How to Structure Deal on Forest Wood?

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Forum topic by FarmerintheWoods posted 04-11-2017 07:42 PM 653 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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36 posts in 354 days

04-11-2017 07:42 PM

Late last fall, I sold a couple dozen Black Walnut trees as standing timber. The pictures show the leftovers from the logging.

The first pic is of trunks of smaller walnut trees that were in the way of harvesting the big ones. There’s a log in there that could be spalted.

The second pic is just one sample of branch wood, there’s lots of it, and I’m guessing there’s a lot of chatoyance/figure to be found in there. All told, there’s more than a lifetime’s amount of wood there for all the woodworking I’d ever manage, and to (cringe) heat the house in winter.

Thing is, I have subsistence-level cash flow and a very small shop, but I’d like to get a fair amount of usable lumber out of some deal that involves—perhaps—someone with a portable band saw mill and someone (or a dozen of them) who will basically barter lumber for the cost of milling.

Or something like that. Any and all suggestions and ideas are welcome.

The logs:

Some branches:

11 replies so far

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3273 days

#1 posted 04-11-2017 08:50 PM

Some of the branches could be sawed into crotch lumber or slabs. the rest can be cut into turning blocks. The logs will make a lot of great lumber. I don’t know where you are but put an ad in craigs list for a portable saw mill to split the lumber with you. There should be several available for a deal like that.

View TungOil's profile


841 posts in 400 days

#2 posted 04-11-2017 09:13 PM

Have you measured the diameter of the logs at the small end? The guy I use has a Woodmizer (I think). He has advised me that the logs should be no less that 8” at the small end to be worth milling. By the time he squares up the log anything smaller than that and you end up with nothing. Something to consider when you find someone with a mill.

Also, at least here in PA, there is a walnut fungus that is preventing the sawmills from milling or selling walnut that is not kiln dried. Not sure where you are or if that might impact you. Something to consider/look into.

-- The optimist says "the glass is half full". The pessimist says "the glass is half empty". The engineer says "the glass is twice as big as it needs to be"

View dhazelton's profile


2687 posts in 2202 days

#3 posted 04-11-2017 09:32 PM

I’m not familiar with logging practices but it seems to me that they shouldn’t have taken down those trees and somehow worked around them. But that’s in the past at this point.

View gargey's profile


917 posts in 681 days

#4 posted 04-11-2017 09:58 PM

This deal likely skirts the edges of worth-it-y-ness.

View avsmusic1's profile


205 posts in 590 days

#5 posted 04-12-2017 01:06 AM

I have run into a couple of guys in my area that would mill up good walnut for 50% of the yield. It wouldn’t surprise me a bit if you had some similar nibbles

View Lazyman's profile (online now)


1693 posts in 1292 days

#6 posted 04-12-2017 02:43 AM

You could also cut some of them in to turning blanks, especially the crotches and sell those on Craig’s list. You might check to see if there are any turning clubs near you that would be interested in buying some. You could also ask them if they are interested in buying some of the logs from you too.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View splintergroup's profile


1873 posts in 1127 days

#7 posted 04-12-2017 02:24 PM

No walnut trees around here and the local price just jumped from $5/bf to $10. Personally I’d cut those remains into 2-3 foot logs and resaw them on my bandsaw. The small pieces that this process would yield comprise 90% of my walnut use.

A lot of work, but ya gotta use what you have available 8^)

View Jack Lewis's profile

Jack Lewis

245 posts in 983 days

#8 posted 04-12-2017 03:03 PM

Why did my mama have me so far away from walnut trees? Damn I hate the desert.

-- "Now we are getting no where, thanks to me"

View FarmerintheWoods's profile


36 posts in 354 days

#9 posted 04-12-2017 06:43 PM

Maybe this info might change the calculation of structuring the deal.

There’s a company with a portable sawmill that charges $65/hour, starting when they park the mill, ending when they leave. The price includes getting the wood onto the mill, which either involves a half-dozen Olympic-class weight-lifters, or some other sorts of equipment.

I estimate that the pile of logs is 700 board feet if the sapwood is subtracted. I’ve read, though, that sapwood comes with heartwood like ‘you take the tail with the hide.’

My personal interest would be more with the crotchwood, etc., the stuff that traditional loggers don’t want, so it’s sort of trash vs. treasure and beauty in the eye of the beholder. But to get to that wood takes lots of chainsaw work.

Another variable: There are people with portable sawmills, and there is a very well-attended woodworker group, in this neck of the woods. Is it best to approach a sawmill company, and say, who do you know, or approach the woodworker group, and say, who’s up for some wood dealing?

View Davevand's profile


51 posts in 741 days

#10 posted 04-12-2017 07:10 PM

Just looking at most of the logs, they are not straight so you will either end up with very little usable lumber or a bunch of short lumber.

View FarmerintheWoods's profile


36 posts in 354 days

#11 posted 04-12-2017 09:07 PM

Just looking at most of the logs, they are not straight so you will either end up with very little usable lumber or a bunch of short lumber.

- Davevand

They only bought and paid for the straight stuff

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