Will White Oak Demand Remain Strong?

For as long as the hardwood lumber industry has been around there have always been natural ebbs and flows in both supply and demand among hardwood species. Sometimes Red Oak could be the hot commodity, other times it could be Hard Maple, Walnut, or another specie.

However, right now we are seeing a steady increase in demand for White Oak lumber, and for many, it is getting harder and harder to find.  What is driving this and will the demand continue to increase? We think so and here are a few things we have noticed in the market recently that makes us feel that way.Dry oak leaves on the ground 1024810

Log Supply & Stave Log Demand - Recently we have seen a definite increase in demand for “stave quality” logs that are used in the production of wine and whiskey barrels. Many of the white oak hardwood logs that would have been normally sawn into lumber are now being used for staves. We believe this is hampering the overall White Oak grade lumber supply. With the increase in this demand, it adds to the further complication and scarcity of available sawlogs.

Green Lumber Pricing - For green White Oak lumber, demand is steady in the majority of grades and thicknesses. Many facilities with kiln drying capabilities are actively hunting for FAS green White Oak lumber and are also readily accepting 1 Common boards. The result we are seeing is a steady increase for green White Oak, especially in the 4/4 through 8/4 thicknesses.

Labor Shortages - Additionally, due to labor shortages and COVID challenges at various yards, there is a decreased amount of available green White Oak in the market. This has been a major cause of lower production issues and even closures for some sawmills in primary White Oak regions (such as Kentucky and Tennessee) further complicating the amount of White Oak available.

Despite these challenges, we have been fortunate to have a consistent and reliable supply of White Oak available for our customers. We are doing everything we can to gain access to the supply our customers need across all grades and thicknesses. Whether that be through one of our own facilities or one of our many trusted partner mills, our White Oak supply continues to remain steady.

White Oak has been one of the most commonly sought-after hardwood lumber species in the industry for centuries. You can find it almost anywhere. Its popularity in cabinetry, flooring, furniture, doors, barrels, millwork, and even mouldings makes it one of the most sought-after hardwood materials.

If you are looking for White Oak, choose us to be your trusted hardwood advisor. Contact your Baillie representative today for our latest inventory levels and availability. Find out how we might be able to help you!

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
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