Sell trees or Mill them first

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Forum topic by BryceVTR250 posted 03-18-2010 07:23 PM 3891 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 2412 days

03-18-2010 07:23 PM

I live in Northwest Connecticut. My parents have a little over 4 and a half acres. most of which are wooded. My Dad and I took a good long walk through the woods last fall and I couldn’t believe the size and varietyof some of the trees on our property. we have some very tall, straight Beech, hickory, maple and a few oak and ashh trees. the beech are the biggest around, one, two probably 30-36” maybee bigger. all the trees have had to grow tall to get above the hemlock trees all over the place. interestingly the Hickory trees are always growing between 3 hemlocks?

Anyway my parents are older and don’t have much income coming in and me and my Dad were pondering if we could make a decent amount of money from the trees we had on property. I was curious what experience any of you have 1) selling your trees to a sawmill, or 2) cutting them down and having them milled and selling the milled lumber. what costs are involved with each, labor involved and return on trees or lumber?

this is my first real post proabably asking a lot.

6 replies so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2103 posts in 3147 days

#1 posted 03-18-2010 08:25 PM

I’m sure some could answer better that I could, but my assumption is that you won’t get much for selling trees/rough lumber. At least not compared to retail prices. Most sawyers seem to work with tree services to get lumber that would be getting cut down anyway. That probably gets them a pretty low price. Once lumber is sawn, it need to be dried properly to have any value. This would mean properly stacking, stickering, and covering it for a reasonably long period of time. This would also only result in air dried lumber. This is great for walnut, but I’m not sure if other species benefit from air drying vs kiln drying. My overall impression is that you ussually get about $1 a board foot around here for lumber that is not an exotic or the most popular furniture woods (maple, cherry, walnut, white oak). those seems to go for around $2 a board foot most of the time. I hope this helps a bit, but I also hope other can provide some input.

View HokieMojo's profile


2103 posts in 3147 days

#2 posted 03-18-2010 08:26 PM

just a couple more thoughts. the work involved will depend on whether you have clear access to the trees. if you have lumber made, it might be better to call the mill over to you. Still, stacking green wood can be very hard work, especially if you aren’t used to it. let us know what you decide to do.

View oluf's profile


260 posts in 2458 days

#3 posted 03-19-2010 07:32 AM

Don’t talk to anyone about your trees until you have contacted the State Forestry department. They will give you good advice and help you not to get robed by some lumber jockey.

-- Nils, So. Central MI. Wood is honest.Take the effort to understand what it has to tell you before you try to change it.

View lovinmrv's profile


103 posts in 2478 days

#4 posted 03-19-2010 09:07 AM

Good point, Oluf. Also try UCONN, they probably have resources that can be of service….

-- Life is a sales job.

View BryceVTR250's profile


10 posts in 2412 days

#5 posted 03-19-2010 07:08 PM

Wow thanks for the warning and thanks for the Link there is a lot of info! I will forward all that to my Parents. it looks like there is a state forestry extension office in the same town my parents live in!

View bandman's profile


79 posts in 2809 days

#6 posted 03-24-2010 04:58 AM

As a sawyer, I typically buy logs from local farmers, and pay fair and reasonable prices (market values) for the log material I purchase. I would agree with the comments above to have a forester review the material as well as help estimate a reasoanble stumpage value (standing value) on the timber for your region. Timber buying practices and ethics can vary widely from area to area. I’d also recommend that if the logs are cut you try to minimize the damage to the surrounding woods from the logging activities or cut selectively, to preserve the next generation of trees coming up. Prior to turning anyone loose on your land, have a signed agrement, and make sure you understand the cutting and transprotation methods that will be used for the logs and the impact they may have on the land and surrounding forest. Prices paid for logs can vary widely with the species of tree, as well as the grade of the log. Remember, sawing is a value added process, and each step the material takes including cutting, sawing, and potentially kiln drying, and finally surfacing and sanding, all ads value
to the wood material with each step.

-- Phil

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