As the air takes on the chill of winter and the days grow shorter and shorter, the last thing on your mind may be the deck projects you’ll have coming your way next summer. But maybe they should be on your mind — especially if you plan to use Ipe. Why? Ipe and many other tropical decking species originate in South America. Down below the Equator, the seasons are opposite what we experience in the Northern Hemisphere, which affects the time of year when logging operations take place.
Between the limited growing season for Ipe and the stringent governmental controls over its milling, the entire inventory of Ipe that we’ll have for next summer is purchased in December and January. This is the kind of knowledge that can really impact how you purchase your decking lumber and prepare for the decking season ahead.
The Cold, Hard Facts about Ipe Inventory
Here at J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber Company, we have no reason to doubt our ability to meet the demands of our many Ipe customers who have come to expect high quality Ipe in a variety of sizes. At the same time, having to purchase and store a year’s worth of Ipe poses some difficulties for any lumber yard.
Fronting the cost up front, before we have the promise of orders, in addition to storing all that lumber, can definitely be a drain on any company’s resources. As you might imagine, the situation presents an interesting case study in the economic principle of supply and demand: You (and your customers) will naturally pay less for the same premium Ipe in spring than you will for what’s still available if you wait until fall.
The reason we share this knowledge with you is not to simply to help you understand the predicament we’re in as a lumber supplier; we want to arm you with the information you need to make intelligent business decisions. If you want to save money without sacrificing quality on your lumber purchases, we will let you know how.
The Best Time & Way To Purchase Ipe
Let’s say that at the beginning of June, you purchase Ipe for a deck you’re planning to build that very month. Even though our inventory of Ipe has been in place here since January, it may still be relatively high. As we pull the Ipe for your particular order, we open several packs that originated with a variety of Brazilian suppliers. As we do so, we search high and low for the most suitable lumber with the best prices associated with it — and pass that savings on to you.
However, because your order is relatively small — just enough Ipe for a simple, residential deck — we have to break several packs to pull out the exact pieces to fill your order. The added costs associated with the labor and the processing time required to build a smaller order means that your overhead cost is affected. The added handling of the lumber increases the chances of its being damaged, as well. When we give you a quote in June, the number we offer reflects the kind of savings and added overhead expenses associated with a single-deck, June order.
Continue reading with Part 2.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.
Contact a sales representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling toll free (800) 638-9100.