510 261-6100

Monday - Friday 7 am - 5 pm
Saturday 7:30 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday Windows & Doors 9 am - 3 pm

Serving Bay Area Building Professionals Since 1935

Your ticket to the Barbeque


For our season finale we have an all star lineup and a great barbeque lunch is in the works. So mark your calendar for what promises to be our best October event ever.


Friday, October 20th

8am to 1pm
Lunch served 11:30 to 1pm


In Attendance for our BBQ Season Finale

Simpson Strong-Tie

Atlantis Rail Systems

Milwaukee Tools

Johnson Level & Tools

Freud Diablo Saw Blades

Huttig – Fortifiber

Weyerhaeuser – Rexwrap

Imperial Oscillating Blades

Penofin Finishes



Hitachi Pneumatics

GacoDeck Paint Sundries

Suredrive Fasteners

Stiletto Hand Tools

Senco Pneumatics


Building Material

Christiansen Fasteners

Boise Cascade – Grace

Max Power Tools


James Hardie logo


House clad with Artisan siding in the Oakland Hills


Artisan Siding | Trim logo


Capture the beauty and look of traditional wood siding in high-performance fiber cement. With unlimited design potential, Artisan siding is engineered to deliver unrivaled durability and perform in the harshest of environments, including blazing sun and moist sea air and still look great years from now.


Sunset Magazine's Idea House located in the Oakland hills


Sunset Magazine’s Idea House is quite literally perched in the Oakland Hills overlooking the Bay Area. Built in 2016, this five-level, 3600 sq. ft. cantilevered home is clad in a combination of Artisan Lap and V-Groove exterior siding by James Hardie.

The added thickness of these boards cast deep shadow lines for added dimension and drama.
Artisan siding mitered corners


For a well crafted seamless aesthetic, Artisan siding is thick enough to allow for mitered corners and the innovative Lock Joint system enables a blind nail application. If you are re-siding your home, the authentic Cedar siding profiles and extra board thickness will be a closer match to your existing siding.

Fiber cement siding is fire resistant, making it the perfect siding choice for building in high-fire areas.
Artisan V-Groove Siding profile

V-Groove Siding

Artisan V-Groove siding delivers everything you’ve come to love about the look of wood siding without the hassle and maintenance of wood.

5/8" thickness / 12' length
8-1/4" width with 7" exposure
Primed and ready for paint


Artisan Lap Siding profile

Lap Siding

Artisan Lap siding elevates the aesthetic of traditional wood siding in fiber cement.

5/8" thickness / 12' length
5-1/4" width with 4" exposure
7-1/4" width with 6" exposure
8-1/4" width with 7" exposure
Primed and ready for paint
Special order / two days out

Artisan now includes four traditional siding profiles for sustainable architecture with a modern twist.
Artisan Bevel Channel Siding profile

Bevel Channel Siding

Artisan Bevel Channel siding features deep channels and chiseled lines for an upscale look with lots of curb appeal.

5/8" thickness / 12' length
10-1/4" width with 9" exposure
Primed and ready for paint
Special order / two days out


Artisan Square Channel Siding profile

Square Channel Siding

Artisan Square Channel siding emphasize precise, right-angle cuts that complement traditional and modern architectural styles.

5/8" thickness / 12' length
10-1/4" width with 9" exposure
Primed and ready for paint
Special order / two days out

Go ahead miter the corners, the 5/8" thickness and precise fit of Artisan gives you the freedom to build.
Artisan Shiplap Siding profile

Shiplap Siding

Artisan Shiplap siding features distinct lines that closely replicate traditional Cedar siding to bring authenticity to any home.

5/8" thickness / 12' length
10-1/4" width with 9" exposure
Primed and ready for paint
Special order / two days out


Artisan Beaded Lap Siding profile

Beaded Lap Siding

Artisan Beaded Lap siding replicates a traditional West Coast style and adds a tailored look with strong horizontal definition.

5/8" thickness / 12' length
8-1/4" width with 7" exposure
Primed and ready for paint
Special order / two days out

Talk to our siding experts in contractor sales to learn more…
House clad with Artisan siding


Economy Lumber Company Carpenter Pencil

Today’s carpenter’s pencil, you know the one at the bottom of your tool box, is virtually unchanged from its humble beginnings back in Germany. Untouched by technology and still unable to roll off a roof, two halves of seasoned splinter-resistant wood like incense-cedar are milled and glued together around a rectangular piece of graphite.

Carpenter's pencil end view

It’s all about the core

The use of graphite in pencils came about after the discovery of a large graphite deposit in England around the 16th century. Non-toxic and leaving a darker line than lead, the natural graphite was solid enough to be sawed into pieces and wrapped in string for stability and clean hands. Around mid-century (1560) an Italian couple made what is likely the first wood-encased carpentry pencil. Their flat, oval design involved inserting graphite into a hollowed-out wooden stick of juniper.

Oldest pencil found in Germany

Not too long after a better method was developed using two carved slats of wood with a stick of graphite inserted between and glued together. The oldest surviving example is this hand made carpenter’s pencil that was found during restoration work on the roof timbers of a 17th century German farmhouse. It’s a big draw at the Faber-Castell pencil museum in Germany. Note to self, next time you do roof work, leave a pencil.


Battle of the pryamid


Leave it to the French

In 1793 England went to war with France and this conflict was just a prelude to the following Napoleonic Wars (1803 to 1815) that would eventually change the power structure of Europe. Unable to import their favorite English pencils because of an imposed war embargo by England, France was suddenly faced with a severe pencil shortage. So severe that a year later the French Minister of War commissioned scientist and military commander Nicolas-Jacques Conté to find a solution.


Nicolas Jacques Conte portrait


Within a few days as the story goes, Conté came up with a method for mixing powdered graphite with clay for hardness and burned it in a furnace. This mixture could be shaped before firing and the hardness or blackness of the line could be varied by changing the amount of clay. The harder the mix, the lighter the line and this method is still used today.


Conté didn’t stop there, he also improved on the English slat method for encasing the lead. He milled a groove into a long piece of wood to hold the lead and cut into lengths. Then he assembled by gluing the two grooved wood halves around a rod of lead. Patented in 1795, Conté’s pencil would become the preferred method for manufacturing pencils.


Carpenter's pencils in a jar

Two distinctive characteristics are found in the modern carpenter pencil


The large flat shape is easy to grip, even with a gloved hand and rolling is prevented on the steepest of slopes so it will always be handy. Since the pencil is roughly a 1/4" wide you can use it as a spacing standard when laying out deck boards. The pencil can also be used with the flat side against a surface to scribe a line with a 1/16" offset.


The wide rectangular lead is very strong and able to withstand the stress of marking on rough surfaces without breaking. Sharpened with a utility knife, the flat shape and lead density allow you to make accurate lines with a straight edge that are clear and easy to follow with a Skilsaw. As an added feature, notching the lead allows you to draw two parallel lines at the same time. Will wonders ever cease?


Carpenter’s pencils are typically painted red and some complete their look by adding black vertical striping. For the bold contractor there is au naturel, however cool these raw wood pencils are, just try to find one in a pile of sawdust.

Pencils for Oakland Schools

Economy Lumber Company pencils for Oakland Schools

We couldn’t just end with carpenter’s pencils, so we donated 20,000 pencils to our Oakland Schools. Do your part and get involved.

”Serving Bay Area Building Professionals Since 1935”

Economy Lumber Company

750 High Street
Oakland, California 94601
510 261-6100

Monday - Friday   7 am - 5 pm
Saturday   7:30 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday Windows & Doors
9 am - 3 pm
Closed Sunday

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