Lumber Industry Predictions
As we draw to the end of 2021 I'm going to make some lumber predictions about where the industry is heading in 2022. There are quite a few political things going on that will restrict the flow of exotic species into a market already constrained by supply chain and logistics problems on the heels of the COVID pandemic. Adding new tariffs on Canadian softwoods, government protected land, and a rash of sawmills closing down has many seeking alternatives to Western Red Cedar and Alaskan Yellow Cedar.
A new age of domestic bliss
All of these things point to a greater interest in home grown domestic lumber species. A grassroots infrastructure has grown up in the last few years with micro-sawmills and urban loggers introducing "new" species to the market. Design idioms are starting to embrace more "defects" as barn wood turns to figure and slabs and live edges. Pushing the design envelope once was feature walls of Macassar Ebony and that is now Rift Sawn Sassafras or Quartered Hornbeam. The new age of lumber seems to point back to a stronger but more specialized domestic market.
The wild card in all of this is whether or not our local infrastructure can keep up when the demand shifts. The micro mills ready to grow and invest in additonal saws and log yard will be the ones ready to meet the new demand.