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Author Topic: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama  (Read 13812 times)

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Offline WDH

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Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« on: September 14, 2013, 08:53:56 pm »
I am interested in a small kiln, so I went over to New Market, Alabama to spend a day with Forum member Yellowhammer (Robert).  He was one of the first to install and operate the Nyle L53 Dehumidification kiln.  Through his hard work and diligence, he has become an expert in operating this kiln.  From his structured approach and detailed records, I believe that Nyle has learned as much as he has about this kiln.

The L53 is designed to dry from 300 BF of fast drying, sticker stain prone wood like yellow poplar and pine to 1000 BF of slower drying wood like oak.  It can dry 600 BF of the medium drying hardwoods like walnut and cherry.  I knew it was going to be a fine day when Robert said that he would have lunch for me when I got there.  Ribeye steaks and baked potato!

 

 

Robert uses a pallet system.  Each pack of lumber is stickered on a pallet that he makes.  320 BF to a pallet.  The pallets are allowed to air dry for a bit to lower the starting moisture content of the wood.  Robert varies the load in the kiln based on the drying characteristics of the wood and the kiln's capacity to remove water. He uses the wood load as another variable in controlling the drying process.  Here is the kiln with with two packs of cherry that were ready to come out of the Kiln.  The average moisture content of this load was 6.1%.

 

 

He uses foam insulation left over from the chamber construction to baffle the load to assure that the air is drawn through the lumber stack.  The dehumidification unit is located in the back of the kiln and pulls the air through the lumber to remove the evaporated water.  The controller is located outside the kiln.

 

 

The kiln chamber is insulated very well, and the door seals perfectly.  He uses a trailer door locking cam to make sure that the door is tightly closed and sealed.

 

 

Robert also has a solar kiln that he uses as a pre-dryer.  Here it is with a load of sassafras ready to come out and go into the dehumidification kiln for sterilization. 

 

 

Here is a pic of Mr. and Mrs. Yellowhammer with some air drying packs in the background.  Pre-drying allows the kiln to dry more wood faster and improve the efficiency.  These packs are yellow poplar, red oak, hickory, and sassafras. 

 

 

A special treat was getting to tour his beautiful farm in mountains of North Alabama.    I was very impressed and inspired by Robert's operation.  I can't wait to get started on my own kiln.  Thank you Robert!  I owe you big time.
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Offline fishpharmer

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2013, 10:02:34 pm »
Thank you for sharing your day with us! 8)
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Offline Kingcha

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2013, 10:08:24 pm »
Nice set-up.  Thanks for sharing.

Matt
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2013, 10:16:58 pm »
WDH - We were more than glad to have you visit. 8) 8)  It was a special treat for us.

For those of you that have not met him, WDH is as nice and knowledgeable in person as he is on the Forum.   It was a clear fall day, and after we'd talked business awhile, I showed him around in the farm.  He really knows his stuff, much more so than any other professional forester I'd ever had here.  It was amazing how he was able to point out species I'd never noticed before, and I thought I'd pretty much knew my own woods.
I can't wait for you to get your kiln up and operating so I can stop by and visit.
YH

 
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Offline hackberry jake

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2013, 11:03:35 pm »
Man! Thats a lot of lumber! I sure would like to get one of them there kilns.  8)
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2013, 07:52:44 am »
Did you get a passing grade?  :D
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Offline WDH

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2013, 07:56:33 am »
I have not taken the test yet  ;D.
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Offline bama20a

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2013, 08:31:08 am »
That is a nice looking operation you have,& It is nice when fellow forum members can meet, Just makes this world alittle nicer,
I do have a question though, ;D,It looks as you have the outside of your solar kiln painted flat black.I've often wonder about that,because I noticed that tobacco barns are painted flat black also,I've often thought that would be a beneifit on a kiln, to raise the temp & help hold heat.Any comment? Anyone?
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2013, 12:45:08 pm »
Although it doesn't really hold heat like a heat sink, black paint on the outside reduces the differential thermal load on the wall insulation, especially in the winter.  The black paint on the outside absorbs enough solar energy to cause the outside wall be a few degrees higher than the ambient air temp, essentially simulating a warmer day than it actually is.  With perfect insulation it wouldn't be significant, but in real life, it makes a difference.  On a cold Alabama day, the outside black wall will pick up enough energy to almost be warm to the touch.

I think it looks nice too :D

YH
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2013, 04:54:50 pm »
Nice set up Yellowhammer,  david
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline WDH

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2013, 08:13:27 pm »
Another impressive thing to me was how well Robert prepared his wood for sale.  Expertly dried, planed, defects cut out, and placed neatly in racks by grade and price.  I did not get a pic, maybe Robert will post one. 
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Offline fat olde elf

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2013, 12:15:55 am »
Great report Danny.  You do good work..........
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2013, 10:45:29 pm »
Here are a few more pictures of our operation.  This is a picture of our shop layout, with a load of sassafras in the foreground ready for processing, and cleaned and processed cherry lumber stacked on the pallet in the background, ready to be moved to the racks for marking and sale.  The cherry and sassafras is the same wood that was shown earlier in the post, the sassafras was dried in the solar kiln but sterilized in the DH kiln before it got staged for processing.

We can do about 300-400 bdft of lumber per hour, from pallet to rack.  There are lots of reasons to do this, such as significantly increasing the value of the lumber, quality control, and just because it makes a big difference selling it.

Here's what the lumber looks like directly from the kiln:


  

Here is how it ends up:


  

Here we are planing and sorting some wide cedar




  

We have multiple racks filled with many north Alabama species.  This is the oak rack with QS and flat sawn white and red oak. Other racks have cherry, walnut, pecan, maple, poplar, cedar, etc.  Each board is marked by width and surface measure so that it is easy to add up when we have several customers pulling lumber at the same time.

In addition to the lumber on the racks, we try to have a restocking reserve already processed and ready to go to refill the racks as soon as they get low, or usually every weekend.
 

  
Our kiln reloaded with 960 bdft of red oak, which should be out in a couple weeks, and the process starts again.


 

Of course, the when we are not taking wood out of the kilns, we are sawing and getting the next loads ready.

YH
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2013, 11:00:32 pm »
Great operation.
smiley_thumbsup
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Offline hackberry jake

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2013, 12:56:45 am »
That planer sure is quiet! I probably need new blades in mine though...
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Offline WDH

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2013, 06:43:58 am »
I could use a planer like that!
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Offline OneWithWood

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #16 on: September 17, 2013, 07:19:16 am »
Very nice operation indeed.
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Offline Jemclimber

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2013, 07:02:34 am »
That's a nice operation.  YH has posted many useful ideas that were helpful to me and my lt15.  Thank you for sharing, YH.   

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2013, 12:13:47 pm »
Very nice set up Yellowhammer. I am most impressed. Do you happen to have an arieal sketch of your lay out? For all the pieces you have (air shed, solar kiln, DH kiln, shop, etc.) I am wondering how your stuff is laid out to maximize efficiency.  I am most interested in the spacing between each piece to allow for the best ease of movement of the pallets. Thanks!
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2013, 01:57:46 pm »
Great operation you have there.

Who digitally removed the box your standing on? Or is momma standing in a hole. ;D

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2013, 01:30:33 pm »
I appreciate the compliments.  No bucket, I'm just tall at 6"-4"

I don't have a layout of the operation but the goal of the optimization is to not waste time, steps or effort.  I  once counted how many times I handled a board from the log to the sales rack and it astounded me.  So now, I only handle the boards a minimum of times and try to do as much in parallel as possible.  I also cull boards at every step in the process, only the best get to the final stages.  No use wasting time and effort messing with a low grade board.
Pallets are one of the keys for making things operate efficiently, mine are exactly 4x8'feet and dead flat.  All machines allow close access for the pallets.  Boards come off the mill, get sorted, and go into pallets.  After that, they never come off until final processing.   Cutting everything to standard sizes and thicknesses is another huge timesaver.  Getting rid of waste effectively is important.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2013, 08:35:09 pm »
Robert has standardized his lengths too so that he handles 8' 6" logs only for the kiln.  I saw the standardization as a huge plus.  Woodworkers needing hardwood for furniture or projects very rarely need a board over 8' 6" long.  Robert has catered to a specific market and developed a niche.  His species diversity is also impressive.  Not just red oak and yellow poplar. 
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Offline customsawyer

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2013, 04:16:03 pm »
Not sure how I missed this report but glad that I found it. I will have to make a ride over and see the operation one day. I will have to say that I like you set up too YH.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #23 on: October 14, 2013, 11:46:30 pm »
You or anyone's else is welcome to visit anytime.  It would be my pleasure.  I've always got steaks ready to fire up on the grill.

Kiln drying and post processing to get high quality, vibrant lumber has been the make or break step for me and is what separates my business from the rest of the field including conventional retail lumber stores.
It proves that a low tech solar kiln teamed with a basic low temp dehumidification kiln can produce such high quality lumber that people will regularly drive from hundreds of miles to buy.  I had a guy drive 250 miles just this morning.
Unfortunately, done incorrectly, I can also ruin a lot of wood real fast. Been there, done that. So as WDH saw on his visit, I've kind of settled on a process that let's me crank out lumber with a minimum of fuss and risk.

YH
 
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Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2013, 12:42:30 am »
So YH, is this your full time occupation? I am very impressed with your setup. ;D
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Offline WDH

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2013, 07:46:32 am »
No, he just does it in his Spare Time  :D
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Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2013, 11:40:51 am »
 :o
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2013, 12:13:51 am »
My wife and I both have full time jobs, a couple kids, plus the cattle business, and of course the sawmill lumber business.  We stay fairly busy...and tired ;D

For us, the biggest technical risk and financial reward is the drying and processing of the boards.  It doubles or sometimes even triples the value of the lumber, so I put a lot of effort into having as fast a throughput as I can, with as high a quality a possible.  Lots of people around here have saws, almost nobody has kilns, or if they do, use them for very long before they ruin enough wood to give up on them.

I dry quite a few different species of wood native to North Alabama so tailor the best characteristics of the different drying methods to the species.  I use the more forgiving methods for the difficult species, and put the hammer to the ones that are forgiving.  Using pallets or packs of lumber instead of just loading the kiln to capacity also gives me an extra variable to control drying rate and time. I try to manipulate the load size so that the compressor in the DH kiln and even the solar kiln is always removing water at its maximum rate within the maximum safe removal rate of the particular species.
YH

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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2013, 07:54:31 pm »
Nice set up you have :)
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Offline OneWithWood

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2013, 08:42:40 pm »
As YH has learned, drying is a much art as it is science.
I like your setup, YH.  Tired is a good state of being in this business...
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #30 on: October 16, 2013, 08:50:23 pm »
Robert (Woodling),

I went with your suggestion at the Pig Roast to go smaller.  I am in the later stages of building the chamber for the Nyle L53.  Robert (Milton AKA Yellowhammer) has been an invaluable resource.  I thank both of you Roberts  ;D,.
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Offline OneWithWood

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #31 on: October 16, 2013, 08:57:16 pm »
You, sir, are most welcome.  It is but a small repayment of all the sage advice you have bestowed upon me over the years.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #32 on: October 16, 2013, 09:49:54 pm »
You, sir, are most welcome.  It is but a small repayment of all the sage advice you have bestowed upon me over the years.

Well said! smiley_thumbsup
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Offline Ronnie

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #33 on: February 02, 2014, 03:20:54 pm »
I have been debating getting the L53 and had a question about storing your kiln dried lumber. How do you guys store your lumber that is for sale after its kiln dried. I saw the racks that YellowHammer uses, does the wood regain some moisture if its not stored in a controlled environment?
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #34 on: February 02, 2014, 03:52:29 pm »
Yes, it will seek to reach equilibrium moisture content based on the relative humidity of its environment.
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #35 on: February 02, 2014, 04:24:16 pm »
As mentioned, store it at the correct humidity, and the MC will not change.  But this can be hard to do.  There is a chapter on storage in DRYING HARDWOOD LUMBER at the end of the book with some practical ideas.

Here is one of the easiest ideas.  If you wrap the lumber pile or stack with plastic on all six sides, there is no way that any moisture can get in or out of the bundle, so the MC will not change.  (Repair any holes promptly.)  You can also use a tight trailer or shipping container, as again moisture influx or outflow is minimal.  If you paint the container a darker color, it will get a little solar heat which will help keep the RH a bit lower.  You can buy plastic baggies that are large enough to hold a bindle of lumber.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2014, 08:57:24 pm »
well I also went to school...today...AND I must say that YH is a great host. My time was limited and the total driving time was about 10 hours. We packed in the absolute most anyone could absorb in 3 hours I am sure.

YH's operation is a spotless dream of a showplace, second to the hospitality.

My desires to work with SYP which is contrary to the products he works with but we formulated possible operational scenarios that could fit me.

Tonight when I go to bed there will be much more "what-ifs" to cipher on. When the opportunity arrises I feel certain that YH will open up his knowledge to make a working plan for those upcoming problems.

Thank you YH for such a delightful info-opportunity. THANK YOU

David Gaddis


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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #37 on: February 07, 2014, 09:22:53 pm »
You will have visions of sugarplums kilns in your head, tonight  :).
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2014, 10:06:33 pm »
I appreciate your visit, the effort it took for you to drive that far, and I'm grateful you made it home safe.  I was telling my wife that I could see the gears turning in your head as you were coming up with ideas for your own operation, and that is always a great thing.  I am glad I was able to help a little.
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #39 on: February 08, 2014, 07:32:37 am »
nice operation YH-
I'm interested to hear more about what went into your decision to only dry to 8'6".  It sure seems like it must simplify things.  Do you also only mill material to 8'6, or do you market longer material air dried only or what?  Do you get many requests for longer material?  thanks!

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #40 on: February 08, 2014, 12:04:32 pm »
+1 on Yellowhammer's comments. David has been to my place plus several phone conversations. I could see the gears turning and cogitating a bunch of well thought out questions. We talked mills and solar kilns. He has a manual lt40, which is right down my alley. I predict he will do well, and with his interesting background, certainly be an excellent contributor to the collective knowledge of this forum..
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #41 on: February 09, 2014, 01:09:34 am »
I saw the racks that YellowHammer uses, does the wood regain some moisture if its not stored in a controlled environment?

Yes, but we sell enough wood and I time the kiln loads in such a way that its rare for a board to stay on the outside racks for more than a short time.  The air drying pallets of lumber are my stockpile reserve, and I only cycle a particular species through the kiln as I need for anticipated restocking. That's one of the reasons I have standardized my procedures, lumber thicknesses, and load sizes as much as I can, it gives me a very accurate way to predict and time my kiln loads so that I can have a new load of fresh dry lumber just as a rack is starting to get empty.

nice operation YH-
I'm interested to hear more about what went into your decision to only dry to 8'6".  It sure seems like it must simplify things.  Do you also only mill material to 8'6, or do you market longer material air dried only or what?  Do you get many requests for longer material?  thanks!

When I first started, I milled to whatever size log I had on hand.  I soon found out it was causing me all kinds of handling, storing and drying issues.  Very disorganized and inefficient for my operation.  I also found most people didn't really like transporting or handling 10 to 12 foot long lumber in their pickups and most customers just generally preferred to deal with 8 foot long lumber, as it was what they are used to.  So it is the sweet spot length for most of my customers.

On the supply side, most of the loggers I deal with cut their logs to either 9, 12, or 16-18 feet long, depending on the species and their setup. Loggers don't end seal, and I have to account for that, also.  So I can take non end sealed 9 foot logs and generally trim them clean to slightly longer than 8 feet.  I can also generally get two good, clean ended 8+ logs from a 16-18 footer.  A 12 footer lets me yield 8's and 4's.  So an 8'+ board is the sweet spot of all of these with minimal log waste, but enough to allow adequate end trimming. 

All my pallets and lumber racks are exactly 8 feet long, so I can confirm a board's lengths during all phases of me working with it.  So if I have an end crack in a board, and it doesn't extend into the pallets or rack, then both the customer and I know they are getting a clean 8 footer.  Any shorter boards are also cut to standard lengths.  Also, I mill and edge to all standard widths, so when marking boards for sale they all fall into the same general categories, so it goes very fast. 

Sometimes I get requests for longer lumber, but it's pretty rare.  Most furniture makers don't want long lumber, if anything, they generally want shorter to minimize their waste.

If somebody brings me logs, I will mill to whatever length they want.
YH

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #42 on: February 09, 2014, 04:43:30 am »
I sure wish you were closer, I like going to where the lumber is dry and graded not just mill run, take what you get. ;D I lost a good source locally here when Maritime Lumber went down. The new owners didn't know the business, as the old fellow that sold it ran it for 30 years. Their drying was a lot to be desired, a lot of checking and not dried very good, especially when you can drill a hole and the water chases the drill bit out. ::)

As to storing, Maritime Lumber had theirs in an unheated shed, so you know it was never going to be below 16% after a while. And they had a lot of inventory. I would imagine it's costly to use climate control, you have to move a lot of wood. Staying small and just drying on demand is much nicer I think and less costly.

That all makes good sense as to the lengths of your lumber. Unless your building tall book cases, hand rails, and upscale moulding in mansions, libraries and hospitals, 4 ft is mostly all that is needed. ;D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #43 on: February 09, 2014, 08:17:55 am »
Makes sense.  Do you mill up the 4 footers trimmed off the ends of the 12s or is that firewood?  I'm surprised people would buy 4s over 8s, also seems like they would take longer to mill/bf.  That's not to say I don't mill up shortys, but I'm pretty stingy.  :D

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #44 on: February 09, 2014, 08:52:36 am »
Makes sense.  Do you mill up the 4 footers trimmed off the ends of the 12s or is that firewood?  I'm surprised people would buy 4s over 8s, also seems like they would take longer to mill/bf.  That's not to say I don't mill up shortys, but I'm pretty stingy.  :D

You are right on point, I hate milling short logs, so I try to avoid getting 12 foot long logs, however many times it can't be helped.  I try to mow through them pretty quick, and saw them all at the same time so I can move my offloading tables around to make that go faster.  Sometimes if I get a whole load of 12 footers and I mill them all full length and then trim them to my standard 8 foot length with a single chainsaw pass after they are put on the pallets. Then I will take the 4 foot cutoffs and put them end to end to get my standard 8 foot stacks.  Also, sometimes I use the 4 foot sections to make my thicker live edge slabs to sell for table tops and such, so I'm actually taking about the same bdft per pass of 4 foot long 2 inch slabs as 8 foot long, one inch boards, and I don't have to edge the slabs, which saves time, which is what I tell myself, anyway.   ;D Since I cant use the board return or other hydraulics with the shorty's, I never mill them unless I have an off bearer to be my "automatic" log turner and board return.  Sometimes, if the 12 foot logs are nasty, I trim the ends to get the best 8 footer possible, because I can sell a clean 8 footer for a lot more than a knotty 8 footer and 4 footer. If the 4 footers are small diameter or low value, sometimes I just use them for firewood.  It all depends if working them makes dollars and sense. 

Most of the our less than 8 foot boards show up during the trimming and culling stage, when I cut out end cracks and dress the boards for sale.  Its amazing that a customer will not buy a "price reduced due to defects" 8 foot board but will snatch up a full price 6 footer with the defects trimmed off.

I also sell to a lot of people who own cars, and they suck up the short boards that fit their vehicle.  I used to groan when a buyer wouldn't show up in a pickup truck, now I just smile when they drive up in an Accura or Honda Accord.    I know they have money to spend and they didn't drive all the way out here to pet the cows.  Well, some do... :D
YH

 
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #45 on: February 09, 2014, 10:09:34 am »
Wait until I come down with the RAV4. I've hauled 9 footers in it. :D :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #46 on: February 09, 2014, 11:12:26 pm »
Generally, I don't have that many short logs to deal with.  This is a load of nice cherry I just got, all are trimmed, sealed, and ready to mill. I only had two 4 foot cutoffs, seen in the background.  Though short, they will also yield some nice wood.  You can see my 8 foot measuring stick on top of the logs. 
 

 

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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #47 on: February 10, 2014, 06:13:01 am »
NICE logs YH   :o
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #48 on: February 10, 2014, 06:53:20 am »
I want lumber from those logs.  :) ;D 8)

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #49 on: February 10, 2014, 07:09:38 am »
Wow Robert, those are juicy logs.  If only I could get cherry logs like that around here  :-\.
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Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #50 on: February 10, 2014, 10:42:31 am »
Better than nice. Looks like somebody beat the heck out of those logs getting them there though..... ;D
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #51 on: February 10, 2014, 11:48:09 am »
Whoa. And I thought I had scored some nice cherry logs. Those are incredible!
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #52 on: February 10, 2014, 12:47:06 pm »
Our cherry up here would make more pulpwood or firewood than good sawlogs. Oh we get some but logs, but you have to turn away a bunch of stuff to get a good one.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #53 on: February 11, 2014, 08:41:01 am »
Still thinking about that cherry  :).
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Offline mesquite buckeye

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #54 on: February 11, 2014, 09:56:12 am »
You need to work on your covetousness, WDH. ;D 8) 8) 8) :snowball:
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #55 on: February 11, 2014, 10:41:45 am »
There is a road near here that has cherry trees along the shoulder of the road as you drive down through them. Public road. Musta been an old fence row up along the ditch for years because the DOT always cleans roads out every 10 years or so with a backhoe. Some of them are large diameter, but none of them are clear log trees. Probably full of wire.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #56 on: February 11, 2014, 12:44:57 pm »
YH, if I may ask, how much did those bodacious cherry logs set you back?
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #57 on: February 11, 2014, 08:33:45 pm »
Mesquite,

Thou shalt not covet your neighbor's cherry logs  :).
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #58 on: February 11, 2014, 08:49:39 pm »
:D How am I suppose to get my cherry lumber down there if you guys get too chummy with my saw miller? I thought you was suppose to feed the saw miller, not the other way around. I see how it works now. :D :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #59 on: February 11, 2014, 10:14:15 pm »
Mesquite,

Thou shalt not covet your neighbor's cherry logs  :).

Exactly. I solve this problem by growing my own. ;D
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #60 on: February 11, 2014, 10:34:16 pm »
YH, if I may ask, how much did those bodacious cherry logs set you back?
I got these for $850/MBF from a big mill who sets them aside for me, which is a little high, but I needed the reload as I was about out of stock.  The last load I got for $550/MBF from a logger who also stockpiles high grade logs for me.  They were as nice and produced some unique and deep grain.  Sometimes I just take them off my farm, depends on what the loggers have and what I need at the time.

 After I dry them, I'll sell the boards at $3,550 to $4,000/MBF.
YH 
 

  



 
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #61 on: February 12, 2014, 09:53:50 am »
Fabuloso!!!!!!!!! ;D 8) 8) 8) 8) 8)
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #62 on: February 16, 2014, 03:46:28 pm »
This topic is working proof of just what a great place the Forestry Forum is !!!
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #63 on: May 09, 2015, 04:36:32 pm »
YH, if I may ask, how much did those bodacious cherry logs set you back?
I got these for $850/MBF from a big mill who sets them aside for me, which is a little high, but I needed the reload as I was about out of stock.  The last load I got for $550/MBF from a logger who also stockpiles high grade logs for me.  They were as nice and produced some unique and deep grain.  Sometimes I just take them off my farm, depends on what the loggers have and what I need at the time.

 After I dry them, I'll sell the boards at $3,550 to $4,000/MBF.
YH 
 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

Old thread but very informative.

I wanted to say YH those cherry logs you had last year in this pic are very nice, the price especially. At that time I was paying 3,750/MBH for Alleghany PA cherry, as nice as that but terribly expensive. I was selling it for 5.50 per foot and I specialize in long lumber.

Another reason I wanted to comment since cherry came up, its an absolute shame what has happened to the cherry market, absolutely dead up here in the mid-Atlantic. How is it where you are?
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #64 on: May 09, 2015, 11:17:09 pm »
Cazzhrdwd,
I'm still buying veneer grade cherry logs for $850 MBF and selling the lumber as fast as I can dry it.  The curly cherry in the photo a couple posts back sells for $6 to $7 per Bdft, and I wish I could get more of it, but it's not too common.   The FAS and better sells for $4 to $5 per Bdft, so gives me a very significant profit margin when buying at 85 cents. 

Although it seems the overall market is slowing down, which is good for me as it keeps the log prices low, I'm not seeing it in retail cherry sales, if anything they have increased as people start moving away from red oak.  For example, 4 weeks ago, I had a guy drive 8 hours from North Carolina to handpick and buy some wide curly cherry.  He bought a good bit, and liked it so much, he got worried that he'd never get another shot at some so drove back again the next weekend to buy some more!     

Cherry is one of several species that a small time operator like myself can produce lumber that is significantly brighter and more vibrant than conventional commercial kilns and other retail outlets.  Once people see it in person, they are hooked.  The bright colors and high quality are what keeps people buying. 

We were restocking the shelves a couple days ago, and I took this picture because I thought it would look good on the webpage, but also because it shows the kind of variety of species we dry and sell routinely.  The pack on the left is some of the clear cherry, but also sitting there is some red oak, quarter sawn white oak, sassafras and in the background, a nice pack of cedar that is about to go into the kiln. 
 
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Offline Cazzhrdwd

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #65 on: May 10, 2015, 01:18:28 am »
^
That's really incredible. Alabama is probably to far to ship cherry to where I'm at, but maybe not at prices like that. I can get smaller logs in the 2's but the size is what gives that great lumber. What's the gum like in the logs you're sawing? I had zero gum and great color, but it sure costs.

Oak is starting to die, I'm not sure what pushed it so high through the winter, looks like supply issues. Not many people using it for moulding anymore. It would be great if cherry came back where I'm at, it is pure pleasure sawing logs like that.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #66 on: May 10, 2015, 05:58:20 am »
My cherry supply is dried up except if I was to saw some local wild cherry. But no size to it and lucky to get 6-8' lengths off the but end. They get to about 20" up here but you see mostly 12 and under in old overgrown pasture, fence lines and orchards. I have some in the back yard I hope size up a bit more before they lose quality. I also want the burls on the limbs. When Maritime lumber was in business, PA cherry was $8/bf for 8/4 select and up. Kilned and rough. They sunk the ship when a new owner took over, must have been government money involved in the sale.

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #67 on: May 10, 2015, 06:26:24 am »
YellowHammer,that is a nice looking picture.
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #68 on: May 10, 2015, 06:34:30 am »
Yes, that is nice whack of lumber. Too bad you lived so far south.  ;)

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

'If she wants to play lumberjack, she's going to have to learn to handle her end of the log.'
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #69 on: May 12, 2015, 09:09:16 am »
I love this thread.  Awesome and inspiring operation and pics from YellowHammer.

YH, what do you use to straight-edge your lumber?  Jointer (followed by planer, table saw to finish mill process) or do you have a SLR?  Also, it may have been mentioned earlier, but what is the final thickness that you mill lumber to ready to sell?

Thanks!

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #70 on: May 12, 2015, 12:30:30 pm »
YellowHammer, do you sell your lumber rough and plane on request, or do you S2S or S4S before adding it to inventory?
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #71 on: May 12, 2015, 07:59:30 pm »
When I was there, it was all S2S.
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #72 on: May 13, 2015, 12:43:13 am »
I skip plane every high grade board that comes out of the kilns.  On the surface, it seems like an almost unnecessary process because many people have planers, but in reality, it serves many important business purposes and is an integral part of my operation.

First off, planing allows me to grade boards accurately and quickly and gives me instant feedback on my quality control.  I know exactly what I have when it goes in the rack, and the customer knows exactly what they are buying.  Planing clearly exposes all kinds of defects such as hidden bug holes, wind shake, and lots of drying defects such as hidden sticker stain, browning, graying, staining, etc. 

Planing high grade lumber makes the board much more valuable to the customer as they don't have to rough plane with their home planer, (or only minimally), and they know exactly what they are buying because it really shows off the color and grain.  Of course, planing an ugly board just produces a smooth ugly board so really adds little value to lower grade wood.   

I mill to 1 1/8", kiln dry , and then plane both sides and generally, most times, get a fully planed board at 15/16". This lets me sell thicker boards, which allows me to charge more.  Many customers will pay more for thicker wood, and if I can mill carefully to the standard hardwood scale 4/4 and still end up with a nearly 1 inch finished, planed board, everybody wins. 

Many customers don't know much about planing rough lumber and hog off one side and lightly skim the other.  This unbalanced planing can result in warped wood, so I avoid that scenario by doing the first passes myself so the customer doesn't have much, if anything, left to do.  So me skip planing helps protects the customer's wood without them even knowing it. 

Planing also makes the finished product much easier to dead stack, and produces a tighter pack, which limits moisture and bug exposure.

Being able to end up with thick boards requires judicious sawing techniques, and having flat boards come off the mill and out of the kiln is very important as it gives a thicker board without having to saw thicker, and also makes much faster planing because it can be done at max speed with a single light pass each side.

I charge 50 cents per board foot to further plane down to 3/4" if a customer requests it (which is what charge for sawmillng) and with my planer I can do about 400 Bdft per hour or $200 per hour.  That's yet another advantage of skip planed lumber, it's already flat and at a regular, predictable dimension, so finish planing is easy and fast and good extra money.

I outsource a good deal of my skip planing these days, at 15 cents per Bdft, to a local hardwood company and use my planer for smallish emergency batches, or for final planing for customers.  I carry a load to them every other Friday, and pick it up the next. Here's a picture of a load headed to get surfaced this winter.   
 

Here's another just a few weeks ago. No way I want to personally plane this much lumber, I'd much rather have some other young strong backs do it. 


Since we grade every board, we do straighten any board that has curved edges.  If it looks straight (most do) we don't edge it.  If it's curved, we edge it.  We don't have a SLR but use a long fence on a 5 hp table saw with power feed which gives almost SLR quality cuts at 104 feet per minute, which is smoking.  A properly set up power feed will suck boards up in a straight line, and spit them out, mile after mile.  Not quite as accurate as a SLR, but very close.  I'd like to get an SLR but the opportuniy just hasn't presented itself yet, and the power feed does a fine job.

I have tried marketing experiments and have found that although planing has many advantagous and greatly increases value to the product (I.e what acustomer will pay) straight lining doesn't really, if the boards are already pretty straight.  I do however, sometimes get batches of boards that require lots of edgeing to make them look good, and I have the same guys who skip plane use their professional SLR machine to clean them up.  I just had to do this in some quarter sawn white oak, as I wanted them to look as good as possible.
YH



 
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #73 on: May 13, 2015, 10:31:22 am »
I like your barn  :)
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #74 on: May 13, 2015, 10:33:17 am »
YH
I found your post to be very imformative, thanks
gww

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #75 on: May 13, 2015, 05:46:38 pm »
Nice whack.  8)

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #76 on: May 13, 2015, 08:14:30 pm »
I take it that the M stands for Milton  ;D.
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #77 on: May 13, 2015, 10:21:18 pm »
Hey Yellowhammer, How many BF do you have on hand at any given time?
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #78 on: May 13, 2015, 11:18:36 pm »
I like your barn  :)
Thanks, I bet I spend more time in the barn than our house.

I take it that the M stand for Milton  ;D.
Yes, its not very imaginative of us, it but was pretty easy to make.   ;D

Hey Yellowhammer, How many BF do you have on hand at any given time?

We try to produce a continuous amount of wood, but keep our static inventory very low, trying to closely match it to anticipated sales figures.  So a couple thousand Bdft of some species, maybe as high as six MBF of others.  We keep very close tabs on inventory because it ties up money and takes up space.  It is valueless as lumber only earns money when it gets sold.  We use historical monthly and seasonal sales figures to predict and anticipate how much we will need, and since processing from log to finished product takes awhile, it's importatnt not to have a glut of inventory, or run out of product, either.   We can't sell something we don't have.  So we look at trends, and try to saw and buy accordingly.

For example, in the spring, cedar sells like crazy, everybody wants it because it's an outdoor wood and is used for everything from patio chairs to flower beds.  So about December, we start ramping up on cedar, get lots of it in the pipeline, in anticipation of the surge.  About mid summer, cedar sales drop off drastically and hopefully we have anticipated things correctly and have about sold out of inventory, maybe only having a couple MBF in reserve.
YH

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #79 on: May 13, 2015, 11:36:39 pm »
What does mbf stand for, million board foot?
Thanks
gww

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #80 on: May 14, 2015, 12:51:34 am »
thousand board feet
south central Wisconsin
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #81 on: May 14, 2015, 01:24:33 am »
What does mbf stand for, million board foot?
Thanks
gww
I take it that the M stand for Milton  ;D.

Milton board feet   ;D
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #82 on: May 14, 2015, 07:23:40 am »
MBF = 1000 BF
MMBF = 1 million BF
The reason for M = 1000 is because it is a Roman numeral.

The confusion comes because the abbreviation for kilo is K or k and also means 1000.   So, with money $30K means $30,000, and $30M means $30 million.

Adding to the confusion is that BF (BD FT or bf) is sometimes FBM, or foot board measure.
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #83 on: May 14, 2015, 07:24:19 am »
A milton board foot is a board foot that is flat, straight, planed, and dried just right  ;D
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #84 on: May 14, 2015, 08:48:18 am »
Yes, it is hard to use this sites tool box if you don't know what the abreviations are.
Thanks all for answering my question.
gww

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #85 on: May 14, 2015, 05:25:33 pm »
I've used FBM before on here as it's how we do it up north here. I thought that the sight had turned inside out because of 3 letters rearranged. ;) Well it wasn't that bad, but required an explanation and probably an eye roll, a raised brow, or maybe even a nose curl was required to get past it.  :D ;)

Don't get me started on meter and Meter. :D

Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #86 on: May 14, 2015, 09:15:54 pm »
 A mbf is a thousand board feet
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #87 on: May 14, 2015, 11:28:16 pm »
A milton board foot is a board foot that is flat, straight, planed, and dried just right  ;D.

I wish they all turned out that way.   :D
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #88 on: August 08, 2015, 11:05:51 pm »
We had a wonderful visit yesterday with a fellow Forum member and his wife, Jeanne.  @Glenn1 made a very long drive to visit, talk lumber, sawing and drying, and we showed him all the steps in our operation, from judging and buying logs to putting finished wood in the sales racks, and everything in between.  They are great people and have a very diverse experience base that will surely make them successful in drying and selling lumber.  It's just another example of how this Forum will bring folks together so they can learn from each other, and I picked up some good tips from them, too.  So everybody wins. 
We got the mill fired up, broke down a nice cherry log from start to finish, discussed sawing techniques, pith and all sorts of fun stuff, and then we spent a good deal of time talking about kilns, and he was able to see the Yellowhammer Railway.  Since he has a Nyle kiln also, we had a lot common ground and information to exchange.  He also got to hear a lot of my mistakes and lessons learned so hopefully we will be able to avoid many of them.
Anyway, I heard from them that they made it back home safe and we are happy their trip was a good one.
Here's both of us hamming it up in front of the barn.  He and his wife are good people and we are really glad they made the trip.
 
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Offline Glenn1

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #89 on: August 09, 2015, 09:16:44 pm »



Thank you Robert for your very kind words.  We drove 1000 miles in 3 days and it was a very worthwhile trip.  My wife Jeanne is a very good sport and she is up for any type of road trip.  Yellow Hammer spent much of a day covering everything that I could have asked for and much much more.  His wife Martha got home at noon and made a wonderful lunch for Jeanne and myself.  I was really impressed with Martha's ability to be the offbearer.  It sure looked like hard work to me, but did not seem to phase her.  I was very impressed.

We were both extremely impressed with the Yellow Hammer Railroad.  I only wished that I was there when they loaded it with beautiful cherry. 

Thanks again Robert for a fantastic education that you have shared with me.
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #90 on: August 10, 2015, 07:21:27 pm »
I tell you we have the best jobs anyone could have!!!
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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #91 on: May 31, 2017, 08:59:51 am »
We need pics of the Yellow Hammer Railroad.  8)

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #92 on: July 08, 2017, 11:40:57 am »
 I am just about to dry my first load in my new kiln, using the KD150.  My head is spinning. I wired the controller last week. Will be connecting the power at the end of the month. I already have a stack of erc air drying in the kiln. My set up is very similar to yours. I will steal your ideal with the Styrofoam. Im sure I will have Questions.  Thanks D

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Re: Went to Lumber Drying School in Alabama
« Reply #93 on: July 09, 2017, 11:48:49 pm »
Congratulations on the kiln.  ERC will be a great first load. 
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