View Full Version : Europe has lack of woodworking wood??

Craig D Peltier
03-27-2009, 10:19 AM
Havent I read this here before. Either Europe doesn't have big trees or the trees they do have arent good for woodworking.
I think TV just told me a few months ago too that say something like 200 years ago or 100 years ago that all the wood was cut an it decimated the forest for regrowth?

Anyone here have insight on this.
Im just curious. Seems like that would kinda stink. Here in the PNW I wish we had stuff I liked to work with like walnut, cherry and maple locally so I kinda feel the same way. At least I can get it cheap enough though.
We have walnut here buts its very pricey ,Claro , we have Cherry but its very skinny and knotty and mills dont have it very often nor do I want it. Then our Maple is different color and softer but more figured.

Mike Henderson
03-27-2009, 10:29 AM
Europeans have been doing woodworking for centuries with local wood and with imported wood (such as mahogany). I can't imagine they don't have any local wood - they've also been managing their forest for centuries.

They also import wood, same as the US, so I'm sure they have wood to work with. It would have surprised me less if you had said the cost of wood in Europe was very high, rather than that they don't have any wood.


Lee Schierer
03-27-2009, 10:32 AM
Remember, Europe has been civilized far longer than this country so the effects of time are greater. For centuries in Europe they used wood for furniture, houses, heating, cooking, fortifications for numerous wars and shipbuilding. Many forests were leveled. No effort was made to replant trees. As hill sides were cleared, erosion started and topsoil was lost. When we lived in Spain back in the 60's they had paid people who roamed the mountains planting trees. Partly a make work project by the Franco regime, but also to restore the forests. I saw similar areas in Portugal where they were attempting to grow trees on mountain sides in the 90's.

David G Baker
03-27-2009, 12:05 PM
I was stationed in Germany while in the Army back in the early 60s, not far from the Black Forest. It was my understanding that Germany managed their forests extremely well. I never actually talked to a German woodworker but Germany is known for their beer and woodwork.
If you want to know how much they value their trees, hit one with a military vehicle. I was a photographer and every time a tree was damaged by the Army in my area I was assigned the job of taking photos of the damage so the compensation couldn't be grossly exaggerated by the owner of the tree.
I don't know about their hardwood trees.

Cliff Rohrabacher
03-27-2009, 1:36 PM
The Urals and other seasonal forests in Europe have enough lumber in them to re-build every single wood building, artifact and piece of furniture on the planet over and over again like maybe five times. And there'd still be more.

Richard M. Wolfe
03-27-2009, 7:21 PM
Some time back a guy from Germany posted a picture of a table he had made. Not my style but good woodworking. It had two different woods in it and I asked him what they were. He said they were "something"(don't remember:o) and American black walnut. I asked him why walnut from here. He said the domestic walnut they had - he called it French walnut - was more expensive than imported American walnut.

Pat Germain
03-27-2009, 9:15 PM
I don't think you can just say "Europe" for this topic. England was running out of ready supplies of wood back in the 1600's. That's why they tried glass making in the early American colonies. It took a lot of wood to make glass back then and there was plenty of wood around Jamestown.

Russia has incredibly vast, virgin forests. In Western Europe, untouched, old growth forests are pretty rare. I recently read about a hunting sanctuary near the border of Poland and Belarus which has the best example of a natural, European forest. I think it may have been the only such example left.

Also consider taxes in Western Europe are much higher than in the US. So, high quality hardwood would be expensive. Add on a sales tax of 40% to 100% and then it gets really expensive.

I have visited Europe many times over the years. I have seen some amazing furniture and cabinetry there. But boy was it pricey!

Mike Henderson
03-27-2009, 10:22 PM
England's wood crisis was also due to the use of charcoal to make iron. As England industrialized the demand for wood to make charcoal for use in making iron caused severe depletion of the forests. But coke came into favor in in the 18th century which gave the forest some relief.