I have getting closer everyday to making the decision to purchase a portable sawmill. This will primarily be for a hobby at first, but I would like your feedback about being able to sell raw lumber. I would like to understand if it is feasible for me to think I can make a little money (maybe enough to pay for the cost of the tools and mill) by selling some or all of the raw lumber I would mill with the portable sawmill.
I live in the Houston, Tx area. I have made arrangements with two local Tree Service companies. They both confirmed they can provide me with a steady supply of Oak, Maple, Cedar, Pine, and various other species. Houston is a very large area with constant churn of land developers and older neighborhoods. Between the two, there is an abundant amount of trees that are just going to the mulch producers. I have loved woodworking for years and have a small workshop of my own at home. I have recently acquired another piece of property next to my home and I am considering if and when I should move forward with the purchase of the portable sawmill. I have reviewed many of the different types and manufacturers on line and have visited one local sawyer who owns a Lucas Mill. My real concern is, what do I do with the raw lumber? I can't use all of it for my own projects. I would like to find an outlet to sell most of what I mill and use some of the rest for personal projects. Any advise?
Thanks for the suggestion about a local club and hardwood users. I plan to visit a couple of local commercial mills in the area. They may or may not be willing to provide me with guidance or opinions. I have not yet found a local club or group of sawmillers. I have found only 3 portable sawmill owners in Houston area while searching on the internet over the last 12 months.
If you get lucky and run into some highly figured or splated wood, you could probably make some quick bucks on it. I know a local miller who does that, but he also owns a kiln. He goes to a local log broker to look for prime logs too. I haven't talked to him at lenght, but he has told me he has troulbe finding markets because he can't fill big orders. He has been at for 30+ years.
Have a friend who has a portable bandsaw mill. Am in the process of preping a blown down red oak that should yield 45 feet of logs 24 to 16 inches diameter. Very straight. Harvesting my own wood is a blast but it sure is a lot of work. Figuring my time I can't really justify it. However, now that folks tend to be more impressed, it should be good for added value on custom pieces. As much as I enjoy harvesting wood, I just can't see how a bandsaw can compete with a large circular saw operation.
That said, if you haven't found it already, I happened on to another website for sawyers. I have learned a lot from it. http://westcoastlands.net/SawBucks2/phpBB3/
Hope you do well
Many of the sawmill manufacturers will put you in contact with owners of their mills near your area if you ask. Not sure if you've been to this place to check it out.
They're in Huntsville which isn't too far north from you. Might be worth checking out just to see their operation. I've found most sawmills to be very generous about showing you around and talking about the business.
WIwoodworker…thanks for the suggestion. I have noticed their website in the past. I am curious about their operation. I am currently on vacation away from Houston, but when I return I will try to arrange for a visit. I also found the name of a person who owns a Woodmizer in Conroe, Tx on Craig's list last year, but I recenly tried to find his listing and it is gone. I also found a sawyer in Katy, TX who owns a Lucas Mill. I did visit with him twice. He seems to be a nice guy. He said he currently is focusing on turning splatted wood products and is selling special raw wood for turning from his website: http://www.prairiesend.com/. He has some beautiful pieces and a good source of wood stock. Checkout his site.
I am still debating what to do about the sawmill. I have a limited amount of space, so I do not want to proceed with a purchase of a mill and start cutting without some level of confidence I can sell or trade the wood that I cut. I know that I cannot use enough of it myself to justify the mill. I here recommendations that I should also build a kiln. This is an option, but does add cost and work. I will continue to try and make contacts in my area, even with other sawyers and professional sawmills to determine if there is a viable route for me to sell or trade wood on a small scale.
Thanks to everyone for the feedback and ideas. Keep 'em coming.
look for access to a kilm.. dry wood is worth way more then green lumber.. i think anyone could make money in an area that size with a bandsaw mill.. we have all seen 1000's of bf going to waste. some woodworking clubs have went that route. you may need some help.. a 18 inch log 10 ft can go 600+ pounds
So Rob, you believe the cost of the mill is only 10% of the overall cost for a small hobby/sell some to offset the bills type operation? That is somewhat surprising. I know there is the cost of a good pick up truck, a log dolly/cart, then the cost of a trailer to haul the cut wood, then the cost of operating the mill and the truck, a couple of winches in the right place, an overhead cover to keep the sun off my back, log roller, and what else. Can you think of something I am missing? I am already making the assumption, and have confirmation I can have logs at no cost, just go pick them up or cut them onsite. This is recently reconfirmed with the tree service companies I am associating with. I sure don't want to miss some big ticket item out of ignorance.
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could
be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
LumberJocks Woodworking Forum
A forum community dedicated to professional woodworkers and enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about shop safety, wood, carpentry, lumber, finishing, tools, machinery, woodworking related topics, styles, scales, reviews, accessories, classifieds, and more!