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Author Topic: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..  (Read 1508 times)

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Offline gwisejr

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To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« on: May 09, 2019, 10:17:31 AM »
Good morning,

I'm looking at building a ~2300sqft home this year. I've cut down a bunch of pine trees and will be hiring a portable sawmill to come out and saw the logs into lumber for fencing. I need about ~3000bf of 1x6 fence rails. I've got somewhere around 9000bf of logs and and I'm wondering if it makes sense to mill a bunch of 2x dimensional lumber to use for framing. 

Here in Georgia, Cherokee county specifically, the structural lumber needs to graded and stamped. I understand from some of the posts that I've read that you can hire someone to come out and grade the lumber. Looking over the quote for the framing materials and taking into account only the cost of the 2x dimensional lumber costs, it comes to ~$11k of materials.  

Does it make sense to cut my own lumber and have it graded? Does anyone have any similar experience and can fill in any gaps or oversights that i need to be aware of?



Thanks

 

 

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2019, 10:55:50 AM »
Probably better to find non-structural uses for it, all things considered. Siding, shiplap, trim, etc.
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Offline alan gage

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2019, 11:06:04 AM »
I think a lot of it comes down to what makes you feel good/right.

To some people it would be worth it to use their own lumber for framing even if it didn't save them any money. Other people might find it best to saw the logs into something they could sell for $2/bf and then use that money to buy framing lumber for $1/bf.

If I was in that situation I'd probably do what btulloh recommended and use it as siding, trim, or some other non-structural application. Those things cost more than framing lumber too.

Alan
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Offline Don P

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2019, 02:40:24 PM »
It is a personal decision. I have wood graded when it is specialty dimensions, heavy timber. It isn't worth it to me to have dimensional lumber graded most of the time. That said I'm sawing out framing for a house now. One advantage for you is TP Inspections is in Conyers, there is likely a grader not too far away.
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2019, 03:34:23 PM »
If I was in that situation I'd probably do what btulloh recommended and use it as siding, trim, or some other non-structural application. Those things cost more than framing lumber too.
I also agree with this line of thinking.  It will make building inspections go much easier.  Once you do something a little out of the ordinary, building inspectors sometimes get real picky on other stuff.  
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2019, 07:01:23 PM »
   I'd get the cost for a grader to come inspect the framing lumber and compute my sawing costs and base my decision on that. I bet your graded lumber will be a lot better looking than what you are going to find at the big box stores. Plus what is the value of the satisfaction in saying "This lumber in this house came off this/my property."?
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2019, 07:09:01 PM »
Consider that store bought framing is machine made completely , ease edged, almost dry and stamped and who will ever see it? Save your effort and wood for exposed places that people can see.

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2019, 07:19:28 PM »
Eased edges is a significant thing when youre putting in drywall and flooring.
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Offline hacknchop

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2019, 11:18:22 PM »
It's not that big a deal I do it {grade peoples lumber} often and usually charge less than $200.00 and covers all the material for most houses up to 3500 sq/ft don't give up talk to your building inspector most will have a list of certified lumber graders in your area. We often work together to help people become compliant with By-laws.:)
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Offline Don P

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2019, 06:04:14 AM »
It sounds like we have a different set of rules. Here the grader gwisejr would be using is attached to a grading agency he would be the "check grader" that the agency sends around to audit the graders who work in mills. Those mill graders are not allowed to freelance. How is it done there?
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Offline Magicman

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2019, 08:53:29 AM »
I saw many thousands bf of framing lumber each year and have sawn complete cut list of framing lumber for 15-20 homes, but:  If graded framing lumber is required, we forego sawing framing lumber and concentrate our efforts on "flat" lumber for siding, flooring, paneling, and trim.
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Offline hacknchop

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2019, 04:30:42 PM »
I'm a certified stress grader I went to school for the acreditation I am a NLGA  grader which is good anywhere in North America and some other countries and I am the company.
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Offline Don P

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2019, 04:37:15 PM »
I've also been to grading school under the NLGA rules. Unless I am a member operating under the oversight of an accredited agency that paper and 2 bucks will get you a cup of coffee in the US
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Offline hacknchop

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2019, 04:52:46 PM »
Do you also have a permit number identifying me , and under company name is my name , the only condition mine has is that is has the disclaimer subject to reexamination should it be deemed necessary . I have been grading for companies ,cities ,federal government,provincial government as well as individuals. When I got mine I also got my wife to take the course as well which she passed it was 2weeks at a lumber mill in Mattawa Ontario. 
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Offline Don P

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2019, 07:18:37 PM »
I wish our system worked that way. I trained for one week at a grading agency's facility and got a certificate of completion. After that you or the mill you work for applies for your grading ticket with the auditing agency. The mill whether one I'm working for or my own if it is stationary and I pay the monthly extortion fee is then audited periodically with surprise inspections. If you are a new grader he is going to be pulling your piles and giving you on the job training, he'll pick on you special for awhile. If a mill grader fails the pop inspection several times he'll pull your ticket. There is no such thing as a freelance unattached grader in the US. If I call for transient grading here it will be that "check grader" from the agency who shows up. My partner in training was becoming one of those guys. You can check all that on the ALSC website, the overseeing body of all the grading agencies. I'm on the email list for their minutes when the board there meets quarterly, updates to design values, new species combinations, agency changes/mergers, etc. Might be worth it if it's of interest how ours works.
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Offline barbender

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2019, 07:41:00 PM »
Unless I had no need for "appearance boards", trim, siding etc. I would also focus on on those items and buy the framing lumber. I realize some of the box store framing lumber can be pretty poor quality, but when I've got lumber from lumber yards it's pretty nice stuff. You'll never match that with rough sawn, and it sure makes it nice when you're hanging drywall. If it didn't have to be graded, I'd use rough sawn framing in a heartbeat though. 
Too many irons in the fire

Offline Magicman

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2019, 08:07:19 PM »
When a potential customer calls me about sawing framing lumber, there is a sorta checklist that I go through with them; Is it allowed in your county/city, etc., (building permit), get it ok'ed and in writing from your builder, lending institution, and insurer.  Omit any of these and you may have a whack of framing lumber that you can not use or you may even be taking down a rejected/condemned building.  :-\  :-X
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Offline Southside

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2019, 08:46:13 PM »
Even though I own a mill, (two actually), a kiln, and a 4 head moulder I would probably just buy graded lumber to frame with and use my stuff for the rest.  Honestly, you can't do it cheaper, better yes, but not cheaper.  Here in the States rough sawn lumber is just like raw milk, it's easier to obtain fissionable material than to use either the way you want.  That last statement is not hyperbole as I have family that have been and still are in the uranium business.  
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Offline hacknchop

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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2019, 09:17:50 PM »
The course that we took was expensive and you did not get a certificate of completion you needed to pas the exam with an 85% or higher to receive your permit 75% ----85% gives you a probationary licence and you retake the within a year get below 75% you get nothing except experience, I stayed in touch with the instructor and he said the course had a 50% failure rate for first timers ,it was tough and I had been sawing for probably 10 or more yrs by then. 
   We took the course in response to the bylaw requiring graded lumber.
@ Magicman most of the time when I'm grading someone lumber it's because they are in a bind because the sawyer who cut for them was not as imformative as you are and now they need it graded,sometimes I go in and grade standing buildings so that they become compliant and can remain standing.
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Re: To Mill and Grade or Buy, That is the question..
« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2019, 10:01:27 PM »
There is one county within my normal sawing area that will not allow ungraded framing lumber even for "out" buildings.  When potential customers call, I direct them to their Building Permit Office.  None have ever called back and I have never sawn anything in that county.  Nothing.  It's all about permitting and real estate taxes.

I have sawn in every county surrounding that county.  ::)

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