Thursday, 16 March 2017 17:49

Should you order hardwood rips or hardwood lumber strips?

Although the majority of hardwood lumber is sold in random width and length bundles, many manufacturers prefer to request special width sorts or exact ripped-to-width lumber products to better match what they receive with the optimal needs of their manufacturing process.

Ash stripsMany times, such as in flooring or cabinet applications, manufacturers are making thousands and thousands of board feet of one particular part in a specific width. If that is the case, ordering something other than random width lumber might be a benefit?

Manufacturers that purchase hardwood lumber in sorted strips will do so to rip a specific hardwood blank. They already have the their own rip saw and the expertise in their production process and feel they can do this more efficiently themselves. They have determined how best to minimize waste and are not experiencing any production bottlenecks in their manufacturing process. These manufacturers usually like the flexibility of slightly different board widths so they can create different, but similar sized parts from the same sort.

Another consideration for hardwood lumber strips is pricing. At face value lumber costs for hardwood strips are typically less expensive than SLR2E hardwood lumber. Of course customers pay a premium over random widths and lengths for sorted strips, but they are still less expensive per thousand board feet than rips.

rips and peopleOn the other hand, ordering in specific sized hardwood rips can benefit certain manufacturing processes in the conditions are right. Manufacturers that do not have ripping capabilities, (or are using antiqued equipment to do so), could see great value in receiving moulder ready blanks. This also is of interest to manufacturers who are experiencing slow downs in specific production cells they have before their moulder. In many instances, the customers we have that order exact sized SLR2E hardwood rips realize high yields, save money, and reduce their waste removal costs significantly. In addition they sometimes save on freight costs because they can get more usable lumber per truck load than ordering sorted strips and random lumber.

Whether you purchase hardwood lumber strips or rips really depends on your manufacturing equipment, process, resources and philosophy. There is no right or wrong answer. But a good rule of thumb is to consider a supplier that can help you decipher the benefits of both. Let us know if you would like to discuss this further. We would welcome the call!

Tony Cimorelli
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