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White Oak – the Big Daddy

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Undoubtedly the most important specie of veneer in the UK. Whilst it’s European equivalent is making up ground, it is White Oak that is the undoubted daddy.

I often wonder what kind of an amazing marketing strategy there must have been in the 70’s and 80’s when White Oak was introduced to Europe and then quickly became the only choice for the huge demand for office furniture and doors. There simply wasn’t the volume production of European Oak at this time to compete with the demand and the American Oak soaked it up. France and Germany were producing their own native Oak but the huge forests of Eastern Europe were still being explored by the logging entrepreneurs since the break up of Eastern Europe and no significant veneer mills were operating.

Of course with popularity comes problems. With globalisation the fashions are almost instantaneous, a global market place means global demand. Raw material that can take 100 years to grow is not compatible with huge surges in demand and whilst the US hardwood industry has over 80 years of data to prove its sustainability, time and time again we are faced with supply issues. Of course veneer production is the tip of a very large timber iceberg, but a few years ago it was hit by the Whiskey barrel crisis, before that is was our thirst for wine causing the problems and now we are faced with a shortage due to Oak flooring popularity in Asia amongst a rapidly growing middle-class. Population and wealth explosion will ensure these issues become the norm unless some forward thinking is employed.

Perhaps unprocessed round White Oak logs should be banned from being exported such as has happened with other species in other countries. At least then the US itself is reaping full benefit from this most precious of natural resources. A protectionist measure that will significantly increase the size of the US timber processing industry makes more sense than putting 25% on steel imports and making American uncompetitive! C’mon Mr.President it’s not rocket science or anywhere near as complicated as your hairdo.

Anyway, we’ve decided to invest heavily in White Oak veneer, whilst we can still get it! Enjoy the pictures

 

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