Price of wood reporting

For anyone who recalls the reporter who was asking about the price of wood for an article, look in today's Wall St. Journal.
Inaccurate, interesting, makes me wonder why I didn't get a job writing that kind of stuff a long time ago. Six email messages and four phone calls and you've got your week's work done.
Charlie Self "Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories - those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost." Russell Baker
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"Charlie Self" wrote in message

40 years ago, and the first time I read an article in which I'd been interviewed, I flat ass couldn't believe the reporter and I had been on the same planet .. it has gotten much worse since.
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I have always heard that the news paper was written so that a 3rd grader would understand it. I think that a 3rd grader actually writes the articles.
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I believe the WSJ is written to the level of an 8th grader. Just read it in "Growing A Business" by Paul Hawken (of Smith & Hawken). BTW, it's an excellent book thus far.
JP *********************** Meliora.
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Same thing happened to me. Guy spent an hour and a half on the phone with me and when the article came out - I hadn't the slightest idea who he was talking about.
It was a weird feeling.
Regards, Tom.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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wrote:

Was it Charlie for" Woodshop News"? <G>
Barry
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On Thu, 12 Aug 2004 00:51:53 GMT, B a r r y

Nope. It was the theater reviewer for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Musta been transferred there from the National Enquirer.
I think he's still around.
But I don't read him.
Gave the play a nice review.
But missed the whole point.
sigh...
Regards, Tom.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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Barry asks:

Not a chance. Tom and I have spent an hour and a half on the phone, but I don't think Woodshop News would print much of it.
Besides, he's the one who took the photo of himself.
Charlie Self "Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories - those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost." Russell Baker
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learned to expect it :-).
--
Where ARE those Iraqi WMDs?

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<Charlie Self says "I'll take World Injustice for 200, Art!">

Bzzzzt! "What is 'integrity'?"

On the one hand, six and four more that William Randolph Hearst would have done... Jayson Blair, slide over!
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Charlie Self wrote:

Any chance you could post the article for those of us who are members of the unwashed?     scruffy,     jo4hn
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"jo4hn" wrote in message

We know better now that we've seen what you look like. Not bad for an old dude ... sir.
;>)
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jo4hn asks:

I'd try, but it's an AOL link to WSJ so there's not much chance. I'm pretty sure you can google up Wall St. Journal and get it that way.
Charlie Self "Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories - those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost." Russell Baker
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jo4hn asks:

Disregard my earlier answer unless you're up to filling out a 4 page trial subscription form.
Jeez. Hit the corner newsstand. They probably have a copy left over--if it comes to your area. It doesn't, to mine, at least that I know of. I never have enough money to need the WSJ.
Charlie Self "Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three major categories - those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost." Russell Baker
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On Wed, 11 Aug 2004 12:14:14 -0700, Charlie Self wrote

Sticker Shock At the Lumberyard; Remodeling Gets Costlier As Price of Wood Surges; Impact of China and Iraq
Avery Johnson . Wall Street Journal . (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Aug 11, 2004 .pg.D.1
SUMMER REMODELING PROJECTS are getting more costly, thanks to rising lumber prices that are affecting such things as backyard decks and fences.
Lumber prices have risen sharply during the past year, due to a collision of factors as diverse as the war in Iraq, trade with China, the strength of the dollar, the housing-construction boom and wildfires in the American West.
The wholesale price of low-grade boards and plywood used in home- improvement projects like decks and additions is up 24% from June of last year, according to the government's producer price index. An ordinary eight-foot-long, two-by-four, a common type of lumber used for building construction, costs $2.95 today, up from about $1.85 in January 2003, says Gary Bowman, vice president of materials management at the T.W. Perry lumberyard in Chevy Chase, Md.
The biggest jumps have come in plywood, a low-grade product made by gluing together very thin sheets of wood, as well as oriented strand board, a lower-cost product much like plywood. At Wiley Bros. Inc., in Schaghticoke, N.Y., a four-foot-by-eight-foot sheet of oriented strand board now goes for $19.84, compared with $7.60 in January 2003, says co-owner David Moore.
The tumult in the lumber industry means higher prices for homeowners planning to remodel, add a deck, put up a fence, repair a shelf, build a treehouse, or create anything else that requires wood. While the higher prices aren't slowing down housing construction, they are hitting do-it-yourselfers hard -- creating order backlogs at lumberyards and forcing people to slow down projects or look around for cheaper grades of wood. Some woodworkers are even trading lumber on eBay in an effort to find better prices.
At a Home Depot store in northern Virginia, Dennis Griffin, a 41- year-old firefighter, grumbles as he scans the prices on the plywood he wants in order to build a stage for his 15-year-old daughter's Irish-dance competition. The four-by-eight sheets he used last year cost $15.95 this year. So he does what many other do-it-yourselfers are doing and settles on 24 sheets of oriented strand board that cost $9.98 apiece, cheaper than plywood, but still twice what he paid last year.
"The prices are through the roof, probably double what they were last summer," he says. "It's a hassle but it has to be done."
The Remodeling Activity Indicator kept by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies shows homeowner spending on improvements isn't climbing as fast as it was a few years ago, though second-quarter spending was still 4% above the year-earlier quarter. Homeowners spent $125.8 billion on home improvements during the past four quarters.
Demand for lumber has been strong since the home-building boom took off during the late 1990s. Rains in the South in spring 2003, followed by summer fires in the West, caused mill closures. Then Hurricane Isabel hit Florida in late summer 2003, boosting demand for plywood used in repairs.
Early last fall, an urban legend that the Pentagon was rebuilding Iraq with American plywood took root and caused even more panic buying in the industry. In fact, Marcia Klein of the Defense Logistics Agency says the agency bought just 20 million square feet of plywood sheeting, less than 1% of the U.S. consumption of plywood.
After that, many lumberyards miscalculated. "In May there was the anticipation that demand would start to drop as interest-rates rose, but that didn't happen," says Butch Bernhardt, director of information services at the Western Wood Products Association. When lumberyards ran short, prices climbed.
Other complicating factors include a building boom in China that sucked in imports, a 27% tariff slapped on imports of lumber from Canada -- which supplies 30% of U.S. lumber consumption -- in May 2002, and a weaker U.S. dollar that makes imports from Europe more costly.
The higher prices are boosting the profits of timber companies. International Paper Co. reported second-quarter profit more than doubled from the previous year. The company received a significant boost from higher wood-product prices, spokeswoman Jenny Boardman says. Weyerhaeuser Co. reported record second-quarter net earnings of $369 million, more than double its year-earlier results, and cited the rise in prices.
Home Depot Inc.'s first-quarter profit rose 26% on strong sales gains, but the company won't say how much its retail lumber prices are up. "Because of our scale and buying power we can minimize the impact of the price increases on consumers, but it's still likely consumers will see some price impact," David Sandor, a communications director, says.
Many big home developers are simply absorbing the higher prices -- a relatively small part of a new house's cost, compared with land or building costs. And where builders do pass on these relatively small costs, home buyers aren't deterred, amid the frenzied rush to take advantage of low interest rates.
That leaves individual consumers feeling the pinch. One shopper at Home Depot, Hanni Hernandez, says she has sunk more than $1,000 into wood this summer for trash and storage bins she is building by her Washington, D.C., home. "I suffer a little sticker shock every time I come here," she says.
For tight-fisted consumers trying to hold down their costs, some economists suggest waiting for prices to drop. Lumber prices are expected to cool a bit in the fall, as a normal seasonal decline takes hold and higher interest rates kick in. A trade pact with Canada that could be negotiated in December would greatly reduce prices of lumber and plywood.
That is the strategy Tom Bozzuto, chief executive of developer Bozzuto Group of Greenbelt, Md., adopted when he dragged out the purchase of lumber for a housing development while waiting for prices to cool. For apartments that cost $70,000 in materials and labor to build, the cost of wood was about $8,000. This summer's prices added about $4,000, so Mr. Bozzuto bought as much wood as he needed week-by- week.
Some suggest customers consider new materials to replace the plywood traditionally used as wall sheathing. Styrofoam can replace plywood in nonstructural projects for about $9.50 compared with $14.50.
Brian Papa, a principal at the high-end Brooklyn, N.Y., design-and- build firm called MADE, says he substituted medium density fiberboard -- a product that binds residual wood from lumber production with wax and resin -- for veneered plywood in a showroom to save money.
John Lucas, a 67-year-old amateur woodworker from Hope, R.I., who runs a Web site called woodshopdemos.com, says trading down wasn't an option for a bookcase and dollhouse he made for his granddaughter. He spent $130 on poplar for the project.
But for those who want to save money, he recommends checking eBay. The on-line auction site mainly draws hobbyists trading hardwood in relatively small quantities, and some specialty lumber providers sell online. Thai teak plywood sheets were on offer recently for $3 a piece. EBay is best if a buyer knows what he or she wants before heading online, he notes.
He also suggests consumers use phone-book listings or a neighborhood woodworkers' association to track down local mills. The same piece that would retail at $6 at stores and lumberyards often can be had at a mill for $1.50.
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Re the WSJ article, is John Lucas amongst us???
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He usually is here offering good advice but I haven't seen any posts from him as of late.
Bob S.

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