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Sawing and Drying Forum

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Black Walnut log prices

Craig Member

I have a chance to buy some walnut logs but being new to this I have no idea what to offer for them. I am in Northeast PA. the logs were cut last October and are sitting on a pile. They are starting to check/split . They are about 14 to 20 inches in diameter 8 to 10 feet long. for the most part they look straight with few or no knots. Should I use one of the log volume calculators and make a offer based on the bd. ft. in a log or by the diameter? What is a fair price for walnut logs of this size, by the bd. ft. or by dia. and length? Their is good access to the site and I can drag them onto my trailer pretty easily so that is not a concern.

Any help would be appreciated.


4/28/15       #2: Black Walnut log prices ...

There is a NHLA standard for log grading that assesses log volume or "scale" (accounting for wood that won't turn into lumber) and quality or "grade". If you are not familiar with those rules, and you plan to buy logs in the future you might want to check out Penn State's 2 day course that teaches the rules.

Without looking at the logs, I'd say make an offer and see what happens. When I buy logs, I usually have an idea what I can get for the lumber that it might make, and also what it will cost me to handle, cut, store and dry the lumber, subtracting that off from what I can sell, and accounting for profit and my time, that gives me a number I'm willing to pay for the logs. That number is not always positive, BTW. Meaning it would cost me more to buy and cut the logs than I could possibly make.

Based on what you describe, and the seemingly high demand for Walnut (in my area anyway - Southwest PA), I'd pay somewhere between 20 and 40 cents per BF for walnut of this age, and size, erring towards the lower range for the smaller stuff and those that are deeply checked or cracked.

4/28/15       #3: Black Walnut log prices ...

Should be worth more than oak prices, I just sold one log green off the mill with the customer helping for $500 which took a little over 1/2 hour to saw. The log scale 150 bf and with the band saw I got 200 bf at $2.50 a bf

4/28/15       #4: Black Walnut log prices ...
Craig Member

I should have given a little background on me. A couple of friends, my brother and I built a manual band saw sawmill from plans we found on the internet. So far the logs we have gotten were from storm damaged or yard trees that we got for free. We never bought any so we have no idea what a log is worth. I Know what I pay per bd. ft. for the different species that we buy from a local supplier.We do not want to sell any of the wood we cut. We divide the cost of everything, the hours of work and then divide up the lumber once cut. Right now it is just a hobby and a source of wood for future projects. Maybe in the future we would sell some excess lumber. I wanted to make a fair offer for the logs. I know its hard to determine an exact price sight unseen, I was just looking for a range for that size log of average quality. I just heard about the logs and did not get to see them myself yet. I just wanted a little education before I go to look at them.


4/28/15       #5: Black Walnut log prices ...
Tennessee Tim  Member

Website: http://www.tsmfarms.com

Craig...your being wise...educate, educate, educate....learn all you can prior.... uneducated decisions CAN get expensive!! LOL.

I can't help you on pricing...every area and buyer has a differ idea on fair price.....this is what's something's worth...ONLY what the buyer and seller can agree upon AND be happy.

7/1/15       #6: Black Walnut log prices ...
Dave Boyt  Member

Website: http://www.norwoodsawmills.com

It is great that you are concerned about being fair to the owner of the logs. A lot of factors come into play here. How many logs? How far do you have to go for them? If they're from a yard, there is a good potential for metal in them. Eric's $.20 to $.40 sounds like a reasonable place to start. Most people in the Midwest buy on the Doyle scale-- based on diameter inside the bark at the small end. I recently had one home owner "give" me some walnut logs in exchange for a cutting board made from the wood. We were, as Tennessee Tim says, both happy.

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