Selling lumber and pricing

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Forum topic by Allanwoodworks posted 06-14-2011 05:46 PM 9241 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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112 posts in 3375 days

06-14-2011 05:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lumber mill woodmizer solar kiln kiln sell price

So I have now a Woodmizer saw mill, a fully operational solar Kiln up and running and a ton of Cherry and Figured Pacific maple drying. I did this so that I can use the wood myself but now I am thinking of making a business out of it. I look over the web to get pricing and get so many different answers and cost. I’ll use the Figured pacific maple as an example; I get different cost from $1.30 bsf to $14.80 bsf. Does anybody have a site or a place I can get information on how much I can sell the lumber for or is it just what I can get for it? Any information would be helpful.

-- Ty, Up in Washington

7 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4182 days

#1 posted 06-15-2011 05:39 AM

Make a business plan – know your costs to make, store, move and sell your
wood. Price it from there and undercut your competition with caution.

If you have the skill and gear to saw instrument woods there is a specialized
market there.

View Allanwoodworks's profile


112 posts in 3375 days

#2 posted 06-15-2011 05:56 AM

Good advise guys, Thanks for your response.

-- Ty, Up in Washington

View Keith Stephens's profile

Keith Stephens

4 posts in 3993 days

#3 posted 06-17-2011 08:00 PM

Ty, I own Woodworkers Source have been selling hardwoods since 1978…33 years. Seldom do I comment on pricing issues but I appreciate your frustration and would like to provide some input.

The pricing differences you see most likely come from:

Lumber can be purchased anywhere from green, fresh off the saw to fully processed dimensioned boards. There are many steps to processing lumber and each step along the way adds cost and increases the price. End coating, stickering, pre drying, kiln drying, grading, separating, surfacing, edging, end trimming, color sorting and transportation all affect the selling price.

Many species have special characteristics that will affect the price. The figure in Pacific Maple can be mild to wild. Eastern Soft Maple is sold worm holes a defect (WHAD) or worms holes no defect (WHND). The sapwood content in Cherry will affect the price. And on and on.

Processing includes grading which makes a big difference In price. Ungraded or lower grades will be less costly than premium grades of lumber. Here are the basics of hardwood grading.

The size of a lumber purchase will greatly affect the price. I buy lumber in flat bed or 40’ container quantities, about 15,000 bf, and sell it with no minimum quantity. 100 bf receives a 25% discount off the list price. Each dealer will have their own quantity pricing but nearly always the larger the purchase the lower the unit price.

Here is our pricing on Hard Maple:
Country Hard Maple, variegated in color with a brown and white mix. 4/4, select & better, random width and length, S2S 13/16. $3.99 100 BF $2.99
White Hard Maple, 4/4, color selected to be white on the face both edges, select & better, random width and length, S2S 13/16. $5.99 100 BF $4.49

Dealer services.
Lumber can be purchased from a stack behind a shed or out of a climate controlled warehouse. The lumber may be in a pile in disarray or carefully stacked in bins or on racks. How the lumber is cared for will affect the quality and the price. In some cases orders will be pulled and delivered; other times the customer may select their boards. The customer may need to carry and load the wood or the dealer may provide a forklift, carts or people to assist. Dealers may provide knowledge and education or no service at all.

There is a lot of crossover in the lumber markets but each processor or dealer has a package of quality, quantity, services and pricing to serve a particular group of customers. With a Woodmizer and solar kiln you are not likely to be selling containers of wood but custom cutting or special figure may be your niche. Find your customer and focus on their needs.

There is a lot of discussion about price but seldom are the details of the transaction revealed. Priced cannot be discussed without also talking about the level of processing, quantity and services included.

I hope this is helpful. Good luck in your venture.

-- Keith Stephens

View WoodSparky's profile


200 posts in 3636 days

#4 posted 06-17-2011 08:40 PM

I hate to step on Ty’s post but, I would like to thank Keith for painting the Big Picture. I too mill and dry my own lumber from local trees, and buy what I can not get locally.

-- So Many tools, So little time

View bobasaurus's profile


3604 posts in 3718 days

#5 posted 06-17-2011 09:08 PM

Interesting post, Keith. I’ve bought some country maple from your website before, and it was great stuff.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Allanwoodworks's profile


112 posts in 3375 days

#6 posted 06-18-2011 06:37 PM


That was an amazing read! Thank you for all of the information you provided, that was exactly the information that I wanted to know. Thanks you for taking the time to write that information and sharing it with me. I have contacted local woodworkers in my area and they are very interested to purchase custom wood milling for their project and buying it local. Once again thank you for the information and it was very helpful.

-- Ty, Up in Washington

View rsdowdy's profile


105 posts in 3730 days

#7 posted 06-18-2011 07:24 PM

Great information for all of us Keith. Thanks for taking your time to repond with great detail.


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