ArboristSite.com Sponsors


Firewood vs chainsaw mill for profit?

Robert96

Robert96

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
22
Location
Canada
If this is in the wrong spot on the forum my apologies.

I sell firewood for a hobby and I was thinking about getting into chainsaw milling. I will only csm wood I get. No milling other people's logs or traveling to houses. I have no experience milling yet just doing research to see if it would be worth the time, money, extra equipment, etc. Or stick to firewood. I would still sell firewood but if a log that was worth milling came along I would mill it.

I would mill cookies/slices and live edge. No dimensional lumber. I dont plan on drying the milled wood.

Is it worth it given the above information?

Is there a large price difference for green and dried mill wood?

Is a log worth more milled or firewood?

Im trying to maximize profit. I have more questions and research to do just looking for your opinions. My plan is to free hand cut some small stuff and see if it sells because I dont know the market for it in Ontario yet before i commit to purchasing equipment.
 
cantoo

cantoo

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Messages
4,597
Location
North of Goderich, Ontario, Canada
Join the Woodland Mills site and spend a few days reading. I have a csm and have only cut 3 or 4 small logs with it. I would not want to do it often. I also have a Woodland Mills 130 and have cut maybe 75 or so mostly cedar logs with it. Much easier on the body. I have access to 1000's of ash trees but they are dying so quickly that I've been making firewood out of most of it. Not sure where you are in Ontario but there are lots of guys making money selling slabs but I'm betting that most are drying them or building items with them to maximize profits.
 

Attachments

  • 20210611_112119.jpg
    20210611_112119.jpg
    3 MB · Views: 22
Robert96

Robert96

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
22
Location
Canada
Join the Woodland Mills site and spend a few days reading. I have a csm and have only cut 3 or 4 small logs with it. I would not want to do it often. I also have a Woodland Mills 130 and have cut maybe 75 or so mostly cedar logs with it. Much easier on the body. I have access to 1000's of ash trees but they are dying so quickly that I've been making firewood out of most of it. Not sure where you are in Ontario but there are lots of guys making money selling slabs but I'm betting that most are drying them or building items with them to maximize profits.
I have thought about building tables etc aswell. Unfortunately I dont have space for a band saw mill and equipment to move the logs.

I'm around the newmarket area. I will check them out.

Thanks
 

J D

ArboristSite Guru
Joined
Apr 19, 2020
Messages
679
Location
NZ
Is it worth it given the above information?
I'd say so
Is there a large price difference for green and dried mill wood?
Sometimes... it depends on the wood, & the customer. Generally speaking the closer to it's finished state you can get it the more your slab will be worth, but the more you finish it the less practical it becomes for someone else to make it "what they want".
It takes time, space, & planning to season slabs & this is definitely worth something... Add to that, most people are looking to buy something they can work with right away & will pay more accordingly. On the other hand people (especially the uneducated) will want to pay as little as possible for what "appears" to be the same thing (seasoned/unseasoned). So if you sell green wood you need to make it very clear how & why it needs drying, & what may happen while it dries (warping, cracking, shrinking, etc) to avoid issues down the track.
Is a log worth more milled or firewood?
I'd say at least 5x as much milled... But it's probably 5x harder to sell too.
My plan is to free hand cut some small stuff and see if it sells because I dont know the market for it in Ontario yet before i commit to purchasing equipment.
What do you currently have in the way of saws etc? Maybe get a cheap Chinese mill to start with & work out the kinks.
You say you don't plan on drying the wood, but you will have to fillet & stack it after milling it or you may as well be making firewood.
I try to mill a variety of different size/thickness slabs & they season while waiting for their prospective buyers. If you can season the slabs & develop a relationship with your local woodworking shops you can then offer further finishing to your customers preference
 
Robert96

Robert96

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
22
Location
Canada
I'd say so

Sometimes... it depends on the wood, & the customer. Generally speaking the closer to it's finished state you can get it the more your slab will be worth, but the more you finish it the less practical it becomes for someone else to make it "what they want".
It takes time, space, & planning to season slabs & this is definitely worth something... Add to that, most people are looking to buy something they can work with right away & will pay more accordingly. On the other hand people (especially the uneducated) will want to pay as little as possible for what "appears" to be the same thing (seasoned/unseasoned). So if you sell green wood you need to make it very clear how & why it needs drying, & what may happen while it dries (warping, cracking, shrinking, etc) to avoid issues down the track.

I'd say at least 5x as much milled... But it's probably 5x harder to sell too.

What do you currently have in the way of saws etc? Maybe get a cheap Chinese mill to start with & work out the kinks.
You say you don't plan on drying the wood, but you will have to fillet & stack it after milling it or you may as well be making firewood.
I try to mill a variety of different size/thickness slabs & they season while waiting for their prospective buyers. If you can season the slabs & develop a relationship with your local woodworking shops you can then offer further finishing to your customers preference
026 16" bar and ms362cm 20" bar. There are acouple large used stihl saws online for a decent price I had my eyes on. I was planning on an amazon mill for now. Largest log I've gotten is about 25" big stuff is kinda rare for me.
 
merc_man

merc_man

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Jan 10, 2010
Messages
1,555
Location
ontario
026 16" bar and ms362cm 20" bar. There are acouple large used stihl saws online for a decent price I had my eyes on. I was planning on an amazon mill for now. Largest log I've gotten is about 25" big stuff is kinda rare for me.
The princess auto chainsaw mill works good too. I have the 36 inch modle.

Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
 

J D

ArboristSite Guru
Joined
Apr 19, 2020
Messages
679
Location
NZ
026 16" bar and ms362cm 20" bar. There are acouple large used stihl saws online for a decent price I had my eyes on. I was planning on an amazon mill for now. Largest log I've gotten is about 25" big stuff is kinda rare for me.
If you want to stick with Stihl I'd be looking for a 660 or something similar with a couple of bars ~28" & 36" to go on a 36" mill frame (you will loose about 6" to the mill). That would give you a shorter bar to suit most your logs & the ability to mill upto 30" if the situation presented itself.
 
Robert96

Robert96

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Sep 11, 2020
Messages
22
Location
Canada
The princess auto chainsaw mill works good too. I have the 36 inch modle.

Sent from my SM-G950W using Tapatalk
Is it holding up well? I've seen those and currently out of stock

If you want to stick with Stihl I'd be looking for a 660 or something similar with a couple of bars ~28" & 36" to go on a 36" mill frame (you will loose about 6" to the mill). That would give you a shorter bar to suit most your logs & the ability to mill upto 30" if the situation presented itself.
Preferably stihl. I'm more familiar with models etc and easier to get parts
 
Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane

AS Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
3,038
Location
Saugatuck, Michigan
I bought some rough sawn cherry this week, air dried two years under a roof, stickers and strapped, milled 1" thick.
Very nice stuff.
No idea how this guy can make money with a very small scale operation.
$2.50 a board foot.
The flip side for me is I will have a lot of time in it, and some of it, a small portion, is not usable due to bark and end checks.
 
Huskybill

Huskybill

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
7,190
Location
Northeast
Cutting and selling seasoned firewood you have to hustle. My wood was seasoned one year. So example I sold 50+ cords and replaced it with green 50+ cords for next year. As any guy cutting firewood with no skidded you need to go off road with the truck to the wood. I managed to save up $5 k and built a 4x4 one ton truck, with locking diffs. Now we were off road anywhere up to the wood. That’s my truck in the pics. Six super swamper tires, 14” lift.
 
Top