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Thread: “Live Edge” lumber prices

  1. #1
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    “Live Edge” lumber prices

    Maybe it’s just me, but has this whole live edge stuff gone a little nuts? There must be 30 people within a 50 mile radius of me (in Indiana which is anything but high density) selling, if not specializing in, live edge on Facebook marketplace. I just saw an ad asking $20/bdft for walnut. Seriously?! Guessing this fad is around the country, but are these prices common?

  2. #2
    Those prices area bit higher than what I am seeing-- but I'm still seeing prices for live edge sometimes at or over what S4S prices are for the same wood. Everyone apparently has some Pinterest project for a table or mantle they want to make. I can't tell you how many non-woodworking friends have asked me about how to make an epoxy river table (another fad I am looking forward to fading).
    Licensed Professional Engineer,
    Unlicensed Semi Professional Tinkerer

  3. #3
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    Like anything that becomes very popular, there is going to be a marketplace that takes advantage. And unfortunately, there are a lot of folks who offer slabs that are mediocre (or worse) for premium prices...because they can. And people buy them because they don't know the difference. I love natural edge stuff which shouldn't be unexpected given I live only a few miles from the Nakashima compound and consider Georage a "mental mentor" in my approach to woodworking, even on non-natural edge projects. But I'll not buy overpriced, less than worthy material and have had to have "the talk" with at least one client who provides his own material about why quality and proper drying is important.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
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    I understand a premium on thick lumber and the challenges of drying it, but to charge more to leave the bark and sap on which is common in my area is ridiculous. The sawmill saves time from slr the wane and yet charges more for not doing so? I'll be glad when the live edge thing is over. There was another thread on this a couple of months ago.
    Last edited by Jon Grider; 09-04-2020 at 9:57 AM.

  5. #5
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    I just can't believe some of the crap I see that's being hawked as live edge slabs for utterly ridiculous prices. Stuff that if you trimmed the live edges off couldn't be sold for anything better than firewood. And people just eat this sh1t up.

  6. #6
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    I know. Instead of responding to these people who are listing $20/bdft I posted here to vent.

  7. #7
    I used a lot of live edge 25 years ago. I bought logs and hired a wood miser mill, set up my own kiln.

    Then sawyers discounted the board footage since they didn't have to edge anything.

    I've moved on to other work - too old to handle the big slabs and too cheap to pay for them.

  8. #8
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    I have nothing against slab furniture. Unless it is a piece you visit as opposed to live with, things like slabs and zebra wood can be overdone quite easily. A little goes a long way. I felt like the recent revival of slab tables was like the 'distressed' and 'palletwood' revivals but it, like the others, has gone on and on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    And unfortunately, there are a lot of folks who offer slabs that are mediocre (or worse) for premium prices...because they can.
    I try to think that people selling junk for premium prices are just ignorant but I think you may have made the more correct statement ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Day View Post
    I know. Instead of responding to these people who are listing $20/bdft I posted here to vent.
    Well done. As always we should speak loud and clear with our wallets. Patronize the good guys and leave the bad guys alone.
    "The Danish government believes that if we train 5,000 designers, and produce
    one Hans Wegner, the money is very well spent." - Ole Gjerlov-Knudsen

  9. #9
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    I sell live edge wood by the width inside the bark on the small side, and round down to a whole board foot. Since many of the pieces taper I try to find the average width. My prices are $1 to 1.50 a board foot for live or square edge, but I only have limited species, basically hickory, ash and maple and sometimes elm or red oak. This wood is fresh cut or partially air dried. Some of the pieces I cut are from logs that are curved so much that if I edged them there would be nothing left and lots of grain runout, but I get someone occasionally who wants to make a headboard or a curved bench and likes those pieces. I figure I get a lot more value out of them by selling them for $1 a board foot than cutting them up for firewood, as we have plenty of other firewood potential around the place. It's not my problem if I wouldn't like the things people make out of the wood, as long as they're happy with it and pay the price to buy it.

  10. #10
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    I visited a nice Amish sawmill operation in northern Ohio last summer. They used to make a lot of pallets, but now they sell slabs to the English city folk as well. A whole lot of slices of trees that would have been of questionable quality for pallet construction, as well as some really nice ones, priced accordingly. As I was walking around looking at stuff with the owner (they also stock some pretty nice local cherry/walnut/maple sawn as regular boards) I said to him-- 'So you charge quite a bit extra for not cutting the edges off.' -- he smiled, and said "Yup, great isn't it."

  11. #11
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    If it was northeast Ohio, east of Cleveland, I used to live there. Likely walked the same lumber yards.

  12. #12
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    It's not $20/bf around here but it's generally in the $6 - 12 range, depending upon the species. I have no problem with people charging whatever they can get for their product, but what I dislike is that many of them are selling green or "been drying for months" wood without telling unsuspecting customers that it's going to be a year or three before they can do anything with the slab. Of course, most folks who buy these slabs have no clue that it does need to be dry or how long it takes to dry. I sell KD slabs and lumber. I charge more for slabs than most lumber because people are willing to pay for it. Why would I charge less? It's true that many slabs would be worth nothing more than firewood if you ripped the edges off. And that's precisely why I don't.

    John

  13. #13
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    "Truly wide" live edge can logically command a higher board foot rate, but there's some very sad looking, not so wide material all over the place that folks selling seem to feel it's made of gold.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  14. #14
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    I should qualify my previous comments. I have no problem whatsoever with lumber sellers charging as much as they can get for live edge slabs. It's the ignorant dopes that are clamoring to pay huge prices for third rate firewood that bother me.

  15. #15
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    True, dat, Frank...true, dat.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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