanned lumber that is cheaper but there is a long line ahead of you. Then you have to stack it and air dry it from 2-12 months depending on where you live and the dimensional thickness. The good news is a 2x4 is actually 2 inches by 4 inches previous to air drying instead of 1.5 x 3.5 inches.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Allan »

Lalamimi wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 5:27 pm All building materials are crazy prices right now. They blame Covid. Bite the bullet and buy it, or wait it out. New home prices have sky rocketed here in Houston, as has everything.
I am a builder in Houston, several subs have increased prices because of their material costs increase. And of course lumber is out of sight. I just started a rather expensive spec home and I'm worried. At least my custom homes are cost-plus contracts.

Allan
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by StarsandStripes »

I paid 9.97 each today for a load of 2x4 at a big box store. Several of them were even straight.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by furiouschads »

Sandtrap wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 2:01 pm
Back in the day, there were lumber salvage yards where studs and framing members, etc, were "harvested" from companies that specialized in demolition of existing structures. There could be found excellent lumber. But, those days have also gone.

j :D
Both Hyattsville MD and Baltimore have active lumber salvage yards.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Sandtrap »

furiouschads wrote: Thu May 20, 2021 1:50 pm
Sandtrap wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 2:01 pm
Back in the day, there were lumber salvage yards where studs and framing members, etc, were "harvested" from companies that specialized in demolition of existing structures. There could be found excellent lumber. But, those days have also gone.

j :D
Both Hyattsville MD and Baltimore have active lumber salvage yards.
Awesome
I haven’t seen those for a long time.

j🌺
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IMO
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by IMO »

I had read an article or watched a video recently that noted that the big boxes are not the ones marking up the prices. They have a relatively small mark up and that hasn't changed even in the current situation.

Per what I read, it all came down the the major sawmills being able to set the price. Everyone else in the chain wasn't making the huge profits from current mark-ups. What was concerning was that per what I'd seen/read, they had noted historically when prices of lumber went up, that sort of became the new baseline. Lets hope this time it's different.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by WealthConstructor »

Per a rough carpentry subcontractor this past Monday, “lumber prices have doubled, sheet good prices such as OSB and plywood have tripled”. They are typically dealing in projects of roughly one hundred units (multi-family ground up). He said lumber prices are changing so quickly, he’s spending all of his time requoting prior bids. Bids are valid for only 15 days due to material pricing fluctuations. And he advised that the large lumber yards are not taking on new clients in the current unstable environment.
Valuethinker
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Valuethinker »

tenkuky wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 4:56 pm

Oh man thanks for the PTSD on this.
!😳
Right. Feels like I was being insensitive?

Going to edit my original post.

Glad you survived. These events can be terrifying - mine was a rogue bicycle. memory loss, the works.

I do worry about people who trundle down the pavement (sidewalk) tapping on their phones and not paying attention where they are going.

Not putting you in this category, to be clear.
jackbeagle
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by jackbeagle »

Are you talking about OSB for exterior sheathing? By now, ZIP systems should be cheaper than regular lumber :mrgreen:
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by jackbeagle »

IMO wrote: Fri May 21, 2021 12:00 am I had read an article or watched a video recently that noted that the big boxes are not the ones marking up the prices. They have a relatively small mark up and that hasn't changed even in the current situation.

Per what I read, it all came down the the major sawmills being able to set the price. Everyone else in the chain wasn't making the huge profits from current mark-ups. What was concerning was that per what I'd seen/read, they had noted historically when prices of lumber went up, that sort of became the new baseline. Lets hope this time it's different.
Let's compare lumber prices vs. timber prices and expose these sawmills. Public shaming seems to work for almost everything else.
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Kagord
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Kagord »

IMO wrote: Fri May 21, 2021 12:00 am Per what I read, it all came down the the major sawmills being able to set the price. Everyone else in the chain wasn't making...
Thanks, you just reminded of my of days of pulling 4x20s off the green chain. Thinking about this, I think I can understand why green chain pullers would want to collect unemployment + the extra over that job, I suspect that is the problem and probably the cause of high lumber prices.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by DesertDiva »

Wish we had a unicorn emoji for situations like this
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by dukeblue219 »

DesertDiva wrote: Fri May 21, 2021 1:26 pm Wish we had a unicorn emoji for situations like this
🦄
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by iamlucky13 »

Valuethinker wrote: Fri May 21, 2021 10:42 am
I do worry about people who trundle down the pavement (sidewalk) tapping on their phones and not paying attention where they are going.
Pedestrian deaths were on a downward trend until 2009, 2 years after the first iPhone was released. In the following decade, they increased 51%.

https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-st ... edestrians

I don't know for certain increasing phone use is the reason, but it seems like a likely candidate.

Apologies for straying off topic. The tangent seemed like a worthwhile time to bring up the grim statistic for general awareness.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by getthatmarshmallow »

iamlucky13 wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 3:10 pm
davemanjam wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 10:39 am Here is the latest on Lumber futures.
https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/19/lumber- ... winds.html

What that means for retail prices i'm not sure.
I don't think that article gives a good overall sense of what prices have been doing. It just offers a couple specific milestones - up 37% since the start of the year sounds dramatic, but even more startling, lumber commodity prices are up something like 200% to 250% from the 5-year average prior to the pandemic.

There's a price chart here:
https://www.nasdaq.com/market-activity/commodities/lbs

I don't know where exactly production currently sits, but at some point late last year, it was reported to be about 10% down compared to 2019. I would have thought even doubling in price would push demand down by more than that much, but apparently people really want to build right now.
Perfect storm. COVID derailed production just as everyone was stuck at home pursuing home improvement projects with nothing else to do. Typically, once the price of lumber increases, building demand drops off for the usual ECON 101 reasons, but due to the pandemic, those who had extra cash due to not traveling, stimulus, etc., were willing to keep paying.

Then the sawmills changed their price so here were are. Unlikely to come down absent a massive building bust.

So, no, no one is going to ship you lumber at the prices of a decade ago.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by hicabob »

Maybe using concrete, which is much superior in many ways, will increase in popularity in the US?
I expect the lumber prices will go down faster than bitcoin though.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by Freetime76 »

We have some nice, old, dead white ash - very tall and straight - on our farm that we could share. A guy up the road has a sawmill... :D

We get excellent scrap from a nearby factory that throws out huge pallets from their metal welding (incoming) materials. The main supports are thicker than dimensional 2x4s. We even got cherry once (I’m hoarding those). It’s a very inexpensive area, and often they pay to have the pallets removed. Very different from the Pinterest-heavy areas where you can’t find a pallet anywhere :wink: . We will be using this to build 2 large sheds and a garage.

Unfortunately, we will actually have to buy the sheet metal to cover them.
Please spell out new acronyms. Thank you.
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by angelescrest »

This has to be a trolling post.
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lthenderson
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Re: Cheap Places for Lumber

Post by lthenderson »

forgeblast wrote: Wed May 19, 2021 9:45 am Wait it out.
This might be a lengthy wait since there is discussion to double current tariffs on lumber imports from Canada which comprise about a third of all softwood used in the U.S.
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