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this district, the quantity varying according to the export orders received by shippers; the principal staves used being oak for pork barrels, pine and ash for butter tubs, and pine staves for water tanks. I would say that about $10,000 would cover the value of these classes of staves used per annum.

The kind of staves in greatest demand are elm for flour, bean, apple, pear, and salt barrels, flour barrels consuming the greatest quantity except in case of an apple crop, when immense quantities are used in the manufacture of apple and pear barrels. There are small quantities of oak staves used for pork and beef barrels, but oak staves are very scarce in Canada.

Most of the elm staves used are obtained in the counties of Kent, Hampton, Essex, and Elgin, with the exception of white-oak and pine staves, the former being brought a great distance and the latter from Quebec. No. 1 elm staves cost to the consumer from $4.90 to $5.50 per net 1,000, delivered to their works, while No. 2 staves are worth from $3 to $3.25 delivered, except in case of an apple crop, when they are worth all the way from $3.50 to $4. Oak staves command very high prices, according to length, but the prices are only nominal at $15 to $20 per mille for barrel staves and $35 to $40 for hogshead staves, free on board cars at point of shipment, as any party who has a good carload of white-oak staves to sell can readily get his own price for them,

Pine staves vary so much in price that it would be impossible to give a correct estimate of the cost to the consumer. Ash staves 28.4 inches long, 4 wide, and seven-eighths thick are nominal at $6 per net 1,000, delivered. To command the highest prices staves should be delivered by rail, except to Chatham and Dresden, where they could be delivered by water. Elm staves must be thoroughly dry; No. 1 staves strictly first class, free from mildew and weather stains; they must be jointed, of even thickness, and lengths as ordered.

All other staves must be sawn or cut to specifications.

Elm, oak, white ash, black ash, pine, and spruce are the best timber for manufacturing the staves consumed in this district.

At most seasons of the year the supply of elm staves is quite equal to the demand, but when there is a large apple crop large quantities of No. 2 staves are used.

The supply of oak staves is very limited and the demand is greater than the supply.

Ash staves are not used to any very great extent, and there is nearly always a full supply; but pine and spruce staves are imported from the province of Quebec.

The only American staves sold in my district at present are oak for beer-keg and pork-barrel staves.

The Canadian tariff shuts out the lower grade staves almost entirely, except in the case of a falling off in the supply.

I would add that most of the information in regard to the stave trade

I have from the firm of Sutherland, Turner & Co., the largest stavedealers in Canada; their headquarters are in Chatham; in fact, most of the business of this office is beams and staves.



Chatham, March 25, 1891.



The consumption of staves of all kinds is approximated in round numbers at 8,000,000 per annum. This estimate is largely based upon the use of the article by millers in the manufacture of flour barrels and by others in the shipping of salt, fish, pease, etc., as indicated in the following table: The consumption for flour barrels is Wellington County

4, 240,000 Grey County...

1,000,000 Bruce County.

976, 000 Dufferin County


7, 216, 000 For salt barrels : Bruce County.

512, 000 For fish barrels : Bruce County

27, 200 For pease and other products...

244, 800 Total staves per annum

8,000,000 With a total valuation at the factory of $34,000; at the place of consumption, of $38,000, the price per M at the former being $4.25 and at the latter $4.75.

The elm stave is considered by far the most desirable. There is a limited quantity of oak staves in use, but only to a moderate extent. Staves of other woods are not in demand.

The counties of Grey, Bruce, and Dufferin are supplied principally by the manufacturers of Wellington County. The demand of the county of Wellington is met by the supply from Essex County, Ontario, known as the Peninsular district. As stated above, the average cost to the consumer at the place of consumption, with all expenses paid, is $4.75 per Mand does not in any case exceed the sum of $5 per M.

Staves to meet the requirements of the trade here should be cut, piled, and exposed to the warm spring weather for at least six weeks after cutting, then tied and shipped in bunches of 50. Millers prefer, and pay extra for, having them treated and shipped in this way.

Thirty-inch staves are chiefly used for flour and 29-inch for split pease, oatmeal, pot and pearl barley.


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In this immediate district the demand exceeds the supply about 2,500,000 when weather conditions are most favorable to the cutting and hauling of the timber to places of manufacture.

There are no American staves used here. On account of the cheapness of the wood, due to the sufficiency of the material, and there being provincial manufacturers enough to meet the demand, it is difficult for the American trade to enter into competition with the local.

For several years past the consumption has been slowly but surely declining, owing to the increased and increasing use of bags in place of barrels.

The annual production by counties is estimated as follows: Wellington County

1,500,000 Grey County.

2,000, 090 Bruce County.

2,000,000 Dufferin County


Total production of staves

5,500,000 LOTON S. HUNT,



Guelph, April 28, 1891.



Considerable quantities of staves are manufactured and made into casks, drums, butts, and barrels in the district, but no staves are exported to be made into barrels, etc., elsewhere.

Staves are largely used for casks, drums, etc., for packing dry fish, for tight barrels for pickled fish, and for sugar barrels for the two sugar refineries here.

The casks and drums for dry fish are of various sizes, from 20 to 39 inches in length. The length of the larger portion of the casks is about 38 inches. Staves for this class are usually sawed about 40 inches long, being cut by the cooper to the required length of the cask. Staves for the smaller sizes of drums, etc., are 20, 22, 234, 26, 28, and 30 inches in length.

Both soft and hard wood are used for staves, according to the market to which the dry fish are to be shipped. For Spanish West India and South American ports the hard-wood casks, etc., are required, birch being principally used. The hard-wood staves are sawed about threefourths of an inch thick, to give greater weight to the casks sent to the Spanish ports.

For British West India and most other ports the soft-wood casks and drums are preferred. Spruce is principally used. The staves are half an inch thick. The usual average width of staves for all these casks and drums, as well as for the sugar barrels, is 44 inches; but the widths vary from 3 or 4 to nearly 6 inches.

The source of supply for staves used for fish barrels, etc., is the outlying country. The timber is plentiful and the supply likely to last many years. To give the best satisfaction, the staves should be well sawed, out of sound lumber, fairly free from knots, and well seasoned.

The demand for these staves depends mainly on the market for fish abroad. The better the market the greater the demand for casks, etc., and, consequently, for the staves.

The prices both of hard and soft wood staves vary in different years. In Halifax the spruce are worth from $4.50 to $6, or a little more, per thousand; hard wood, from $10 to $12.

Tight barrels for pickled fish, such as herring, mackerel, and salmon, are made of soft wood. Herring barrels are 28 inches in length; barrels for mackerel and salmon, 29 and 30 inches. About 3,000 salmon barrels and 15,000 mackerel and herring barrels are manufactured in Halifax County yearly.

Staves for sugar barrels are made mostly from elm, and are brought from Ontario, though a portion of the barrels manufactured for one of the refineries here are made of native birch and beech. The price of No. 1 elm staves, jointed, to average 44 inches in width, is at present $7.30 per thousand, delivered in Halifax. Birch and beech of same quality are worth the same. Sugar-barrel staves are 30 inches long and 1 of an inch thick. About 2,500,000 staves, two-thirds of which are elm, are used by the Nova Scotia refinery yearly. The amount required by the other refinery, which has recently commenced operations, will probably not be less per year.

It is estimated by those qualified to judge that not less than 1,500,000 staves per year are used in Halifax County for fish drums, casks, butts, and barrels. Added to the product of staves used by one refinery only, the aggregate products for the county are over 4,000,000, valued at $30,000 or more.

Lunenburg County, which is also in this consular district, annually produces about 375,000 hard and soft wood staves for fish casks, averaging $8 per thousand, and about 504,000 barrel staves, averaging about $7 per thousand. The total yearly product of staves in that county is therefore nearly 800,000, worth about $6,500.

Hard-wood staves are in most demand there for dry fish casks and soft wood for pickeled fish. Stave timber is abundant in that county. Hard-wood staves are worth about $10,50 per thousand; soft wood, about $7. The dimensions of staves are about the same as in Halifax County, and the same kinds of wood are used. The supply is more than the demand. The manufacture of staves is increasing.

Cask and barrel heads are all made of soft wood. Cask heads are worth 10 to 12 cents per pair; barrel heads, 5 to 8 per cents per pair,


A finished cask of hard wood is worth from 55 to 70 cents; soft wood, from 40 to 50 cents. Salmon barrels are worth about 60 cents.

Hoops are made mostly of birch and worth from $3.50 to $8 per thousand, according to kind and quality.

No American staves are sold in this consular district, and with the abundance of material and moderate rates of labor in Nova Scotia this is not likely to become a market for them.



Halifax, April 8, 1891,



The approximate number used in this district is about 1,500,000 elm staves for the manufacture of flour barrels, and they are worth $4 per thousand; they are received from different points in Canada. For flour barrels, $4 per thousand, and for sirup barrels, $10 per thousand, being heavier and of selected timber.

Staves commanding best price are roughly dressed.

Dimensions of ordinary staves are from 34 to 43 inches in length, three-fourths to 14 inches in thickness, former for flour and latter for sirup barrels, and from 4 to 5 inches wide, clear of sap.

Supply at present not equal to demand; usually is. There are plenty of green, but are short of dry.

The London & Petrolia Barrel Company are obtaining oak staves from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Arkansas. Small staves for beer kegs are worth $15, and so on up to $100 per thousand. The latter is for pipes or hogsheads, or malt tubs. I am informed that the largest amount of these staves is obtained from Michigan. Upon further inquiry I find that Canada furnishes still the greater part of the oak staves used here. Many carloads of elm staves are being shipped from here to Buffalo by this firm.

There is but one large cooper establishment in London, called “ The London and Petrolia Barrel Company," and they inform me they are the largest in Ontario.

I apprehend a good trade could be worked up here for oak staves of proper size and quality.



London, Ontario, April 7, 1891,

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