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Sawing and Drying Forum

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newby sawyer, more questions.

kaleo Member

Can any of you inform me as to fair market value on actual saw milling? My logs vs. theirs? What about lumber pricing? I know it will vary based on species and such. I will be starting with white oak, southern pine, erc,. I currently have no means of drying. Thanks guys.

2/10/16       #3: newby sawyer, more questions. ...
Dave Boyt  Member

Website: http://www.norwoodsawmills.com

Where are you and what mill are you running? What to charge is a pretty open-ended question. The simple answer is, "it depends". I charge by the hour when sawing for others, because there is often a lot of oddball stuff. My most recent job, for example, involved 44" diameter black oak which had to be split with a chain saw before it would go on the sawmill. No way I could have milled it for the going rate of $.30 to $.35 per bd ft, but you can make money at that rate if the logs are good and straight. Best advice is to find yourself a niche and don't base your price on production mills cranking out pallet and dimension lumber. Try to do jobs that no one else will tackle, and produce a product that no one else has. Charge accordingly. With custom milling, you get paid when the job is complete, rather than speculating on selling the lumber after it is air dried. It also helps to provide expertise on cutting blocking and stickers so that the customer can successfully air dry his own lumber. First thing to do is to practice milling some lumber and get some experience so you get an idea of the cost and work involved. Hope this helps.

2/12/16       #4: newby sawyer, more questions. ...
kaleo Member

Yes Dave it does help, thanks for taking the time to respond. What you said makes sense. Filling a niche in our society, with all it's unemployment and such is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. I am in central arkansas, where white oaks and pine are predominant, there are maple and other oaks, and there is the occasional yellow poplar, lots of erc, not really any bald cypress in these parts . I have a tree service so this is a good fit for me, if I can find a market. I have considered building a kiln and purchasing a molder for making flooring, and will do so if things, well, if money works out that way. Thanks again. BTW, any ideas are welcome.

2/12/16       #5: newby sawyer, more questions. ...

Lots of niche markets. Depends a lot on the saw mill you have. My niche is bigger trees because I have a Lucas with a slabber attachment and it's so very portable.
With a tree service I'd assume you have lots of urban trees which means lots of weird trees but one of a kind stuff. Direct marketing to wood workers is a niche and that includes wood turners. Should be some wood working clubs around that you might touch base with and say. "Here I am" They also can explain what is wanted in the way of product. I know a guy that travels back and forth from east and west coasts with trailer loads of turning wood. He takes eastern woods west and western woods east.
Highly figured wood is always in demand what ever the species.
If I had ERC or a supply of Osage orange I'd pursue that as a market but alas I don't. Consider having several niches.
Sell fire wood.

2/13/16       #6: newby sawyer, more questions. ...
kaleo Member

Good stuff, thanks again. Finding contacts will be time consuming I figure. My mill is an old wood mizer LT30. I've had to do a lot of tinkering to get it usable, but it seems that it will do fine. Love the good ideas!

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