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Cost of cutting up a BIG downed tree?

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Forum topic by RobS888 posted 03-15-2019 11:40 AM 583 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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RobS888

2556 posts in 2142 days


03-15-2019 11:40 AM

Hi,

My wife is a wood turner, so we are always on the lookout for free wood. We can handle cutting up trees that are about 2 feet wide. A small wild lot was cleared near us last month, for a new house and they pushed down a walnut and boxed elder. We cut up what we could and made blanks for her later use.

Anyway a friend of hers told her about a friends beech tree that fell down in a storm in October. She loves turning beech. The problem is this tree is really big, about 5 feet across and at least 30 feet of trunk. Far too big for our saws! So the idea was to hire someone to cut it up, she would get a lot of blanks and the rest would be cut up into boards. They have a quote of $80/ hour for someone with an Alaskan mill. That seems really high to me as I thought people with wood mixers charge less than that and they can probably cut it up a lot quicker.

What would be an ok price per hour for an Alaskan mill or a woodmizer to cut up such a big tree?

I just got a picture…I fuzzed out the owner, but it is a big tree!

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.


21 replies so far

View Snipes's profile

Snipes

367 posts in 2542 days


#1 posted 03-15-2019 12:05 PM

Not sure what a wood mixer is? Alaskan Mills are a little slow as you stated. 80-100$ per hr for good bandmill is avg around here

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View Fresch's profile

Fresch

406 posts in 2218 days


#2 posted 03-15-2019 12:27 PM

I don’t know the price but that’s a big tree, to have a band mill come to it would require a huge one; chainsaw mill would probably need two heads (chainsaws) so that price is probably in line.

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RobS888

2556 posts in 2142 days


#3 posted 03-15-2019 01:00 PM



Not sure what a wood mixer is? Alaskan Mills are a little slow as you stated. 80-100$ per hr for good bandmill is avg around here

- Snipes


Thanks, I fixed it to woodmizer.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

View Think0075's profile

Think0075

4 posts in 22 days


#4 posted 03-15-2019 02:02 PM

Is the plan to have it milled where it is? I don’t know many saw mills with a 60” capacity, well not ones that u can pay by the hour for. Someone probably gonna have to do some milling with a chainsaw first no matter what. $80 is probably fair but that is gonna be a lot of work.

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1480 posts in 2027 days


#5 posted 03-15-2019 03:31 PM

I paid $75 an hour here in Tucson.
I tried to figure board feet on the dims you gave. I didn’t allow for round, just a square 5’x 30 feet. My calculator came up with 9000 bdft. Is that right?

My suggestion would be to cut the branches with your current saw, and use those for blanks. Figure out something else for the trunk if you think you really want it…... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View CWWoodworking's profile (online now)

CWWoodworking

306 posts in 476 days


#6 posted 03-15-2019 04:02 PM

Man + machinery=50-100$/hr or more.

Doesn’t matter if it pertains to wood, car, or the kitchen sink.

View summerfi's profile

summerfi

4184 posts in 1984 days


#7 posted 03-15-2019 04:06 PM

My bandmill has a 31” capacity. For trees bigger than that, I’ve quartered them with a chainsaw first. A lot of work, but works well.

I think you should first consider what you’re going to use the wood for. If it’s just for your wife’s turning hobby, that will be an incredible amount of wood. You’ll have to store it all somewhere, and it will take many years to use up. Maybe a better solution would be to saw off a couple of rounds and split them into usable pieces, and let the rest of the log go to someone else.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works http://www.rmsaws.com/p/about-us.html -- ~Non multa sed multum~

View Jeff Heath's profile

Jeff Heath

93 posts in 3366 days


#8 posted 03-15-2019 04:24 PM

My Woodmizer LT40 has a max log capacity stated as 36” diameter. I’ve coaxed a 42” log on it once, and it was a lot of extra work whittling it down and turning it a lot. Worth it in the end for the beautiful lumber I got.

A 60” log is going to need a chainsaw mill (The Alaskan is an example) or someone with a swing mill, like a Lucas or Petersen mill. They get set up around the log, instead of bringing the log to the mill.

Anyone who thinks $80 per hour is too expensive has never actually done this kind of work. It’s back breaking, especially pushing a chainsaw mill through a wide log like that. I wouldn’t touch that log for $80 an hour, but I’m not young anymore.

Chainsaw mills are excruciatingly slow, compared to a Lucas. Also, none of those costs quoted include any metal that might get hit, resulting in chain or blade damage. That’s extra $$$.

Beech is a beautiful wood. I would harvest that log if I were you.

-- Jeff Heath

View OSU55's profile

OSU55

2149 posts in 2286 days


#9 posted 03-15-2019 04:32 PM

Maybe someone in your area has a chainsaw long enough to cut all or part of the trunk into more manageable size that you could then saw into blanks vs milling the whole thing.

View mahdee's profile

mahdee

4083 posts in 2064 days


#10 posted 03-15-2019 05:44 PM

Just a suggestion:
The trunk of that tree is probably fairly straight grain. Cut them to 2’ more or less sections and used a fro to square and then quarter sections out of them.

-- earthartandfoods.com

View RobS888's profile

RobS888

2556 posts in 2142 days


#11 posted 03-15-2019 07:11 PM



My Woodmizer LT40 has a max log capacity stated as 36” diameter. I ve coaxed a 42” log on it once, and it was a lot of extra work whittling it down and turning it a lot. Worth it in the end for the beautiful lumber I got.

A 60” log is going to need a chainsaw mill (The Alaskan is an example) or someone with a swing mill, like a Lucas or Petersen mill. They get set up around the log, instead of bringing the log to the mill.

Anyone who thinks $80 per hour is too expensive has never actually done this kind of work. It s back breaking, especially pushing a chainsaw mill through a wide log like that. I wouldn t touch that log for $80 an hour, but I m not young anymore.

Chainsaw mills are excruciatingly slow, compared to a Lucas. Also, none of those costs quoted include any metal that might get hit, resulting in chain or blade damage. That s extra $$$.

Beech is a beautiful wood. I would harvest that log if I were you.

- Jeff Heath


I thought it would be really slow as well, I could see a few days to cut it up. We are going to see if anyone else wants some of it to reduce our cost.

Don’t want to see it rot. My wife wants to have a lot of it slabbed up in 3 inch slabs. We could both use them. She can cut them up to make platters and square bowls. I could just use the slabs or cut them up as needed.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

View RobS888's profile

RobS888

2556 posts in 2142 days


#12 posted 03-15-2019 07:20 PM



I paid $75 an hour here in Tucson.
I tried to figure board feet on the dims you gave. I didn t allow for round, just a square 5×30 feet. My calculator came up with 9000 bdft. Is that right?

My suggestion would be to cut the branches with your current saw, and use those for blanks. Figure out something else for the trunk if you think you really want it…... Jerry (in Tucson)

- Nubsnstubs


One time at work we figured out that we sold maps based on a radius, but delivered a square based on that radius, so we actually provided about 21% more than we were paid for. So the ratio is 78ish% of a square.
so maybe 9000 x . 78 so about 7,000 bdft. Way more than I could use, but my wife can put a hurting on a 12×12x8 blank in an hour.

She has a brand new PM2020 so she wants big blanks and they are pretty expensive as well.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

View HokieKen's profile

HokieKen

8609 posts in 1435 days


#13 posted 03-15-2019 07:24 PM

I can do about 30” diameter with my chainsaw mill. $80/hr is reasonable. It’s hard work and it’s hard on the people running it and it’s hard on the saw. And if there’s metal in the tree, you may loose a chain. I charge $50/hr if I work by myself. If I had to bring a helper, I’d charge a higher hourly rate so I could pay them but I’d also get done faster.

Is your saw big enough to run a longer bar? If you can put a 32” or 36” bar on yours, it’ll cost you $100-150 but then you could saw it into manageable lengths and quarter it then haul it home and process it by bits and pieces.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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RobS888

2556 posts in 2142 days


#14 posted 03-15-2019 07:31 PM



I can do about 30” diameter with my chainsaw mill. $80/hr is reasonable. It s hard work and it s hard on the people running it and it s hard on the saw. And if there s metal in the tree, you may loose a chain. I charge $50/hr if I work by myself. If I had to bring a helper, I d charge a higher hourly rate so I could pay them but I d also get done faster.

Is your saw big enough to run a longer bar? If you can put a 32” or 36” bar on yours, it ll cost you $100-150 but then you could saw it into manageable lengths and quarter it then haul it home and process it by bits and pieces.

- HokieKen


We are borrowing a 22inch, but I don’t know if that will do it. I was cutting some 24 inch walnut a few weeks back and my 18 inch was struggling, so i don’t think I could go with a longer bar.

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

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HokieKen

8609 posts in 1435 days


#15 posted 03-15-2019 07:38 PM

Yeah, probably not then. Where are you located? Might be an LJ nearby that would help and take part of the lumber as partial payment.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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