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Author Topic: Reality check, BF pricing and railroad ties  (Read 1998 times)

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Offline Southside

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Re: Reality check, BF pricing and railroad ties
« Reply #40 on: January 15, 2020, 11:47:18 PM »
Again - why did he approach you?  Nothing against you personally, but why you?  Also what magic contract does he have with mother nature, loggers, and the tie buyers to make all of this happen so perfectly all the time?  Not trying to be negative but I can bring you one town over from where I am and show you an operation that a year ago had two guys working in less than ideal conditions, but they were working, over the summer and fall they blew up like a soda bottle going over the rockies, rented kilns, a whole facility, hired oodles of laborers, had multiple truck loads of material coming in daily, now all of their equipment is for sale and they are flat busted.  Want to know what they were sawing?  Commodity hardwood lumber, including 4/4 and ties on a brand new 3665.  It's a nice mill, I may go look at it as they need cash. 
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Offline stavebuyer

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Re: Reality check, BF pricing and railroad ties
« Reply #41 on: January 16, 2020, 04:57:20 AM »
The current tie market peaked a couple months back. The collapse of the flooring market has pushed some of the big grade mills into sawing ties so the bust will be sooner rather than later. If I had the logs and equipment I'd ride it while it lasted but no way I would borrow or buy to jump in.

I rolled my own LT70DCS into a super before Wood-mizer made them. Live deck, inclined conveyor, transfer table, edger, green chain, barn sweep, chipper, sawdust blower and 3.5 men(dedicated wheel loader half time on mill and half time on lumber grading side).

We sawed +/- 100 logs a day. 75-80 made ties. Almost 50% 4/4 side lumber. Wouldn't touch a hickory. Mostly oak. 30-35K ft per week(multi-year real world numbers). 40 hour weeks including breakdowns and cleanup.

I am a log broker. I hand picked the logs most profitable to saw for the equipment and markets I had out of several hundred thousand board feet per week going through my yards.

A lot of people in the business with big mills told me it wouldn't work. They were wrong.









Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Reality check, BF pricing and railroad ties
« Reply #42 on: January 16, 2020, 07:14:07 AM »
Southsides question is a good one.  When I was approached, I had been sawing about 8 or ten months.  I believe my inexperience was the reason the guy came to me, thinking I might be swayed by the money he was talking about.  Im pretty sure I was going to add capacity over his regular mill.  As soon as demand declined I was going to be cut loose.
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Offline Jcald327

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Re: Reality check, BF pricing and railroad ties
« Reply #43 on: January 16, 2020, 07:37:41 AM »
I'm not sure what made him choose me.  Currently I am the only one on craigslist, but that's not common.  Maybe it's because I almost bit at 30 cents a bf so he thinks I'll be cheap, or maybe it's because I am (although I have yet to give him a price to run his mill vs our mill).  Possibly because he knows my overhead is low, and someone with a high woodmizer hydraulic payment may want to take the difference between customers mill (60$ hour) and their own mill (100-120$ hour with help) to put towards payoff.  

As to the magical contract skill, I know he had the next 5 months lined up already, and hes looking at partnering with a log yard in his operating area to cut boards and ties from what they have there too.  Theres also a claim that overseas buyers are stopping by multiple times a week and hes working on setting up the export side as well.  From everything hes saying, hes growing exponentially and he cant fill the orders he already has, but I am still quite suspect to the whole gig.

You guys are really good at planting the seeds of doubt, and I'm not mad about it.  I like to think every plan will flourish into fruition, although this is rarely the case.

***edit***
This may just be a ploy where he thinks I will jump the sign on money and not account for all the other parts of, for all intents and purposes, owning a business (as a 1099 contractor with employees).  But I am not someone who is easily taken advantage of, I work for fair wages, but those are my take home after everything is accounted for wages, and do not take kindly to nickle and diming.  I would assume for everyone to make fair wages all things considered we may be closer to 25c a bf, or 100$ hr.  And after he factors machine cost, wear and tear, expendables, and handling equipment operating costs, we may not make a deal.
****Edit****
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Reality check, BF pricing and railroad ties
« Reply #44 on: January 16, 2020, 08:06:34 AM »
From my experience and these posts it shows that many small sawmills don't just saw lumber [like I do].  There is usually another source of income. Buying and selling logs, metal roofing, firewood, building pallets, fence posts etc. Moodna creek sawmill only survived because the Mrs. worked at the local collage.

Offline Jcald327

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Re: Reality check, BF pricing and railroad ties
« Reply #45 on: January 16, 2020, 08:39:38 AM »
From my experience and these posts it shows that many small sawmills don't just saw lumber [like I do].  There is usually another source of income. Buying and selling logs, metal roofing, firewood, building pallets, fence posts etc. Moodna creek sawmill only survived because the Mrs. worked at the local collage.
I would love to do this full time, but I dont think a lucas is going to compete with a hydraulic bandmill, and the local amish presence.  I think I would need to charge between 65-85 an hour to account for maintenance, expendables, and down time to replace a full time job.  I only need roughly half that with my military disability, but there are plenty of other jobs that will prove to be less stressful than running your own business, and foot the required bill income wise.  
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Reality check, BF pricing and railroad ties
« Reply #46 on: January 16, 2020, 11:45:34 AM »
He couldn't get the Amish to do the sawing for him?  Generally, its hard to beat their prices.  

From what I've read on the Forum, hickory is the devil's wood on a bandmill.   I know my production dropped on days where we run solid hickory.  Your blade isn't going to stay sharp very long, especially in unbarked logs.  After sawing for 10 hrs/day, you'll spend how many more hours sharpening blades?

It also sounds like some days you'll be cutting grade and some days ties.  That sounds a bit different than originally planned.  More saw passes per log will reduce your production.  Then there is that pesky problem of edging.  400bf/hr means that you'll have to have some hrs with much more than that to make up for the ones that have less.  To make your trailerload every other day is going to mean you'll be spending more time at the mill than at home.

Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Reality check, BF pricing and railroad ties
« Reply #47 on: January 16, 2020, 01:08:28 PM »
If there was an Amish mill within 2 hours of here, I would be doomed.

Offline Jcald327

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Re: Reality check, BF pricing and railroad ties
« Reply #48 on: January 16, 2020, 01:52:18 PM »
The amish around here, at least on smaller jobs, are around 40cents a BF, and will cut/slab however you want from beams to slabs to 3/4 boards for board and batten.  Not sure how they price big runs like this, or how prevalent their presence is in the nashville area (where this job/s would be) vs up in the fort campbell/hopkinsville area.
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Rancher 455 24 inch
Stihl 271 20 inch
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Lowrider cnc 4x8 capacity
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