|Forum topic by Tennessee||posted 06-13-2015 09:05 PM||1117 views||0 times favorited||11 replies|
06-13-2015 09:05 PM
A few weeks ago we had a forum topic by lumberyardguy on the view of a lumber mill from the owner side. It was great, and I personally learned a lot.
I think I actually responded that my area was OK, and that I had a mill close to me that always had nice walnut and it seemed to pop up often enough with the local bandsaw guys.
Ironically, I started to run out of walnut about a week after that posting, so I started to look around.
So I turned to my secondary source, Chattanooga Hardwoods. They were happy to sell me walnut, kiln dried in two grades, for $9.50 and $11.50 a bd. ft. What? Those are Woodcraft prices.
So in desperation, I started looking at the bandsaw folks around me who cut the green logs. With the Great Smokies right on my doorstep, there are a LOT of these guys around. After a week, I found exactly one that had walnut, buried in the Smokies, about an hour from my house. He wanted $2.50 green off the log, and had exactly two walnut logs. I bit. Good thing I did. I get out there today, and he has the two logs, which are about 14” each. One was only 7 foot long, the other was about 15 feet long. But he had just burned his last blade on a dirty log since he didn’t have a debarker, and although he tried to cut the short log, the blade walked too much to be of any use. Apologies all around, since he knew I had driven at least an hour.
Then he tells me he has walnut and maple ricked on a set of racks behind his shop, ten years off the log, and he would sell me whatever I wanted for $2.50 a bd. ft. Maybe he felt bad, but I think I was his first customer in quite a while. WAY out in the boonies, old saw, old house, run down everything. I think he needed the money.
But when we got to the lumber, I ended up with 58 bd. ft. of walnut that I would take, rough cut 4/4, most of it not split or cracked, and another 75 bd. ft. of really nice maple, and just one board of cherry that was beautiful but only 7 bd. ft. I also found a wonderful 8 foot long piece of 10” wide 8/4 planed to 7/4 AAA flame maple, a little over 12 board feet, which I obviously threw in the mix. All in all, I bought 141 bd. ft. of walnut, maple and a tiny bit of cherry for $300 and considered myself very lucky.
He also told me a strange story that I do not know if I believe. He said some of his fellows that cut in the Smokies have heard about people taking up helicopters, identifying walnut trees, especially the big ones. Then, a few days later, the trees are gone.
So the burning question is: Is walnut spiking in price where you live? Because I think I got really lucky today and it might be the last time I ever see walnut at that price.
-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com