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Selling Your Standing Timber?

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Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby Blondie » Sun Mar 12, 2017 2:13 am

After much searching I finally found a parcel of land that's manageable & affordable for me. Looks like the deal should close.

The parcel is heavily forrested, mostly white pines and I want clear about an acre. I need someone who knows what they're doing but not sure I need a professional forrester for such a small job?

Secondly, is it possible to work a deal with the sawmill where I can get either some of my own boards back or their dried/finished boards in stock for framing?

Is this practical or should I scrap the romantic notion of having my own timber to use for my home, chuck the idea and head for Home Depot?

In waaaayyy over this City Girl's head.
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby rickdun » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:31 am

Blondie wrote:After much searching I finally found a parcel of land that's manageable & affordable for me. Looks like the deal should close.

The parcel is heavily forrested, mostly white pines and I want clear about an acre. I need someone who knows what they're doing but not sure I need a professional forrester for such a small job?

Secondly, is it possible to work a deal with the sawmill where I can get either some of my own boards back or their dried/finished boards in stock for framing?

Is this practical or should I scrap the romantic notion of having my own timber to use for my home, chuck the idea and head for Home Depot?

In waaaayyy over this City Girl's head.


Blondie, I had timber cut on the farm some 25 years ago this is what I did. I checked with 4 different mills, all small mills, 1 of which was an amish mill. I choose the amish mill for dollar value and time to cut it, they gave me more money and did it in half the time, plus they were more dependable. The amish cut all the timber, made arrangements to have it taken to their mill to cut, etc..

The deal I made with the amish was to give me a price for the lumber (red oak) and then deduct the price for 1500 board feet for me that was cut, for my use to put in my living room.

It was more convient for me as I already had the trees and the middle man was cut out. Now, if you want/need the lumber right now, go to lowes/home depot. It takes time for wood to cure correctly. My lumber I got, I took to another mill to be kiln dried and then four sided planed and tung and grooved, because I wanted it right now to remodel the living room. This was an added expense and would have been cheaper if I went to lowes, but it's my lumber in my living room with my labor to put it there and nobody can take that away from me and it does put a smile on my face.

It won't cost you anything but your time to have a lumber company look at it and give you a price for what you have with a deal of keeping some of it. Then if you don't like the deal, go to lowes/home depot.

OH, and congratulations on you purchase.
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby ajax727 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:50 am

Ask around to see if someone in the area has a portable sawmill , if you find one they will come to you and saw what you want . Is the track hardwood oaks and such or softwood pine and such .
Or you could buy a small band mill yourself new or used cut up the timber like you want and then just sell the band mill .
The timber would still have to be stacked correctly air dried or kiln dried . you also can buy a small planner use it and then resell it .
I owned a sawmill for 18 years and worked at one from 1967 on and off till 1999 .
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby Blondie » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:16 am

Thanks guys!

Rickdun, I think there is an Amish sawmill nearby. Therd's a cabinet maker, furniture builder and two homebuilders in their community here so I'm betting on a sawmill here. I agree, it's my first choice. I don't need boards for awhile. Deal han't closed so I'm in the planning stages.

Ajax, I read about portable sawmills and I'll ask if that's an option since it's only an acre and the logs don't have to be moved far. I know cut timber shouldn't sit long and I has to be dried properly.

My thought is if there isn't enough suitable framing timber (whitre pine is soft) that I could negotiate for framing boards they already have,
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby Fullmoon » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:25 am

As a general rule, white pine isn't used for framing materials. Douglas fir is the standard for structural members with Sitka Spruce coming in second. Doug fir is more flexible and will carry more weight. Framing lumber is supposed to be green when a structure is being built. If you dry it you can't nail the members together without the wood splitting and you will bend lots of nails trying to frame with dried wood. Dried lumber has a tendency to warp and twist making assembly harder. After assembly, green framing members will dry out over time and take a set and remain stable. Hardwoods need to be cured for cabinet making, stair treads etc. Moisture content in kiln dried lumber should be 10 to 12%. Most local building codes and inspectors will want to see a lumber grade stamp on all framing materials and sheet stock. Framing materials must be graded and stamped as number 2 or better to pass inspection. You might want to check with your U.P. county building code for specs and whether or not you can use your home grown lumber. A shed or outbuilding may be OK to build with home sawn timber but any building for human occupation must be built to code with approved lumber. A portable Wood Mizer band saw or a Mobile Dimension circular saw can be towed into your property very easily, set up, and your sawn lumber will be inexpensively cut to whatever dimension you want, usually up to 24' lengths. The leftover cants and scraps can be cut into firewood for your woodstove. The band saws cut a narrower kerf leaving less saw dust to clean up and being more efficient. I just paid $340 per thousand board feet to a Mobile Dimension saw operator to mill some 1x12 fir siding and it came out beautiful, clear wood with no knots, a number one clear grade lumber. Here in Oregon this is a common practice. I have built houses in remote locations using materials sawn on site. Had a 6x16" ridge beam cut from a large diameter fir tree. After the owner moved in, a pitch pocket started dripping sticky pitch onto his coffee table, contaminating his beer mug and changing the flavor of his favorite brew. This continued for over a year so a better tree should have been used to eliminate this unforeseen problem.
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby anita » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:37 am

My father had some timber (cherry) harvested on his farm years ago, I know he chose the trees, but beyond that I don't know much.

However, I'm just throwing out a word of caution. In my area you are only permitted to cut a certain percentage of trees down, and only those smaller than a certain circumference. I'm sure this isn't the case everywhere, but just make sure you know what the local laws are. Someone in this area cut down a number of trees on their property (after purchasing it) and got a fairly large fine. I was speaking to someone in my county, but a half hour from here, and he said there was no regulation in his township about taking down trees.

I know, stupid, but it's important to know what the local rules are so you don't get caught.
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby angie_nrs » Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:34 pm

I think you'd be much better off just buying the lumber than trying to use your own. It's probably going to be cheaper and you'll run into way less problems. As mentioned, to meet code, you will need the stamped lumber, which your own wood won't have. I agree that the white pine is structurally not very strong and therefore not typically used for framing. However, it would make nice paneling that you could use inside.

Something you might want to consider is having a forester give you an estimate on your property if you have a decent sized parcel. Not clear cut, but select cut. I'd definitely get a second opinion before agreeing to the cut. I'm familiar with the markets up here and right now the markets are not good, although the market for white pine is fairly steady.....unfortunately it's just not that valuable. If you have popular or hard maple it might be worth it to wait the markets out. Most buyers are not going to bother looking at anything less than 10 acres as it's just not worth the effort on their part to move all the equipment. Some smaller (hand cut) loggers might be interested but definitely do your research on them. Call local mills and truckers for their opinions, and look at past jobs they have done so you don't get fleeced. I know of a few that I would never allow to set foot on my property.

If you're only interested in clearing an acre, you're best bet is to hire an excavator to do the work and ask them to set the logs aside. You could then hire someone with a portable sawmill to come out and cut it, depending upon how much they charge. But then you'd have to have it dried and processed. I would recommend that if you have a way to transport it to a mill, you should go that route so they can cut and dry it for you and also turn it into paneling. That way you drop it off, they do the work, and you pick it up ready to go. Again you'd have to do your own cost analysis to see if it is worth it. You might have more money and trouble into it than it's worth. Sometimes the easiest thing to do is ask the excavator if they are interested in buying it on site or contact a local mill or trucker to see if they will buy it where it sits. There's likely not going to be much there with only an acre cut though.....but it depends on the specific piece of property.

Most of the time people overestimate the value of their wood. That said, the only way to know for sure is to contact someone who can give you an honest estimate.
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby JayJay » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:13 pm

Scrap your idea.
(1)From 40+ years of experience married to a logger, one acre ain't enough for a professional logger to mess with...remember, they have to haul all that equipment from their location.
(2)Go to Lowe's for your lumber.

Note: Logger of 40+ years agreed with my post.

(((I choose the amish mill for dollar value and time to cut it, they gave me more money and did it in half the time)))
Note: around here, those mills are family-owned. They don't have labor to worry about. Experience.
Amish mill owner friend and associate of my husband log buyer.
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby Blondie » Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:12 pm

I have to check with the twp to see what permits may be required.

I only want to clear an acre so I can get my bearings as to what I want to do eventually. I know the timber may not be worth much and I just may end up with a big supply of firewood so I'm not expecting to make $$.

This is beyond what I can accomplish without paid contractors.
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby anita » Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:31 pm

I think you want to burn hardwoods in the house. The softwoods throw a lot of creosote.
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby handyman777 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:47 am

Congratulations on your find..!!!
Once the trees are removed, STUMPS have to go to; not all loggers remove stumps, maybe they can include that in the cost; or find an area thats not so heavily treed to build, and save that wood to burn, like stated above,soft wood is not good to burn inside (maybe in emergencies)

I know a person who did this mid-michigan, he made a few dollars but not alot.
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby Fullmoon » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:20 am

White pine could be used as firewood. It throws a fair amount of heat but does not burn as long as hardwood does. A mixture of white pine and hickory or ash or even maple would be a good way to use up the pine. If the pine has been left to dry out for a year it will burn good without much creosote build up in the chimney pipe. Your chimney should be cleaned every year anyway to avoid a chimney fire. I have 2 jack pine blow downs I am cutting up for next years firewood and will mix it with Madrone hardwood in the wood stove. Better to use it for firewood than leave it to rot on the ground as I can't sell it due to low pine log prices.
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby Gunns » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:57 pm

I had a Texas Forest service rep out to my place. Said I had to clean up the forest and let it mature for 15 more years due to all the hardwoods in it.

Also I have about an acre of trees that are ready to harvest and NO one wants to even look at it. They say it has to be many acres to be profitable around here.

You could advertise standing firewood sale. You could mark the trees you want gone and let people come cut them down for firewood. You would have to make sure they clean up too.
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby ajax727 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 8:32 pm

It is simple if you want to sell the timber , a smart move would be to find a company that will walk over the track and he will tell you how many tons of trees it will produce and the market value .
Timber buyers will give you a price so you get a check if you sell but beware timber buyer gets a cut and the logger gets a cut . so get several bids sealed bids ! , just don't get ripped off .
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Re: Selling Your Standing Timber?

Postby angie_nrs » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:33 pm

The following comments do not address the OP's original post, but I wanted to add a few things for anyone who stumbles on this thread later as it is a good topic.

Here's a few recommendations for anyone planning on selling their standing timber.

Definitely get at least 3 timber buyers to come and look at your property. Don't automatically go with the buyer that gives you the highest price. If you do, you may regret it. Do your homework if you don't want to get fleeced. How long has this buyer been in business? Do they have proofs of insurance (liability and work comp) that their insurance company can send you? Do they do a proper cleanup.....do they cut the tops or chip the tops? Can you see the last 3 jobs they have done? Do they have recommendations or can you talk to the owners of the last 3 jobs? Do they own their own equipment? Are they SFI (sustainable forestry) certified? Will they market all the wood or just certain species or types? What will they pay you for each type? Ask them if waiting for your timber to mature or for the markets to bounce back is a good idea. A reputable forester may very well tell you it's best to wait a few years.

The reason I say to have their insurance company send the insurance proofs is that there have been crooks that white out the expiration dates and enter their own and then send you copies of their "fake" proofs. If it comes directly from the insurance company it will be valid. A reputable logger/forester will have no problem having their insurance company send you proofs. Note that Amish mills will not have comp, which is one of the reasons they may make you a better offer, as comp is very expensive for loggers and truckers. But, many of the Amish mills won't cut or truck your wood either....they contract that out to loggers and truckers. However, you don't want to have a logger or trucker (without comp) on your property and get hurt. If they don't have comp, guess who's insurance they are going to go after? So, if the logger or trucker is contracted out, contact those companies and get proofs of comp or have the mill do that for you.

If you decide on a logger, ask them to give you scale sheets of all the loads leaving your property every day or week . Make sure you know the difference between pulp wood, bolt wood and veneer.....listed least valuable to most valuable. The veneer will likely have individual barcodes (after they have been bought) put on them as they are very valuable. It's not uncommon for landowners to not have much, if any, veneer. If you do have veneer, you should contact 2-3 veneer buyers and have them come out and bid on it. They will do this for even a couple of veneer logs as they can be very valuable. But, keep an eye out in the difference between bolt wood (that mills can use for boards) and pulp wood (that mills can use for paper pulp or particle board) or is used for firewood. I've seen crook loggers who will give a landowner a scale sheet for wood and tell them it's pulp wood but then take it to a bolt wood mill. Granted, this doesn't happen often....but I have seen it happen. The best bet for you is to get a copy of the scale sheet from the place that actually buys the wood. Most of the time the trucker will get a slip when the drop the load off. Most mills do not buy both pulp and bolts so just the mill name on the scale ticket will tell you what kind of wood it is. That's not always possible, but it's worth asking for. I would also set up a trail cam so you can see the loads leaving the property. You can pretty much tell what kind of wood it is just by looking at the side of the log truck and trailer. Plus, you can make sure you know how many loads have left your property each day.

Also when a logger/forester gives you an estimate on your forest.....keep in mind....it is an estimate. Anyone that absolutely guarantees you a specific dollar amount, I'd be very weary about. There was a local crook around here who did that and he would pay half up front. The landowners would never see another penny. Their property was ransacked and he was gone. When the landowners tried to go after him legally, they found out they were last in a long line of others and there was nothing to go after. He gambled the money away and didn't own a single piece of equipment and had zero net worth. His "contracts" for his 'LLC company' were worthless. He moved on to another area after about 5 years or so when the law started coming after him. Not surprisingly, he was difficult to pin down. I don't think he ever went to jail b/c he set up the LLC, but I really don't know what the end result was. I wouldn't be surprised if he is in another state doing the same thing he did here. He was FULL of excuses of why the checks weren't coming in. He'd keep telling the landowners he just needed to wait to get paid from the mill before he could pay them so the landowners would give him time. He originally got landowners contact information at the court house. He would go through the plat book, find those parcels that were large, and send the landowners an offer in the mail. It was amazing how many of those landowners contacted HIM back and gave him the go ahead. :shakeno: :thumbdown:

Clearly the larger your piece of property is and the longer amount of time that is has been untouched, along with the species of the wood will have an impact on how much your timber is worth. It never hurts to contact friends or neighbors about their experiences with past cuttings. What would they do differently? Were they happy with the job? You can never have too many opinions. Call local mills and ask questions. Call local log truck drivers and ask who they would recommend if it was their property? Contact local timber or logging organizations and ask them what their recommendations are for folks in your area. If the folks had done any of these things who dealt with the crook I was talking about above, they never would have gotten taken for a ride. A few phone calls may not be all it takes to get the very best logger, but it will prevent you from using someone who has a bad reputation.
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