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General Forestry => Sawmills and Milling => Topic started by: Crossroads on September 04, 2021, 08:00:08 PM

Title: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: Crossroads on September 04, 2021, 08:00:08 PM
Letís use blued pine for an example, which the big mills wonít buy or if they do, itís for pulp prices. Maybe Iím looking at this wrong, but my thought is that if I mill 1000 mbf at a rate of $400/1000 and giving half of it to the other party. Then Iím paying $400/1000 for my half of the wood and then also my milling rate. So for the blued pine that really isnít marketable in log form.  Would cost me $800/1000. Even with fir, it seems it would be hard to come out ahead. With western red cedar, walnut, oak and maple I start to get interested. Otherwise, I simply tell people Iíll buy the logs for X amount and saw for my normal hourly rate. Whatís your thought, am I twisted in my thinking? 
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: terrifictimbersllc on September 04, 2021, 08:04:26 PM
Right. You want to go home with money or wood. 
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: barbender on September 04, 2021, 08:21:47 PM
Yeah, I just look at it as wood on the landing. If I can by pine logs for around $320/1000 delivered, logs at location are worth less. A little over $200/1000, and that's if I needed pine. I usually don't 😊 Logs in someone's yard usually aren't really worth anything until they are turned into boards.
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: Magicman on September 04, 2021, 08:38:14 PM
I have not nor will I ever saw on shares.  I don't want lumber that I would then have to market and sell to regain my $$$.  Nope, I saw for money.
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: Tom the Sawyer on September 04, 2021, 09:16:38 PM
I don't "saw on shares" either, I imagine that seldom are both parties happy with the deal.  I do get offered logs in exchange for services, here is what I do.  When they arrive I unload their logs and measure them on the Doyle Scale (adjusting for defects, etc., like a regular log buy), establishing what each log is worth to me.  Then they can pick out the logs they want to mill and we complete their job.  At the end of the job, any logs we did not mill are credited towards their invoice total (we both know in advance what they are worth).  With careful sawing, you'll also likely have some overrun from Doyle.

Let's say that the price of similar logs delivered to your location is .45 p/bf and that you charge .40 p/bf for milling, then it may be a break even deal (here we have to charge sales tax on milling services and if you are taking logs in trade, you'll be the one covering that sales tax).  If there is metal in their logs, they owe you some more footage.  If it is a mobile appointment it likely isn't worth it since you would have to figure how many logs it would take to cover your travel and setup costs for the milling job, plus transportation costs for an extra trip to get 'your' logs.

If they are offering logs that you wouldn't normally buy, don't be afraid to say, "No".
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: Patrick NC on September 04, 2021, 09:43:31 PM
I recently did a job on halves. We sawed 1100 bf of ERC in 8 hours. I took home 550bf . Sold it for $2.25  per bf. I was pretty happy with the deal. 
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: WV Sawmiller on September 04, 2021, 09:49:31 PM
  I have and may in the future again saw for shares. It is very rare and it has to be for logs for which I have a need or market for them. Usually it is high value logs that are hard for me to get. Right now candidates would be walnut, cherry, locust or white oak. The last job I did on shares I brought home about 2,000 bf of wild cherry which I will use mostly to make benches and sell to woodworkers. If I were selling outright I'd sell them for abut $6K. selling in finished form I'll make more. But this is not ready cash. I do have holding, handing and transport costs as well as my time and materials (Blades, Wear and tear, mileage, etc.)

   I almost never buy logs. The exception was as I did yesterday where I have a customer wanting Tulip poplar in excess of sizes or quantities I want to harvest off my property. I have a deal with a former customer who cuts and yards the logs and helps me saw them to match the customers orders. The customers pick them up at his site and he loads them with his tractor on their trailer for them. Basically I am buying and reselling lumber I sawed from a suppliers logs on his site and with his help. This is working good for both of us as we each bring to the table experience, materials and equipment we already had.

   One thing I have learned sawing on shares and normally in the future the customer will have to bring me the logs otherwise I end up with excessive transport cost and double handling. If I saw on his site I have to take the mill over and saw then bring the mill back and go back, load and return then unload the lumber or logs. 

   Remember - sawing for me is largely a cost neutral hobby and I don't depend on it to make a living. Its not for everybody and not for all cases. I turn down offers to saw on shares every week but I also turn down offers to buy logs every week. Unless I have an immediate market for the lumber sawing on shares has no benefit for me.

   In all things sawing I still say flexibility is the key.
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: Crossroads on September 04, 2021, 10:04:21 PM
In my area the hardwoods are hard to come by, so in the right situation, it might be interesting. For softwoods, I just canít seem to justify it.with the exception of cedar. 
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: Ianab on September 05, 2021, 12:25:08 AM
If you are trading something for your sawing service, it has to be something that's of value to YOU. 

That may be Cash, everyone has some level of use for that. 

If it's logs or sawed lumber, then again, is it of value to YOU?  If it's not, then you don't want to barter for it, any more than you would barter for any other item you have no desire to possess. 

People have given examples of where it can work, like you know the lumber you are getting from the deal is worth $x, and you can sell it easily. Or you get logs that you would otherwise have to buy (for $x)

Tom's strategy makes sense as he's putting a $ value on both the logs, and his sawing service. Then the customer can decide what to do. They could say..

"OK, just saw them all and I'll pay you"
or "OK, I don't really need any lumber, you can just buy the logs"
or "OK, do $500 of sawing for me, and you keep $500 of logs" 

Either way, Tom comes out of the deal OK, and the customer isn't ripped off either.  But this relies on the logs being of some actual value to Tom. A 50--50 split only works if the logs are about the same value as your service. Because logs might be worth 25c bd/ ft, or $1, you can't set a standard ratio.  
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: sealark37 on September 05, 2021, 09:10:48 AM
If you divide your share of log/lumber, the customer will generally be somewhat dissatisfied with the result.  If the customer does the sorting, he will always take the best lumber/logs.  Weigh each deal on its own merits.
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: moodnacreek on September 05, 2021, 09:45:28 AM
I recently did a job on halves. We sawed 1100 bf of ERC in 8 hours. I took home 550bf . Sold it for $2.25  per bf. I was pretty happy with the deal.
Cedar and black walnut are the exception in most cases.
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: moodnacreek on September 05, 2021, 10:00:33 AM
Back when I started people who owned land [and some who didn't] would want me to saw up a pile of logs the logger didn't take. Those loggers are so dumb :D. Being young and dumb I would want to do it on shares. The first time it was a bunch of red pine the guy brought here. Looked god on the outside. Then there was hemlock I trucked in that sat too long, it was turning yellow and a big pile of hard maple top logs all with wind twist cracks inside. So if half the wood was good you get to keep 25 percent for handling 100 percent. That's a great deal for the owner.
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: justallan1 on September 05, 2021, 10:54:32 AM
Although I like cash, sawing on shares still makes me money.
My thinking says I can saw lumber faster than I can drop trees and get the logs on a good flat spot, so it's worked good for me. I may be able to make more money milling for cash, but it's less jobs to be had doing it.
We just had another fire here that burned 170,000 acres and I have a neighbor on each side of me that wants me to mill for them and I'm game. They're both great guys that know I'll be sawing around my hours on the ranch and it's on a deal where we'll get done what we can and the rest will have to just be left. The best part is that they each have the equipment to do the logging and staging, so I just have to show up with my mill and gear to start sawing.
Another reason that I'll saw on shares is to keep a good supply of stuff that I don't see for my woodshop. Unfortunately there's always someone showing up that wants it more than I do and I sell it.  :D ;D
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: WV Sawmiller on September 05, 2021, 11:11:34 AM
   A generally accepted technique, if you are sawing on halves, is to divide the logs or sawed lumber into equal piles then flip a coin to see who gets which pile. When you tell the customer that is the process you will be using it is amazing how close to equal they will make the piles because they know they could get either pile. (Its like telling the kids "okay Billy, you cut the watermelon, cake or pie in half then Tommy gets to choose which half he gets first." You'll see Billy get the tape measure and calipers out before making his cuts. :D) You could easily do the same with thirds or quarters if that was the mix you agree to. 

   I have done that then when it came time to flip the coin I told the customer to pick his pile so there was no way he could complain he got the short end of the deal.

   It is often better to divide the logs instead of the lumber because the customer may want 4/4 siding and you may have more need for 8/4 framing. 

   I see many responders say they never saw on shares. It can be more be more difficult to figure out a fair split and if you don't have the time or inclination then don't do it but you may lose out on a good opportunity by not at least listening. I have lost many good opportunities and will lose more in the future so I write it off to experience. I never say never and will try to consider such proposals. If it is not going to worthwhile to me and fair for both of us I say no. 
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: justallan1 on September 05, 2021, 11:36:37 AM
  A generally accepted technique, if you are sawing on halves, is to divide the logs or sawed lumber into equal piles then flip a coin to see who gets which pile. When you tell the customer that is the process you will be using it is amazing how close to equal they will make the piles because they know they could get either pile. (Its like telling the kids "okay Billy, you cut the watermelon, cake or pie in half then Tommy gets to choose which half he gets first." You'll see Billy get the tape measure and calipers out before making his cuts. :D) You could easily do the same with thirds or quarters if that was the mix you agree to.

   I have done that then when it came time to flip the coin I told the customer to pick his pile so there was no way he could complain he got the short end of the deal.

   It is often better to divide the logs instead of the lumber because the customer may want 4/4 siding and you may have more need for 8/4 framing.

   I see many responders say they never saw on shares. It can be more be more difficult to figure out a fair split and if you don't have the time or inclination then don't do it but you may lose out on a good opportunity by not at least listening. I have lost many good opportunities and will lose more in the future so I write it off to experience. I never say never and will try to consider such proposals. If it is not going to worthwhile to me and fair for both of us I say no.
I've played the "you pick a log, I'll pick a log", I've sawn 2 piles and let them pick and I've sawn 1 pile and figured the footage and split it.
I've had folks bring out a log or 2 because they wanted to make something to remember someone by. Those deals I always lose on because I especially want them to have what they need. :)
 
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: WV Sawmiller on September 05, 2021, 11:48:54 AM
Allen,

   I did that with a neighbor for some walnut. We scaled the logs and divided and were within about 5 bf of the same which was as good as it gets. I knew he wanted a mantel and such so then I let him pick so he grabbed the pile with the log he wanted for the mantel so he was happy and I did okay on the deal.

   When someone brings a memory log in to me profit concerns generally go out the window. The compensation I get in seeing their happy faces is worth way more to me than greenbacks.
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: Magicman on September 05, 2021, 02:39:43 PM
When someone brings a memory log in to me profit concerns generally go out the window. The compensation I get in seeing their happy faces is worth way more to me than greenbacks.


(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20011/IMG_3619.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1604280444)
 
I saw 'memory' logs free.  Here is a 'proposal' tree where the customer carved "Will You Marry Me, etc. in a tree.  The tree later died and he wanted to preserve the message so...

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20011/IMG_3618.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1513371604)
 
we laid in on the sawmill bed using a sacrificial board.

(https://forestryforum.com/gallery/albums/userpics/20011/IMG_3616.JPG?easyrotate_cache=1598734599)
 
And sawed a flitch off that will become a wall hanger.  No charge but he insisted on a very nice tip.  I never refuse a tip.   ;D
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: Crossroads on September 06, 2021, 12:24:19 AM
Memory trees can be fun for sure! 

Thanks for sharing your view points. I guess it all boils down to each situation being unique. This week Iím on a 500 mile road trip that has 4 different customers and if tomorrow goes well, Tuesday will be spent fishing for Chinook salmon on the Alsea river with a friend Iíve known since grade school. 
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: WDH on September 06, 2021, 09:50:01 AM
I have sawn walnut on shares, primarily slabs/flitches.   They get laid out and I say ďPick any one that you want, then I get to pick next.  You go firstĒ.  
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: Larry on September 06, 2021, 02:22:24 PM
I do it that way with slabs sometimes but prefer to split on a half log basis.  That way either person can book match slabs.

With grade lumber I build two stacks as the lumber comes off the mill.  Customer gets first choice.

Never had any complaint with either method.

Splitting logs before I saw can create bad feelings if a log turns to junk.  I try to avoid the practice. 

Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: SawyerTed on September 06, 2021, 03:26:25 PM
I quit sawing on shares since Iíve cleaned up the accumulated lumber around here.  Having gotten away from lumber sales over a year ago has reduced my frustration with people in general.  I can honestly tell people I operate a portable sawmill not a lumber yard. 

I have no problem acquiring any variety of native species logs here.  Even walnut isnít too tough to come by.  We also have 300 acres of family farm land with a mix of hardwoods and pine.  Just keeping up with the logs generated from farm activity keeps me in enough logs and lumber for my projects.
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: alan gage on September 08, 2021, 09:35:36 AM
Had a guy bring in a bunch of walnut he wanted sawn into live edge slabs and split on shares. I said sure.

So I sawed all the slabs, set them upright on the mill and ripped them right down the middle so we each got half of each slab. I still don't understand why he was so upset when he came to pick them up? ???

Alan
Title: Re: Why I donít saw for shares.
Post by: taylorsmissbeehaven on September 08, 2021, 02:10:49 PM
My first experience with sawing was very costly for me. A friends family sold the farm and she asked if I wanted the cedar trees lining the driveway as the logger did not. I cut them, loaded them, hauled them, and stored them for a bit. A carpenter buddy of mine had a friend whose next door neighbor had a csm. I delivered them and he sawed them and then everyone involved (4 of us) had a really fun night picking and arguing over the wood. We are all still friends to this day ( this happened over 20 years ago) and I actually still have a slab or two of that wood in my shop. Unfortunately, I got the sawdust fever and two mills later, the rest is history. We all have to pay our bills but sometimes its just fun to have fun!!