What is a tree worth ?

Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by TnAndy, Jan 8, 2019.

  1. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Not as shade or beauty in the fall, but in bucks.

    I had a couple decent sized poplars that the tops seemed to be dying in, so I waited until this winter to cut them to have less top mess to deal with. One was about 24" DBH (diameter at breast height), and I cut four 12' logs out of it before it got into the small end with a lot of branches, which translates to fairly lousy lumber. The other was a bit smaller, but not a lot. Took 1/2 day to fell them, buck into saw logs and clean up the tops. Took one partial day ( I don't work too hard at it) to saw the four logs into lumber and get stacked on sticks. (stack not pictured)

    The measured diameters of the four logs on the small end inside the bark was: 23", 19", 16". 14".

    Decided to cut them all into 2x4's, (full 2"x4") and the yield was as follows:

    Log 1: 40
    Log 2: 32 + 2 that can be cut back to 2x4x8' due to the wane (bark)
    Log 3: 16 + one that would cut back to a 10'
    Log 4: 14

    Total: 102 2x4x12' + those shorter ones.

    Locally, 2x4x12' retail for right at 5 bucks ($4.99 local yard, $5.15 Home Depot)


    IF you can use it in a project around the homestead instead of buying lumber retail, that means that one tree was worth at least 5 x 102 = $510. If you can use it.....

    Selling it as rough, green lumber (8 bdft per stick) would bring around $3 each, making the tree worth $306.

    Selling it on the stump to a logger (assuming you had enough for them to come fool with it....not one or two trees for sure), poplar is bringing maybe 15 cents/bdft, it might have brought $80 or so, based on log scale.

    If you had to BUY that lumber and add sales tax (9.75% in TN), that adds another 50 bucks or so to buying. AND if you factor in around a 20% income tax+SS tax, you'd have to EARN around $700 to have enough after tax money to actually buy an equal amount of skinner, most knotty store bought crap.

    Yields from logs 1 thru 4 left to right:

    Oltymer, Ganado, enloopious and 15 others like this.
  2. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    So, Watca building now with basically almost free lumber?
    sec_monkey, techsar and Yard Dart like this.
  3. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Got several projects need doing this coming year....new mill building for one, old one is not positioned right and the roof is slowing coming off in the wind.
  4. Bandit99

    Bandit99 Monkey+++ Site Supporter+

    TnAndy, Can you tell us what you use to turn the trees in lumber. You got me thinking...

    I got a hell've lot of trees around that I have been turning into firewood. Most of the trees are Jack Pines or Lodge Pole Pines but I am always purchasing 2x4 for simple projects around the property, for incidence, wife has tagged me to build her a greenhouse this Spring, so I'm wondering if it would behoove me to look into some sort of sawmill like you own...
    oldman11, techsar and Gator 45/70 like this.
  5. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    Chain saw saw mill! Cheapest and easiest way to convert your trees to usable lumber! Just make sure you have a good saw, like a Husquvarna or Stihl and good chains!
    BlueDuck and Gator 45/70 like this.
  6. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    I bought a Woodmizer LT40 in 1991. 34" x 20' capacity. Has a Briggs 18hp engine on it, no hydraulics. I gave $14,000 for it at the time, including a sharpening package. Today, it would bring $6-8,000 in used condition.

    Not the fastest mill on the market today, but a single guy can cut 500-1000bdft a day which adds up to quite a pile of lumber in a few weeks. Since that time, a LOT of small bandmills have come on the market.....you can spend as little as a couple thousand on a low end Harbor Freight version, or 50-75 grand on a high end version with diesel engine and all the bells and whistles.

    I'm well satisfied with mine, being all I need for homestead production, long life (cuts as well today almost 30 years later as it did the day I brought it home) and some lumber I sell. It's made me hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years in lumber I didn't have to buy, 3 rental houses, and a number of barns/pole buildings for other folks.....I can't think of another single tool I own that can match the payback ratio.
    BlueDuck, duane, Ganado and 7 others like this.
  7. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Yes.....that was my first mill. Granberg Alaskan Mill. They have their place in that you can cut huge, long beams most sawmills can't, or you can slab wood up right were the tree was felled with no skidding out. The downside is they are incredibly slow, noisy hard work. If you want a small amount of wood, go this route. But if you need 1x, you'll be flying to cut 100-200bdft/day.
  8. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    Just a few days ago , I walked away from a Woodmizer LT 15 , with a 25 horse engine . I just don't have my property set up for a sawmill , plus I really don't have enough room . But for 5500 bucks , it was real hard to let that pass on by . And it was lightly used . I'm regretting it already . :(
  9. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    Let me know if you want/need a BIG chain saw, I can still get the monster 600 cc Homlite industrial series saws! I may even know where there is a big diesel Tchumsch! This is old logging country, we still have those massive old 2 man saws sitting around!
  10. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    That sir is what is called a Passpartout here!
    oldman11 and Ura-Ki like this.
  11. Thunder5Ranch

    Thunder5Ranch Monkey+++

    Used to use the chainsaw mills and got tired of working myself to death and bought a Hud-Son bandmill and run woodmizer bands. Can do as short as 4 feet or as long as 28 feet takes about 45 seconds to zing off 1x10x12s. Biggest problem with chainsaw milling is when you sit down and figure up how many boards you turned into saw dust at the end of a day of cutting vs a band mill. Have built 4 solid post oak barns, 2 dozen hog farrowing huts 3 smaller sheds like the mill house behind the mill and two drying sheds for the lumber. Plus no shortage of people dragging their logs to me to mill for them. Never figured up exactly what all the Red Oak, Post Oak,hickory, Cherry and Cedar, rough guess would be well over $100,000 saved on the oak alone. One of the few times I told my wife it would pay for itself and actually has many times over.......... Now if I could just convince her that the new guns and ammo pay fer themselves :)

    Oddcaliber, Ganado, Bandit99 and 8 others like this.
  12. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    I have one , manual , 20 feet max length & siding cutting..
    Mine had 12 Hrs on it , 4G CDN and then bought another length section for the 20 foot rail ..

    It's a work out that keeps me pumping !!!
  13. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    If you paint the ends of the wood it will be less likely yo split and twist as it drys.
    I do this on all wood working projects and it pays off.
  14. Tully Mars

    Tully Mars Metal weldin' monkey

    Y'all kinda got me to thinking. I know where two of these types of mills are just setting out. Never gave it much though before but I do have a few oaks down out back that I had planned on just cutting up for firewood. Might have to take a drive and look at those mills..
    Gator 45/70, SB21, Ura-Ki and 3 others like this.
  15. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Mine is a 20' capacity, but they do make 6' extensions for each end (not cheap) that will stretch it to 32'. Your model runs on two tracks of angle where the head is supported on the tracks both sides if I recall, where as mine uses a box beam of something like 6x10 steel tubing with a cantilevered head (one side open).

    One the rare occasions I need something longer than 20', I've learned to "sneak" up on it by setting say a 30' log on the mill, letting 10' hang over (propped on a sawhorse), then saw as far as the track will allow (20'), then cut the slab free with a chainsaw, raise the saw head, and slide the log in with tractor (or by hand when it gets down to the last cut or so) so the extra length hangs over the other end of the saw, then finish the slab cut. Repeat for the other 3 sides.

  16. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    @TnAndy this maybe a dumb question but how long do you let them cure, I thought popular was a very wet wood and need a couple of years to cure? just curious
    Gator 45/70, Ura-Ki and oldman11 like this.
  17. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    Most hardwoods are about the same moisture content green, little more in the summer, little less in the winter, but lot of water in them in any case. Stacking on sticks, it takes 6 months or so to the inch of thickness to air dry down to 20% or less...again dries less fast in humid weather, faster in winter.

    IF using for rough framing a shed or barn, it can be used dead green with no real ill effects. You can do it even with a house, but may have to go back and cut out some pieces that warp as they dry.....you just want to make sure it's fairly dry before drywall, or you'll pop a lot of fasteners as the lumber continues to shrink.

    Using for cabinet or furniture purposes, it really needs to be in the 6-8% moisture content range, and air drying will only get it down to 15% or so unless you live in a very low humidity area. (not here) So moving into dry kiln is how you get it on down. I built a small kiln in my shop I use for that type lumber.
  18. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Hate to say it, but small bandsaw mills are one of the fallout of divorce, like boats, 4 wheelers, good guns, etc. When it all turns into a bitter fight, one member of the marriage usually tries to both "punish" and get all the money they can out of the spouse, and taking their "toys" are the way to hurt them most. Sawmills are often bought on impulse, many I have seen over the years have only a few thousand board feet thru them, and older ones are often available cheap when the male user dies, retires to a smaller home, or moves to a nursing home. I have always had friends who had one, but over the years have seen many older ones setting out in the rain with damaged or doubtful engines that were priced at pennies on the dollar. As others have stated, for an individual who lives in an area with forests, you can cut your lumber costs by about 75 % or more, and if you keep your eyes open and are willing to fix something, buy one that will both be useful and save a lot of money. I have a chainsaw mill, works well, is very cheap, and is very seldom used. Slow, lots of noise, hard to make uniform lumber, gives a very rough cut, uses a lot of gas and needs a lot of maintenance. It would not be a good survivalist tool after SHTF, but a bandsaw mill would be. Old rule was an inch a year for air dry, finish lumber set in closed in construction area, flooring in house, etc, for several weeks to "dry" to fit. But then we used to keep plastered houses heated and waited a couple weeks before they even put flooring or cabinets into the building and let them stand a few weeks to get dry. Houses did not go from a bare lot and moved into in 3 or 4 weeks in the 1940's, they took months to build.

    Next door neighbor bought new band saw mill, takes about 36 in by 20 ft log, electric start engine, electric raise and lower head, preset on head for slab thickness, leveling built in and on a trailer. Paid about $12,000 for all bells and whistles brand new and it sure does work well. He has cut about 10,000 board feet of 1 1/2 in oak planks for grade stakes and loves it. Sells grade stakes, tomatto stakes, trellises, and does well.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2019
    Gator 45/70, Ura-Ki and oldman11 like this.
  19. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    WE bought ours with the New Place... Looking forward to learning to operate it this summer.. We gots us lots of Spruce & Hemlock right next to the mill... and they need thinning...
  20. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grudge Monkey

    A better tip for sealing is to use a WAX to seal the end grain! Will keep much longer and prevent splits indefinably!
  1. TnAndy
  2. Ganado
  3. Motomom34
  4. Asia-Off-Grid
  5. TnAndy
  6. chelloveck
  7. Motomom34
  8. timberwolf50
  9. Motomom34
  10. Ganado
  11. chelloveck
  12. Gopherman
  13. Motomom34
  14. Gator 45/70
  15. CATO
    a good read How to Make Aspirin From Bark
    Thread by: CATO, Dec 13, 2011, 25 replies, in forum: Back to Basics
  16. Seacowboys
survivalmonkey SSL seal        survivalmonkey.com warrant canary