Why are wood "slabs" so expensive?


Dolmetscher007
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I think I know the answer to this, but it seems ridiculous to me. I was recently looking at some lumber online, just checking around to see if it is cheaper for me to buy lumber online or go to the lumber yard in town. I happened upon several websites selling "slabs." I know they are mega-popular right now. Every Pinterest queen and Magazine spread shows some life-edge slab coffee table or $10,000 board room table that is the cross section of a tree. Sure... they look kinda cool. I certainly don't hate the aesthetic. But... I just saw an 8/4 slab of white oak that was 1.60″ thick,  tapered from 20″ - 26″ wide, and 35″ long. That adds up to 11.18 board feet of white oak, It was "on sale" for $370, with a regular price of $615!!! Gimme a break. My local Home Depot sells 10 board feet of 8/4 S4S white oak for $210, and I think that is highway robbery!!! 

I know it is popular and all that, but am I missing something here? It seems to me that leaving the live edge on, allows the sawyer to sell more wood with less waste, saves some wear on his blade(s), and maybe even saves him a step or two on the overall process. So... what gives? I can understand charging a fat premium if the slab is some kind of extremely rare item, like a highly figured crotch section with... I dunno... embedded diamond dust or something. But... the $370 slab I mentioned above (on sale, bahahahaaa) was just a raggedy old slab of flat sawn... oak tree.  

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We paid a $1000 for each of a matched tree, the wider the more expensive. They want the bark, but you have to clean it till its not loose. Leaving it on could be fatal. Some might break a piece off thinking it's a snickers bar.

Restaurants like em, offices like em, homes like em. As long as mills can grab the dollar, they like em too. 

As long as people are gonna pay, it's gonna be high...

Just wait. If the economy drops all this could be on the cheap...

 

 

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We payed top dollar, but you as a customer paid top dollar for me to make it. Most wanted no less than 36" at its narrowest point. That's comes wuth a price.  If they were over 12' I had to route a straight edge to glue together..

A lot of people have live edge and make some wonderful pieces from it, but it's not the same...

 

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It was a unique fad item that interior designers went crazy for. I thin it's the whole aspect of bringing something natural into the home.... this makes zero sense to me as most people then ask for the wood to be stained evenly XYZ color and put on some unnatural metal base.

There is talk that the market for slabs is slowing down. Not as much that the demand is subsiding, but more a saturation of material on the market. The demand was never all that large in the grand scheme of things but there was little supply. Now anyone can be a Matt Cremona find an urban tree and slab it with a chainsaw.

The driver for a lot of the price depends on the product. If it's kiln dried and surfaced flat, there is a lot of waste. Kiln drying slabs is expensive as the kiln process is more difficult and the shape of the wood doesn't allow the kilns to be fully loaded.

I got a stack you can buy from. If you want come get them i'll sell for $1 /BF.

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