Soundboards, Quartersawn, Boxed Heart, Oh My!
This episode is born out of a lot of comments I had from the Tone Woods episode last time. Difficulty sourcing specialty woods is frustrating but it is important to understand the supply chain and market demands for these products in order to figure out how you can insert your own needs into it.
Buying specialty wood products can be really tough unless you have the buying power to purchase a lot of volume. The fact is that woods with specific uses like tone woods, or quartersawn cuts or boxed heart timbers have some kind of industry driver behind them. Those industries responsible are often buying directly from the landowners and sawmills so that the supply of the specialty product rarely ever makes it to the general public. This has brought about the rise of specialty distribution businesses who do all the heavy lifting and sell products more akin to furniture kits or guitar kits.
What we pay for when buying these specialty woods is all of that work to source in volume a particular species. All of the waste generated from highly specific cut and grade demands. All of the labor and milling to go from a log to the nearly finished product for that guitar kit or ready to frame timber. These factors are controlled by the manufacturers to control costs, but also to ensure quality. When resold, these specialty woods still have the same amount of work put into them before they can land in your shopping cart.
I also talk about Koa and Monkeypod in this episode as they are two very special woods. Both Hawaiian (among other places) in origin they face strong demand yet low supply and while no overwhelming industry specific demand for them, they're popularity is driven by the exotic nature of their origin. Buying specialty woods like these require a bit of creativity and an understanding of the supply chain.
Post recording note: The image of the Monkeypod slab that is the featured image for this episode is from Cook Woods up in Oregon. I've been a customer of theirs for years and am always amazed at the quality of the woods they stock and the number of unusual species they have available. In particular Monkeypod is a common sight in their online store. I should have mentioned them during the show so I'm doing it here.