In Alaska, red alder (Alnus rubra
Bong.) and paper birch (Betula papyrifera
Marsh.) are both lesser-known hardwoods grown, harvested, and manufactured into appearance products, with potential for increased utilization. The production of edgeglued panels from red alder and paper birch offers one expansion opportunity for wood products producers. For this expansion to happen, retail managers’ attitudes and preferences need to be understood and cultivated, as they represent an important link in the supply chain. In this research project, 11 edge-glued panels were prepared from Alaska red alder and birch lumber and presented to managers of retail lumber stores. Panels included different types and levels of character marks. Eight managers in interior and south-central Alaska reviewed the panels, offering their perceptions regarding overall sales potential in their stores. Clear wood was generally preferred in panels produced from red alder. High levels of natural stain were preferred for birch panels. Several panel attributes were identified as being important, including level of character, lack of surface roughness, and availability. Most retail managers ranked price and supply as less important than product quality. Retailers recommended that up to 12 standard panel sizes be provided. Retailers suggested several different end-uses for the panels, with the most promising applications being kitchen cabinet or furniture production.
Nicholls, David; Bumgardner, Matthew; Barber, Valerie. 2010. Edge-glued panels from Alaska hardwoods: retail manager perspectives. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-809. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 14 p.