Why and How to Market Wood Products

This publication is designed to educate small to medium size primary and secondary forest products industry personnel about why and how to market wood products. Hobbyists and producers of wooden arts and crafts will also benefit by learning the necessary marketing skills to increase revenue and make their part-time business or hobby less expensive.

The Louisiana forest products industry has a reputation as a leader in the quantity and quality of primary forest products (lumber, plywood, etc.) and secondary forest products (furniture, cabinets, millwork, etc). As the population of the state, country and world continue to grow, the demand for wood products will increase. In Louisiana, the competition for wood products customers increases each year as large and small primary mills open, dry kiln capacity increases and numerous secondary companies open or expand. Therefore, proper marketing skills are essential for the industry to grow and prosper.

We welcome your comments on this publication and look forward to hearing from you. Your first source of information on forest products marketing or forestry in general is your Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service county agent. Please stop by your parish office to learn more about the programs available to you.

What is marketing?

Marketing is defined differently by different people. Some business managers think marketing means selling, advertising, packaging or distribution. All of these ideas are important to marketing, but they don’t define marketing properly. Marketing can be thought of as a total system of business activities designed to determine customers’ needs and desires, then to plan and develop products and services to meet those needs and desires, and then to determine the best way to price, promote and distribute the products and services.

People often confuse marketing with other terms. For example, markets and marketing are not the same. Markets are the customers. Also, many people think marketing and selling are the same. A short explanation is that selling focuses on the product. A company sells what it can make. A company that markets what it can sell, however, focuses on the customer rather than the products. This difference is critical to a successful marketing plan.

Two important concepts about marketing are related to selling. First, the entire system of business activities should be customer-oriented. Consumers’ wants must be recognized and satisfied. Second, marketing should start with an idea about a want-satisfying product and should not end until the customers’ wants are completely satisfied, which may be some time after the exchange is made. The emphasis here is on the customer rather than the selling of the product.

To read more please visit our publication: Why and How to Market Wood Products

 

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and building materials, wood decay and degradation, and wood science. Shupe worked as a professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, and Board Member for Gulf South Men and a Team Leader for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Causes and Control of Wood Decay, Degradation, and Stain

Our society depends on wood for a variety of uses. As population increases, so does our need for wood. Steel, concrete and aluminum are some alternatives to treated wood in certain applications, but they have higher material costs, higher energy requirements in the production process, greater air and water pollution or environmental protection costs, and greater dependency on foreign sources for materials.

Substitute materials may not be appropriate for some uses. For example, some types of steel may corrode; concrete may deteriorate in salt water; and plastic may not have the necessary strength, durability and structural integrity. Wood is a renewable natural resource that, if properly treated, maintained and placed in service, will last indefinitely. It is critical for us to use our wood resource efficiently.

This publication is intended to increase your knowledge of the causes and control of wood decay, degradation and stain. A common cause for replacing wood structures is decay or degradation. Wood decay and most insect problems can be prevented for years by properly using and protecting wood. The heartwood of some species, such as black locust and Osage orange, also has a unique chemical composition that makes it very durable.

Two common terms used to describe wood features are heartwood and sapwood. Heartwood is wood in the inner section of a log and is entirely composed of dead cells. This region has a higher concentration of extractives (phenolic-based compounds that make heartwood more decay resistant than sapwood). Sapwood is wood near the bark and is often lighter in color than heartwood. Nutrient translocation occurs only in sapwood. Although most wood species can be treated with a preservative, certain species are considered difficult to treat because of their permeability and anatomical features. Douglas fir, a western species, has below-average permeability and is classified as difficult to treat. Species such as white oak have inclusions in the vessels called tyloses. These inclusions also decrease permeability and make treating more difficult. In general, lumber that has a high percentage of heartwood or is improperly seasoned will be more difficult to pressure treat. Southern yellow pine (SYP) characteristics make it useful for many applications and easily treatable. Most pressure-treated lumber in the South is Southern yellow pine.

Moisture

It is commonly believed that wood shrinks as it loses moisture and swells as it gains moisture. This is partially true. Actually, wood will change dimension only between two precise moisture conditions. One condition is when the wood is void of moisture. This is termed the ovendry condition. The second condition is when the wood fibers are saturated with moisture. This point usually occurs at about 30 percent moisture content for most Louisiana species. As wood is dried from an original green condition, sometimes more than 100 percent moisture content, moisture is first lost from the cell cavities. No shrinkage will occur until the wood reduces to a moisture content of about 30 percent (fiber saturation point). If drying continues below 30 percent moisture content, water is removed from the cell walls and shrinkage occurs. The amount of shrinkage or swelling depends on the species, density and board direction.

Pressure treatment with waterborne preservatives raises the moisture content above the fiber saturation point, and shrinkage will occur as the wood dries down to its in-service moisture content. In many applications, such as deck boards, this shrinkage is not a major concern. When dimensional stability is critical, it is imperative that the lumber be kiln dried after treatment (KDAT). Any KDAT lumber you buy should be kept under a roof or at least under cover and off the ground.

To read more please visit our publication: Causes and Control of Wood Decay, Degradation & Stain

Todd Shupe is the President of DrToddShupe.com and is a well recognized expert on wood-based housing and building materials, wood decay and degradation, and wood science. Shupe worked as a professor and lab director at LSU for over 20 years. He is active in several ministries including his Christian blog ToddShupe.com. Todd is the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men, and Board Member for Gulf South Men and a Team Leader for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church.