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November 11, 2006

Got Designer Wood? If it ain't Estonian, it ain't ....


This past Thursday's (November 9, 2006) Washington Post Home section story by Jura Koncius brought the news that the firewood of choice in glossy magazines and show houses comes from Estonian birch trees.

In a market-driven response, the worlds of clearcutting and commerce combine to bring to a supermarket near you these very same Estonian logs (above), ready to prop in your fireplace for your next photo op.

Here's the article.

    Isn't It Good? Estonian Wood.

    Birch logs, as you may have noticed in glossy mags and show houses, are the firewood of choice for decorators. They prop the peeling, white-barked logs on hearths and arrange logs in tasteful baskets. But unless you live near a northern forest, birch can be hard to come by, and expensive.

    Now, direct from the forests of Estonia to a supermarket near you, come white birch logs. The Baltic timber is split in the traditional European style to a compact length of 12 inches, bark on, then kiln-dried to eliminate mold, mildew and insects and shipped in containers from the Estonian capital of Tallinn.

    "They're made to fit into wood-burning European stoves, but New Yorkers are finding them perfect for their apartment fireplaces," says Leonard Gannet, a partner in Estonian Forest, which imports the logs.

    Netted bags holding about 12 logs are selling for $6.99 at the 16 Whole Foods stores in this area. But after all that chopping and drying and shipping and care, who'd actually want to set them aflame?


I find it astounding that the cumulative costs of

1) Cutting the wood

2) Kiln-drying it

3) Transporting it to the dock

4) Loading the container and ship

5) Shipping it across the Atlantic Ocean

6) Unloading the ship and container, and

7) Transporting the wood to individual stores

allows Whole Foods to buy it wholesale cheaply enough that it can make a profit by selling a dozen pieces for $6.99.

Clearly, there's much I don't know about the world of business.

Better stick to anesthesia.

November 11, 2006 at 03:01 PM | Permalink


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*sigh* things are so cheap nowadays that the pleasure of accomplishment achieved by managing to buy them is gone.

Posted by: IB | Nov 11, 2006 8:11:19 PM

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