Dollar Value of Spalted Wood

Pricing varies widely for spalted lumber, based on subjective factors. January 18, 2011

I will be sawing spalted maple and beech and I am wondering if there is a going rate for this lumber?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor B:
It might be best to see what you have before you price it. Logs with spalting are an unknown until they are sawed. What you saw out of the logs, if you dry it, and your patience waiting for an appreciative buyer will also be factors. I would cut 4/4 or 5/4 wide boards from it.

From contributor R:
I've wondered the same thing. I've checked local wood sales businesses and watched internet prices, but that's what someone else is doing; in the end I've decided to try to keep tabs on how much time/money I have into a product and charge the money necessary to make getting said product profitable. Fortunately, I do this more for fun than money.

Your market won't be someone else’s, so make your own prices. You need to make so much money (or else why do it) to make it worthwhile; only you know how long it takes you to do what it is you do, and your time and costs will vary from job to job, so using someone else’s prices cannot function for you. It is a decent estimation of potential, but not much for a bottom line.

I cut a lot of somewhat highly spalted maple, and have a lot more to cut. It is a crap shoot as to what will be inside any piece (often little), so how much to sell it for will vary. The price you need to make it worthwhile will determine the market you sell it to, and the availability of that market will determine your success.

From contributor A:

Prices are all over the place. A lot depends on how good the spalt is and how good the wood is and what type. I have sold thick hard maple with very good heavy spalt for $5 bdft and sold lightly spalted 4/4 for little more than I would get for good lumber. So the trick is to know what you got. It is easier to come down on the price then to go up.

Thicker brings better price. So look in your area for what good lumber of the same type and grade would bring and add half again as a starting point. I have seen spalted wood going for $100's a bdft but do not know how much they really sale. Most of my maple goes for $2 to $5 bdft and I do not have beech here. Sycamore goes for $1.25 to $2.50 bdt unless it gets really wide and thick.

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From the original questioner:
I have sawed a lot of spalted maple and some beech. So I do know it is somewhat of a crap shoot when it comes to quality. I noticed in some markets that the wood is listed for sale, but often out-of-stock. I have seen the price vary from figured spalted bringing $100 brd/ft. on down to not much more than regular price, much like Contributor A mentioned. It is hard to find it offered at a regular market. Almost all the sales I have seen were on-line. I am going to be negotiating a price with a store chain so I am fishing around for a standard price.

From contributor A:
When I buy spalted maple the prices will range from $2-$4bf. Spalted beech will be somewhat less just because the market is not as strong generally but I do get it. I have also picked up spalted box elder, pecan, sycamore, birch from time to time.

One reason you may not find standard pricing is that spalted wood of any kind is not something that's predictable to source. A lot of places will say they have spalted lumber but when push comes to shove they don't have any kind of regular supply like you've found out.