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Murphy Plywood, Eugene, Or., the leading supplier of alder plywood in North America, and Cascade Hardwood, Chehalis, Wa., the leading multi-mill operator of alder sawmills in the Pacific Northwest, have formed a strategic alliance for ...

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Murphy Plywood, Eugene, Or., the leading supplier of alder plywood in North America, and Cascade Hardwood, Chehalis, Wa., the leading multi-mill operator of alder sawmills in the Pacific Northwest, have formed a strategic alliance for the production and marketing of western red alder plywood and lumber. 

The new Emerald ColorMatched program will provide manufacturers and distributors unprecedented, high-volume access to coordinated product grades and colors to benefit their customers and significantly increase sales.

This alliance leverages Cascade’s broad, high-volume reach in the Alder timberproducing regions and their industry-leading high-tech sawmilling operations with Murphy Plywood’s strong market position as an industry leader in the production and sales of hardwood plywood across North America.

“Because most kitchen cabinet jobs require both lumber and plywood, making sure our customers have the required materials in adequate volumes and closely matched color just makes sense,” said Jon Syre, president of Cascade Hardwood. “With Murphy’s leading position in the plywood industry and many years of experience in alder, aligning ourselves with them was our most strategic move to best service our customer base. Together, we can create consistency across alder lumber and plywood grades that will increase sales across North America.”

John Murphy Jr., executive vice president of Murphy Plywood, added, “Cascade and Murphy have put our heads together to solve an ongoing issue while delivering a comprehensive solution to our customer base. The lack of consistent quality in clear alder faces has been a challenge for years. Cascade and Murphy have synergies being family-owned and operated wood products businesses in the Pacific Northwest. Our mutual supply base is the next natural progression. I am excited to partner with a first-class, innovative, and quality-minded operator.”

“Cascade Hardwoods industry-leading production levels, plus their commitment to scanning technology, will allow us to “fix” what we think have been volume-constrained markets for alder plywood, particularly in the higher-end clear grades” noted Garret Keil, director of hardwood sales & procurement for Murphy Plywood. “Within the Emerald Color-Matched program, we anticipate having more clear alder plywood faces immediately available to customers than have been available from all manufacturers in the U.S. and Canada for the last six months. We are ready for large volume, prompt orders with shipments commencing January 2.”

Rick Barrett, sales manager at Cascade, said, “The marketing alliance with Murphy Plywood, a company that shares our commitment to long-term customer relationships, consultative selling, and problem-solving, is a 21st-century solution to alder plywood. Murphy has the capacity, reach, and commitment to sell more alder plywood, which will pull alder lumber demand from the Cascade sawmills. We are also hopeful the Emerald Color-Matched program will make Alder a ‘go-to’ species for both custom and large cabinet makers, as the plywood supply issues of the past will be solved. The finishing flexibility of alder, combined with the greatly increased domestic availability due to our investments in the Cascade mills, should take significant market share away from imported birch and other competitive, secondary species offerings.”

Because alder plywood and alder lumber are most often used in conjunction with each other, the marketing alliance under a unified brand made perfect sense. Distributors and manufacturers carrying the Emerald line will find the coordinated grades, color, large volumes, and shared commitment make alder a leading species that is easily sourced.

The line also features a simplified lineup of face grades on the plywood side. To create continuity with plywood and lumber, Emerald plywood will offer five standard grades: Prime (A/AA), Superior (B), Rustic, Premium Sound Tight Knot, and CSB (1 back). These parallel in lumber Superior (SUP), Premium (PRE), and Rustic (RUS). The goal in unifying the grade names is to center alder around a standard set of grade names, where the appearance of the plywood and lumber closely resemble one another and where buyers can specify them using a common, unified naming structure. 

Emerald plywood will be available with industry-standard book, slip, or plank-matched faces. Cores will be the standard veneer, composite, calibrated, and FiberPly cores with the flexible thickness and finish options Murphy is known for.

Sales of lumber will continue to be handled by the Cascade sales staff, and the Murphy sales staff will handle sales of plywood.