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Author Topic: Cross Ties  (Read 2690 times)

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Offline sawyerkirk

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Cross Ties
« on: March 28, 2003, 10:26:12 AM »
Talking with my local tie buyer this morning, ties are almost to a profitable margin. We may have to buy some tie logs. Fortunately KM has set up a tie yard here in town, so freight will be about $5.00.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Cross Ties
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2003, 01:57:11 PM »
Kerr McGee pulled out of our state a number of years ago.  That has left Koppers and a few minor players that are competing for ties.  

Koppers always pays for shipping.  They add to the tie price to adjust for shipping.  We're getting $21/50/tie and they ain't too hard on the grade.  They even paid the full price on the 7x8.

Ties have always paid well.  Our alternative is to cut down to a piece of blocking.  Blocking prices are up to $320/Mbf.  To cut an oak tie down to blocking, I need to average $910 on the boards just to breakeven.  That's better than the 1 Com prices.

At these prices, I even cut back my 10' ties, but it has to be a little rougher piece.
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Offline sawyerkirk

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Re: Cross Ties
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2003, 02:05:25 PM »
I was a tie buyer for a number of years, and always swore I wouldn't cut a tie, but we get $21.50 (Oak/MW) delivered now, and tie logs are reasonable in this area now. The side lumber goes into stakes. I've got a load of tie logs coming in here in the morning, so we'll make a test run of it next week to see what happens. I haven't cut ties in many years, so it will take some getting use to again.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Cross Ties
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2003, 04:59:47 PM »
Another factor is that you will get much better production.  That drives down your cost/Mbf in manufacturing.

I put out 2 loads of ties this week.  The side lumber we sell on the grade markets.  We seperate into clears, 2 Com & Btr, 3 Com, Casket, and pallet.  A lot less handling than to remanufacute into stakes and quite often, a better price.

Casket is a board that will yield a minimum of a 5"x7' clear face cutting.  They are also taking 1 Com on the good side.  We can upgrade quite a bit of 2 Com into this grade.  A good market if there is a casket company handy.

I've always wondered why some sawmillers hate the tie market.  They will talk about the price of 2 Com or that ties are too heavy.  Neither one is a very good arguement.  I'm surprised that a former tie buyer wouldn't make ties.  You must have spent years trying to talk guys into making ties.   :)
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Offline sawyerkirk

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Re: Cross Ties
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2003, 03:42:26 AM »
Not many jobs does a guy get to drive all over the midwest and south looking for sawmills.Most of the time I loved my job as a tie buyer, 5 days a week I tried to convice mills of exactly what you are saying. I'm not exactly sure why the tie industry has such a bad name. I do know my predecessor developed quite a few bad names for himself thru lies and unreliability, but I worked very hard to fix those. the we got bought out and went bankrupt!! so I left!! on my small orders for stakes I get about $1.00/bf where as on my large orders we run about $.65. I can handle $.65 on MHW, but the oak side lumber goes either into the kiln or saved for my smaller customers. Around here pallet cut stock is running $350/1000, and I can't aford to cut that.

Offline Greg

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Re: Cross Ties
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2003, 08:55:10 AM »
Quote
Talking with my local tie buyer this morning, ties are almost to a profitable margin. We may have to buy some tie logs. Fortunately KM has set up a tie yard here in town, so freight will be about $5.00.


Just curious, what is the difference between cross ties/tie logs and other 'normal' lumber?

Are cross ties typically shorter stock/logs? What dimensions?

Thanks,
Greg

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Cross Ties
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2003, 10:00:44 AM »
Cross ties are 8' 6" in length and either 7 x 9 or 7 x 8.  The 7 x 9 will fetch about $1 more than the 7 x 8.  There is also a 6 x 8 tie, but that is quite a bit less.  They go to Canadian markets and are used in subways.

Switch ties are ties that are longer than cross ties.  I've sawn them to 23' and got a really good price.  The market for cross ties is currently better than for switch.

Railroad bridges are normally made from wood.  Bidge timbers are another good market.  They can range in size from 8 x 8 to 9 x 18.  Lengths are usually 10'.  Current market is pretty dead.

Species vary in different areas.  In the hardwood areas, any dense hardwood will do.  Oak, hickory, beech, locust, cherry, walnut, maple and ash are all used.  Tulip poplar and aspen are not accepted.  There are some buyers who will take hemlock, but they are far and few between.

Tie logs should be no smaller than 13" and free of defects that will reject a tie.  Most notably rot, split and shake.  Double hearts are OK if you can box it within 1" of the sides.  So, no bark seams over 4-5".

Large knots can be a problem.  Branch stubs aren't too welcome if the bark is showing through.  A lot of that will clean up if the log is big enough.  Knots are not a defect, but they have to be sound.

Grub holes, spider heart, and excessive heart check can also get you rejects.  

Ties must be full sawn, and have limited wane, especially in the plate area on both ends.  

"Normal" logs are graded by knot defect and placement.
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Offline sawyerkirk

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Re: Cross Ties
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2003, 10:05:50 AM »
Just got my first load of tie logs unloaded. 75 logs. about half oak rest locust and hickory. Most are 12-13". paid 250 for mw 300for oak. We'll start sawing them Monday, I'll let ya know how we do.

Offline Greg

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Re: Cross Ties
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2003, 11:27:42 AM »
Quote
Just got my first load of tie logs unloaded. 75 logs. about half oak rest locust and hickory. Most are 12-13". paid 250 for mw 300for oak. We'll start sawing them Monday, I'll let ya know how we do.


Sawyerkirk,

I'm looking to buy in small batches some ~ 8x8" 10 to 12'  stock for some post and beam/timberframe work. Having difficulty finding supply around here (sw ohio) and I'm thinking your ties might work for me.

Let me know on price, and maybe I'll make a run down your way and pickup a trailer load. You can send me a private email if you wish...

Thanks,
Greg


Offline sawyerkirk

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Re: Cross Ties
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2003, 06:43:45 AM »
Got our first load of tie logs sawn up. ended up with 69 #5 ties. and 2087bf of 1x4's and 2x4 (nominal).
Cost of logs= $1096
misc expenses= $250 (blades, fuel, help. freight) I always figure it at $.05/bf)
tie profit=$1414
side lumber=$937
Total profit $1005
next 2 loads ordered. gonna try to do 75 ties per week.


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