North American Trip

12 Mar 2019

James Hopper recently accompanied James Monks on his first trip to North America to visit a number of suppliers of hardwood from the region. The purpose of the trip was to visit some new suppliers and a few we already have long established connections with. For James Monks, who recently joined Timber Connection, it was very much an educational trip and so for him to be able to travel with our experienced James Hopper made perfect sense.

Whilst they did have the opportunity to inspect lumber in most yards it was clear that all mills are suffering from a lack of logs due to the unprecedented wet weather throughout the US over the winter months. This was made evidently clear as they travelled through many areas suffering from flooding where rivers were full to bursting. The lower lying mills still fear the worst is yet to come next month when snow begins to melt in the North. These factors will continue to affect log supply and ultimately the price we all pay, in particular White Oak and Poplar remain very firm indeed. While the UK doesn’t buy much in the way of Red Oak, the many mills that do trade the specie have either stopped producing it or are sitting on their stock until the price rises again since the price collapsed last year due to increased tariffs on exports to China.

From an educational perspective James Monks managed to experience the most important aspects of the manufacturing procedures including sawmilling, concertation yard processing, rip saw-line conversion and custom dry-kiln operations. James Monks said ‘I had a fantastic trip; I’ve learnt more about American lumber production in the last week than I have in the last 9 years being in the industry. My knowledge has been significantly broadened and seeing things first hand has given me a different perspective on how lumber is produced.’