Shannon's Lumber Industry Update

By Shannon Rogers

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An 8/4, Kiln dried podcast all about lumber and your questions about it. Let's dispel some myths and broaden an understanding of this ancient industry and help us all become a little more wood savvy...woodier??

Episode Date
83 - Buying Lumber from a Dude in the Woods
This time I answer listener questions like: -What to look for when buying lumber from places like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. -Wood movement based on density -Expanding your sawmill to buying lumber -CITES passports on the stuff you make
Sep 15, 2022
82 UVA Sawmilling
UVA Sawmilling is the product of 2 architecture graduates who wanted to put the trees to use that had been felled on campus. Today they are a cross disciplinary "department" that is sawing logs and making the wood available for student projects and for the University to use in its own construction projects. Essentially turning the UVA campus into a forest concession and supplier of raw materials for its own development. Learn more at
Aug 31, 2022
81 Soil chemistry
Soil chemistry plays a major role in the appearance and working characteristics of the lumber we use. In this episode I look at several examples where geology and weather and even mankind have altered a tree species. It is a fascinating subject and I tap into my long unused geology schooling...and probably mess most of it up.
Aug 18, 2022
80 - David Barmon wrote the Book on Urban Lumber
I have guest David Barmon with me to discuss the urban logging movement. David successfully funded his book "Trees from the City" on Kickstarter and is in the throes of getting it finished up and on shelves. We discuss how urban lumber isn't all just slabs and the direction the urban logging industry is heading.
Aug 03, 2022
79 - So You Want to Start a Lumberyard
Are you considering starting your own lumber business? Or maybe you just wondered about how they work as a business model. This is a big topic but on this episode I take a shallow dive into some of the things to consider when you start selling your lumber to others.
Jul 20, 2022
78 - A Replacement for Western Red Cedar?
I'm cleaning out some of my inbox this time and answering a question about the difference between green and air dried timbers. Talking about the checking inherent in larger timbers, and planting your own grove of trees. Plus I delve into the possible replacements for Western Red Cedar.
Jun 23, 2022
77 - Poplar is so Popular
Let's talk about Poplar...or Tulip Poplar...or Eastern Cottonwood...or White Poplar or Yellow Poplar or Quaking Aspen or (gasp) Tulipwood. No they are not all the same tree. Or are they? Today I talk about the Populus genus and that upstart wannabe from the Magnolia family Liriodendron tulipfera.
Jun 08, 2022
76 - Wood Identificaton
Let's talk about wood identification and the process I go through. In this episode I give you a few resources to use but mostly a hierarchy of things to follow to get you very close to a positive ID of that unknown wood in your hand. Its all in the end grain. BTW the featured image for this episode exhibits diffusely arranged, large pores that are both solitary but in radial pairs. Vasicentric or lozenge parenchyma and closely spaced, fine rays.
May 26, 2022
LU 75 Finding Lumber at Auction with Tommaso Valeriano
This week I have Tommaso Valeriano join me to talk about the ways in which he has acquired nearly 30,000 board feet of lumber without ever visiting a lumber yard. Mostly his success has come through auctions and he shares some of his tips for finding the auctions and getting boards without breaking the bank.
May 12, 2022
74 - CD's Trees
I talk with Caleb Darnell of CD's Trees. They are a tree removal service out of Hot Springs, AR that has gotten into sawing and drying lumber and even custom woodworking projects using the trees they fell for customers.
Apr 27, 2022
73 - Alternatives to Russian Birch Plywood?
Russian Birch plywood prices are tripled at minimum. Moreover even paying the higher price isn't something the general market wants to do and support the Russian economy. So what are the alternatives? There aren't very many to be honest and this episode gets into why that is. Plus I answer a bunch of your questions on tree growth rate, why wood is anisotropic, and what to do with Buckeye.
Apr 13, 2022
72 - Cambium Carbon
On this episode I have Ben and Paul from Cambium Carbon join me to talk about urban logging and repurposing a waste stream into a new circular industry. Saving the planet, one urban log at a time with the company Cambium Carbon. A disrupter to the lumber industry possibly? Maybe a whole new way of thinking of things.
Mar 30, 2022
71 - Trending to Local Timbers
In my predictions for 2022 I stated that there would be more focus on domestic lumber. Today I dive deeper into that and look at how local timbers present opportunities and challenges to the commercial lumber market as well as the individual hobbyist woodworker.
Mar 17, 2022
70 - Choosing Wood for a Workbench
On this episode Alex Adams joins me to talk about choosing wood for his upcoming workbench projects. He wants to incorporate as many locally sourced woods as he can in order to gain experience with many species that he could use in future furniture projects. We discuss the technical demands and the species in his neck of the woods and pair them together for a skill building FrankenBench!
Mar 03, 2022
69 Got a Log? Now What?
So you've decided to saw your own boards from a log. In this episode I discuss how and where you might get a log when first starting out and then the care and feeding of that log before you begin to saw it.
Feb 17, 2022
68 - Interpreting Working Properties of Wood
Today I look at Chinese Mahogany (Toona sinensis) and use my philosophy of technical numbers to identify how this unusual species would work when compared to more commonly known woods. This is the same process I have spoken about in the past but I'm going from abstract to specific this time and hope it helps to show how anyone can learn more about any species in the world this way.
Feb 03, 2022
67 - Silvicultural Systems
Silviculture is essentially the farming of trees. But it pays attention not just to the forest and the most sustainable way to harvest it but also the surrounding ecology. The system of cutting used can effect all the flora and fauna in an around the concession and the silviculturalist must be able to pivot and adapt their system in response to all of these factors.
Jan 17, 2022
LU66 - A Special Customer Case Study
I talk a lot about understanding the technical properties of wood in order to choose the right species for the project at hand. On this episode I want to share with you a case study of a great customer who had some very specific, albeit mysterious, demands for a project and how I was able to help him find the right wood for the job.
Dec 22, 2021
65 - 2022 Lumber Industry Predictions
As we draw to the end of 2021 I'm going to make some predictions about where the lumber industry is heading in 2022. Plus I answer some questions about the SAB grade, Quartersawing practices, and those finger jointed 2x4s you may have seen on the shelves.
Dec 07, 2021
64 - The Pilgrims were Lumbermen
Happy Thanksgiving here in the US and today I will talk about one of the first lumber industry concessions in North America. Yes that's right the Plymouth Company funded those Pilgrims and you better believe they wanted some lumber back in return.
Nov 25, 2021
63 - Knotty Pine, Paulownia, and Old Veneers
On episode 63 I dig into the mail bag and talk about Knotty Pine, Paulownia, Old lumber and old veneers, and of course address a few more tone wood questions.
Nov 08, 2021
62 - Buying Specialty Woods
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 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. I also talk about Koa and Monkeypod in this episode as they are two very special woods.
Oct 21, 2021
61 - Tone Woods
This is my most technical episode yet and it is my own personal Venn diagram of topics: music, physics, and wood! I dive deep into what makes a good tone wood for the specific type of instrument you want to build and what technical properties to consider. In the end there is a lot you just can't measure and therein lies the magic and artistry of making musical instruments from wood.
Oct 06, 2021
60 - Softwoods 101
Softwoods. These woods get overlooked a lot because they are deemed not as durable or stable as hardwoods. In this episode is dive deep into the structure of softwoods. I start with a look at the botanical families and then look closely at the major players: Pines, Cedars, Cypress, Yew, Spruce, Fir, and some weirdos dating back to the dinosaurs. Plus I declare my softwood dark horse that everyone should try to work at least once. Come along and learn how more about softwoods. Maybe not so soft after all.
Sep 21, 2021
59 - Pressure Treated Wood, Rot, and Dimensional Terms
In this episode I talk about pressure treated lumber, define wood rot, discuss the Emerald Ash Borer, how to bleach wood, and finally delve into the term "full" and "scant" when it comes to lumber dimensions.
Sep 09, 2021
58 - Wood Spalting and Staining
Today I'm taking about wood spalting and wood staining due to fungus, bugs, or the enzymes within the wood. All of the gooey goodness inside our woods can produce some cool results and in many cases they aren't fully understood by science.
Aug 27, 2021
57 - Steaming Lumber for Color
Steaming lumber is done to change the color by blending more of the heartwood color into the sapwood. In this episode I talk about this process but do so by answering a whole bunch of semi related questions to build our understanding of the steaming process.
Aug 10, 2021
56 - Lumber Seasons and Hickory Varieties
In this episode I discuss the seasonality of the lumber industry, mold on your drying boards, the varieties of Hickory, wood movement during the build, fishing lure woods, and woods we see every day but may not know about.
Jul 28, 2021
55 - Lumber Prices...Yet Again
On this episode I'm revisiting lumber prices yet again as the craziness may be nearing an end. But I predict pricing will never return to pre COVID levels. It seems the Fed agrees with me too. Also on this show some Lacey Act changes, Pallet wood, equilibrium moisture content, White Oak, and matching veneer.
Jul 14, 2021
54 - How Can We Stretch Our Lumber Farther
In this episode I follow up on some exterior wood questions, wood for a sauna, and finally discuss how we as woodworkers and an industry can stretch our boards farther. Proper planning goes a long way but in general the term "clear" has become more of a detriment causing a great deal of wasted material.
Jul 07, 2021
53 - Modified Wood & Engineered Wood
Today I talk about engineered woods vs modified woods. I discuss the different types of modification and the benefits and drawbacks of each as well as some brands to watch in the modified wood space.
Jun 07, 2021
52 - Exterior Woods
Choosing the right species of wood for exterior projects doesn't have to be difficult when you understand the factors that make a good outdoor wood. In this episode we discuss the 5-6 factors that make a good exterior wood. Also in this episode: lumber purchasing jobs, how trees grow, and log checking.
May 18, 2021
50 - Mahogany and Its Imitators
Mahogany is a name that gets attached to a lot of different wood species. Let's talk about Mahogany. What is it really and what about all those variants from Africa and Asia and South America that also call themselves Mahogany too.
Apr 20, 2021
49 - Bow Wood
In a recent episode of the WoodTalk podcast someone asked about making a bow. I decided to use that question to delve deeper into what makes a good species for a bow. My thought is further understanding of the application you need will lead you to examine the technical properties that make it possible. Eventually helping to discover all manner of species that will serve you well for your particular application.
Mar 29, 2021
48 - Maine Urban Timber Co | iDry Vacuum Kiln
Today I welcome Niles Krech of Maine Urban Timber Co on the show to talk about his business. From building a bandsaw mill to learning the ropes of a vacuum kiln, Niles has done a lot in the last year and it is exciting to hear about how his business is developing and what the future may hold. Check out Maine Urban Timber Co at their website: and follow their day to day adventures over on Instagram at
Mar 03, 2021
47 - Wood Movement Q&A
I asked for questions on wood movement and y'all delivered big time. I hope I got through them all and did my best to combine duplicate questions. I think the best way to understand anything is in context so digging into the details of specific situations should explain wood movement.
Feb 19, 2021
46 - Wood Movement 101
Wood moves, get over it. You can't stop it but you can slow it and you can restrict it. Most importantly you just need to build to compensate for wood movement. Don't be afraid of it, embrace it. This week I cover the basics of wood movement and will dive into specific examples in an upcoming episode with your questions.
Feb 02, 2021
45 - COVID Stresses Lumber Logistics
This week I delve into the effect of COVID on the Hardwood sector and specifically how shipping and logistics delays are causing the biggest disruptions. Then I answer some of your questions about CITES, color fast finishes, and a few odd plywood things.
Jan 18, 2021
44 - Things all woods do
All woods go grey with exposure. They all move, they all check, and they all look different when freshly milled. It doesn't matter the species, it is something wood does. Let's understand why.
Jan 06, 2021
43 - Riving Wood
Today I talk about riving wood. Why do it, what species to consider and when to use a wedge and when to use a froe. Then I talk about the falling prices of Cherry, Buying CITES species, drying turned bowls, and why small sawmills seem to only sell slabs.
Dec 21, 2020
Episode 42 Steamed vs Unsteamed Walnut
On today's show I discuss steamed vs unsteamed Walnut, quoting lumber, lumber thickness pricing, moisture meters, and burning down your shop. That is, don't do it. Burning shops are bad.
Dec 01, 2020
Episode 41 Plywood Glue and Q&A
There are A LOT of different glues used in the manufacture of plywood. I'm not chemist and frankly knowing all the technical stuff won't help that much as a plywood buyers. So I talk about 3 main types and where you might find them and how glue is used in manufacturing. Then I answer a boatload of plywood questions submitted from the audience.
Nov 11, 2020
Episode 40 Plywood Cores
Part 3 of the Plywood series focuses on the core. What types of cores are out there and how do they differ from one another. How is the core manufactured and how can you use this knowledge to buy a sheet of plywood best for your particular project.
Oct 26, 2020
Episode 38 Plywood Veneers
Let's talk about plywood face veneers and how they are sliced, dried, and assembled to make your plywood panel. There are a lot of elements for this most precious element of a panel that need to come together just right to make a quality panel.
Sep 28, 2020
37 COVID Price Increases
Have you heard that there is a global pandemic going on? Yeah its hit the lumber biz. Or more importantly the impact is finally trickled down to the consumer level as we are seeing framing lumber prices up to 80% higher than normal. In this episode I discuss how the impact of COVID has effected the lumber industry.
Sep 21, 2020
36 - Plywood 101: Part 1 Buying Plywood
Today I talk about how you should go about buying plywood. What you need to be prepared to ask your dealer and how to consider the variety of options available on the market that will meet your specific needs. Stay tuned for the additional parts in this series where we will go deep into the construction of plywood panels.
Sep 14, 2020
Episode 35 MOR/MOE
In this episode I continue our exploration of lumber technical properties with a look at Modulus of Rupture (Bending Strength) and Modulus of Elasticity (Stiffness).
Sep 08, 2020
Episode 34 Case Hardening
Today I answer a bunch of questions from my inbox. Topics include case hardening, Emerald Ash Borer, Compressed Cedar Technology, Solar kilns, and Hophornbeam.
Aug 17, 2020
Episode 33 Interview with Greg Wilson: Hempwood CEO
In episode 28 I introduced Hempwood and now I revisit it. This time I have the founder, inventor, and CEO of Hempwood, Greg Wilson join me to talk about the product, its origin and its future.
Jul 28, 2020
Episode 32 Lumber Thickness
Today I talk about the thickness of lumber and understanding how it is sawn and planed to give you the net thickness you may be buying off the shelf vs buying true rough sawn lumber. This is am important factor to consider when you start buying your lumber from the typical big box store.
Jul 13, 2020
LU 31 Interview with Timber Woodcraft (plus Solar Kilns)
On this episode I have Josh Weber from Timber Woodcraft in Louisville, KY on to talk about urban logging and solar kilns. Josh runs his own solar kiln and uses salvaged lumber to make products for his customers. He also sells lumber!
Jun 29, 2020
30 - Shearing Strength (and a rant)
This week I'm talking about a little touted technical property: shearing strength. This is another number to look at when trying to figure out how a wood will work. In this case it is a good indicator of how it will plane. Also BE NICE TO EACH OTHER!
Jun 15, 2020
Episode 20 Janka Hardness
I take a deeper dive into the Janka hardness test and what it can tell you about the wood you choose for your next project. It is a great first number to consider but I also explain why the number alone can be misleading.
May 25, 2020
Episode 28 Hemp Wood
In this episode I talk a fair bit about plywood and how it is put together and why it doesn't tear itself apart from wood movement. Also in this episode, bugs and plywood, 2x4 corners, and a look at a new product on the market: Hemp Wood.
May 07, 2020
Episode 27 Fuming and Ebonizing
On today's show I talk about changing the color of your wood through ammonia fuming and ebonizing with steel wool and vinegar. How the tannins do their job and how you can pump up the tannic acid with an additional coat to the wood.
Apr 20, 2020
Episode 26 - What's the Deal with Pine, Yellowheart, and Cherry
3 questions this week all in the same vein: what's the deal with the prices and availability of? So I discuss Pine pricing, Cherry availability, and the Yellowheart market. That last one could be substituted with any number of other tertiary species.
Apr 06, 2020
Episode 25 What is Genuine Mahogany
This episode I define Genuine Mahogany, and talk about how to choose a species for weight and durability using technical specifications. Then I take a walk into a coppiced forest, and finally talk about questions to ask a new supplier to vet them for sustainability and legality. Great questions this week everyone!
Mar 25, 2020
Episode 24 White Oak Shortage
In this episode I discuss the White Oak shortage, grading marks, Spanish Cedar, more drying lumber, and a call for solar kiln information and experience.
Mar 09, 2020
Episode 23 - Kiln Drying
This episode I delve into the type of lumber drying kilns. Steam kilns, dehumification kilns, and vacuum and RF vacuum kilns all exist and have their pros and cons. But first I revisit why we kiln dry our lumber.
Feb 24, 2020
Episode 22 Mold, Fluorescence, and Sapwood
Email grab bag time! I cover a variety of questions from buying veneer to mold, fluorescent wood, and the structural qualities of sapwood. Plus we talk about terrorists banning wood and some additional FSC facts.
Feb 03, 2020
Episode 21 FSC
This time I look at FSC and other certification and verification schemas in the lumber world. Are they what we think they are and does buying FSC really mean you have green lumber? Unfortunately, no it doesn't.
Jan 20, 2020
Episode 20 Trees as Crops, Pest Control, Alternate Species
In this episode I answer questions from the mail bag covering everything from how trees are raised like crops, when to sticker your lumber, methods for finding alternate species, lumber core plywood, and finally smoking the meats.
Jan 06, 2020
Episode 19 Warped Wood on Purpose
This week I catch up on some emails from listeners. We talk about purpose warped wood, the Green Wall, community based logging, shop made plywood, composite lumber, and (gasp) environmentalists and loggers working together...MASS HYSTERIA
Dec 16, 2019
Episode 18 Buying Lumber Part 3
In this part of my Buying Lumber series I talk about building a plan for your lumber yard trip. This involves reverse engineering your parts list back to the boards. A lot of variable are in play here that only you as the maker of your particular project can answer. Its about efficient lumber buying and having an actual plan A and plan B so that your trip to the yard goes smoothly.
Dec 02, 2019
Episode 17 Buying Lumber Online
Part 2 of our Buying Lumber series focuses on buying online. When to do it and what questions to consider when you do buy lumber online.
Nov 18, 2019
Episode 16: Where to Buy Lumber
Part 1 of my Lumber Buying Guide: where to find a place to buy lumber in the first place. Maybe you are blessed with lots of quality lumber yards nearby or maybe you only have the big box stores. Regardless there will be some tips for how to find lumber and the best way to engage with those businesses.
Nov 04, 2019
Episode 15 Journey from Tree to Board
When you buy a board off the rack at a lumber yard, exactly what has happened to that board to get there? This episode focuses on the entire journey from tree to board. Today we can buy many species of wood that come from across the globe and its important to understand just how much work occurs to get that single board into your hands.
Oct 21, 2019
Episode 14 Lumber Tariffs and Global Warming
A wee bit political and maybe controversial this week as I discuss reduction in business for sawmills after sweeping lumber tariffs cause a 40% reduction in export business. At the same time, with new commercial stick frame construction in multi-story buildings causes an uptick in CLT and LVL beam usage. Could be a nasty combination for the long term.
Oct 07, 2019
Episode 13 Marine Grade Plywood
This episode is a buying guide to Marine Grade plywood. What to consider as it related to how you will be using the plywood, the grades, the species, and anything else to think about.
Sep 23, 2019
Episode 12 Air Dried vs Kiln Dried
In this episode I touch on the differences between air dried and kiln dried lumber. Plus many more questions and updates from the wacky world of lumber.
Sep 09, 2019
Episode 11 The Lacey Act
This episode I scratch the surface of what the Lacey Act is and how it applied to the lumber trade.
Aug 26, 2019
Episode 10: Plywood and TSCA Title VI
Let's talk a bit about plywood and how tariffs and new environmental regulations are impacting it.
Aug 12, 2019
Episode 9 Bell Forest Products
While I was in Michigan's Upper Peninsula I stopped by Bell Forest Products to have a little lumber industry insiders conversation with Boone and Eric of Bell Forest Products.
Jul 29, 2019
Episode 8: Old Stud, New Stud
In this episode I talk about genetically modified Chestnut, Red Oak sizes, Whitewood, the difference between hardwood and softwood, and old studs vs new studs.
Jul 15, 2019
Episode 7: CITES
Let's learn about CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. How does this apply to lumber and what does it mean to the consumer of wood products.
Jul 01, 2019
Episode 6: BubingaGate
How do you lose 300 containers of Bubinga once they have been seized at the port? Moreover how did you allow that many trees to be felled in the first place?
Jun 17, 2019
Episode 5: Lumber Technical Properties
Every lumber species has technical specifications associated with it that detail how hard it is and all the associated design values. Much of it is highly technical and used only by engineers so the numbers themselves aren't important. It is the differences in the numbers from specie to specie that can tell us how a wood actually works.
Jun 03, 2019
Episode 4 I Don't Know Everything
On this show I share some feedback on the Notre Dame episode and then talk about Ebony regulation and availability and whether or not there are cycles to tree blights.
May 20, 2019
Episode 3 Hardwood Lumber Grades
Let's talk about the grading systems for hardwood lumber. Primarily we are talking about the NHLA system but I will mention some European systems.
May 06, 2019
Episode 2: The French Oak of Notre Dame
The terrible fire at Notre Dame in Paris has a lot of people in the lumber industry asking questions about how to possibly replace the French Oak timbers used in the cathedral. This episode examines the French Oak and the trade of it as well as possible engineered solutions for the rebuilding of Notre Dame.
Apr 22, 2019
Episode 1 Lumber Glossary
Let's talk about the more common terms that you may find around a lumber yard or sawmill.
Apr 10, 2019
Pilot Episode
The mission statement of the this podcast and a little thank you to those who pushed me to start this show. Let me know your questions for future shows by visiting or by sending voice memos to
Apr 09, 2019