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Author Topic: Pricing for these live edge slabs  (Read 1150 times)

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Offline burdman_22

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Pricing for these live edge slabs
« on: December 01, 2021, 08:18:23 PM »
Maybe this isn't the place to post this (or maybe this is not something we can post at all), so no hard feelings if it is deleted or moved.

I recently milled some live edge slabs and someone is already asking me how much I want for them. I know price depends a lot on the market, but I would at least be curious how people come up with their prices....I've always planned to come up with a "base" bd ft price, and then add multipliers or extra wide slabs and ambrosia/curl/crotch/whatever cool stuff is there.

These slabs were just cut, and havent been processed at all. They are three inches thick, just over 9 ft long, and about 3 ft wide at the base.

Again, I dont expect someone to tell me exactly how much I should sell them for...just ballpark figures/ranges would help me a lot.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Offline Southside

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2021, 08:58:44 PM »
Slabs are hard.  Yes you have something very unique there, but until it's dry the lumber value is a wild guess, and it's going to be a while before a 3" piece is dry.  I guess if someone was offering me cash today for some, and I didn't have a kiln and market for them dry, as long the buyer understands the risk of green wood, I would consider my time and expense, add in something for the lumber, $1 / BF or so, and see how badly they want them.  
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Offline rusticretreater

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2021, 12:29:30 AM »
Just google - Live edge slabs pricing  and you will be able to view real prices.  You can also see how prices vary based on thickness, sweep and other features.

You will be astounded at the pricing. You will also be able to figure out those multipliers you mentioned. Here is a snippet from one website.

Lancaster Live Edge Red Oak Kiln Dried Prices

[th]Slab Width[/th]
[th]Red Oak Slab Cost[/th]
20" or Less$4/bd ft
20"-29" Wide$5/bd ft
30"-34" Wide$6/bd ft
35"-39" Wide$8/bd ft
40"-44" Wide$10/bd ft
45"+ Wide$12/bd ft
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Offline customsawyer

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2021, 06:22:38 AM »
I see it on a regular basis. Folks buy a sawmill and start selling green live edge slabs. They often make decent bank for a short period of time. Then the slabs start to dry in the homes, where they were installed, and they are moving and insects are leaving. Then the customers call them back and there isn't much the sawyer can do. With in a period of time the customer will end up calling me and want me to fix the slab for them. Most end up wanting me to dry, sterilize, and plane/flatten it. They tend to not like it when bugs start coming out of it.  When they learn that they will end up paying me more to fix their slab than they paid for it originally they just come buy some of mine.  Spoke with a sawyer the other evening that was bragging about how much he is making selling green pecan. I don't care that he is selling his lumber, but he doesn't realize that in selling those green slabs, which probably will have powder post beetles, he is now opening himself up to having to treat a customers home for insects. Pecan/hickory are some of the worst for PPB.
You are selling ambrosia maple. Those insects don't like dry lumber but by the time they move out then the PPB move in. Your only safety net is to sterilize it in a kiln and store in controlled environment.
If you want to sell green then they should be sold on the low end of the prices and the customers need to understand the risk they are taking. If you don't explain the risks then they can come back on you. I refuse to sell green slabs for this reason so don't have a clue how to price them. I can tell you that my green off the mill hardwood, for flooring lowboy trailers, starts at $2.50/bf. Hope that helps.
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Offline burdman_22

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2021, 07:07:00 AM »
I appreciate everyone's concern for my customers and want everyone to know that I never sell to anyone without lengthy discussions about drying. In fact, I've talked most of the people out of buying from me.

The one person that does buy from me (the one that wants some of these) has someone that will kiln dry them for him.

The 2.50 bd ft for flooring does help, thanks for that.

Offline bannerd

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2021, 07:23:46 AM »
As a wood worker.. if they're green I would probably pay $400 a slab or less, I know I need to get the slab dry and there is a risk it might split and need to be pegged.  I don't have a kiln so it would be something that sits flat for a few years (yes a few years) before I would do anything with it.

If it was kiln dry I would UP that cost knowing that I can work right away and possibly sell a table/bench/countertop for 1K or higher.  Some of those pieces are really unique and with the right buyer people might spend way over 10K.  That one piece that looks like a smoke pipe... gorgeous, love it!

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2021, 07:53:46 AM »
Another rough way maybe to back into it from the prices above, IMO drying doubles the value, surfacing doubles it again.
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Offline metalspinner

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2021, 07:57:39 AM »
We have a local lumber dealer that sells kiln dried slabs in those sizes book matched sets, too, like you have. 
Ambrosia maple pieces  are in the $200-$300 range. 
Her pieces are planed, kiln dried, and sealed with what appears to be shellac. They are very nice and would be ready to work. 

I have a shed full of air dried stuff like yours. Handling those things is a PITA and I would add an up charge for that alone. 

I know slab projects are hot right now and you see some crazy numbers online for finished pieces. But most of that, I believe, is not reality. Certainly those big numbers do not represent big profits, at the least.  The costs of handling slabs through the production process are much higher than similar sized board glue-ups. 

To maximize your money from those pieces, get them kiln dried and surfaced if you can. 
I do what the little voices in my wife's head tell me to do.

Offline burdman_22

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2021, 07:59:47 AM »
Yeah, fortunately these pieces aren't something I'm in a rush to sell, as they are in Kentucky and can sit for a long time.

Most of my slabs are in Alabama, and will have to be sold or moved in the next few months as my wife and I are military and will be moving sometime in May.

My dad and brother are woodworkers, and I'm currently trying to talk my dad out of taking on any more cabin builds....maybe slab processing and table building might be one good retirement project for him 🤔 

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2021, 08:03:03 AM »
Why would you saw crotches except to saw out the sound parts for the figure. For one thing crotches never stop cracking and there is almost always rot. It is a lot of work that should have been done on a but log that was not dead.

Offline kantuckid

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2021, 08:35:54 AM »
Might post on the WM FB Group. Seems like many there have bought their first mill and slab crazy or cookie crazy or waiting for delivery of their first mill. 
Everyday I see posts there r. e. slabs being cut or as a business. One recent one shows a WM1000 setup as a new business.
 The slab mania began mostly as a result of a PA man George Nakashima. Reasearch his work via wiki, etc to see some slabs of special note.  I think his daughter remains in the woodworking business there in PA? I read about and saw his work in slabs among the very first issues of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1970's. Unlike many "slab people" now, he was a true craftsman who didn't rely on mostly fabricated steel legs to build with natural edge slabs. 
As many here will know, the British have long cut their fancy wood as book matched slabs stacked in order.  
I'd say prices vary more with location than any other one factor. In my area where there's zero deep pockets it would be a waste of time to market slabs. 
The few cabin owners near me who've come in to retire & 2nd homes maybe would go for one, but too few to matter. 
In urban areas the fetish is shelving made from slabs. I did a bunch of them ~ 4-5' long with a straight rear edge for one of our sons new kitchen. The contractor was very experienced at mounting them if that tells you anything about the Knoxville, TN market. At his suggestion I built into the rear edges an angle to help keep the level after install due to the weight/sag. 
In my own living room I have a coffee table and end table built long before the current slab fetish-in a log building they fit well. 
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2021, 09:13:24 AM »
Nice slabs! I like the one with the Nike swoosh 😁
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Offline Resonator

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2021, 12:18:37 PM »
Make an inventory sheet of what you have, with widest measurements and pic's of each slab. Then get them stacked with good air flow and drying. While it's drying you can research what slabs are selling for in your area, and as mentioned the value goes up as it dries. The value goes up more so if kiln dried, and surfaced flat. The highest price you can get is if you build finished furniture from it, and are prepared to ship and deliver it. smiley_thumbsup
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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2021, 04:16:33 PM »
Dry slab pricing is always subjective - colour/grain/size/shape/species - these things determine value and marketability and what anyone else is asking pricewise has only limited bearing on what you can make yourself because no two of the things are ever exactly the same

GOS slabs however are just slices of tree that haven't made it to the edger yet (in my opinion, others may vary) and as such I always figure their value in terms of what I could rip out of them.... some 6x 2's or a few stairtreads, or a pair of 8x3's etc. Ain't no premium in that of course, but they aren't a premium product until they're dry and stable and vermin proof.
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Offline metalspinner

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2021, 05:13:12 PM »
Whats GOS?
I do what the little voices in my wife's head tell me to do.

Offline Resonator

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2021, 07:01:11 PM »
"Green Off Sawmill" (My guess anyways). ;D
Under bark there's boards and beams, somewhere in between.
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Offline nativewolf

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2021, 08:23:16 PM »
Lots of good replies.  I'd just add that those are nice looking slabs and we see a lot of nice looking logs.  Under some serious weight and into a kiln to sterilize.  I understand that after walnut the ambrosia maple is the hottest thing today. 

Our clients that are table makers have huge costs in drying, finishing (big woodmizer slab finishing tables), treating, bowties and epoxy fills if desired, etc.  A plain jane slab that is $300 can be $1500 before it leaves the shop, easily.   If you dry them carefully, and kiln dry to sterilize they should be quite salable.  Both our clients have online marketplaces on Etsy and other places.  
Liking Walnut

Offline burdman_22

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2021, 11:29:22 PM »
We have a local lumber dealer that sells kiln dried slabs in those sizes book matched sets, too, like you have.
Ambrosia maple pieces  are in the $200-$300 range.
Her pieces are planed, kiln dried, and sealed with what appears to be shellac. They are very nice and would be ready to work.

I have a shed full of air dried stuff like yours. Handling those things is a PITA and I would add an up charge for that alone.

I know slab projects are hot right now and you see some crazy numbers online for finished pieces. But most of that, I believe, is not reality. Certainly those big numbers do not represent big profits, at the least.  The costs of handling slabs through the production process are much higher than similar sized board glue-ups.

To maximize your money from those pieces, get them kiln dried and surfaced if you can.
@metalspinner wow! $200-$300 for slabs my size that are already kiln dried and flattened and finished? How does that lady make ANY money off of that? Seems like the time and cost of kiln drying and flattening would add up to at least $200...so at the point the wood would essentially be free, haha.


Why would you saw crotches except to saw out the sound parts for the figure. For one thing crotches never stop cracking and there is almost always rot. It is a lot of work that should have been done on a but log that was not dead.

moodnacreek I am still pretty new to all of this, I thought crotch pieces were sometimes desirable. Also, I mill what I get, and stick with logs 3+ ft in diameter....and at that size, I cant really be very picky, cause there just aren't a ton of those trees available.


Offline burdman_22

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2021, 11:33:58 PM »
Wow, had no idea I was going to receive so many responses to this post, haha!

Just to be clear, I've not TRIED to sell these to anyone. I showed them to someone and he decided he wanted them. He has the means to dry and flatten and knows what all it entails.

Thanks everyone for your responses.

Hopefully one of these days I can find someone to show me their solar kiln setup (or maybe I'll just copy something from on here). My family will be moving around May, most likely to Maryland, and I'll be moving all of my stuff to Kentucky. Would like to build a solar kiln at my dad's place so he can start drying slabs for me :)

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Pricing for these live edge slabs
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2021, 08:46:34 AM »
Burdman, My unpopular remarks are based on years of trying to make a living on selling wood I have sawed. I know times change and people will buy stuff that should be burned and pour epoxy or something over it. My bad 'slabs' have gone that route sometimes. What happens is you work hard, stick this stuff in storage somewhere and saw more. Years go by fast and the stuff is heavy. After you move it a few times and get embarrassed in front of a knowledgeable wood worker/customer , you learn to look for sound wood.  Of course this is just my opinion but I am sure you will agree with the heavy and hard work part.  I am glad that you are sawing and keep looking for the better logs.


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