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Author Topic: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?  (Read 3125 times)

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Offline j_d

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Greetings. 
I was recently sawing a few logs for my own use in a municipal dump.  This is an area where they take trees and residents are permitted to saw fire wood after they sign a liability waiver.  Tree services sometimes dump here along with the parks dept. and power companies.  Before I got the mill I saw some nice saw logs turned to fire wood.  I spoke to one of the city employees who stopped to look at the mill and we talked about the possibility of the city keeping the good logs out and me cutting for halves.  They occasionally have hardwoods sawed for trailer beds etc and have miles of wood fences for trails in the fairly large park system.  The guy I spoke with said he would speak to his boss about the possibility.  As long as I can sell what I cut it would make a nice supplement to the custom sawing I am trying to get going and it would have a lot of potential for value added options. 

I am eager to hear anyone's opinions about whether or not this could be profitable and if anyone knows of it being done anywhere.  I am not currently seeing a downside provided I can sell most of the lumber I would take home. 

Thanks,
Josh
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Offline beenthere

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2015, 01:16:42 am »
I'd suggest you think on it some more, and consider how you pull out your "half" of the good logs selected, or how you plan to divide the sawn material for the "city" half and "your" half. Would these logs be staged somewhere other than the municipal dump?

Also,  might the firewood guys not be so happy that their "good" firewood logs are no longer in the mix available to them, but being creamed off by you?

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Offline Ianab

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2015, 03:20:58 am »
Might it be better if you "buy" some logs, and offset that by some sawing services @ x per bd/ft? No money actually needs change hands, but you keep a ledger.

This gets around the "Hey, how come he's getting the best logs?" - "Because he's buying them". And simplifies the split, you scale the logs you are taking, and if they are worth $500 on the agreed scale, then you owe $500 of sawing services. Go over to their stack of logs and saw until the score is even. Some logs are going to be worth more than others. You probably are willing to pay more for Walnut and Cherry than you are for Pine right?
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Offline Seaman

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2015, 07:16:16 am »
Reply # 2 x 2
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Offline GAB

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2015, 08:25:25 am »
I agree with everything said so far.
You also need to factor in the fact that some of these logs will have metal.
How do you factor in lost production time and blade replacement and/or resharpening.
Gerald
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Online Tom the Sawyer

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2015, 02:33:52 pm »
j_d,

If the wood waste is available for free to anyone (resident) who signs a waiver, I would suggest an alternative to milling on shares (I find the term 'halves' to be restrictive, although I have very rarely milled on shares and find it to be basically a donation - not economically viable for me).

If possible, could you pick up logs at the dump and mill them at your place?  Milling nice lumber from 'free' logs in a open-to-the-public venue may have a negative impact on your plans.  On-lookers, who have no actual stake in the operation, may decide that the wood waste is actually an untapped resource for the City. 

If you get a suitable log, like a white oak, consider milling a bunch of 2x10s and dropping them off at the office.  They can be made into side boards, picnic tables,  benches, or whatever they like.  No cost to them, no obligation on you, and they'll remember who took care of them.

When milling on shares you are fronting the costs of the mill and support equipment, fuel, blades, maintenance, labor, transportation, advertising, taxes, insurance, sales tax, etc. (both for their lumber and yours).  Air-drying, it'll be at least a year before you can start trying to sell your portion.  Keep in mind that it costs as much to mill a FAS board as it does a 3common and you'll need to sell most if not all of yours before your project breaks even.
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Online Magicman

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2015, 10:25:25 pm »
Tom describes many of the reasons that I do not saw on shares.  I am in the sawing business, not the lumber business.  To each his own niche.
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Offline Dakota

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2015, 09:44:23 am »
As usual, very good advise Tom.
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Offline j_d

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2015, 10:33:33 am »
You guys have brought up somethings that had not occurred to me.  I definitely can appreciate cutting shares over halves.  Also the idea of keeping a ledger and "buying" the logs makes a lot of sense. 

Perhaps a little back ground be in order.  Back in the 90's I did some custom sawing with a portable mill on the side to supplement my income and because I like doing it.  I ended up selling my mill when I moved out of state to go back to school.  I am currently working full time in a good job that I like and that pays the bills but as of about three weeks ago I have the opportunity to start sawing again, this time with a hydraulic Woodmizer.  I have contacted a few of my old customers and am looking for new customers who need custom sawing.  Business has not yet picked up and I am trying hard to get the word out but in the mean time I want to be running my saw. 

This weekend I will be putting up a 20x20 car port to serve as a drying shed and am working on making some more room.  I would prefer cash paying jobs but in the meantime would it not make sense to be sawing available logs and stacking lumber to sell or use at a later date?  I don't have anything better to do and hopefully in the future the lumber I can stack can pay off.  So, being currently short on cash jobs I am trying to work with anything I can find that would be worth sawing.     

The other factor is that part of the reason I got into sawing is to use a resource that would otherwise to to waste.  For whatever reason turning what would otherwise get junked into nice lumber gives me some satisfaction. 

Josh
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Online Tom the Sawyer

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2015, 01:25:25 am »
Josh,

In my opinion, one of the first and most beneficial steps in starting your custom milling business is to get a website, ASAP.  Business cards are important, and there are many other options too, but people find businesses on the internet.  You can add brochures, demonstrations, ads in local trade papers, social media postings, flyers posted at farm supply stores, etc., etc.  Every option you choose should drive interest to your website.  smiley_thumbsup

There have been several previous threads on this topic, browse through the Business & Management section of FF for a lot of good ideas.  Word of mouth is great once you've done some work for others but I haven't found anything with the impact and response that a website gives you.

As far as stockpiling lumber, your cash reserve should influence if, and how much, you can invest.  With things starting out slow you shouldn't strap yourself for cash.  It would take a considerable investment to stock most of what people are buying, consider stocking what they can't find.  Check out your local lumber sources.  Most places that stock hardwoods will have 4/4 kiln-dried material.  Do they have 5/4, 8/4, live edges, local exotics, etc.,? smiley_huh2

A common theme has been that when people find out you have a sawmill, business will increase.  Get a name and get it out there, someone said, "if you build it, they will come..."
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Offline Carson-saws

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2016, 10:13:40 pm »
Or...talk to the municipality Board of Directors and contract to cut the logs for the municipality.  Your selling point is cutting lumber they in turn use within the "city" or sell themselves to residents.  You get paid to run your mill which is along the lines previously mentioned by Tom.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2016, 06:49:05 pm »
From what I've seen most "dump" logs are full of gravel and nails .I mean they are for the most part "yard" trees .As such it's doubtful you could mill too many without hitting same .At what,30 dollars a band blade it wouldn't take long for the job costing money rather than making money .

Offline gimpy

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2016, 12:11:42 am »
Here in Oregon, it is reported that the mills will be closing down the end of the month.
That includes lumber and chippers. Family in Washington says builders are being rationed. Which means, a logger on both sides of me and I have a mill. I expect to start seeing a log deck on my place. I get free logs and they get what they need (very limited) for free. However, what they get from me is custom cut. But I expect more in the neighborhood of 75% to cover my costs.

Just found out today that as much seasoned pine firewood I can cut and deliver to one location 100 miles away is worth $300 per cord, in cash. 6+ cords will fit in my dump trailer.

Retirement is looking like work.
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Offline starmac

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2016, 12:57:24 am »
If I understood your post right, the logs are now free if you sign a waiver. If this is correct, what would be the benefit of you giving half of what you saw away?

Would it not work for you to load the logs and saw them at your location, and do custom sawing for the city on the logs they usually keep. Maybe giving them a discount if you think that would be the right thig to do.

If you do come to an agreement on cuttings on the halves, are they going to split the cost of blades hitting metal, furnish an offbearer for at least their half of the lumber.
Seems like a lot of things to work out and a sure possibility of this becoming a money looseing proposition.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2016, 09:22:06 am »
Starmac,

   If I read the original post right I thought the plan would be for the municipality to set aside the nice saw logs while the junky logs would continue to go in the firewood pile. This would be an advantage rather than having to fight for them.

   Not sure I totally agree it would work well but is a novel idea. One advantage would be free advertising. Especially if the sawyer watched the log pile grow till it was worth sawing. Could even post a notice in the area "Come watch a sawyer at work between ___ and ___ (Include dates/times). Might even have some free off bearing helpers removing the slabs and such if you agreed and insurance covered such.
Howard Green
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Offline j_d

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2016, 01:17:52 pm »
I appreciate all the good advice.  I am in the process of trying to act on much of it.  Unfortunately I must be kind of dense and can't seem to find the Business / Management section.  Any suggestions?
Josh
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2016, 01:04:54 pm »
   I find it in the lower part of the FF Index under the Full Membership portion. Have to be logged in to see it. Good luck.
Howard Green
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Offline Carson-saws

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Re: considering proposing a cut for halves plan with a municipality?
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2016, 11:05:20 am »
IF YOU have the means of handling the logs and still aim to mill to recover the material with simply signing a waver AND able to sell/market the lumber than go for it.  If YOU can not "sift" through the logs OR are able to separate good from bad than also go for it.  I would still approach the municipality and sell your service to them.  IF they pay to discard the material, be it scrubb OR good logs, than your selling point is reducing their disposal cost OR using the lumber within their city/town and selling it them self.  IF around you are any kind of shipping crate or pallet manufacturers than either you or once again as a selling point to contract your mill, enlighten them to that as well.  IF asking the municipality to "segregate the good from bad logs for you, lotsa luck.
Let the Forest be salvation long before it needs to be