If you are not still buying hardwood lumber in random widths and random lengths, chances are you purchase your lumber either width sorted or in exact ripped-to-width bundles. But why would a manufacturer prefer sorted strips or hardwood rips?
Many times manufacturers that purchase hardwoods in sorted strips will do so to rip a specific hardwood blank. They already have the equipment and the expertise available in their production process and they feel they can do this efficiently. These manufacturers usually like the flexibility of slightly different board widths so they can create different but similar sized parts from the same sort.
The other consideration for hardwood lumber strips is pricing. Face value lumber costs for strips are typically less expensive than SLR2E hardwood lumber. Of course customers pay a premium over random widths and lengths for sorted strips, but they are still less expensive per thousand board feet than rips.
However, that could be deceiving. When manufacturers decide to purchase ripped hardwood lumber directly from the supplier they inherently gain value. Hardwood rip users save money in freight costs, have less lumber waste costs, gain in lumber usage yields, and usually increase employee productivity. In essence, they are purchasing a moulder ready blank that is ready for production.
So when should you consider buying your hardwood lumber width sorted versus ripped? It depends. But consider a supplier that can help you decipher the benefits of both and help you make the best decision for your company.
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