value of our old rough-cut cherry?

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Forum topic by ethanjrt posted 05-29-2012 07:06 AM 8107 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1613 days

05-29-2012 07:06 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cherry sale price

Hi all,

I’m a newcomer to these forums (and wood in general), so please bear with me here. Basically, 20 years ago or so my dad went into our backyard in upstate NY (then ~100 acres… ah the good old days!), chopped down a cherry tree, and cut it up, planning to start a few projects with it. We brought the wood with us when we moved to CT, but my dad’s now looking to move to a smaller place with little-to-no backyard in a nearby town, which leaves us with a whole bunch of cherry that we’re hoping to sell.

I’ve looked around online and found prices ranging from $2.40 (, under “Everyday Low Prices”) to $6.00 ( to even less (at this very site! So, while I do have the contact information for a bunch of local woodworking clubs/schools, I’m hesitant to get in touch because I’m not even sure where to start negotiating. (I did talk to one local school, and they basically told me, “Go research the retail price, then get back to us and offer us half so we can make a profit.” Which may be reasonable, but wasn’t very helpful because I’m stuck on the “research the retail price” portion.)

So I’m throwing this out here to ask all of you: How much can I hope to get for this cherry?

The specifics: The cherry was stickered and has essentially been air drying for 20 years. There are some minor cracks on the edges of boards, while a few boards have larger cracks. In terms of amount, we have 239 board feet if thickness is ignored, 289 we take thickness into account (e.g., a 6×72x3” plank would be 9 board ft by this measurement), in a variety of dimensions. I’ve included all of our measurements, which we took this afternoon, in this public doc: To get a better idea of what it looks like, here are some photos we took a few weeks ago: I realize the wood looks pretty dull in those photos, and since you all are woodworkers you can probably tell that it’s been mixed in with plywood and some other stuff (hemlock?); but we used a belt sander today on the edges to determine which planks were cherry before we measured everything, and when we put a few of the planks through a planer they came out looking absolutely gorgeous. We haven’t taken the entire pile completely apart yet, but the only major issue I can see is that there might be some water damage to the bottom-most planks of each stack where leaves have collected.

So: any thoughts? Suggestions about who might be interested? (As long as it’s local; we don’t have our own trailer to transport the wood any more.) Would any of you be interested?

Thanks in advance for your time and advice!


6 replies so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2136 posts in 2532 days

#1 posted 05-29-2012 09:20 AM

Ethan, here is a copy of the grading rules for North American lumber. Part of the reason why you are seeing a variation in pricing is because there is a variety of grades and each grade of lumber has a price that is commonly associated with it. I would recommend comparing your boards with the guidelines outlined within. Measure the board feet of lumber that falls within each grade. From there, go to a few websites of hardwood lumber dealers and take an average of pricing of grade and size and apply it to your board feel calculations. This will give you a decent estimate to give the school or to throw out there for potential buyers.

Hope this helps and welcome to lumberjocks.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View WDHLT15's profile


1565 posts in 1900 days

#2 posted 05-29-2012 12:14 PM

I sell it for $2.50 – $3.50 per BF for 4/4 based on grade. 8/4 is $4.00 – $5.00 based on grade. Given that the sapwood probably contains some bug damage after 20 years and the potential of some water damage, something in the $2.00 – $2.50 BF range would seem fair. You don’t want to give it away, but it in not worth the same as fresh sawn kilned dried lumber that has not sat in a stack 20 years.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View woodworker59's profile


560 posts in 1625 days

#3 posted 06-02-2012 01:12 PM

I live in CT and would be interested in taking that cherry off your hands.. if your interested would love to come take a look at it… you could PM here or reach me at or my website.. thanks.. I am up in the northeast corner of the state, but have no problem traveling for wood.. thanks.. Steve(aka) papa


View kayakdude's profile


97 posts in 2200 days

#4 posted 01-03-2014 07:48 PM

i can take some of that cherry off your hands if you still have it

-- kayakdude

View Nicholas Hall's profile

Nicholas Hall

350 posts in 1530 days

#5 posted 01-03-2014 09:48 PM

Most of your wood is probably graded #1 Common. Very little little will be select or better (20% or so). Also, bdft without thickness is like saying cubic feet without height; it’s meaningless. Apart from the semantics, thickness reallymatters. The 12/4 boards in your spreadsheet are worth at least double the 4/4 stuff. The 2/4 bds aren’t worth much at all. By the time it’s planed, there is barely enough left to veneer with.

If your selling to a school, offer them everything but the 12/4 for $2.00/bdft. They’ll probably go for this price. That gives you roughly $450 for the skinny stuff. List the four 12/4 boards on craigslist for $5.00 per bdft as a single lot. Plane the best face of each board and take well lit, high resolution photos. List that for $6.00 per bdft in the 4 craigslist around you and the phone should start ringing pretty quick. 12/4 cherry is pretty hard to find. I’ve got 2500bdft of hardwood in my lumberrack but not 1 stick of 12/4 cherry. Somebody out there is going to want it enough to drive for it. Never deliver (they’ll start haggling as soon as you show up.)That gives you about $300 for the 12/4. Now you turned a pile of wood into $750.

Anyways, that’s what I would do. Best of luck.

-- Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. -Groucho Marx

View ethanjrt's profile


2 posts in 1613 days

#6 posted 01-14-2014 05:59 PM

kayakdude thank you for your interest. Unfortunately this is a pretty old topic, and we sold our house almost a year ago; we weren’t able to find a buyer for the wood, so we kept a little but got rid of the majority. Nicholas Hall, thanks for the advice; I’ll keep it in mind in case I ever run into a situation like this again.

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