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Forum topic by larryw posted 05-22-2011 08:07 PM 1483 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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larryw

330 posts in 2127 days


05-22-2011 08:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question wood

Hi everyone, I recently posed a question to one of my LJ buddies (Peteg) from NewZealand, and thought that I would get everyone else’s opinion on the subject. I’ve been thinking how nice it would be to work with woods not available locally. I know that there are some LJer’s who share or trade wood with each other, but I’m wondering if this could be done on an international level. I decided to place the question I asked Peteg here in the forums section. Any feedback on this subject would be appreciated.

“Hi pete, just wanted to pose a question to you. Have you ever wanted to work with wood other than your own native species?.Now I realize that a lot of us buy exotic woods from specialty wood vendors, but what about us LJers trading wood. For instance I was thinking that it would be nice if us LJ’s could trade wood, even if we lived in different countries. I would love to work with a piece of pohutukawa, and I have some really nice eastern red cedar ( aromatic cedar) that grows practically in my back yard that you might be interested in, however there’s the problem of each country having restrictions on importing some things, in this case wood, due to the possible presence of foreign diseases,pests..ect. and there’s also the cost of shipping wood to each other, which might make it unreasonable or not feasable.I wish that I knew the laws and restrictions on this,do you have any knowledge of such things?,and are you able to purchase wood from other countries there in NZ?. Maybe I should start a forum here on LJ’s regarding this subject. Any thoughts? thanks Pete”

-- "everything is beautiful, but not everyone sees it" ~confucius-551-449 b.c.~


15 replies so far

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LittlePaw

1571 posts in 2543 days


#1 posted 05-22-2011 09:01 PM

Larry, I have no intention of raining on your parade. Quite the opposite, I want to see you find a way to accomplish the dream a lot of us LJs have. I’ve had the same thoughts from seeing beautiful woods from other countries. . . if I can only get my hands on some of those!!!! But having had an extensive background in international trade (as in imports and exports) acquiring small lots of wood would most likely be prohibitive in cost.Yes, as you said, there are laws (both countries of origin and the US) covering parasites, pests that could involve quarantine periods, clearing customs, FOB costs as opposed to CIF costs, etc.In the long run, I think buying exotic wood from professionals (choice of wood more limited) in wood business may make a lot more $en$e. I am open to ideas and will follow your blog. Good luck, Larry.

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

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daltxguy

1373 posts in 3379 days


#2 posted 05-22-2011 10:23 PM

The regulations are not prohibitive,otherwise wood would never move between borders, but it may not be cost effective in small quantities or the casual importer/exporter.

Having said that, many ‘exotic’ species of wood are already imported and available in NZ, albeit at somewhat higher cost, some of the NA species are also grown in NZ as well. On the flip side, many NZ timbers are not available for export or even sale in NZ as they are protected species and are not permitted to be harvested commercially. Those native species which can be harvested can only be harvested by permit, the sawmill must also be permitted and all this adds cost before it is even available at the retail level.

All that is for milled timber. Restrictions change yet again for finished products.

I think the only way it might make sense if it a container load was arranged to be swapped between the two locations and many people were to participate or else it was done through an existing timber merchant who has the systems in place to complete the paperwork, inspections, fumigations, etc. but who may not normally import or export certain species.

Having said all that and being a timber producer myself in NZ ( not actively at the moment since equipment is not all in place for harvest and processing), I would still encourage everyone to use local woods before considering importing from halfway around the world. Demand for woods not grown in your backyard can seem innocent enough and exciting, but I’m afraid it is associated with much environmental destruction, corruption, violence, human abuses, suffering and corporate thievery, despite many assurances or even evidence provided to the contrary.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

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LittlePaw

1571 posts in 2543 days


#3 posted 05-22-2011 10:51 PM

That’s what I meant to say, but didn’t say it quite as well!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

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larryw

330 posts in 2127 days


#4 posted 05-22-2011 11:03 PM

Thanks littlepaw and Steve, your input on this is appreciated. I figured there would be too many hurdles in aquiring wood this way. I had just thought maybe as a one-time swap, say ,me sending Peteg in NewZealand a small bowl blank, and him sending me one would be pretty cool, but as you said Steve, for small quantities the cost would probably be prohibitive.

-- "everything is beautiful, but not everyone sees it" ~confucius-551-449 b.c.~

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daltxguy

1373 posts in 3379 days


#5 posted 05-23-2011 12:28 AM

As I said, not impossible but one must be aware of the regulations. NZ in particular is very sensitive to bio hazards. It’s probably easier being a terrorist, then to bring any organic or biological item into the country.

Here are the regulations for import of wood into NZ

For its part, the US is also very sensitive to this as I suspect most countries whose GDP relies heavily on agriculture would be.

I found this reference on importing wood items from NZ to the US but would require further searching or inquiry to find the specific regulation which covers it.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

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larryw

330 posts in 2127 days


#6 posted 05-23-2011 01:43 AM

Thanks for the info Steve

-- "everything is beautiful, but not everyone sees it" ~confucius-551-449 b.c.~

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peteg

3857 posts in 2288 days


#7 posted 05-23-2011 05:40 AM

Hey Steve, I have enjoyed your inside knowledge being shared with us, I did remark to Larry that NZ has possibly some of the most difficult border controls you will find anyplace.
We do have some significant importers of oveseas timbers used mainly for architectural specialty finishes, Steve I think of the likes of Rosenfeild Kidson here in Auckland where you can select from a fantastic range of exotic timbers, (the price normally has you “on your bike”)
I have yet to catch up with a turner mate who demonstrates a lot overseas & generally has a heafty Penalty bagage to pay when he comes home with a case of timber,, it is always declared ???.
Still as I said Larry this should be am\n interesting topic to chew the fat on.

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

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larryw

330 posts in 2127 days


#8 posted 05-24-2011 03:31 AM

Thanks Pete for the response.

-- "everything is beautiful, but not everyone sees it" ~confucius-551-449 b.c.~

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orionoriginals

37 posts in 2023 days


#9 posted 05-25-2011 09:32 PM

Larry – Speaking as one who has done just this, i.e. traded wood internationally, let me say that it can be done! Mine was done in small quantities thru the mail. I have traded woods from Canada with friends in New Zealand, sending down such woods as yellow cedar, birds-eye maple, arbutus, etc. and receiving in return some exotics from there. However, these are small pieces, able to fit in a padded international envelope which is approximately 12” x 18” and usually under 1.8 kgs in weight and sent as gifts with a value under $100.00. The wood MUST be machined with no bark and no insect holes. This can be fairly expensive with average prices from Canada running around $60.00 for a package this size. Those coming from NZ however, are a lot cheaper as their rate is about 2/3 ours. You can always check with your post office website as to rates, weights and restrictions – Canada Post’s is quite extensive.

-- Jamie

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larryw

330 posts in 2127 days


#10 posted 05-26-2011 02:58 AM

Jamie, thanks for the encouragement , and your post. I’ll look into this.

-- "everything is beautiful, but not everyone sees it" ~confucius-551-449 b.c.~

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orionoriginals

37 posts in 2023 days


#11 posted 05-27-2011 04:16 PM

Larry – Hope that was some help. Of course, import regs differ from one country to the other and even though NZ is one of the most stringent when it comes to letting in natural materials so far there doesn’t seem to be a problem. I would imagine the USPS has a similar site to Canada Post which should, hopefully, tell you in more or less plain English what and how you can send or receive woods. I know in Canada if you run afoul of their regs you won’t even see the wood! It’s just destroyed and I imagine it’s the same in most countries – someone has a wienie roast using imported but banned wood for the bonfire! Give it a try anyway and good luck!

-- Jamie

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daltxguy

1373 posts in 3379 days


#12 posted 05-27-2011 08:53 PM

I think the difference is that when the pieces are small, machined, bark free, insect free ( or at least appears to be visually) then it becomes classified as a finished product and as I said earlier, the regulations are different for finished products. I’ve sent a pair of wooden spoons made of rimu to the US without any issues.

NZ postal rates are not 2/3 of that in Canada( I wish). There is, or perhaps was ( I haven’t checked recently) a fixed rate international envelope which used to be $20. Anything outside of that size and the rates between US and Canada are very similar, if not more from New Zealand. Postal rates of course vary wildly around the world (and seems more politically motivated than reflecting actual costs)

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

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orionoriginals

37 posts in 2023 days


#13 posted 05-30-2011 11:08 PM

Hi Steve – When I said 2/3 I was referring to the difference in cost between what I sent there and what was sent to me – virtually the same size mailer and the same weight! My cost was $56.00 – his was $33.48. They both were airmail packets as we would still be waiting on surface mail to arrive! So to me that’s about 2/3 of our rate or maybe a little more if you feel like working it out! Either way, unless you get the wood you are sending for next to nothing, it is an expensive but possible way of trading. And as I said, you have to check with your post office to see their regs. Ours are specific as they take into account what you are sending, where it is going, etc. and even give you the regulation number to quote on your customs label if necessary so that you should have few problems. That is the main reason for declaring it is machined wood on the labels – that is the easiest and safest way of ensuring it will get there. My buddy wanted live-edge wood but I had to be really careful in what I sent him because of the regulations.

-- Jamie

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BobTheFish

361 posts in 2017 days


#14 posted 06-03-2011 05:21 AM

Let me just add my two cents in saying that anything sent out of the US is going to cost you more in shipping than the wood itself will ever be worth.

Unless you’re shipping to canada (or maybe mexico), the USPS has combined their priority mail and international mail rates to some countries. I have a friend in the UK I send things to occasionally, and it’s QUITE expensive. I think a 1lb package still cost me about $40. I also was asked to quote the price of sending a small book once to argentina. The cheapest I could find was $15-21 and I discouraged the sale, simply because i couldn’t see them paying the same amount in shipping as the book itself almost cost.

Additionally, some countries have nasty post offices in general. my second job deals a lot with the sale of silver jewelry, and sometimes our packages have gotten conveniently “lost” in the post when sent to specific areas of the world.

It might be worthwhile to ship a small turning block, or some pen blanks, but it’s got to be some REAAAAAALLLY unique wood.

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rance

4245 posts in 2626 days


#15 posted 06-11-2011 12:35 AM

I’d think you could get around a lot of the rules by just building a project and shipping that project. A wine tilt, an Adirondack chair(prob. too heavy), a simple crate box. Keep it to something that can be broken down flat for shipping. Now if the recipient chooses to completely disassemble it on the other end and reconfigure it to something else, then who’s to know? This may help out some aspects of the plan. There’s still the weight problem though.

Maybe different folks from around the world could lookup from their own post office how much it would cost to mail a, say, 20 lb box containing a wooden project to another countries. Also standardize on the dimensions of the box, and pick 10 countries as a sample set. After 10 people post their data here, you could build a chart with the costs, sorta like a multiplication table. You could easilly see the differences from shipping between two countries, but in different directions. Just a thought on some pertinent research into the subject.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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