Author Topic: Sourcing Harwood  (Read 1400 times)

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Online Bertotti

  • Posts: 142
Sourcing Harwood
« on: November 01, 2020, 12:51 PM »
I reached out a semi-local mill they are sawyers and furniture builders etc. they are up in Wilmer Mn. I asked for some costs for cherry and or black walnut 4/4. Do any of you source directly from a mill? Any experience to share or things to look for? I asked about ruff sawn but dried. The big boxes ask way to much for hardwood and it generally is already a surface 2-4 sides and never seems to be in sizes I want to work with. I haven’t bought hardwood from a mill so I am very curious just what it will cost and what their minimum board feet will be. It was a lot easier to get wood when I lived in the Cedar and Mississippi River bottoms.
I want to populate SD with trees becasue I miss the forests of the river bottoms.

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Offline mkasdin

  • Posts: 474
Re: Sourcing Harwood
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2020, 01:25 PM »
For that reason I’m eventually purchasing a bandsaw mill or a chainsaw mill. You either pay up front or pay in time and labor to mill your own? Lumber is definitely expensive and so is hardwood. The retailers ask a lot for the stock and the few mills I spoke with still asked accordingly.  I’m in California....

Online Bertotti

  • Posts: 142
Re: Sourcing Harwood
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2020, 02:00 PM »
I have eyed a few used bandsaw mills but our only vehicle with towing capabilities was totaled so now even if I had one I wouldn't be able to haul it or a trailer with the wood. It also made more sense when I lived in the hardwood timber’s. The mill I contacted is still 2.3 hours from me. Sadly I live on the prairie now so opportunity to get nice trees isn’t as easy as it once was. I’m hopeful the board foot cost and quantity aren’t terribly unreasonable. I would go pick it up myself in a uhaul saving shipping costs. Depending on costs I’m ok buying 100-200 board feet. But that may not meet the mills requirements. We will see.
I want to populate SD with trees becasue I miss the forests of the river bottoms.

Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 1412
Re: Sourcing Harwood
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2020, 02:53 PM »
If you are going to pursue this you need to invest in a good moisture meter, unless you are willing to wait a year or two to use the wood. You need to meter it yourself. Trust but verify.  🙂🙂🙂

I use this one and these folks have the best price:

https://www.tools4flooring.com/wagner-orion-910-deep-depth-pinless-wood-moisture-meter.html

Take a look at Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist there are usually a few people selling wood. A lot of those folks won’t have a kiln so ask if it’s been dried or it’s green.

Ron

Offline mkasdin

  • Posts: 474
Re: Sourcing Harwood
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2020, 02:57 PM »
I think they usually want to sell much more than a few hundred board feet? I contacted a sawmill last year in Northern California about purchasing redwood for a deck build 15x20’ and the orders they get are probably far larger, than a 500 board feet. They were running a large diesel bandsaw mill. The owner was a 4th? Generation sawyer, he was born in a logging tent. My bet would be to look on Craigslist as mentioned above or find someone with a down tree you can reclaim. Also if there are old barns out there you might be able to get free reclaimed old growth lumber. The beams are very expensive. I’ve seen $500+ for a large 6x12 beam 5 foot in length.

Offline Yardbird

  • Posts: 135
Re: Sourcing Harwood
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2020, 05:24 PM »
I cannot imagine paying big box prices for cherry or black walnut.

I had 37 ash trees infected by emerald ash borer a few years ago.  I purchased an Alaskan Chainsaw jig and cut some nice beams out-8x8, 8x10, 8x12.  Using an Alaskan chainsaw jig is too much work for a 1x but it was worth it for beams.  I spent a lot of time walking on my knees pushing that chainsaw. 

This year I had to cut a hard maple and a walnut tree down.  I ended up with 6 logs and had a portable sawmill come in.  I think I had some 27" hard maple boards.  I am on a hillside so took awhile to set up, but we had four hours total.  For eqpt, operator, and helper it cost me $250 for 4 hrs which I thought was cheap.  I also learned with a logger's cant I could roll a log uphill by myself, but had to get help with the 27" one.  That was one big log to roll uphill.  There probably are not too many portable mills in S.D. but you may want to do a search to find the nearest one.  I know the one I hired had a kiln and dried some lumber on the side.  Something like that may be a source since they would not be tapped in to the export market or large users. 

I do not know what you are building, but consider #1 or #2 common.  Prime will have a premium price, and knots can add character.  I made my own house trim work out of poplar (stained like cherry) and found #2 worked fine for me.  It would depend on the species-I do not think #2 white oak would be good.  I bought from a sawmill in southern Ohio that had their own kiln.  If I remember right, there was a price break at 500 b.f.  The sawmill has since burned down (more than one fire) but I remember they had a pile of chestnut in their racks.    I do not remember prices, and that was over 20 years ago, but I know I did not pay over $1 per board foot even for 10-12" wide stuff.  I had them rough plane it and square one side, then I ran through a 12" portable planer for finish plane. So yes, I cringe when I see the prices at the big box stores.  Besides at a sawmill you can find interesting stuff like sassafras or elm or something like the pile of Osage orange I have.  We had the hedgerows (Osage Orange) in Illinois that were planted during the dust bowl.  Did the hedge rows make it out to S.D.?


If you have storage space, I would get a truck and a trailer and take a trip.  Bring back extra and sell it to local woodworkers.  Check out the portable sawmill idea.  Have fun and get away from that sterile big box stuff. 

Online Bertotti

  • Posts: 142
Re: Sourcing Harwood
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2020, 07:25 PM »
I cannot imagine paying big box prices for cherry or black walnut.

I had 37 ash trees infected by emerald ash borer a few years ago.  I purchased an Alaskan Chainsaw jig and cut some nice beams out-8x8, 8x10, 8x12.  Using an Alaskan chainsaw jig is too much work for a 1x but it was worth it for beams.  I spent a lot of time walking on my knees pushing that chainsaw. 

This year I had to cut a hard maple and a walnut tree down.  I ended up with 6 logs and had a portable sawmill come in.  I think I had some 27" hard maple boards.  I am on a hillside so took awhile to set up, but we had four hours total.  For eqpt, operator, and helper it cost me $250 for 4 hrs which I thought was cheap.  I also learned with a logger's cant I could roll a log uphill by myself, but had to get help with the 27" one.  That was one big log to roll uphill.  There probably are not too many portable mills in S.D. but you may want to do a search to find the nearest one.  I know the one I hired had a kiln and dried some lumber on the side.  Something like that may be a source since they would not be tapped in to the export market or large users. 

I do not know what you are building, but consider #1 or #2 common.  Prime will have a premium price, and knots can add character.  I made my own house trim work out of poplar (stained like cherry) and found #2 worked fine for me.  It would depend on the species-I do not think #2 white oak would be good.  I bought from a sawmill in southern Ohio that had their own kiln.  If I remember right, there was a price break at 500 b.f.  The sawmill has since burned down (more than one fire) but I remember they had a pile of chestnut in their racks.    I do not remember prices, and that was over 20 years ago, but I know I did not pay over $1 per board foot even for 10-12" wide stuff.  I had them rough plane it and square one side, then I ran through a 12" portable planer for finish plane. So yes, I cringe when I see the prices at the big box stores.  Besides at a sawmill you can find interesting stuff like sassafras or elm or something like the pile of Osage orange I have.  We had the hedgerows (Osage Orange) in Illinois that were planted during the dust bowl.  Did the hedge rows make it out to S.D.?


If you have storage space, I would get a truck and a trailer and take a trip.  Bring back extra and sell it to local woodworkers.  Check out the portable sawmill idea.  Have fun and get away from that sterile big box stuff.

I grew up on the Iowa side of the Mississippi. Lots of good wood there. Not so much here but the farmers have tree lines that they will want pulled down sometimes. I cringe when I see them like it up and burn it in one massive bonfire. I have not seen Osage orange out here. Would be cool though! Yea I am concerned what their minimum will be and depending on price I can buy more. I can’t make any decision until I have some pricing. I picked this place because of their location. The closer to Minneapolis you get the higher the cost goes up.
I want to populate SD with trees becasue I miss the forests of the river bottoms.

Online Bertotti

  • Posts: 142
Re: Sourcing Harwood
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2020, 10:03 AM »
Well, I am looking at chainsaws now. Sthil is my first choice is it still the go to saw of choice?
I want to populate SD with trees becasue I miss the forests of the river bottoms.

Offline Thompmd

  • Posts: 231
Re: Sourcing Harwood
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2020, 06:59 AM »
I have some and sent you a PM, let me know if it looks interesting.
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Online Bertotti

  • Posts: 142
Re: Sourcing Harwood
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2021, 06:45 AM »
Just an update I did find a source for Cherry. wound up buying 300 bdft of 4/4 ruff sawn and 100 bdft of 8/4 ruff sawn. They will dry to around 6%. Sadly the source has already revised its pricing. I got min in the mid 3.69 a bdft. the 4/4 is drying now then the 8/4 so I have a bit of a wait for it to get done. Sadly the place realized they could make more money cutting mantles with it so if I order again the price is going to be quite a bit higher. He didn't give me a price just a thank you for making him realize it wasn't as much of a money maker to see bulk ruff cut vs finished cut mantles and slabs. So once this runs out I'll be looking for a plan B. At Thompmd I will probably be in touch in the future. I have more thought to put into the future of my woodworking. Thanks!
I want to populate SD with trees becasue I miss the forests of the river bottoms.