The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Drying and Processing => Topic started by: Stephen1 on March 22, 2019, 08:16:06 AM

Title: Kiln Waiver
Post by: Stephen1 on March 22, 2019, 08:16:06 AM
Since I am going to use my IDRY for comercial drying , does anyone else do comercial dryng and do you use a waiver? 
Title: Re: Kiln Waiver
Post by: edlparsons on January 21, 2020, 11:21:25 AM
Hi Stephen,

i don't have a waiver but that is a good idea.  In a world where anyone can sue anybody for anything at any time, it probably makes sense to do so...
Title: Re: Kiln Waiver
Post by: GeneWengert-WoodDoc on January 22, 2020, 03:38:01 AM
I have seen many documents of this type for custom drying operations.  Basically, you need to show or be able to'prove that you used the appropriate drying procedures, as many defects are related to the wood and not drying.  So, keep lots of records.  Consider a quality analysis before drying, looking at color, checking (sometimes hidden), Bactrian and fungal activity, grain angle, sawing issues, and so on.  Even then, an unhappy customer can file a claim against you.  They will claim that a defect in the dry wood is caused by kiln drying.  The court has no idea about what causes drying defects, so it is hard to prove you were not responsible without spending a lot of money.

Almost all the time with a claim, you cannot afford to go to court, so there will be an outside settlement.  Unfortunately, this means you will have to give more than you really want or deserve to give.  Lawyers are expensive.

The best contract I saw was one that stated the custom kiln operation required air drying, but they were not responsible for air drying defects.  In today's weird weather, it is easy to damage wood while air drying.  So, after air drying, you need to document the quality...checks, color, warp, etc. ...before the wood goes into the kiln.

Having said this, most people are very reasonable, but it only takes one bad apple to create a large impact.
Title: Re: Kiln Waiver
Post by: YellowHammer on January 22, 2020, 08:41:11 AM
Yes, have them sign a waiver.  They will still complain, but at least they can't really do much about it, except complain.

It's a mess, kiln drying for others.

I bought some of the preprinted receipts just for this and had the company write in big type, right by the signature line, "All Sales Final, NO REFUNDS." Actually, I didn't get through too many before I just stopped doing it.

Here's my personal experience.  Some want you to take nasty wood and dry it so that it looks good.  Then they complain because it still looks like junk.  Others would complain because it has residual stress in it from the log but they think it's from you and the drying process.  Then they claim there are more holes in it where the bugs came out during drying than when they dropped off the wood.  Then they complain about pith cracks, shake, and then most of all, the drying time.  Then they pull out a $2 dollar moisture meter and tell you the wood is not dry, or it's too dry.  Or they wanted it at 7% and you are at 8% or 6%.  Then they complain about the sticker stain the boards incurred when it was air drying out in the rain at their house.  Then they call back 3 months later and tell you must have done something wrong because the wood doesn't cut "right" anymore.  Or it doesn't "feel" right, or the best I had was a guy who said I had done something to the wood because it "won't take a stain."  Jeez.

Oh, yeah, have on the receipt that if they don't pick up the wood in a timely manner, you will charge them for storage, otherwise you will become a "Stephen's Lumber Storage Yard."  I would call people back up and after about the third time, told them their precious wood was about to be moved outside because I had other people who also weren't picking up their wood and were bumping them out of the limited covered storage space I had, and they may want to come get it before it gets rained on.

However, there is a lot more to think about when kiln drying for others than just doing a quality job for them. You are basically giving them the finished product to compete against you, if you ever plan to sell wood to the public.

I had individuals resell their wood that I dried by advertising that it had been dried by Hobby Hardwood so was great wood, equivalent to mine (it wasn't) and were selling it at just under my price, undercutting me.  So their strategy was to bring me green wood, I would dry it, and then they would flip it by undercutting my lumber selling price.  So I was shooting myself in the foot.  How bad did it get?  I started to be able to "feel" it when a certain species' sales would noticeably drop off, then I would go to Craigslist, and sure enough, there would be the wood that I had just dried being sold for less than mine, sometimes pennies on the dollar.  As soon as that lot was sold, my sales in that species would go back up.  I realized real quick that whatever I was making kiln drying, I was losing by people underselling me.

Then when I stopped drying for other, these same people would ask me for a tour so I could show them how to dry wood, and one guy bought an kiln like mine and then when he didn't have the ability to do it right, had the nerve to offer to hire me as a "consultant" to help get his business going, in direct competiton to myself, in my own town.  Are you kidding me!?      

So for me, the best solution was to tell them that I don't dry wood for people anymore, and no more complaints and no more undercutting. :D

Just my experience.


Title: Re: Kiln Waiver
Post by: Stephen1 on January 24, 2020, 11:56:32 PM
Thanks for your input YH, So far drying for other has been working out. I do not have a waiver, yet, it is in the works still.  
The vacuum kiln system has worked out for me in producing quality lumber. 
My customers are live edge lumber slabs. Furniture builders that have a deadline to build furniture, tables and such. They have been air drying these slabs for years waiting for a chance to build a table for a customer. They are bringing them to me at 16-18% and I can give them back at 6-8% in 2 weeks. It makes for a great relationship. They can call and reserve space in the kiln and then tell the customer when they can have the furniture. I run the kiln on 10 day cycles which makes it easier to tell someone that thier wood goes in the 1st week of Feburary. So far nobody has left thier wood here. I'm sure it will happen. 
I have a small Saturday morning 9-12 retail sale of "Craftwood".  cookies, coffee table-end table peices, 2-3" thick I had a hangover of wood that I have gathered over the years and this is why I have the Saturday morning open house.  It seems I had problems saying no to buying a log before, now that  My shop is full  it is getting easier to say No. 
My focus is Custom Sawing and Drying wood for my customers.