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Author Topic: Paying for yard trees  (Read 30704 times)

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Offline OneWithWood

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #20 on: June 19, 2007, 12:19:24 PM »
To date I have been offered 'free' trees on four occasions.  One was for a couple loads of white pine that had been cut over the course of a year.  I went and looked at the pile and informed the owner that I was not interested as I had no ready market for white pine that was in less than perfect condition.  Actually I have no market for white pine in any condition - I would have to make one and my priorities were elsewhere at the time.  He said; How much to haul them away?  I told him that because his mother had helped me with the delivery of my log trailer (at a price, definately not discounted) that I would haul them for the price of fuel, about $75.  He paid me $100 to move them.  That was a couple of years ago, the logs are still piled in my yard.  Maybe now that the kiln is finished I will see if there is any useable lumber in them.  Two were windthrown black oaks, one nice and one with major sweep.  The nice one was going to take some large equipment adn was a bit dangerous as it was laying accross a gully.  I said no thanks to both.  The fourth was from a fellow about two miles down the road.  He wanted to clear out a fence row of poplar, oak, maple and sassafrass.  In the forty trees, ten were decent.  I said I would cut them down for him and haul them away but I could not get to it for a month or so.  Was not quick enough for him so he had someone else cut them down and throw them into a gully.  ::)
Free is definately a relative term.  If I have the time and the log is worthy I will help someone out.  If it is a difficult extraction and will cost me $ to retrieve the log I need to have a ready market for the lumber before I will consider it.
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Offline Daren

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #21 on: June 19, 2007, 01:20:35 PM »
I think everyone is looking at this from a different angle. Maybe when I titled the thread yard "trees" that confused things. I am strictly talking logs from yard trees. I would probably NEVER (have not, don't plan on, but never is a big word) cut down a tree for someone just for the log...especially in a yard. I am not a tree service and will not do $600+ worth of their work for a $200 log and a mountain of cleanup from the rest I don't want. I come in and haul off the logs once it is down, that is it.

To be down right honest my buddy who runs a tree service makes more per year than I do. He is a very hard worker with good helpers and has the right equipment (I don't have a bucket truck, stump grinder, chipper...and while I am being honest, the hard work part does not really turn me on so much either   :D)

I don't want to be in the tree removal business, if I did it would be for $profit$ not to feed my mill.
I cannot say I have not for example went and lent a hand to a friend felling and cleaning up a tree and hauled the logs off. But I did that before I got a mill too, just did not take the logs back then. When a stranger calls and wants to give me a "free" log, all I have to do is cut the tree down, I give them my buddies cell number. He charges them fairly for the work and I still get the log if I want it. 

I really don't get a large portion of my logs from tree services anyway. There are ones and twos now and again, but most of the time yard trees are being removed because they are rotten (or just not worth sawing for other reasons, species/size...). I get most of my logs from the other guys I mentioned excavation contractors, municipalities, and individuals. The contractors bring them in whacks, but not as frequently (a few times a year each). Individuals bring/I fetch only a few at a time, but it seems to be a steady stream. Sometimes several a week.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #22 on: June 19, 2007, 05:35:36 PM »
Our log truck pulls into the yard today with yard trees.  It made me think of this thread.  They came from 3 separate yards and 3 separate landowners.  So, I asked how much they paid for them.

Two of the landowners will be paid on shares.  They get 50/50 split.  The third guy had 3 trees and just wanted to get rid of them.  One of those logs is worth about $2,000.  Of course, we won't be cutting any of these logs.  They're just too valuable to saw.

We cut these trees down, and they were close to the houses.  A very experienced cutter, and there was some equipment available to help guide, if necessary.  It wasn't necessary.  Landowners did all their own cleanup. 

We've gotten yard trees in the past and have sold them for veneer.  The landowner gets paid if the tree is worth anything.  I once bought a truckload of ash that were blown down by a storm.  The landowner got $1,000, I got a finders fee, and the logger still made out. 

When it comes to hitting trash metal, I get my fair share of trash in woods trees.  The worst trees come from scout camps.   ;)

A savvy community with a good urban tree collection policy could make a good deal of money over the course of a year. 
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Offline Warren

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2007, 06:14:15 PM »
Previously, I posted that I had received several "yard trees" for free and would not pay for them.  After 6 months at this full time, I have changed my mind a bit.  First, I have a tree service guy 20 miles down the road that calls me from time to time.  The obvious benefit to him is if I haul off the heavier part of the tree, he does not have to block it up and haul it off.  However, I've learned that his grandpa once upon a time had a sawmill.  So he is fairly familiar with what will and what wont make a reason saw log.  He is also familiar with fuel consumption on 2 ton trucks, so he has an idea of what it takes to make a 40 mile round trip worth while for me.  In the past year have only hit 3 or 4 nails. Recently I've started paying him $0.10 per BF for decent logs that I pick up with the boom truck.  Not an everyday occurrence, but it helps out.  Second, I have a neighbor who runs a Cat 953 clearing out subdivisions and digging foundations.  He also has a fairly good eye for what will make a decent sawlog and what wont.  He calls me when he has a prospect to see if it is something I need or want.  IF so, he loads it on a  trailer and brings it home with him instead of pushing it in the burn pile.  I pay him the same price I pay the logger.  He's happy to get a little extra change. I'm happy because his logs are generally as good as what the logger will bring, sometimes better.  Always fresh.

Now for the Joe/Jane homeowner types.  I generally check out the offers, but typically end up declining or referring  them to the tree service guy.  As stated previously, they are typically wanting $600 to $800 worth of work done for free and then expect to get paid for what could turn out to be a marginal  log.  

Up shot for me.  I'm willing to pay for yard trees from the right sources.  But as a couple folks have already stated, there is no such thing as a "free" log.

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Offline woodbill2

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #24 on: June 19, 2007, 09:23:51 PM »


Now for the Joe/Jane homeowner types.  I generally check out the offers, but typically end up declining or referring  them to the tree service guy.  As stated previously, they are typically wanting $600 to $800 worth of work done for free and then expect to get paid for what could turn out to be a marginal  log.  





I regularly look on Craig's List for logs and or trees and most of the "free" trees fit into this category. I think that the homeowner has already gotten a quote from a tree service and don't want to pay the price. So they figure that some one will do the work for "free" in exchange for their "valuable" wood. I pass on most of these. So far the only "free" logs I have gotten have been from my neighbor.
Rain doesn't get things wet, it makes them grow. So next time you get rained on, remember you're growing, not getting wet.

Offline Ironwood

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2007, 09:41:34 PM »
For those of us occasionally getting yard trees, you are playing the averages. Most will be junk, but occasionally you hit a home run that make it worth it, Like the curly maple Daren got ahold of a few years back, WOW. Now Daren you will be subjected to several years of "drought" looking for another like it. I explain this to the customers with "valuable" trees as well as the expensive equipment needed to retrieve the logs. I did recently buy a few BIG cherries. I paid my buddy to get them down. They were right up the street, easy access, no hassle deal. I ended up ahead but there is risk for great loss, if they are not prime cherry or walnut I am not interested. These were 16" small end and 12' long straight as an arrow and not a knot on them. They were in the big woods behind a fairly older development, and were the second log up, so little chance of metal. Nice. I like the quote "a logger is just a phone call away" as well.

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Offline Daren

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #26 on: June 20, 2007, 08:19:22 AM »
Now Daren you will be subjected to several years of "drought" looking for another like it.

I don't consider it a drought, I have rationalized the whole deal to myself and consider it "conserving manpower and wear on the equipment"  :D. I pass on alot of logs, $1.50 bft oak is the same labor/overhead/storage as $15 lumber, why mess with it. I can saw less and make more by only taking something worth sawing. I will still mill whatever nasty little junker someone else brings by custom, that pays for my gas and blades when I want to mill one for myself. Like I said when I first got my mill I was overeager to use it and anything semi round, semi straight with bark (sometimes without bark) I was burning gas, blades and daylight. Now my mill can set a few days without me worrying.

I recently had a computer crash and lost most of my pictures (hard lesson about backing things up on disk  :'() but I still have a few. I may, or someone else can start a thread "show me your yard logs". Until then I will post a couple pictures here of "free" logs I saw. I will skip the big curly maple, I have beat that into the ground already.

Here is some of the lumber that came out of that big oak log the excavation contractor dropped off (I of course had 24" wide stock too, and some wicked 1/4 sawn, but the pics were lost when my computer blew up  ::)) This is a bad picture, but you can still see a little curl.
 

20" wide ash from the neighbors lawn mower shop, delivered with his forktruck. The log was 36", my skidsteer would not pick it up.
 

18" wide clear walnut dropped off by a contractor, part of two semi low boys delivered. A case of adult beverage per load for the driver was what it cost me for all walnut 14"-16"+ small end on the little ones, most in the 24"-36" range. They cleared the trees on a "no burn job", they had to haul them off anyway.
 

8 logs from one cedar yard tree. The butt was 24" x12' and no nails  8). This was from a guy I had never met, he was a friend of a friend of a friend . He works at a commercial/production cabinet shop and does some tree work on the side and sells firewood. Since cedar is no good for firewood he gave me this log. I did flip him a few bucks, he dragged it 40 miles, gas ain't cheap. I hope he comes back we spent an hour looking at my burls/curly wood, he understood what to look for.
 

Some curly walnut I sawed from a yard tree. This was a custom saw job...that cost me free logs. A guy brought me this log to saw and his neighbor came with him. The neighbor was an old guy who said he had 3-4 walnut down I could have to get them out of his way. I could tell this log was curly and told the guy he had a prize, he didn't understand so I explained to him curly walnut was worth some $ to the right people. The next day the old neighbor came beating on the door and had changed his mind about giving me the logs "I think I will just hold on to them for awhile" (he was 92 and they had been down for 2 years  ::), whatever) They musta got talking and the old neighbor figured he had a fortune and wasn't giving me the logs. They neither one knew what curly meant. I had to show the guy who I milled/dried it for what walnut is supposed to look like, he still didn't really get it. He is not a woodworker, and will not sell it either. He just had the log milled because he was expanding his driveway and the tree was in the way. The lumber will set in his shed.
 

Some walnut stump wood. The road commissioner I mentioned earlier dropped this off with the townships endloader because I said I wanted to try to saw one. I have access to 100 more, but this one may be my last. Too many hidden rocks. The guy brings me whatever I want though. He takes care of all the country roads for a good radius and several old cemeteries. He drops off good logs from clearing work several times a year. If I am in a bind and need something he always "finds" it for me, they will just go cut one from a road ditch, fencerow, river buffer...He has brought some beauty honeylocust, osage, mulberry...stuff that most people wouldn't think to bring to a mill but I like.
 
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #27 on: June 20, 2007, 09:22:59 AM »
Sometimes I think not paying for logs can work against you.  If you don't need logs, fine, don't pay.  But, if you're looking for quality logs, you should be able to pay something.  You may end up having a reputation as the source of last resorts.  When no one else will buy it, they call you.

Then your yard trees become a self fulfilling prophecy.  All the yard trees you get are bad because no one else wants them.
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Offline Daren

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #28 on: June 20, 2007, 10:49:12 AM »
All the yard trees you get are bad because no one else wants them.

It is a different situation around here, nobody really wants any of them except for firewood. I am one of a very few mills that will take them, even for free. I guess I have to explain the geography. I live in a rural area, just towns of 1000-5000 spread out every 10 miles or so separated by nothing but tilled farm land. There are a couple large industrial towns within 50 miles. The timber business is not even thought of around here, it is corn and beans and industry. There are places I can go around here and look to the horizon in all directions and not see a single tree, just corn. There are more trees in town than in the country. The loggers are getting logs from 100-200 miles away.

And I have to explain the mindset. In a farming community most trees are looked at as something in the way of the plow. 95% of the town folk don't understand the value of wood either. Most big walnut yard trees are cut down and hauled off because they drop too many nuts and make for hard lawn mowing. I have beat my head against the wall for 4(?) years trying to get them to stop burning them. I have given interviews to the paper, went to city council meetings...I mentioned all that in another thread in this section. Still I drag good sawlogs out of the municipal burnpile.

The tree services (that I don't work with) mostly haul their logs to a burnpile. Some sell firewood. A very few sell by the ton to pallet companies , but I get first dibs on the good stuff. I only deal with the tree services that are good dudes, I give them 100 referrals a year, so a nice free log every once in awhile is not a problem for them. I do like I said pay for their labor/gas if they went out of their way to get it to me.

There are 2 kinds of mills around me (within 75 miles). 95% of them are circle mills cranking out production and buying semi loads several times a week to fill orders that they are behind on (mostly pallet/ties/blocking...). There are many cabinet shops around, but they buy wood from out of state again by the semi load? The cabinet shops are corporate production shops selling to the "big box" home improvement stores. The circle mills are not selling furniture grade material, the market is not here on a big scale. The cabinet shops have their suppliers mandated to them by the corporation, they buy in bulk and trucking costs are offset.To keep up with demand the circle mills don't have time to mess with yard trees, they have loggers that supply them with raw material. The loggers don't have the time to mess with yard trees either, they go in and log 100 acres of hardwood at a time to supply the circle mills.

There are smaller Amish cabinet shops, but they do everything in house logging/milling/drying/fabrication is all done under one roof so to speak. The same with a couple small pallet companies. The really small pallet companies will take yard trees, but they are making pallets so they are not paying enough to really count. But still most of them do their own logging in the timber.

The other mills are bandmills, some are more production based too but they only custom saw. A very few get into the lumber business so most turn away logs that would just clutter up the yard. They want to just saw for others and not try to store/market lumber. The local lumber market is just hobby woodworkers really. If a guy wanted to really make any money selling lumber around here he would have to wholesale through a broker and most guys (including myself) don't want to get tied up like that with inventory.

I think this is the 3rd or 4th time this has been said, if I wanted to pay for logs I have a couple loggers phone numbers (they drive by here every day with semi loads heading to the circle mills) People are literally looking for a place to get rid of ones and twos from their yard or farm. And like I said too the only people really paying any decent money for logs from a yard are small time woodworkers who have them milled by a guy like me. They have a "swapping network" one feller may get ahold of a big walnut and have it sawn, his buddy may have just got a big cherry. They neither need all of what they got so they trade to keep a variety around.

My situation may be totally different than others, but that is just the way I do it. All it will take is one yahoo to buy a mill and start paying top dollar for yard trees around here. That sets the market value and changes the way things are done now...I am not going to be that yahoo  ::) . I want them for "free"  ;)
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Offline TexasTimbers

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #29 on: June 20, 2007, 12:19:31 PM »
. . . I recently had a computer crash and lost most of my pictures (hard lesson about backing things up on disk :'()  . . . . .

For shame for shame. How many warnings did I give you directly and indirectly? I made a post here, elswhere, sent you an email making sure you didn't make my mistake AND EVEN TOLD YOU IN A PHONE CONVERSATION not to NOT have a backup plan. You have no excuse young man!  smiley_confused  smiley_argue01 ;D
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ANYWAY did not mean to rant (yes I did). My first experience with a free yard tree was in 1988 or 89 when my MIL to be, or new MIL (can't remember if it was pre or post mistake) asked me to remove the walnut tree from her front yard because it was making her car sticky every year. ::) I was only vaguely aware of the value of BW but since I had been wanting to get into woodworking seriousl by then I knew the wood would come in handy.

She paid for me to rent a big chainsaw from the tool rental place. Had no idea what I was doing. Survived it though. Then I hired a wrecker to come out and lift the huge trunk onto my borrowed flatbed utility trailer, then carried it to just across the border into Oklahoma where a guy had a dad who had a Woodmizer, which i had never heard of before. They had bought a Satterwhite log home kit and he had bought the WM to cut the porch and garage and other sundries for the house. He told me to call him in a couple weeks. I did. He said he'd been too busy call back in a couple weeks. I did. He said he had been too busy call back in a couple weeks. i did. He said he'd been too busy "I will call you when i get to it". He never did. That was what 18ish years ago? I wonder if he ever got to it, and how his walnut cabinets look.

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Offline Daren

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2007, 01:04:11 PM »
"I will call you when i get to it". He never did. That was what 18ish years ago?

It outta be good and dry by now  :D :D.

 
So do you have a backup now ???

Well, some things I just gotta learn the hard way  smiley_furious, unfortunately that is my nature. Yes I do...and thanks anyway for the advice I did not take  ::), I do recall getting it (insert "in one ear and out the other" smiley thing)
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Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #31 on: June 21, 2007, 05:19:32 PM »
He told me to call him in a couple weeks. I did. He said he'd been too busy call back in a couple weeks. I did. He said he had been too busy call back in a couple weeks. i did. He said he'd been too busy "I will call you when i get to it". He never did. That was what 18ish years ago? I wonder if he ever got to it, and how his walnut cabinets look.

:D :D :D  I can almost relate to you on that one, kevjay!  WDH is nice enough to mill my logs for free, but he lives 3 hours away, so when I have more than one load of logs I take them to a local sawyer.  When I dropped off the birch and cedar logs that I mentioned earlier in this thread, he told me he would call me the next week to mill them.  A week went by, and he never called, so I finally pestered him enough to set up a time to mill them.  We only got half of them done, and it took another two weeks to get him to set up a time to finish the job.

While I was there, I was commenting on some big walnut logs in his woodyard that had been there for at least a year.  He told me they belonged to a customer, and he was meaning to call him sometime to set up a time to saw them ::).  I'm glad I took the time to pester him, or my birch logs would probably be sitting in the same spot for another year.
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Offline Warren

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #32 on: June 21, 2007, 05:40:55 PM »

:D :D :D I can almost relate to you on that one, kevjay! WDH is nice enough to mill my logs for free, but he lives 3 hours away, so when I have more than one load of logs I take them to a local sawyer. When I dropped off the birch and cedar logs that I mentioned earlier in this thread, he told me he would call me the next week to mill them. A week went by, and he never called, so I finally pestered him enough to set up a time to mill them. We only got half of them done, and it took another two weeks to get him to set up a time to finish the job.

While I was there, I was commenting on some big walnut logs in his woodyard that had been there for at least a year. He told me they belonged to a customer, and he was meaning to call him sometime to set up a time to saw them ::). I'm glad I took the time to pester him, or my birch logs would probably be sitting in the same spot for another year.

DL,  We have a local gunsmith cut from the same bolt of fabric.  Nothing gets done unless you pester him.  Dropped a rifle off at the end of one deer season.  Didn't get finished until 3 weeks before the next deer season.  Only then because I asked for the pieces to go somewhere else.  Now I drive 4 hours round trip to a shop in Louisville.  But the work gets done in the same month.  Generally only a couple weeks.
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Offline thurlow

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #33 on: June 21, 2007, 05:56:46 PM »
Reminds me of the story.............liberally paraphrased.........Fellow is in the Army in 1943, home on furlough,  carries a pair of shoes to cobbler shop in closest big town to get re-soled.  Ships out to ETA, survives, comes home, gets married, etc.   Forgets all about his shoes.  In the late 90s, he's driving thru city, decaying downtown and lo and behold, there's the shoe shop.  Just on a whim, he stops and goes in.  Stooped old man behind counter..........fellow explains about the shoes, apologizes for not having ticket.  Old man says hold on a minute, goes in back, comes out, says, "Can you come back Friday?  They should be ready."
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Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #34 on: June 21, 2007, 05:59:42 PM »
Well Warren, since you know what it's like to have your work put off for months at a time, I'm sure that you're much more considerate with your customers ;).

Thurlow, great story :D.  I guess that kind of personality is common throughout all professions, and isn't just limited to sawyers ;D.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #35 on: June 21, 2007, 06:19:49 PM »
[ I'm glad I took the time to pester him, or my birch logs would probably be sitting in the same spot for another year.

At least they would be nicely spalted.  That is probably how spalted wood got invented ;D.
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #36 on: June 21, 2007, 06:25:12 PM »
Good point.  I bet 90% of the world's supply of spalted wood comes from procrastinating sawyers :D.
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Offline WDH

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #37 on: June 21, 2007, 10:58:49 PM »
Yes, and if they tried to reproduce it, it would flummox them :)
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline Part_Timer

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #38 on: June 23, 2007, 04:53:53 PM »
Well I'm odd man out here because I have bought logs from yard trees a couple of times, but I had a market for the lumber on both ocasions.

I got a call from a guy that had a large sycamore that had been removed for building a barn.  I went down to look at it.  Boy was it big.  30" across and 26' long.  No limbs no clean up just the log.  I made him an offer and he took it.  I went down and cut in into 66" lengths to fit in the kiln and rolled them on the trailer and went home.  It is now going to be the new floors for the kids rooms.  I payed .10bf

The other one I bought was a one out of a yard.  I went down to look at it and it was an uprooted walnut.  The ladys son had cleaned up everything but here was the trunk setting at a 45 degree angle out of the ground.  I made an offer and she took it.  I backed the trailer under the trunk, fired up the chain saw and dropped it on the trailer and moved out.  Payed $35

I don't pay much for them and I only pay if I have a standing request for the lumber.  That way I'm not sitting on capitol.
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Offline urbanlumberinc

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Re: Paying for yard trees
« Reply #39 on: June 24, 2007, 12:46:27 PM »
We had a few violent microbursts here the last few days and I've been burried in phone calls from homeowners with downed trees.  I look at the logs, and if I'm interested, I'll offer to arrange the cleanup and removal through one of the liscensed, Insured tree services I work with regularly.  The tree service in turn, gives the homeowner a discounted price for the cleanup and removal.  Usually works out great, until the other day when this knuckehead calls about a downed walnut.  As walnuts go around here this was a good log, but not the best I've ever seen, woulda sawed up into about 300bdft give or take.  I give the guy my standard offer, which clearly upsets him.  Seems he'd done a little "reasearch" and had come to the conclusion that he had a 3 thousand dollar log laying in his front yard.  I gently explained to him that at most, the cut and dried lumber was worth maybee 1500, and that in any case I would not be paying anything for the log, only saving him money on the removal.  After some thought the guy proceeded to get beligerant and accused me of trying to defraud him out of the log and all other sorts of chicanery.  I politely wished him luck with the sale of the log and went my way. 


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