The price of wood

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Established Member
21 Feb 2015
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County Durham
In another thread, a gentleman with far more experience than I'll ever have thought the price I was quoted for a length of oak was excessive. It equated to approx £6500 per cubic metre or about five times the price of a similar sized piece of pine from B&Q. On another site - and I couldn't get like for like measurements - the price pcm was nearer £1300 and only about a fifth more the pine equivalent from B&Q. Have I by chace gone from one extreme to another, finding unbelievably cheap and ridiculously expensive in consecutive searches? How do we - and by 'we' I mean those of us inexperienced in timber buying - know what's a reasonable price and what's a rip off?

I bought an offcut approx 120mm wide, 25mm thick and a meter long from a local timber merchant about five, six years ago. I've no idea what it was but I've just calculated it's price to be nearer £7000 pcm.
my absolute rough price guide is:

1" x 1" x 1M AO Oak = £1.20
1" x 1" x 1M EU Oak = £1.40
1" x 1" x 1M Joinery Softwood = £0.60
1" x 1" x 1M Sapele = £0.90

As I said, it's absolutely bare-bones rough but it gets you in the ballpark, I haven't updated it for a while so it may be a little off. Of course, If you're buying smaller bits from merchants they're going to be priced far higher pound-for-pound than buying bulk stock from a large timber dealer. Also, that's the price of the raw material before ripping down to size, cutting it up and planing it.
Without big trade discounts etc oak at my local timber merchants (seasoned, sawn waney-edged,27mm thick by 2.4 to 2.7m long and varied widths) is about £2300/ cu m inc VAT for the highest grade (= most boring) stuff. Small quantities of planed material......well, think of a number and double it, add your inside leg measurement.
MikeG.":1742y7bh said:
.....well, think of a number and double it, add your inside leg measurement.
That's about it really. It is worth what someone is willing to pay, and if it is cut to a convenient size and planed up, it is worth more, possibly a lot more (double?) than the raw material. If I were running a timber yard that is what I would expect. As a general rule, manpower costs more than material goods.

But if you want to do a comparison with what you bought at RC, my 19mm oak -flavoured MDF from Craig cost £52 a sheet for crown cut and £54 for quartersawn, all including VAT. A tenner if you want it delivered locally.
Is this the point where I mention that olive wood goes for €0.10 a kilo, which is €100 a ton? Obviously, buyer collects, and it's a 3,000km trip, but where there's a will, there's a way, etc.

I am wondering if there is a business to be made - put a load of wood on a pallet or two and post it off to be turned into bowls and pots and sundry fun things.
I aim for £25cubic ft (£700 per m3) for local air dried boards (Ie sat in a local farmer's barn for 10 years until he got board and wanted rid of them) or £45/cubic ft (£1600/m3) for rough sawn kiln dried 25-50 mm thick stock from a timber yard.

My problem is location as local to Aberdeen I only have one yard and he charges the earth. I’ve a number of orders from scawton saw mill online who sell 12 board packs of oak for about this price and delivery is only £50 extra, which to Aberdeen is cheap.

I've shot some good experience from scawton sawmill.
Before placing my order (5 cuft), I requested prices from 4 or 5 sawmills, and prices were all well above, with big difference between them.
So I guess for small orders, they charge well above the normal rate.
Worth asking several quotes...

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The stuff i use ,pernambuco isnt available on a commercial basis , i use old stock and stuff bought from auctions .
I just worked out using cm3, the average piece i use is only around 100 cm3 and can cost anyway between £100- £200 (or more) if bought as an individual piece, so translating to cubic metres ,its something astronomical like £1 - 2 million pound a M3 (for the best usable wood). Of course this is theoretical, as i often cut from boards . :D

Picked up our oak boards from Dave Piercy this morning and the cost worked out at £47 per cu ft for air dried 2" and 2.5" boards. Haven't cut into them yet but they appear to be decent clean boards and off saw surface is pretty smooth.

If you're interested in price comparisons have a look at South London Hardwoods website. Their pricing is based on small quantity sales.

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