Cost of cutting lumber with portable mill?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by TnTnTn, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. TnTnTn

    TnTnTn Well-Known Member

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    What would be a typical charge for having a mobile band saw mill saw my own oak logs into planks and posts? I would have the logs gathered to a central location where a mill could set up. I would supply the labor for removing/stacking the planks as they are cut. Thanks for any info regarding custom sawing practices and prices. Volume would probably 3000 bd ft or so. TnTnTn
     
  2. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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  3. MoBarger

    MoBarger Goat's Milk soap for sale

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    You will find some charge by the hour and others by bf. Check with mills around your area for the "going rate," and when you find a sawyer, compare those rates. Some charge a set up fee, or fees if blades get ruined by hardware. Some charge extra if they have to stop to get mud off the logs. Some don't even want you there and will bring their own help to unload and stack. And even others might charge you a little more for stickers. Just things to watch out for.;)
    Good luck! woodweb is a good start.
     
  4. tnborn

    tnborn Well-Known Member

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    I have a buddy whose husband is a logger. He is going to start sawing up 2x4's etc. He is picking up his portable mill this weekend. I have someone saw up 2x4's ,etc with a portable saw mill and it was so much cheaper than going to lowes and buying it. Better quality too. The rough sawed lumber gets little attention from carpenter bees but the pressure treated the bees love and bore to the get shot with the 22.
    Know the logger and who is running the saw mill because you can get ripped quick :grump: Usually take half of money for cutting the logs if logging.
    tnborn
     
  5. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    $150-$170/thousand depending on the sawyer, and the region...
     
  6. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    i recently payed $35 set up fee, about $35 every time the blade got ruined and about $55 an hour. I supplied the help to bring the logs to the mill and remove and stack the lumber. (Bring a cant hook/log roller, a hatchet to cut muddy places off the logs, a chainsaw, ear guards, blaes of hay if the ground gets muddy, a pair of gloves so your hands don't dry and crack from handling fresh lumber all day) We also had my backhoe there to sort through the pile for the best logs and put them near the mill. You can get by without one, but hav ethe logs all lined up with the best, largest diameter straightest ones going first. It was 2 days of difficult work and it cost a lot of money. In order to get the most for your money, have large diameter straight logs. Also, I can't stress enough how REALLY REALLY helpful it is to do your homework beforehand and know exactly what you want and have the list in your pocket. the sawyer said that he couldn't make us 2x4's for as cheap as we could buy them at a lumber yard. He suggested we use his services to get specialty and large diameter stuff.
    I got all 1x8's for siding. It was only sort of worth the effort. My neighbor got 2x8's and 4x8's for a deck and it was well worth the money for him.
    ray
     
  7. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    Rates for sawing logs into boards range from $150 - $200/thousand board feet or from $25 - $60/hour.

    IMHO, if you want 2 x 4's or 2 x 6's, hiring a portable sawmill is a poor choice and makes little economic sense.
    Rough cut boards are just that.....rough cut. They need to be stickered and dried. Many suggest a drying time of 2 - 4 years. They are not as strong as kiln dried & planed lumber, and have nowhere near the uniformity.

    That isn't to say store bought 2 x 4's are perfect. If you are unfortunate enough to have a Menards or some other box store as your only source of 2 x 4's, you will find you are wasting your time trying to find good 2 x 4's. Your local building supply store usually throws out better 2 x 4's than those that are sold at the box stores.

    In Wisconsin, lumber without a grade stamp is prohibited from usage in residential homes. I'm certain many other states have this regulation as well.

    Other sizes of wood from portable sawmills may make good sense. 1" paneling is a good choice. Log cabin logs milled flat on 2 or 3 sides are another good choice.

    A friend of mine has a portable sawmill and has been regularly selling 2 x 4's & other lumber for years. He told me it was impossible to complete in the 2 x 4 market.
    I wholeheartedly agree.
     
  8. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    I own a portable circle sawmill, and charge $500 move in fee or $150 per Mbdft if i am cutting larger logs and larger boards.... if a person wants 1x4 - 1x12 cut out of everything it goes up to $200 per Mbdft. I had to raise my charges this past year because of the higher cost of parts, and shipping my suppliers ding me for, 2 years back my charges were 135 and 150.

    Ive been sawmilling with this mill since February 1986, and back then it was $80, but i could buy top logs for under $150 and lumber was about $225 for 2x6 from the lumber yard.

    If i know someone has yard trees or fence line trees, they have an understand if i hit a nail, staple or wire fence that ruins teeth they buy the new teeth, if i suspect a log to be carrying i will either cut it short or not saw it altogether cause it dont make sense to be having someone pay out $3 bux for a new tooth even if it my saw only uses 6 per blade [I have sawn a nail where i broke 7 new teeth on the first yard tree that the fella swore he had run a metal locator over, but he bought new teeth anyway].

    Ive seen the want for mills cycle from very little want or need to being so busy people are waiting for weeks to get a mill in to saw their trees....

    I myself prefer logs in small quantity be brought to my place that i dont have to break down and set up elsewhere..... I prefer to saw at least 10 Mbdft at your sight, but that is my preference, i will cut on shares, but only if i have a sale for lumber that is immeadiate and your logs fit the need for both of us, others will do it on shares, take the cream and leave you wanting, so if you allow someone to saw on shares watch out for that..... with me its a board for a board to a degree. On shares i will also saw for $50 cash and 1/3 the boards or beams, but again only as a last reesort and then a person has to bring the logs to my mill site, no traveling..... Other sawmillers here in central Idaho charge $200 /Mbdft no matter what they saw, and most also charge a flat move in fee with none going towards sawing.....

    I personally believe if a log owner cant pay me $500 upfront to move in, how can they pay me $500 after a couple days sawing time.... so this is why i charge the upfront fee, at least i get enough to cover fuel costs and some time if the owner trys to stiff me, which has happened only a couple times over the years.....

    But the price that i charge seems to be about average through out the states for now, as we all have about the same costs to cover and if a mill is paid for like mine a sawyer can be a little more picky about the job we take.

    William
     
  9. TnTnTn

    TnTnTn Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the replies with information, tips, and etc. The prices I have been quoted are in line with or cheaper than you have quoted.

    Intially I just need enough lumber for a couple of projects and will get a couple of logs over to the portable mill instead of having him drive over to my place. I know it would be cheaper to buy ready cut but I prefer to have some lumber from the empire for these projects. TnTnTn
     
  10. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    A few things I agree with, and some I don't....

    If you are cutting studs, by all means buy them at the lumberyard, because it is cheaper. You really save money on the bigger stuff, though....2x6x14 or better, 2x8s, or 1x12s...and the savings can be significant.

    As for strength....I disagree...for these reasons:

    1. Nominal versus actual. If I cut out a 2x4, it 2 inches by 4 inches, not 1 1/2x3 1/2. Same song, second verse for bigger stuff.

    2. Log quality. Y'all been in the woods lately? Seen what they are cutting those studs and rafters out of? Super-pines in monoculture plantings that are harvested as soon as possible...the wider the growth rings, the less strong the wood, in most cases. Nope, gimme a tall longleaf pine, that I can cut three twenty foot logs out of, and not hit a limb until the last cut...a properly air-dried 2x6 out of that is more than strong enough for my building...
     
  11. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jolly--Help me here-----How is it cheaper?? If a person pays $150 to $200 per thousand to have lumber cut. A 8ft 2x4 will cost them between 79 cent to $1.06----if a house uses 400 studs thats a cost of $316 to $424 to have them sawed----they are over $3 for a stud here----thats $1200------To me thats a saving of $776 to $884------It only takes a little while to air stack---------And with a sharp blade on a good table saw--don't take long to Size them when they are dry. What part am I missing? Thanks Randy
     
  12. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    Studs are a bit over $2 around here. Always try to buy through Contractor Sales, and get the cheaper price.

    Lumberyard vs homecut studs.....IMO....No matter how good your sawyer is, he is not going to get all of your studs to the same dimensions, nor will they dry to the same dimension. Therefore, you are going to have to dry them, cut to length (I tend to stack several side by side, and hit 'em with a 12" RAS), and then run them through a planer to size them.

    Whereas on a rafter, if you are a bit off, you can compensate with your decking (which is why I won't deck out with 1/2" stuff). On a ceiling joist it makes no difference if you have no second floor. On a floor joist, you may have to size a bit, unless y'all have a workaround I don't know.

    Not to mention that with air-dried stuff, I always figure a loss rate of 10% for crooks or bows...but most of the time, you can use them for something useful - foundation framing stakes, etc.

    Lastly, time is money. Again, IMO, the time saved by purchasing kiln-dried studs when building a house, outweighs the cost advantages of rough-cut.

    After saying all that, I'll throw a monkey-wrench in my own argument. A fella just down the road from me built his house with salvaged studs. 85 cents/stud.