Author Topic: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)  (Read 942 times)

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Offline mwolczko

  • Posts: 53
Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« on: June 24, 2020, 07:41 PM »
This is a long shot...

I’m looking to remove 2, maybe 3, redwoods from my property (SF peninsula), and am in search of someone with a portable mill who could convert sections of trunk into rough lumber on site. I already have someone to take the trees down. The challenge is access .. the streets are twisty and sometimes steep. However, I’ve had it done it before (>15y since), so I know it’s possible. There aren’t many lumber-related companies in this area any more, and the last guy who did this retired, unfortunately. I’m hoping someone on this list knows someone, or can refer me to a likely forum.

The trees are 80-100 feet tall (eyeball) with trunks around 7-8 feet in girth (circumference), measured 4’ above grade, and straight as arrows.  I don’t know if that makes them too small to be of commercial interest. I’d be fine if someone wanted to haul the logs to a mill, but I just can’t imagine getting the equipment in to do that.  If all else fails, the pieces will just be hauled to the dump; what a waste.

Email to Mario at wolczko dot com is best, as are replies here.

Cheers,
Mario

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Online RJNeal

  • Posts: 533
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #1 on: June 24, 2020, 08:28 PM »
15 years ago or so, while I was in the vineyard management business.  We had a large oak tree like 5’ by 14’ and 5 by 8  off the same tree.
I found somebody out of Inverness.  I found them through Bailey’s tree and logging supply company. Since they sell mills I call them up and asked if they knew anybody with a mill in the Bay Area that did custom milling.
Hope this helps.
Have you walked your saw today?

Offline rvieceli

  • Posts: 1224
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2020, 09:55 PM »
Here’s a link to Woodmizers sawyer list. The problem may be material size. They may know some one if they can’t.

https://woodmizer.com/us/Find-a-Local-Sawyer

Ron

Offline rmhinden

  • Posts: 337
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2020, 12:22 AM »
Try contacting Joey Kochlacs in Santa Cruz.  I will email you his contact info.

Bob


Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 1697
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2020, 06:16 AM »
"If all else fails, the pieces will just be hauled to the dump; what a waste."

That seems extreme and wasteful but I am sure that's not your intention else
you would not be here asking for help locating a sawyer with a portable mill.

I would think there would be a market for redwood, and you are talking thousands of BF not just a couple hundred. But that's coming from someone in an area with nothing but junk trees not counting the occasional walnut or abundant red oak or cedar which is mostly new growth as this area has been clear cut at least once and probably twice in the past 400 years.

NJ lost it's oldest known and very popular tree last year when the Salem Oak fell to age. Supposedly John Fenwick signed a treaty with Native Americans under that tree in 1675 and estimates are it was over 100 years old then. Just a baby in redwood years, but for an oak to survive that long in this part of the country is rare.

https://visitsalemcountynj.com/the-salem-oak/
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Online RJNeal

  • Posts: 533
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2020, 08:10 AM »
Or you can donate them to Sturgeon’s Mill in Sebastopol, Ca.
They are a working mill museum that only mill redwood and sell their product to cover the operating cost of the mill. Then you can write it off as it is a donation.
Have you walked your saw today?

Online Peter_C

  • Posts: 877
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2020, 02:29 PM »
My friend in Santa Rosa took down a larger redwood he had planted when he first moved in. The tree company took a couple redwood trees down, processed the wood, then delivered a small amount back to build some parts of the garage arbor...FREE! Redwood is highly valuable if it is older growth, even second growth.

Offline mwolczko

  • Posts: 53
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2020, 02:40 PM »
Thanks all for the many great suggestions!  Lots to try there...

Bob wrote "That seems extreme and wasteful".  You bet.  I hear of fallen trees every year, but when I raise the topic of milling with fellers or arborists they just shrug.  By default, around here, trees go to landfill.  It's criminal IMO.  I suspect this is the result of high real estate prices driving out industries like lumber; the infrastructure and expertise is elsewhere.
I've built a considerable amount of outdoor furniture and structure from redwood -- obtained from the lumber yard, for thousands of dollars. The irony is not lost on me.

These trees, although >80' tall, are less than 30 years old and were planted by a neighbor (before I moved in).  There were no redwoods on the lot before that.  How the wood from these compares with older trees, I can't say...but I'll find out!




Online DeformedTree

  • Posts: 848
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #8 on: June 25, 2020, 06:17 PM »
urban wood/timber places look to be on the rise, I would think someone would be there that does that. They go finding trees in town people are having removed (generally they take it for free as a savings for you).  Might want to look for that sort of thing, and or call up large tree removal companies and ask them if they know people/places that takes logs.   While most urban trees a junk, and high risk (nails/staples from 50 years of flyers), there are some worth it and tree removal places will often drop off logs to such places to save the disposal cost or chipping hassle.

Also do a local search for "slabs",  those to are trendy in towns with someone in areas cutting them.   You might be able to find someone who you can get out.

Or, how handy are you and how much time you got.  Necessity....something...invention.

Offline Ron B

  • Posts: 14
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2020, 09:23 PM »
I am from Ohio so forgive me.  When I first read this and saw it was redwood, I read the 7-8 feet as diameter and was wondering how big that portable mill would have to be.  Then I realized it was circumference. That makes a little difference.
  I had a guy cut up some osage orange for me, and I gave him a couple of walnut logs from a tree that had hit my house.   The walnut was 24" diameter at the base, so not  much smaller than your redwood.  And I am sure walnut is heavier than redwood. He moved it from my backyard with a trailer that looked like one of those trailers used to move LP tanks,except his was much junker.  It was a home-made trailer made from 2" pipe with wheels that wobbled.  (well-almost). He moved it over each log, put a strap around each end and raised each end with a come-along, then readjusted the straps.  So the log was just swinging hanging from a pipe that made the backbone of the trailer.  Then he pulled the trailer up hill with a cub cadet mower. He made it look easy.
So google "lp tank trailer" to get the idea of what this looks like, and imagine a log swinging underneath it.  See if something like that would work if you cannot find a portable mill.  Just remember, you have to be smarter than the log.   
 

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 930
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2020, 12:06 AM »
What a great opportunity if you can take advantage of it.  My guess is 2K bd ft per tree, perhaps with a usable 1.5K bd ft.  If you do some custom milling, you can get sizes that are hard to find - for example, a significant number of 18"-24" wide, 4" thick, 10' long (or longer) slabs that might go for $1K-$1.5K each.  I wouldn't expect burls given your description, but you don't know what other figure might be there until you've cut it.  However, even at bare bones Home Depot construction redwood prices of ~$1.50/bd ft, you're talking nearly $7K in retail value.


If you are a woodworker yourself, and have some place to store lumber properly while it dries (or you can afford to have it kiln dried), it would be worth your time to try to find a way to mill the trees.  I live in northern Colorado, where the number of millable trees is pretty small, and I know of 2-3 small, non-commercial mills that would be happy to mill trees like the ones you describe, perhaps trading lumber for the cost of milling.  If I were you, I would expect 15-20% of the milled lumber if you have the space to dry it.


California Urban Lumber is in Martinez in the north bay.
Additional resources: https://urbansalvagedwoods.com/resources/where-to-buy/. Lots of CA options.
UFEI Urban Wood Directory: https://ufei.calpoly.edu/urbanwood/directory.Lasso.  Search for "Portable Sawmills" or "Fixed Sawmills" and "Bay Area".  Don't specify a species.

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 1697
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2020, 08:34 PM »
Or you can donate them to Sturgeon’s Mill in Sebastopol, Ca.
They are a working mill museum that only mill redwood and sell their product to cover the operating cost of the mill. Then you can write it off as it is a donation.

Do they sell only locally or do you know if they ship outside of CA? I will do a search for more information about them as soon as I post this but maybe you can answer that one question for all those who will come to read this later and ask the same question.

Found this on the mill.
http://www.sturgeonsmill.com/
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Online RJNeal

  • Posts: 533
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2020, 09:42 PM »
I’m not to sure on the shipping. I visited the mill maybe ten years ago.
4x4x8 post were $10
Slabs were 600$ range. Please don’t quote me. I think their are in the market to move things and don’t want to sit on them. They will custom mill your order if you place one.
If I remember correctly Bob Sturgeon was the contact.
The income supports the 501c mill with cost runs.
It’s ran by a bunch of Volunteers.
Have you walked your saw today?

Offline mwolczko

  • Posts: 53
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2020, 10:38 PM »
A quick update re: Sturgeon’s Mill.  I called them and was told that they would accept donated logs except (a) I’d have to get them there and (b) nothing less than 4’ diameter was of interest — mine are 2-3’.
I’m continuing to follow up on the other suggestions.
Mario

Online RJNeal

  • Posts: 533
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2020, 01:23 AM »
Thanks Mario, for checking it out and reporting back.
It’s a wonderful field trip outing. I highly recommend it for anyone.
Have you walked your saw today?

Online Peter_C

  • Posts: 877
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #15 on: June 28, 2020, 01:53 PM »
I’m not to sure on the shipping. I visited the mill maybe ten years ago.
4x4x8 post were $10
Slabs were 600$ range. Please don’t quote me. I think their are in the market to move things and don’t want to sit on them. They will custom mill your order if you place one.
If I remember correctly Bob Sturgeon was the contact.
The income supports the 501c mill with cost runs.
It’s ran by a bunch of Volunteers.
The mill is a fun place to spend a few hours on the rare days they run the mill while open to the public (Not in a Covid year even though Sonoma is not hit hard yet). Scary to watch some of the machines running, and it will make a person appreciate modern machinery. There are a lot of other displays around from the logging era.

They can mill anything a person wants, but as far as I know they only do redwood, at least that is all I have seen. Their prices are very reasonable considering they cut 2x4's, 4x4's, etc, not 1.5x3.5, 3.5x3.5...in other words true lumber! Since the wood they get donated is old growth or older second cut the quality is top notch. The wood also has the saw marks in it which is considered desirable.

Online Peter_C

  • Posts: 877
Re: Looking for someone with a portable mill (CA Bay Area)
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2020, 03:29 PM »
My friend sent me a link to ambulances on FB marketplace for whatever reason, then I noticed a slab...so maybe this guy can help? OP you never said what area of the Bay you live in?? There are many counties and distance is an issue.

https://www.facebook.com/marketplace/item/420261408931512/

I have widths up to 60' and lengths up to 20'.  Looking for a certain size, I bet I have it.  Feel free to ask.  I offer milling, drying, fabrication, and finishing services as needed.

112 Ohio Ave, Unit 1, Richmond.  10-5 Monday-Saturday.  If the gate is closed when you arrive, call the number on the sign and I'll open it for you.