Thursday, 20 August 2015 15:48

Is the Emerald Ash Borer Impacting Your Ash Supply?

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For the last several years the Emerald Ash Borer insect has significantly impacted North American ash forests.  It seems that almost every day you hear of a new story summarizing the devastation the Ash Borer has made on a community or a forest forcing local officials or land owners to do something with the trees. It makes you wonder what the future of manufacturing furniture, cabinets or other hardwood lumber products with ash will be in five or ten years.

This has also made a significant impact on sawmills in certain areas.  Last year sawmills did what they could to stay ahead of the forest devastation.  Many sawmills prioritized cutting ash.  However, this year is a little different.  Many sawmills across America have decreased or stopped cutting ash when possible.  As a result, this has made an impact on the current supply of kiln dried ash in the marketplace.  As hardwood lumber companies sell off their warehoused inventories, and less lumber is being manufactured, companies may have to consider alternate species or alterations to their product set all together. Unless of course they find a way to continue to source ash from a supplier who can treat and prepare the lumber in an acceptable manner.

Ash hardwood lumber ripsWe believe manufacturers can still utilize ash if certain precautions have been taken in processing.  For example, one way we have been helping customers continue to receive the supply of ash they require for manufacturingin the European Union States is by following a process such as this.

  1. Remove 100% of the bark on all boards.
  2. Kiln dry the lumber to the specified and appropriate levels.
  3. Rip each board to have parallel edges and trim ends accordingly, (alternatively S4S)
  4. Fumigate for shipment as required.

Other countries in different regions of the world have their own regulations and in the United States movement of ash from non-quarantined areas is still unrestricted.  However, the problem is the quarantined areas seem to grow every month making supply harder and harder to come by, (Emerald Ash Borer Quarantine Map).   Regardless, if the random width, random length ash supply you can source is less than you require to properly run your operation consider working with your suppliers in quarantined areas who can be trusted to clean all the bark, rip the boards and treat as required by law.  It might cost a little more on the outset, but if the material is already trimmed and squared you might gain that cost back in your production process or lumber usage yields.

We can help so let us know if you want more information on the ash market.  Contact us today to learn more.

Baillie Lumber
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