National forests week 2021

Each year National Forest Week (NFW) is celebrated across Canada by many individuals and diverse governmental and non governmental organizations. During NFW, Canadians are invited to learn more about Canada’s forest heritage and to raise awareness about this valuable and renewable resource. Forests are fundamental to our economy, culture, traditions and history – and to our future. Communities, families and individuals depend on forests for their livelihood and way of life.

September 19 – 25, 2021

This year’s theme: “Our forests – continually giving”

national forests week

Aug/Sep 2021 is a project packed issue

We hope a few of the articles in this project-packed issue will give you enough time to go camping and relax in the backyard, and also get you into your shop now and then.

Speaking of backyards, three of our projects may end up in your backyard — a kids’ play structure, a cedar planter bench and a serving tray. Admittedly, the play structure won’t be completed quickly, but it will allow you to spend time outdoors while building it, as well as time with your kids (or grandkids) when it’s complete. The cedar bench will add a hit of colour, as well as a place to rest, while you’re around the pool or entertaining company outdoors. The serving tray will come in handy whether you’re enjoying a quiet breakfast on the patio or having friends over for a few drinks. This is the Rolls-Royce of serving trays; the figured veneer and quality joinery will make you look great. If you’re not into working with veneer, start with a piece of veneered plywood and you’ll finish this project in time for company tomorrow.

Our fourth project in this issue is a scroll-sawn sign. The approach described by Lesley de Abaitua will give you a solid foundation for creating all sorts of whimsical, beautiful signs. Her approach is simple, but the results look stunning.

Last, but not least, is a beer caddy our editor, Rob Brown, wrote about. It’s intended to be used as a gift to be passed along, and the interesting surprise for each recipient is a list of past gift-givers on the underside of the caddy’s bottom panel. Sign your name on the caddy, give it to a friend as a “thank you” and they can pass it on, too.

Aug-Sep 2021 cover

Win a Cordless MultiMaster AMM 500 PLUS TOP

The high-performance cordless MultiTool for rapid work progress (both interior construction and renovation) with over 30 accessories – for sawing in wood and metal, sanding, removing tiles, and more.

Contest ends July 31, 2021

Fein Contest

Where you’re likely to be woodworking and what you may be working on

In May, in conjunction with our annual Small Shop Issue, Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement posted a voluntary online survey for woodworkers. We wanted to tabulate a profile of the typical woodworker. We asked where your shop is located, its size and what you make in it. You could think of it as the Canadian Woodworking census (but unlike the Canadian government, we didn’t ask about age, language or gender). We were delighted to receive 4,898 responses, so it makes for a good profile. Thank you!

home improvement couple

We did ask whether woodworking is a hobby or profession, and then tabulated the responses separately for the two resulting cohorts – the 94% who say it’s a hobby and the 6% who say it’s a profession. So while we appreciate that woodworking can be a solitary activity, the results let you see how your circumstances fit in the overall pattern.

Hobbyists in their garages

Most hobbyists (83%) say their shop is at their home. Another 4% say it’s at another location and 2% say they use a portable toolbox. About 10% told us they did not yet have a shop, but hope to someday.

For the woodworkers who said they have a shop at home, we asked where it’s located. More than half use their garage and 27% are in the basement. We show the breakdown of where woodworkers at home have their shop in the pie chart below.

chart of where hobbyist woodworkers have their shop

Small shops for most

You might think that workshops can be pretty spacious, but more than one third of respondents (36%) work in shops that are under 150 square feet – about the size of a one-car garage. Another 35% have between 150 and 300 square feet (a double-car garage). Only 20% work in shops between 300 and 500 square feet. Those with the most elbow room are the 11% with shops over 500 square feet.

What you do in your shop

We asked about the kind of woodworking you most often engage in and only allowed one choice. We probably should have somehow subdivided the “home improvement” category, because it was picked by 42%, followed by 18% for furniture making and 17% for craft making (see pie chart below for the first choices picked).

Of course, many woodworkers engage in more than one type of woodworking. Our survey likely reflected the fact that home owners who are also hobbyist woodworkers were undertaking home improvement projects in May (especially those impacted by “stay at home” pandemic restrictions).

Kind of woodworking for hobbyists

Winner of survey draw

We thank everyone who took the time to participate in the survey. We offered a prize for participating with a random draw from all eligible entries. The winner of the Small Shop Survey draw is Len B. of Courtenay, British Columbia, who gets a Milwaukee 2462-22 Impact Driver Kit. When we asked Len about his woodworking, he said he has done a range of woodworking crafts over the years, but now he would be in the 10% who answered “other” for kind of woodworking. His focus today is on intarsia. He would love to see a scroll saw project or two in a future issue.

Profile of a professional

Compared to those who say woodworking is a hobby, one of the big differences for those who say it is a profession is that 64% say their shop is at home while 22% say it’s at another location and 5% share a space with others. Also, 41% say they have more than 500 square feet. Among the professionals, the breakdown of kind of woodworking was only 26% for home improvement, 25% for furniture making, 20% for cabinet making, 13% for other and 10% for craft making.

Lumber supply expected to remain tight

Prices on lumber and sheet goods have steadily risen over the past year while inventory has declined. We checked in with some suppliers and they expect things will remain tight for some time.

As our survey of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic showed in February, more people stuck at home have taken on home renovations – building decks and fences, playhouses for children, upgrading kitchens, installing at-home offices.

At the same time, the pandemic disrupted supply chains because many sawmills and lumber processing plants scaled back operations due to COVID restrictions. That forced logging companies to cut back. Some think the lumber supply chain has started to get back into full gear.

However, the over-heated housing sector has increased demand for lumber and sheet goods in both Canada and the U.S.

Statistics Canada data for the period from March 2020 to March 2021 shows an astounding 118% increase in softwood lumber prices. Kevin Lee of the Canadian Home Builders Association says the higher prices add an additional $30,000 in lumber costs for an average Canadian home.

And it’s not just dimensional lumber and sheet good prices that are going through the roof. KJP Select Hardwoods has seen a slow but steady increase in the costs of domestic hardwoods and exotic species. To this point they’ve been spared from the unprecedented pricing and supply issues seen in the construction industry. But, according to KJP, “that time seems to be drawing to an end. In the first quarter of 2021 we had already seen hard maple eclipse its all-time high in cost. Now walnut, white oak, and even poplar suppliers are threatening very real inventory issues for the rest of the calendar year.”

Even specialty plywood is being affected. For the first time in their 15 years, KJP estimates they will run out of Baltic birch plywood at some point this summer.

Meanwhile, the pandemic also created chaos in global shipping, bureaucratic handling, and virtually every layer of transport and processing. As an example, Mys-Teak Holdings Inc, a company specializing in quality responsibly grown teak, imported a container of teak lumber that ultimately was delayed four weeks at sea and a further two weeks by customs exams made less efficient by the pandemic.

Market analysts say that eventually the lumber market will clear, prices will stabilize and supplies will get beck to normal – but when is hard to forecast.

Whether you buy now or wait, you’ll want to lock up your lumber – it’s scarce and expensive.

house construction-tyvek wrap