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Author Topic: Beginner Urban Logging  (Read 7934 times)

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Offline Stephen1

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Beginner Urban Logging
« on: March 12, 2008, 12:54:01 PM »
I have been reading and thinking quite seriously about starting my own urban logs recycling program, as my next career when I retire in 2 years. I am next to a big city.
    I was just presented with a version of what I want to do this week. I was out having dinner with  some town councilors I went to school with. I mentioned what I want to do when I retire. I was directed towards Parks & Rec. The head guy Chris and I  had a nice chat and it seems they would like someone to take wood off their hands ( saves grinding fees)I am going to visit thier yard next week to have a more involved talk and to see what is involved.  I believe this will be a work in progress, I do not expect it to happen for a few months, but I will see.
   There are a couple of issues in front of me. They like some type of liability insurance, I do not have. How do I get it? I do have an INC. business. They want me to load and take away myself, I have the loader, no trailer just yet, should not be a problem, buy one.
It will be a learn as I go in picking out logs to mill.
 I obviously need to build a more refined business plan before I go to far, or I will be in trouble.
 I am thinking along the lines of building outdoor furniture, out of logs,or thick cuts of wood, large heavier type,I have sold quite a few pieces from my front yard, for quite a good $.I believe there is  retail side for dried lumber, to the wood workers. I believe I will need a kiln of some type, that will be work in progress.
Just looking for ideas, to help me along.
Stephen
 
IDRY Vacum Kiln, LT40HDWide, BMS250 sharpener/setter 742b Bobcat, TCM forklift, Sthil 026,038, 461. 1952 TEA Fergusan Tractor

Offline beenthere

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2008, 01:53:13 PM »
Stephen1
I've been recently cutting trees/brush in a local village park-to-be, and there are very few good logs to choose from...however occasionally there are some very good ones.

Would you have to be responsible for taking everything? or can you select just what you want?

Would you have to take this?
 

or even this?
 

On another note, would you be restricted to times when no damage to the ground would happen, such as only when the ground is frozen or dry (i.e. not leaving tracks or ruts) ??

Just some things to think about putting in your contract with the Parks & Rec dept.
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline Captain

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2008, 09:16:23 PM »
I've been recovering urban logs for several years and I am still a beginner.... ::)

My best success has been with tree services that otherwise pay to dispose of their materials.  Be willing to accept a certain amount of bad with the good and the occasional superior stock.  Create an outlet for the bad... for me it is a few folks with outdoor boilers ... and try not to become buried with material that does not move.  I'm in a bit of that situation currently.

I'm still a beginner.  But I'm beginning to learn from some of my mistakes. :)

Captain

Offline Daren

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2008, 09:20:03 PM »
I think it is great they are even willing to talk to you about it. I would get business liability insurance, should be no biggy. If they are going to burn it anyway and you have to pick up, I don't see a problem, take what you want and leave the rest. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to me. Yea you need to learn what you can market for the $ to cover expenses (don't know what is available and your overhead). If you are retiring with a good pension, hang in there. I "retired" at 35 and went into urban logging...now I have to work at it till I fall over dead  :D. I would not change a thing other than have the opportunity/guts to do it 10 years before I did.
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Offline Ironwood

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2008, 09:01:59 AM »
"business liability insurance no biggie" Just $2500 a year, from what I have seen. Am I wrong on this?

              Ironwood
There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love to do, there is only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.- Wayne Dyer

Offline Daren

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2008, 09:41:19 AM »
"business liability insurance no biggie" Just $2500 a year, from what I have seen. Am I wrong on this?

              Ironwood

I carried $1,000,000 liability for $800 a year when I was in the plumbing/welding business until 2004. That was working in other peoples homes/property/institutions. My coverage is different now since I am home based so I don't think it is pertinent (90%+ of my logs are delivered, my sawmill is stationary in my yard, same with my sharpening business) Maybe I am under insured ? Or others are over insured ? It could be location based too.
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Offline TexasTimbers

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2008, 09:51:24 AM »
I don't know much about urban loggin Reid - but a tad more about liability insurance at least here in Texas.

Insurance companies do base their rates on many factors of course and one of them is the location of the activity, but what I have found effects the price of liability insurance more than anything is employess. I ended up doing two entire projects in 1999 alone, simpoly because I could not make the projects profitable and carry the insurance too.

I carried a minimum annual libility policy for my business when I was remodeling and building, but on the two really large projects that year I wanted more than what it offered so I purchsed policy from a guy who sells a wide variety of products and one of them (I forget the actual nema of it) covers the project for a certain time period. It was VERY affordable, as long as I was the only one doing the work. I was also able to sub the other stuff out i.e. concrete, framing, roofing, etc. to subs who were responsible for their own insurance and bonds.

The problem was when I wanted to add one single employee to it. It jacked the rate up from (working on memory but this is close) $300ish for the whole project - which was a $200,000 contract gross - to well over a thousand dollars i believe in the neighborhood of $1200.

I ended up basically just contracting it and doing the finish work and whatever else I wanted to "use myself as a sub" for to add a little more to my hard won profit.

That was not just with this one broker either I had shopped around and found that adding one single employee (and i had 9 of them in 1999 but was not allowed to use them at all on these two projects) sent the premiums through the roof.

My dad finally retired this year from the HVAC biz in large part because of his insurance premiums for his biz liability - his premium was nearly $1400 - ahem - per month!

Us little guys have to be very resourceful to get anything done, feed our families, and cover our hind ends too.
The oil is all in Texas, but the dipsticks are in D.C.

Offline low_48

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2008, 10:30:34 AM »
I harvest from our municipal lot for woodturning stock. So far it's just a friendly situation, but have often thought about the business side. Specialty cuts for turners doesn't take long straight logs, but unless it's a burl or nice crotch slab, it doesn't pay that well. Now penturners are a different lot. You can sell wild grain, spalted wood, or unusual colored stuff for anywhere from $24 to $30+ a board foot. Of course an individual may only by 1 board foot, or even less.
My favorite idea is end grain block flooring. Even siberian elm can look nice on the end grain. Silver maple is plenty strong on end grain, and you only need a couple of feet without a knot to get several blocks cut. You might look at this for a reference;
http://www.kaswell.com/
It seems to me that cutting beams and then crosscutting into "tiles" will give you pretty good yeild from urban logs. But then there will always be the marketing of that....................My hope is to do about the same that you are thinking about, and as long as I get a little on the black side of the ledger, it will make the pension last okay. Just as long as I don't have to become a greeter at Walmart, :D, to pay for the equipment.

Offline Ironwood

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #8 on: March 13, 2008, 07:57:31 PM »
My premiums include product liability (furniture) and coverage for off site work, shows, and also includes replacement insurance should I lose my shop and equipment to fire or theft. So, it is rather comprehensive. I just had a guy come by from Pa. Lumberman's Insurance Co., my current carrier is The Hartford. My beef is not the cost , but the lack of an agent that I can call and talk to when needed. Last time I needed some forms the local office said I had to contact Hartford because I no longer had an agent "in house", what should have taken 10 minutes took 2 hours by the time I was done. My local agent's business has been sold 4 times in 4 years!!! >:( No customer service. I like the Hartford, but there are funny rules about switching agents w/in the same carrier (BS) so I may switch to a different Co. The Hartford supports a blacksmithing group I know of and I appriciate that but I am ticked at their local carrier.

               Ironwood
There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love to do, there is only scarcity of resolve to make it happen.- Wayne Dyer

Offline Stephen1

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2008, 03:40:21 PM »
Well I am waiting for the insurance agent to return from vacation. I received a nice call from the #2 man in charge of our forestry deartment. It seems as of December 2007 they have stopped allowing people like myself to hygrade thier log pile. They are in the process of placing a new skating rink on the property the logs were stored on. The location they are using now only has enough room to hold a 1 months worth of logs. They have a mulching company come in to remove the logs once a month. I do have the name of this company and I'm in the process of contacting them to see if anything can be worked out. I will also talk with the #1 man in the forestry department to see what we can do. I thought this would be a work in process and I can see I will not be disapointed.
IDRY Vacum Kiln, LT40HDWide, BMS250 sharpener/setter 742b Bobcat, TCM forklift, Sthil 026,038, 461. 1952 TEA Fergusan Tractor

Offline Engineer

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2008, 03:29:08 PM »
If I were going into that kind of business, I'd have to be willing to take anything they had, good and bad.  In my case, it's all good.  Junk can be tossed in the wood boiler, branches can be chipped and mulched, and the good logs can be sawn or sold, and slab wood goes in the boiler too.    Probably takes some initial investment (in addition to the insurance issue) similar to what a reputable tree service would have on hand - a good truck and/or trailer with grapple, a chipper (6" if you're going to burn small roundwood, 8-12" if you're not), your usual selection of chain saws, cant hooks, etc.   If you don't have a place to put the junk you get, it's probably not worth the effort. 

Offline Kelvin

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2008, 05:43:34 PM »
Howdy,

As you can see from my posts that i've had battles with local cities and anyone else for that matter that has trees that could even be consideered junk.  Why would they care if you higrade their pile before they grind it?  Sounds just like all the people i talk with around my area.  Its very frustrating for me, so now i go straight to home owners with woodlots and try to get the junk from them.  Standing dead trees, things they want cleared, damaged stuff.  Anything with no value to the loggers/sawmills.

Funny story, i just stopped and asked a lady who had a county marked tree in her yard that was dead and going to be taken down.  I asked if i might have the trunk as they will give it to the land owner.  SHe asked what was in it for her?  I said, well i've made little things for people from their own wood, like a shaker candle stick box or a picture frame.  She said "Do you make instraments?"  This didnt' turn out well.  SHes giving the log to a neighbor for firewood.  This is what i find most of the time.  People are nuts!!!

Good luck with the parks and Rec department.  Actually, i don't see why they care about liablilty insurance.  That only covers damage you might cause to their stuff, and i don't see how you can damage a log yard.   I would be worried about you killing yourself on my property if i were them and that will fall under a copy of workmens comp to see that you wouldn't be sueing them when you are disabled forever.

This is what i worry about when i give away free firewood on my lot.  Thats how insurance companies and america works.  THey cut themselves on your place and you are footing the bill.  I've heard lots of stories about friends being sued by friends insurance companies.  It doesn't matter if you are friends, the insurance company decides how its getting the money unless you are paying for it out of your pocket, so if someone says,  "oh, i won't sue you if something happens"  It can't be true, b/c they don't decide.

Have fun, hope they wise up and spare themselves the expense of paying to have the material ground up.  My local univeristy spends $600k a year renting a tub grinder to grind logs and they won't even sell me the logs!

Kelvin

Offline Stephen1

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2008, 07:03:39 AM »
"Thats how insurance companies and america works. "

Sad to say isn't, one of my pet peeves. I believe you are responsible for yourself plain and simple.

I dropped by the town next to mine.. When the Tree service come back from working they drop what ever wood they have brought in for the day in an accessible pile for the public. I picked up 18" red pine logs cut 12 -14". I will need some way to lift the logs I left. I am going to try to make some shingles. The sawmill I purchased has a shingle maker. Will I have problems with checking in the shingles? I need new shingles on my garbage bin and they  should look good.
IDRY Vacum Kiln, LT40HDWide, BMS250 sharpener/setter 742b Bobcat, TCM forklift, Sthil 026,038, 461. 1952 TEA Fergusan Tractor

Offline Daren

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2008, 09:37:06 PM »
My local univeristy spends $600k a year renting a tub grinder to grind logs and they won't even sell me the logs!


This is a response to "you get what you wish for" too. To quote jrokusek "You are talking to the wrong guy at the college" But I totally disagree with who he said you should be talking to in my experience (the top is not the place to start...as a matter of fact they are best left out of the loop) Who is the guys running the tub grinder ? Is he working by the hour or on contract/lease annually? I am not familiar with tub grinders, down here they just pile it and burn it. I am going on the assumption they (the college) are spending $ for labor for disposal and the contracted are being paid to get rid of it. Wear and tear on such equipment I would think to be high, you could save them that by hauling some of it away for free. The guy with his hand on the levers could surely see that, as well as the fact you just made for a little shorter day for him (for the same money as far as the people he is wasting trees for know) So he ground 98 trees instead of 100 that day...they are still gone and you have 2. He did his job, got rid of them.
I have been down this road, talked to the mayor of a local town..."That is something to think about, I will take it up with the council" after 2 months of nothing I went to the guy fixing potholes/replacing street signs... and cutting city trees,for $24K a year and told him to give me a holler when he had to fell one. I would "help" clean up the mess (take the log). The mayor turns a blind eye, doesn't want to get involved now, it's too late.
This village now hauls off my slab (I live in the middle of town), delivers any public property trees I want. Tomorrow I will post pictures of 2 trees that were cut on private property that the street guy is going to fetch for me. I called the tree service and said leave them lay (saved him some gas $), called my buddy at the city works and told him to pick them up, done deal.
No offense, but I feel you are not a "people person" Kelvin. Urban logging is not about telling a guy with other things on his plate about it (mayors, CEO's, college administrators...they could care less) It is a grass roots thing, start from the bottom.
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Offline Daren

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2008, 09:42:50 AM »
Tomorrow I will post pictures of 2 trees that were cut on private property that the street guy is going to fetch for me. I called the tree service and said leave them lay (saved him some gas $), called my buddy at the city works and told him to pick them up, done deal.

Some may look at these pictures and say "Why those aren't logs, they are junk". I can see the heavy curl through the bark. (and of course the obvious burls  ::)) I was hoping it would show better in the pics, curly burl redbud. The little bit of wood I mill from them should be unique ?

 

I like weird wood, crotches/burls/curly. So this was a nice little free score for me.

 

This picture was taken this morning when the city guy in the picture (cropped his head out, to protect the innocent) Dropped my little logs off with the city tractor.

 

Huge score, no way. But still a good little chunk of figured wood. There are 2 trees, the other is just as funky but it really started raining hard, so picture time was over. (I was afraid I might melt  :D) If a tree hits the ground in this town, it comes by here first. They have been for 3+ years...the mayor is still trying to decide on my original proposition  ??? I am sure he will get back to me on that  ::)


Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Offline Kelvin

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2008, 01:44:29 PM »
Howdy,
Actually i am a people person, i'm just not a beaucrat person.  If you deal with me, I go to the enth degree to be honest and forthright.  I don't monkey around with things, and what i can't deal with, and don't want to deal with is "red tape" parts of life.  If i meet someone and they start talking "red tape" type of mumbo jumbo, then its not for me.  I don't really care, i'll do something else.  I'm just warning people about the funny situations they will find when dealing with beaucracies, cities, schools anything that has people worried about position and power.  I find it funny, but then i walk away with a story.  Not my cup of tea.  Some people can deal with it, and let it run like water off a duck.  Its a skill.  Daren has good advice for dealing with learing that skill.  its helpful.
Kelvin

Offline Daren

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2008, 02:06:22 PM »

Actually i am a people person, i'm just not a beaucrat person. 
Kelvin

Sorry, I misjudged you. Your right, a guy can get so bogged down trying to deal with red tape he doesn't get a thing done. I guess we are not too far apart in our thinking there. I have a strange feeling things are going to get more bureaucratic in the near future. The people who are in positions of power who are finally hearing the message about urban logging...are going to want to stick there nose in and mess up a good thing by formalizing things. A "free" log will soon (I am afraid) cost a guy a fortune in permits and the afore mentioned wasted time on the red tape parade.   
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

Offline Kelvin

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2008, 05:11:18 PM »
reminds me of the rules here in michigan for recovering lost logs from logging days in lakes and rivers.  The state declared that they get 1/2 of the revenue seeing as its theirs now.  Private property lost in a lake is owned by the state?  Someone saw somebody get some money from a nice recovered log and the state found an easy target.  I know in some states down south it doesn't cost much to get a recovery permit.  A few guys on the forum saw these nice old sinker logs.  I'd rather let the state recover their logs then give them one cent.  THis is what kills me.  More power to the little guys out there.
I'm kinda of a grump too, so this makes for my glass is half empty stories.  :)
Cheers,
kelvin

Offline jrokusek

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #18 on: April 01, 2008, 12:55:49 PM »
Howdy,
Actually i am a people person, i'm just not a beaucrat person..........Kelvin

Actually, I'm somewhat of a bureaucrat.  My advice above is to work with other bureaucrats if you are unable to work with the people who acually do the work in the field.   :D  If you can work with the actual workers I do agree that's preferable and more effective.

Some businesses have rewards for employees who develop cost savings plans or procedures.  Maybe it can be the head arborists "idea" that he came up with if there is some sort of financial reward for him.  Just another thought.  Good luck!

Offline Handy Andy

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Re: Beginner Urban Logging
« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2008, 11:04:53 PM »
  Speaking of insurance, I bought a blanket liability policy that bumped up the liability on my property and vehicles to 2,000,000.  Not a lot of cost, but the catch is it is only good on my property. Need a different policy to use my saw off my own property.  Like general liability.  So I just can't saw anywhere but at home.
My name's Jim, I like wood.


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