Very good info on sensitive topic

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Forum topic by Ron Harper posted 03-09-2013 02:48 PM 1275 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Ron Harper

133 posts in 2152 days

03-09-2013 02:48 PM

See Shannon’s blog on exotics.

Injects a few facts into an important discussion

-- Ron in Kokomo

8 replies so far

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RS Woodworks

533 posts in 3487 days

#1 posted 03-09-2013 03:52 PM

Very good information and the article echoes my sentiments exactly. I get so tired of some of my favorite wood places trying to sell their bamboo crap as wood products, with the statement that it is more “green”. Bamboo is a grass, not a wood. Yes it has it’s place, but not as a wood replacement thats for sure.
I use many exotics from all over the world, and I never ever appologize for it. I will be saving this article to pass on to anyone who may ever question that. Thanks for posting.

-- I restore the finest vintage tools! If you need a nice plane, saw, marking tool or brace, please let me know!

View stefang's profile


16209 posts in 3569 days

#2 posted 03-09-2013 04:42 PM

A thoughtful article which I agree with. A lot of money is being made these days by folks who have hopped on the environmental bandwagon and are making a good living at making us feel guilty every time we buy a piece of tropical wood, and at exorbitant prices I might add. As Shannon indicates, the problems are a lot more complex than many would like us to believe, but it’s always good to have someone to point the finger at just to keep folks riled up.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 3016 days

#3 posted 03-09-2013 05:41 PM

Now that’s a well thought out peice !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View NormG's profile


6378 posts in 3239 days

#4 posted 03-09-2013 07:09 PM

Very well written and presented also

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3337 days

#5 posted 03-09-2013 08:12 PM

Agreed!!! I have to roll my eyes every time I read a post about someone ripping pallets apart to “upcycle, recycle” or whatever other nonsense term is in fashion in order to save the planet. There is not much more renewable than trees. The ratio of planting cutting is astronomical. And ya, I get it if people are ripping pallets apart to save money from the lumber yard. The guilt trip and salesmanship regarding recycling wood can get over the top…............................

-- mike...............

View shampeon's profile


1894 posts in 2419 days

#6 posted 03-09-2013 09:08 PM

Well, here’s a counterpoint.

I do use exotic wood, but I’m uncomfortable with the idea that we just shouldn’t think about where we get it and what effect it has throughout the supply chain.

There is no more Brazilian rosewood. It’s pretty much gone. It doesn’t matter anymore whether some of the habitat was destroyed by cattle ranching or overharvesting. I think some people want to go back to a time when resources were plentiful and you didn’t have to care, but that’s just not the case anymore.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View runswithscissors's profile


2920 posts in 2260 days

#7 posted 03-10-2013 01:29 AM

Here in the Pacific NW, almost all the old growth Douglas fir and old growth red cedar are gone (and I do remember when you could find both in any decent lumber yard). Anything you find nowadays is reclaimed, and sells at a premium. The replanted stuff is not of the same quality. The red cedar in the lumber yards now almost always has sapwood, is coarse grained, and has almost none of the decay resistance the old growth stuff had. The fir (impossible to know the real species in the lumber yard) is very poor quality. It’s hard to find a 2×4 now (construction grade) that doesn’t have bark on at least one corner, often two. I guess it won’t be long before it will be normal to expect bark on 4 corners. Cutting such tiny trees is hardly “sustainable” forestry.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2197 days

#8 posted 03-10-2013 01:38 PM

I’m not sure I buy his argument though. His argument is basically because there are long term sustainability issues that the lumber producers should worry about, that they automatically do. We all know this isn’t the case in most any facet of life. Businesses and people often think short term instead of long term. Look at people’s credit card balances compared to savings rates and consider that for the most part timber in the US and Canada didn’t slow until it was too late.

Just buying blindly and assuming the planting and growth rate for the wood you’re buying is more than the harvest rate doesn’t necessarily make it true. And planting rate doesn’t matter nearly as much as the growth rate in board feet compared to the cut rate and how each plot is managed. Asking questions and trying to urge programs like FSC to do what they should might help or maybe asking your supplier whether they know about the sustainability of their operations or of their suppliers is an option too.

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