To some in the lumber industry, Teak seems to be a species that is really gaining some much-deserved attention. Though it’s long been revered in boat building circles (see Part 1), it’s starting to be piquing the interest of home builders as well (see Part 2). Though most imported Teak lumber is of exceptional quality, some lower grade Teak lumber does manage to make its way from lumber mills to the United States market. Which brings us to our next point of discussion. What should be done with B-grade Teak lumber?
Even Lesser Grade Teak Could Find a Market for Home Builders
Not every Teak order which a lumber dealer places is likely to be filled with completely top-grade boards. Especially in large orders, you can expect to find a few boards scattered here and there throughout the shipping container that just don’t qualify as A-grade quality lumber. Expecting all top grade lumber would mean paying a much higher price and putting up with a far longer wait with the lumber mill. Most lumber dealers simply can’t afford to be quite that picky.
If you pay a 10% cheaper price, as a lumberyard you are likely to find some B-grade Teak lumber which the mill has mixed into your order. That’s just the way it works. Even the B-grade lumber is likely to be expensive due to import fees, regulations, and FEQ grading costs. But it’s still probably worth it to buy these slightly mixed grade shipments rather than hold out for near-perfection. That’s because the mixed order lumber is ready to go straight to your lumber yard, and your customers can start purchasing it immediately. As the old adage goes, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” There’s no sense waiting an unreasonably long time for a more expensive specialized order from the lumber mill when you can find plenty of buyers for the lumber which you already have on hand.
Home Builders are Finally Discovering Teak
Until recently, many United States home builders didn’t even seem to realize that lumber suppliers carried usable Teak lumber. Due to unreasonably high Teak standards, not much variety of smaller Teak boards were being imported into the U.S. That trend is starting to change.
As U.S. homebuilders slowly discover Teak, the demand for Teak lumber continues to rise. Lumber dealers like J Gibson McIlvain who import Teak are starting to realize the rise in demand, and they are therefore increasing their Teak lumber supply to include more sizes of boards than they used to purchase when they only had the boat building market in mind. The greater the amount of different Teak material on board, the more the demand for it continues to draw interest from home builders. It seems to be a recurring cycle that should be advantageous for lumber dealers and home builders alike.
If you own a lumber yard and you’ve been reluctant to import much in the way of Teak other than what you normally purchase for your boat builder customers, you may want to reconsider. You could engage in some conversations with your home builder customers to find out if they’ve ever considered using Teak, or if they’ve ever even brought up the possibility of using it with their customers. Maybe they still need to be informed about recent changes in regulations that have made Teak importing easier. The information you share with them could be the key to unlocking a whole new world of Teak marketing possibilities for your lumber dealership.
Learn More About the Lumber Industry
• Is Composite Decking a Viable Option?
• Thinking Green: Wood vs. Bamboo
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods and has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums. For more information on J. Gibson McIlvain’s lumber products and services, call Monday-Friday toll free (800) 638-9100 to speak with one of their representatives.
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