Red Oak and Price Setting
Red Oak. It is the traditional material that my mentor used, and it is the preference of our
long standing partners in the great north.
Being a small business owner, I have enjoyed dealing with my supplier out of Manitoba
and over the years we have developed chemistry with them getting better and better
at keeping an eye out for the high quality lumber needed to craft our wooden sleds.
Traditionally Red Oak has been a very stable commodity, not experiencing the
fluctuation that you often see in many other commodities markets. However, as in many
industries, 2008 brought a major downturn in most markets including Red Oak lumber.
Apparently since 2008, when the demand for Red Oak lumber dropped significantly for
many reasons, it brought with it pressure for the smaller saw mill operations that typically
produce most of the hardwood lumber around North America. The market got worse and
since then many of these smaller mills have gone out of business.
Like much of the economy, the last few years has brought a return to the demand for Red
Oak in North America. On top of this “local” market return, there has also been a new
increased demand coming from overseas! Apparently the interest in North American Red
Oak lumber globally is at an all time high. So the demand is quite high, while the supply
is considerably down from previous years. Due in large part to fewer saw mill operations
in the business of producing Red Oak lumber..
In a nut shell the demand is way up and the supply is way down, which has increased our
cost for Red Oak by nearly 50% in just one year! This truth combined with the increase
in operational cost due to factors such as electricity and increased costs for other raw
materials, we have had to slightly increase our prices this year for the first time in a
I am grateful for the loyal customers and new customers that recognize that with each
sled there is diligent process that allows me to produce the best of quality. I am further
grateful for your understanding that I run a small boutique business that maintains 150
year old tradition, and like every business we need a fair profitability to continue doing
what we do.
With a changing global economy, we will continually adjust, but the quality and
craftsmanship of our products will be unchanged.