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Author Topic: Advice on how to buy some Eastern Red Cedar logs in suburban Philadelphia  (Read 1268 times)

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Offline jakeginsburg36

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Hey Folks:

I am new to the forum and to forestry and woodworking generally.  I live 15 minutes outside of Philadelphia.  I got into milling wood because we have a few dead ash trees on our property and my neighbor let me borrow his portable chainsaw mill.  Now I have my own portable chainsaw mill, and a bunch of live edge boards, and I am fully hooked.  I am in the process of milling orange osage and pine wood as well.  I saw a live edge bed made with aromatic (Eastern Red) cedar, and it looks awesome.  I am going to try to make one.  The problem is that I cannot find any Eastern Red Cedar logs around here.   I would like to order a few logs to my house (or pick them up and bring them home), so that I can mill them and make the bed and possibly some other furniture.  The lumber/timber places around here sell Eastern Red Cedar boards, but they have already been planed and no longer have the live edge. The places that  sell the Eastern Red Cedar logs appear to be in Oklahoma and Arkansas. 

Does anyone in the Philly area, or in the Mid- Atlantic region of the country (Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland) know how to obtain 2-5 logs (8-12 feet length) of Eastern Red Cedar Wood? 

Thanks!

-Jake

Online moodnacreek

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Have a tree removal person save them for them.  Buying saw logs has always been a when they have them not when you want them for me.  Try not to refuse logs delivered  and pay cash on the spot.

Offline jakeginsburg36

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Thank you.  What would you say is a ballpark range that a 10 foot or so red cedar log would cost?  $100?  $1000?  Like I said, I know next to nothing about this.

Offline Southside logger

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Hi Jake -

Welcome to the Forum,  I will gladly deliver 12' ERC logs to you for $1,000 each.  I will even wrap them in a bow, just let me know the color.   :D  You may as well learn it now that here there are a lot of guys with tons, and I mean tons, of valuable information, and we have a good time sharing it with each other.  So back to your log delivery...

As far as cost - that will really be a negotiated price of what someone will take and what you think it's worth.  The issue is you are in an area where there is not a lot of log trade, and you are looking for a small volume, so the expense is in the labor and time, not really the value of the wood. 

Couple of things that may help you given your location is that tree services may have to pay to get rid of their logs, so if you are willing to give them something it becomes a lot sweeter for them.  Try to see if there is a place nearby that grinds mulch, the type that you find in landscape supply places in bulk in the spring.  A lot of that mulch was trees, tops, limbs, etc that came from tree services.  Perhaps they would sell you a few logs, or if nothing else you will know what it costs for a tree service to dump there and that gives you an idea of how sweet of a deal you are offering someone.  Also, perhaps the county landfill has a composting area and they take in wood fiber?  Maybe they would let you "trade"? 

Around these parts if a tree service is within 10 miles and I offered them $50 for the truck load they have on most  likely they will gladly take my money as it costs them $50 to get rid of it, so really they are making $100 to drive 10 miles or so.  Winter there are more gorbys who want firewood, so the great deals do get harder to come by, but if you are the guy who always takes what they offer, you will get called before the gorbys. 

Good luck and keep us posted with your mission. 
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Offline jakeginsburg36

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Thank you!  That is helpful.  I could maybe drive out to Central PA and borrow a pickup or something.  I don't mind doing that.  It just sounds insane to have drive 5 logs from Arkansas to Philadelphia.  I will also try talking with the tree removal people.  The problem is that it may be a while until they remove multiple ERCs.  They exist here, but I feel like they are rare.

Offline Cedarman

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Logs can be put on pallets and shipped LTL.  Can be a little expensive.  Or you can give a mill a cut list and they can send the material on a pallet.  Less costly since slabs and sawdust are not sent.  Most mills will sell live edge boards.  We are shipping a truckload of small posts to Christiana Pa in a couple weeks. 
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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The problem you're going to have is locating Eastern red cedar.  There just isn't all that much around anymore.  I think you'll find more Atlantic white cedar than you will the red cedar.  They use that for the wind breaks and property screens.  I worked with an outfit in Newark that took nothing but urban timber.  I don't recall any red cedar.  That doesn't mean there aren't any, just difficult to find.

Red cedar is a pioneer species.  When land is left abandoned, red cedar is one of the first to take over, if there is a seed source.  In our area of the country, cedar invaded fields after people left farming.  I used to see a few old relic cedars in the woods.  They never amounted to much, since the next succession of trees would quickly overtake the cedar. 

They are also slow growers in our area.  I have several in my field, and they haven't reached any appreciable size in the 40 years I have lived here.  Walnut, maple and ash have overtopped them and the buck rub can kill the smaller trees.  I do have a big lunker in my front yard, but it looks to be rotted pretty bad. 

We don't allow farmland to lay fallow anymore.  As soon as a farmer goes out of business, he sells it, and they grow houses and warehouses. 

I'm not saying there are no red cedars around.  Just saying they are very hard to find.  You may also want to check with the utility foresters that work for the electric companies.  Given that there is a lot of fallow land along side of the utility lines, they may run into them more than the tree trimmers.  When they get too big or crowd their right-of-way, they come in and whack them down.  They also will ruin any sort of log that there is in the bigger trees. 

Or go with what Cedarman suggests.
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Offline PA_Walnut

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Tru'dat from Ron. I have some Red cedars in my woods and they always seem to be spindly, generally scraggly and unhealthy and die off under the canopy of the champion growers.

I did recently look at some walnut logs that a guy offered up that we absolutely FIREWOOD at best, but he had a couple of nice cedars standing. (very old). I could look up his contact if you are dedicated and willing to travel to Central Pa near Harrisburg.
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Why not use the same design with a wood you do have available? The osage would probably look just as impressive.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Osage orange isn't one that is widely available either.  I've only ever sawed one, and that was decades ago.  Our showy native species tend to be cherry and walnut.  Ambrosia maple may be another choice.  There are lots of soft maple in the area, and many have a tendency to have the ambrosia maple in them.  These are probably available from tree trimmers.  I've cut some gnarly soft maples that have had both curl and ambrosia. 

Kentucky coffee tree might be available as an urban tree.  Not quite like cedar, but does have a reddish hue with offsetting white sapwood. 
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Re: Advice on how to buy some Eastern Red Cedar logs in suburban Philadelphia
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2018, 09:16:58 AM »
As mentioned before, see what you can find in the way of urban trees. There are a large variety of species in peoples yards that get removed and go to waste all the time.
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Offline sandhills

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Re: Advice on how to buy some Eastern Red Cedar logs in suburban Philadelphia
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2018, 09:59:59 AM »
Welcome to the forum jakeginsburg 36, hang around and you will get a lot of good advice along with a lot of good ideas.  Southside beat me to it but for 1000 a log it'd be a trip but I got a '73 freight shaker and a flat bed I could load up, how many you want?  :D
I didn't realize they were that scarce back east, around here they take over anything not farmed, our pastures get overrun with them constantly and there are people that do erc clearing as a large part of their living.  Good luck with your search.

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Advice on how to buy some Eastern Red Cedar logs in suburban Philadelphia
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2018, 10:24:30 AM »
Wow - that's an even better deal than I offered him - with a '73 Freighshaker in the lead those logs would be debarked and lathe smooth by the time they made it to Philly!!! 
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Offline Kbeitz

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Re: Advice on how to buy some Eastern Red Cedar logs in suburban Philadelphia
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2018, 12:25:11 PM »
If you can drive to Va. they have tons of them....
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Offline btulloh

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Re: Advice on how to buy some Eastern Red Cedar logs in suburban Philadelphia
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2018, 03:30:42 PM »
Yes we do have plenty of red cedar here.

Usually you have to pay to get rid of them.  But if you want some, you have to pay to get 'em. 

They are considered weeds around here and I manage to get my hands on a few logs from tree guys now and then. 

By the way, welcome to the Forestry Forum!
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