Lumber & Plywood Market Watch - May 2021 Update

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Over the course of the last year at KJP, we have seen a slow but steady increase in the costs of domestic hardwoods, exotics, and plywood. To this point - we have been spared from the unprecedented pricing and supply issues seen by our counterparts in the construction industry. Unfortunately that time seems to be drawing to an end. In the first quarter of 2021 we had already seen Hard Maple eclipse its all time high in cost. Now Walnut, White Oak, and even Poplar suppliers are threatening very real inventory issues for the rest of the calendar year. Of course price increases go hand in hand with the supply issues and we seem to be almost weekly having to make adjustments to our price list.

Not to be outdone, our plywood suppliers are warning of similar issues. For the first time in our 15 years, we can almost certainly say we will run out of Baltic Birch plywood at some point this summer. From very early on in January we started taking on large commitments of Baltic Birch, but even these steps will leave us at the mercy of shrinking inventory being offered to the North American market.

Spruce, MDF, and what seems like every other panel product face a similar plight. Unprecedented times indeed.

Why is this all happening? Obviously the demand for these products is extremely high as people are staying close to home and proceeding with all sorts of projects from construction to hobby woodworking. Pair that with lower than usual availability of raw materials, and a decrease in production at sawmills and factories (for a multitude of Covid-related reasons). The classic high demand - low supply!

Lastly I will mention this is not unique to just lumber and plywood; from tools like Woodpeckers and Festool, to some of our European finishes - lead times on new purchase orders are stretching beyond 26 weeks in some cases.

What does this look like for KJP? Short term we are seeing rising prices and fewer options available for us to purchase - but at least everything will still be available in some format. Over the course of the summer - we could absolutely experience some gaps in supply and in some cases - no availability for months.

So please know we are doing everything we can to keep the shelves fully stocked. We are leveraging our great relationships with suppliers to keep stock available for as long as possible, and always working on adding alternative or substitute products our customers can use as a replacement. Thank you for your continued business and patronage whether we’ve been online, curbside, and even sometimes open! We hope to continue to be your first choice for woodworking and craft supplies in Canada.

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