Bear Creek Lumber

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In This Issue:
Carbon Sinks
Industry News
Secure Your Site
Sunny Day Sale!
Alaskan Yellow Cedar
Product Highlight

A yellow cedar forest in SE Alaska (shown to the left)

Alaska yellow cedar has proved so strong that the American Lumber Standards Committee has created a new species designation for the rot-resistant wood.
The purposed special designation will give the state’s cedar mills an advantage in marketing and selling yellow cedar products. Tests have showed that Alaskan yellow cedar has the strength of Douglas fir.
Forest Service has done studies that show that its decay resistance goes up to 80 years with no deduction in strength or preservative properties.
First used by the West Coast Indians for their historic Totem Poles and great war canoes, it is a rare and often difficult to find lumber species.
Its durability and ease of tooling makes it readily adaptable for the construction and finishing of homes, schools, factories, churches, recreational centers and a variety of commercial and industrial uses.
Known as Alaska Cypress, Pacific Coast Cypress, as well as Alaskan yellow cedar, it grows in a band from Southern Alaska to Southern Oregon. It is one of the slowest growing trees in North America and includes trees that are 700-1200 years old. 50-60 annual rings per inch are not uncommon. Studies done at the Universiy of Hawaii prove that Alaskan yellow cedar is also particularly resistent to Fosmosian termites.
Texture Light yellow in color, straight grained, even, compact texture with its natural oils giving it a smooth waxlike finish.
Strength A strong wood with density equivalent to 29 lbs. per cubic foot at 12% moisture.
Rigidity Rigid tough and shock resistent
Durability Resists weather, rot, termites and corrision froma cid solutions. Has 2 1/2 times the life expectancy of Douglas Fir in vats and flumes.
Fire Resistance Takes almost twice as long to rech flame break-through as other softwoods.
Nail holding Has excellent nail-holding ability.
Splintering It does not splinter, making it ideal for stadium seats, playground equipment and deck railing.
Workability easy to work with and holds glue well.
Wearability Dense and tough, it is highly resistent to wear. Excellent for bridges, decks, boats and paneling.

A Dream Come True for Richard and Terry Serkes

Our dream has been to build a log home in the mountains, and here we are in the beautiful Washington Olympics. The project started in June, 2001 and should end in April/May of 2004. Seen left: Bear Creek Lumber Alaskan yellow cedar clear tongue and groove on the ceiling of the house's Great Room. The overall log plan for the house is seen to the right.

Carbon Sinks Help Turn Back Global Warming

Forests, soil, oceans, the atmosphere, and fossil fuels are important stores of carbon. Carbon is constantly moving between these different stores, that act as either “sinks” or “sources.” A sink absorbs more carbon than it gives off, while a source emits more than it absorbs. Before the Industrial Revolution, the amount of carbon moving between trees, soil, oceans and the atmosphere was relatively balanced. Burning fossil fuels tips this balance. Oil, coal and gas combustion introduce at least 6 billion tons of carbon to the carbon cycle every year -- carbon that was stored underground, separated from the atmosphere for millions of years.
Forests and soils store large amounts of carbon. Living forests absorb carbon dioxide and, through photosynthesis, convert it to biomass. Forest soils also store large amounts of carbon in their organic layer. Deforestation alters the carbon cycle by eliminating trees and disturbing forest soils, releasing the carbon stored in both to the atmosphere. Forest fires and decomposing wood waste also add significant amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, the United States cannot accurately be labeled as all give and no take. In fact, of the 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide our consumer driven country coughs up a year, roughly 15 to 30 percent is reabsorbed back into the land. Though researchers have known of this North American carbon sink for the better part of the 20th century, they do not understand precisely what is causing this large sink or why the amount of carbon absorbed seems to have increased, beyond what was expected, over the years.
Popular theories revolve around an observed greening of North America. Plant life appears to have thrived over the last 100 years, and increased vegetation growth has simply absorbed more CO 2 from the air, increasing the carbon sink and partially offsetting greenhouse gas warming. In the presence of water and sunlight, plants take in CO 2 during photosynthesis to create fuel, glucose, and other sugars for building plant structures. Viable causes for why plants have done so well include a revival of Eastern and Midwest North American forests from agricultural and urban clear-cutting in the 1800s, greater concentrations of atmospheric CO 2 from fossil fuel burning, and warmer global temperatures in the 1900s. But a new study points to another factor vital to plant growth that may be at the root of the matter—more water.
According to a NASA-funded study that used 100 years of temperature and precipitation-related data, computer model results showed that on average from 1950 to 1993, an 8 percent increase in precipitation combined with higher humidity has led to a 14 percent increase in plant growth in the United States. The data over that period also show increases in cloud cover, minimum surface temperatures, soil moisture, and stream flows, which are all signs of a changing water cycle.  “This work illustrates that the enhanced water balance in the U.S. appears to be at least as strong a mechanism in the enhanced carbon sink as any of the other mechanisms, and until this point, it appears to have been overlooked,” adds Steve Running, a co-author of the paper, who is also a researcher at the University of Montana’s School of Forestry.
The study finds that between 1950 and 1993, the minimum temperatures in the spring have become warmer and the autumns have become wetter, which may have combined to lengthen the growing season, giving plants a longer time frame for photosynthesis.

Forest Products Are Excellent Carbon Sinks

In terms of climate change, the forest industry’ s most significant strength lies in the fact that its raw material is a renewable resource - wood. Just as the forests act as a carbon sink, the products coming from the forest act as a further storage of carbon.
Forest products hold a considerable amount of carbon, which is thus removed from the carbon cycle for a certain period of time. If the amount of wood products with a long life span increases, so does the volume of carbon sinks.
Different products store carbon for different periods of time: in the rapid cycle of non-recyclable paper products (e.g. toilet papers) carbon is stored only for a short time, whereas at the other end of the scale, large timbers and logs used for building may be out of circulation for tens or even hundreds of years.
The carbon absorbed by the products remains in the product after use by the consumer, i.e. at a landfill site. The carbon is out of circulation for a long period, until combustion or chemical decomposition, when the carbon is then released into the atmosphere. In fact, there is more carbon stored in the products at landfill sites than in products actually in use. In the big picture, natural wood products are one of the most environmentally sound building materials on the market today.

Industry News
From Housing Facts, Figures & Trends 2004, which can be downloaded free of charge from the Newsroom/Reports section of the National Association of Homebuilders website on

.The top metro market for single-family permits in the first nine months of 2003 was Atlanta, with 40,580 permits issued. Other metros in the top five include Phoenix-Mesa, Ariz.; Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.; Houston, Texas; and Washington, D.C., in that order.
The top metro market for multifamily permits in the first nine months of 2003 was New York, with just over 15,000. Other metros in the top five include Houston, Chicago, Atlanta and Las Vegas, in that order.
The median and average prices of new and existing homes more than doubled in the last two decades of the 20th Century.
An average of 19 windows, 19 tons of cement and 13,837 board feet of framing lumber go into a typical newly built 2,272 square-foot home.
A walk-in pantry is the most favored special feature in new-home kitchens, with 78 percent of respondents in a recent NAHB survey rating it as desirable or essential. The next most important kitchen features are island work areas (71 percent) and light wood cabinets (59 percent).
Multifamily home building in 2002, which totaled 347,000 units, generated 357,000 jobs (in worker years of employment), $13.3 billion in wages and $7.1 billion in federal, state and local taxes, according to NAHB estimates.
In the first 12 months after purchasing a newly built home, owners spend an average of $8,905 to furnish, decorate and improve their investment. Buyers of existing homes spend $3,766 more than non-moving home owners during the 12 months after purchasing their home, and renters also spend significant amounts on furnishing their new homes and apartments.
Ten Tips To Keep Your Building Site Secure

1. Be alert to crime patterns in you area. Knowing when and where crimes are more likely to occur will enable you to take more effective precautions, if warranted. Builders noticed a spike in job site crimes in the Baton Rouge, LA area during July, August and September. In Ann Arbor, MI, where Earth Liberation Front (ELF) environmental extremist struck, the Home Builders Association of Washternaw Country and local authorites have noticed that thieves and vandals often hit job sites in rainy, foggy wheather.
2. Fence your sites. Buy or rent chain-link fencing. Chain-link fencing is the best for job sites because the building and surrounding activity remains visible. Secure gates with heavy-duty padlocks. Fences can be scaled or cut by determined intruders, but the barriers slow them down or possibly convince them to pass up your site.
3. Control access. The most secure job sites have just one entry. Those with two or more offer drive-through opportunities for quick 'fingered thieves'.
4. Install security lighting. If you have a temportarty pole, put a light on it. Like fencing, you can buy or rent security lighting. The cost of overnight lighting is a public relations bargain, too, because is tells law enforcement agencies you want to help them protect your property and cut down on crime in the area.
5. Consider installing cameras. Some builders use security cameras at their sites and some also install realistic decoys that swivel. IF you use camera, be sure to move them as construction progresses.
6. Be seen and heard. Signage announcing that your site is under surveillance, and that trespassers will be prosecuted is an effective, and low-cost deterent.
7. Protect your products. Thieves and vandals aren't only after lumber, lights and tools. Builders have reported having appliances, plumbing fixtures, A/C units and even staircases heisted from their sites.
8. Schedule deliveries wisely. Just-in time delivery is the most important thing you can to prevent job site theft. Don't have materials delivered on Friday that aren't going to be used until Monday, when possible.
9. Have an employee lock up you job site. At the end of the day, the superintendent or assistant super should make sure all exterior doors and windows and fences are locked. An employee should be the last on the site.
10. Enlist your neighbors. Ask people living around you to keep an eye on your site.

Editor: Ela Bannick Feature Writer: Sage Bannick