Firewood Prices Rise As Temps Fall : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Monday October 2 4:45 PM ET

Firewood Prices Rise As Temps Fall

By TRUDY TYNAN, Associated Press Writer

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - With the cost of heating oil and natural gas going up, firewood prices are rising, too, as more people look for cheaper ways to keep warm this winter.

``Everyone who has a wood stove is looking at using it now,'' said Joseph Smith, associate director of the Forest and Wood Products Institute at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner.

Already, supplies of seasoned wood - which burns hotter and longer than fresh-cut logs - are running low in some places in New England even before the autumn leaves reach peak color.

``Every one in the business is going flat-out,'' said John Puffer of Shutesbury, who sells more than 1,500 cords of premium kiln-dried firewood annually. ``We're getting a lot of new customers afraid of the oil prices and they are calling earlier than ever before.''

In Massachusetts, a cord of wood that sold for $85 during the mild winter of two years ago is now going for $130, Smith said. In Wisconsin, where dealers said that split hardwood that a year ago was selling for $65 to $75 is now fetching up to $90.

In Maine, many who sell firewood have been without seasoned wood for weeks or months, and some customers are being told they will have to wait until January for freshly cut ``green'' firewood.

``We're seeing something of the same sort of thing that happened in the 1970s when the price of oil shot up,'' Smith said.

Smith attributed the higher firewood prices to increased demand for wood as well as the higher fuel prices loggers are having to pay to run everything from chain saws to delivery trucks.

Not only are more people buying firewood, but more are looking to buy wood-burning stoves.

``In Y2K, there was a big push for freestanding wood stoves. It is kind of the same thing now,'' said Jim Knoeck, owner of Knoeck Inc. in Wausau, Wis.

-- (, October 02, 2000


Dang, you people, back east get your firewood CHEAP. Out here in the desert southwest, it is $250-285/cord, depending on the type of wood you want. Please, no whining!!

-- Aunt Bee (, October 02, 2000.

Jeez, you guys' wood costs less than here in heavily forested Southwest Oregon!

Is somebody REALLY selling "kiln dried" firewood? Sounds a bit unlikely.


-- jumpoff joe (, October 03, 2000.

Kiln-dried is not common, but I've seen it advertised here and there. Apparently some lumber companies sell excess kiln space to firewood dealers, or if the kilns are standing empty anyway, they do firewood runs to keep up cash flow and cover expenses. Consumer price is high, at least $20/cord above regular seasoned. Will become much less common as price for the natural gas and fuel oil that heat the kilns keeps climbing.

-- Cash (, October 03, 2000.

Considering that up to 40% of the potential energy in a cord of wood is taken up by merely evaporating the moisture out of it, $20 to kiln dry it is a real bargain.


-- jumpoffjoe (, October 04, 2000.

$80-$90 per cord of seasoned hardwoods, mostly oak. Same as last year and the year prior to that.

BTW, I have two cords of seasoned hardwood I will have no use for this winter, plus a dozen standing nearly dead oaks ready for the cutting. First come, first served until the end of this month. At the prices you quoted, Aunt Bee, it almost might be worthwhile to make the trip out here!

-- Bingo1 (, October 04, 2000. stories/2000/10/10082000/krt_firewood_32352.asp

In lieu of rising fuel costs, firewood sales soar in California

Sunday, October 8, 2000

By Bruce Spence, The Record, Stockton, California

The market is hot this season for  what else?  firewood.

A sampling of firewood vendors showed that some are reporting sales are way up way early this year from what seems to be fears that natural gas prices are expected to soar this winter because of nationwide shortages.

"I've sold more wood in September than I ever have before," said Dave Smith, a firewood seller east of Stockton. "When they call they say they need to stock up because of the natural gas prices, and they don't want to get left out because there might be a wood shortage.

"I usually sell out in January, but if this pace continues, I'll be out by the first of December."

The early run on wood obviously isn't the result of an early run of cool temperatures.

"It's 90 degrees, and I'm delivering 11 cords of wood Saturday," Smith said midweek. "That's surprising."

Dealers reported more new customers and more buying by regular customers.

Robert Davis, a Lodi-area firewood seller for the past 22 years, said business is up perhaps as much as 15 percent.

"People are nervous about the energy prices," he said. "I think they're more nervous this year with energy costs than they were last year with Y2K. I haven't had this early a start on the season in 22 years."

His prices are up this year by $10, he said, but not because demand is up.

"Higher fuel prices (for me) is what's driving wood prices up," he said.

Smith said Bay Area people are buying up all the wood  "and they pay more so I can't get any more."

He sells cherry wood for $145 a cord, walnut for $120, peach for $140 and chestnut for $135. His prices are up $5 from last year and likely will climb higher.

"The price of gas (gasoline) is killing us," he said.

One of Smith's customers this year, Brenda Severs of Stockton, bought a cord of wood recently and then decided to order a second "just to make sure I have enough."

She lives in Victorian and uses wood to keep the front living room warm for the family, plus it keeps winter heating costs down, she figures.

"I would have brought wood anyway even if it (heating costs) wasn't going up," she said.

A wood seller in Fremont, Jacom Halliday, of Ornamental Tree Service, said his Bay Area business is booming.

"Usually, it hasn't even started at this time of year, but we started selling a month ago," he said. "I usually would have sold two (cords) by now, but it's already up to 20."

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. recently predicted that its customers likely will see their winter natural-gas bills climb by as much as half, because increased demand has been pushing up market prices.

That would mean that an average residential monthly bill of $50 would climb to about $75.

But that hasn't pushed up wood sales all around, and natural-gas burning stoves continue to sell well.

Sales thus far this season are slower than a year ago, said June Teague, with Lionudakis, a firewood seller in Escalon.

"But with Y2K coming up last year, we sold a lot."

The U.S. Forest Service, which sells permits for those who want to cut their own firewood, reported that wood-cutting traffic is running about the same as last year for the Stanislaus National Forest.

The Forest Service issues about 5,000 wood-cutting permits each year for that forest area.

Ben's Appliance Lighthouse & Hearth Inc., Lodi, sells stoves and fireplace inserts that burn either wood, wood pellets or natural gas.

Natural gas units continue to sell the best by far, said Lee Hickinbotham, Ben's fireplace manager.

"We just did the Grape Festival, and we sold 39 gas units," he said. "I've sold one wood stove in the last month."

For the past several years, the store has sold between 350 and 500 natural-gas units annually, he said.

"Because you never have to clean it," Hickinbotham said. "It's instant heat, you can put it on a thermostat, and they're so much more efficient than a wood or pellet stove."

Plus, there are no bugs or spiders crawling around in the wood, he said, and no sparks popping out from the fireplace and onto the carpet.

-- (, October 10, 2000.


Dang, you people, back east get your firewood CHEAP. Out here in the desert southwest, it is $250-285/cord, depending on the type of wood you want. Please, no whining!!

I have acres and acres of standing timber. A mixture of red and white oak, walnut, hickory, ash, cherry, chestnut, persimmon [real heat capacity], sassafras [good smell], birch [useless as firewood], apple and locust. Some of the trees are centuries old and so large that there is no way I could handle them. I pick the smaller ones. I particularly like shingle oak. You can split a 6 ft log. So I have my own supply. Cheap. Let's think. Cost of the three chain saws; a few hundred each. Hows about the tractor to bring it in. More than 20K. The splitter and fuel: let's stop here.

285 sounds good.

Best wishes,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, October 10, 2000.

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