Local lumber sells cheap, green lumber. Can I do anything with it?

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Forum topic by mcg1990 posted 07-31-2015 01:44 AM 1143 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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159 posts in 2092 days

07-31-2015 01:44 AM

Here in the Memphis area I have only one source of dried hardwoods, and it’s insanely expensive. However, a local lumberyard seems to constantly have huge trees delivered and they sell lumber green.

I have no idea what the cost of kiln drying is, but for an example of their prices they had 4”x6”x8’ Poplar beams, and he said they were $16 bucks each. Is that not ridiculously cheap?

He doesn’t keep price lists, because he doesn’t necessarily know what he’s getting from day to day. He just mills what he gets.

So, I have a couple of questions, if anyone could help me out:

1) Who buys green lumber, and what do they do with it?
2) As a woodworker, is there anyone that I can do with green lumber?
3) If I found someone with a kiln, what are the rough prices I should expect to pay?


8 replies so far

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 2321 days

#1 posted 07-31-2015 02:21 AM

That’s $1 / bf, which is about right to a little high for fresh cut poplar where I live .. not a real bargain. If you have time to wait you could ask him to cut some 1” boards for you. You could stack and sticker it, and use it next March or April.

View Gixxerjoe04's profile


850 posts in 2376 days

#2 posted 07-31-2015 02:36 AM

Don’t know if I’d want to buy the beams since they would take so long to dry, would buy thinner stuff if it were cheap and had place to store it to air dry for a year.

View joey502's profile


558 posts in 2318 days

#3 posted 07-31-2015 02:48 AM

Buying green lumber and air drying yourself will save you money but there are risks you should carefully consider before you make that choice. My biggest concern is a bug infestation. You don’t always know where the wood came from and if there are currently insects inside. Secondly 4” thick would take a few years to dry by air, too long to wait for poplar. With that said kiln drying will solve both of these issues.

1) Who buys green lumber, and what do they do with it? Only walnut, stacked and waited for it to dry.
2) As a woodworker, is there anyone that I can do with green lumber? no experience here.
3) If I found someone with a kiln, what are the rough prices I should expect to pay? Around my area (Louisville,ky) about .35 / BF.

KD poplar is about $1.50 for 4/4 and $1.75 for 8/4 around here.

IMO $1 BF is a little on the high side. You have yet to move it, dry it, move it again and then mill it into manageable sizes. 4×8x96” green boards are going to be heavy as well.

If you find someone with a kiln that offers drying services then they most likely sell dry lumber as well. I would look around a bit more before you make a purchase.

View sphayden's profile


38 posts in 3088 days

#4 posted 07-31-2015 01:46 PM

Have you tried Interstate Plywood? They keep a stock of some species.

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2567 days

#5 posted 07-31-2015 02:12 PM

There are certain furniture (not fine furniture) you can make with the same stock of wood with the same moisture content so the shrinkage is the same. I can get you some dry (not kilned) wood if you can meet me around Jonesoro Ar.
I do buy green lumber and store them in a metal building which gets pretty hot in summer months. I don’t mind waiting 3,4,5 years before using the lumber because by then the price of the lumber more likely would have appreciated by 30% – 60%.


View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 2030 days

#6 posted 07-31-2015 02:15 PM

I knew a guy who built his own kiln. It is possible on the cheap. (not counting the power it would use)

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View TheGreatJon's profile


348 posts in 2033 days

#7 posted 07-31-2015 02:26 PM

I’m not sure what is typical for kiln costs, but in my area there is a pallet company that will dry stuff for me for $0.10/bf.

-- This is not the signature line you are looking for.

View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1128 posts in 3865 days

#8 posted 07-31-2015 04:29 PM

I buy mostly green lumber, and I love working with it. There’s no turning back for me. If you do much work with hand tools you will love

As far as what you can do with it green, small stuff is fine. Carving, turning, all good.

-- Paul Mayer,

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