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Author Topic: Hard maple log pricing  (Read 14683 times)

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Offline qbilder

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Hard maple log pricing
« on: April 27, 2011, 10:41:22 PM »
Hi fellas. I'm getting into a business deal that will require me to be milling much more sugar maple than I can or even want to cut off my own properties. I'm gonna have to start buying logs. I'll be interested only in veneer grade hard maple, no figure. Any idea what I should expect to be paying? And where do I buy them? Do I frequent log auctions, get a broker to work with, or deal directly with the loggers? Any input would be greatly appreciated.     
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Online beenthere

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2011, 11:13:41 PM »
That's a good question.
Not like going to the grocery store, or the box store and finding the logs you want sitting there.  ;)
So, finding a land owner that wants to sell you some trees that you have selected might be one way.
Finding a forester who is managing a sale for a landowner that will select out logs from a timber sale might be another way.
Finding a logger who is logging his own sale who could pull out the log grades you want to buy, rather than him taking them all to a sawmill might be another.
Going to a log yard at a sawmill and seeing if you can make arrangements to buy logs from their log pile might be another.

What fits your idea?
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Offline tyb525

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2011, 11:16:36 PM »
I agree with Beenthere, it's something we're not used to in this age where you can buy whatever you want whenever you want, and it's easy to find.

Logs are a different story, you actually have to work to find them, and that's not including hauling them back to the mill ;) You're in New Mexico? I didn't think sugar maple could be found there?
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Offline qbilder

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2011, 12:26:41 AM »
I reside in NM. Got property in southeastern Ohio, which is likely where i'd set up the operation. The job is wood for billiard cues. A large production factory wants me to supply them with maple shaft blanks, 1"x1"x30". I also build cues but am low production custom work, more hobby than business. But I do have a better than fair reputation for the quality of woods I use. I get that wood by cutting & milling my own trees. But now i'm being asked to supply it to a big outfit & I really don't want to miss that opportunity. It's something I have always wanted to do but never got past talking about it. This proposition kinda lit the fire under my rear to make something happen. It would be a really good income as once i'm set up to do it, there are several other outfits in the industry willing & eager to work with me. This one deal is large enough that i'm finally taking it serious.

What i'm working on now is researching the details so I can put a solid business plan together. Everything is pretty cut & dry as it would be a simple specific operation. The logs are the tricky part. I need 12"-20" diameter undergrowth trees with tight grain & slow growth. Nothing mature enough to have large heart. The logs have to be clear of mineral. It's a pretty specific tree I need & for my own use, it's not difficult to find. But on a larger scale i'm afraid it's going to be a logistical nightmare. Not sure yet it's feasible. If it's something that can be done without excessive cost and time, then a very good profit can be made. Which is where i'm at, trying to figure out whether or not it's worth the risk.       
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Offline tyb525

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2011, 12:31:59 AM »
You might consider a gang rip along with your sawmill - it will make cutting those 1x1's much faster.

I'm not sure about the tight rings-slow growth understory trees, but I do know most hard maple that is forest grown, grows pretty slow. I'd think it might be hard to find a logger to supply you with only that type of hard maple, however if you get to know someone, it might be possible.

Chances are, you'll have to buy maple logs and sort out the best of those from there. You might have a side market selling what you can't use for cue blanks as flooring stock or just regular boards.

What kind of volume are we talking here? 100 pieces a day or 1000?

Here is a link to Ohio's timber price report, as of Jan 2011. These are averages for the whole state.

http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/ohiowood/OhioTPR_JAN2011.pdf

Looks like hard maple varies from 300-900 for prime grade - which doesn't tell you much since there's such a low-high difference.
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Offline qbilder

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2011, 12:43:59 AM »
15,000 blanks/year to the one outfit, at $10/blank. It's certainly worth consideration but the devil is in the details. At this point i'm looking for the devil before I commit. Each blank is roughly 30" long, and the grain has to run straight from one end to the other. Has to be 12-15 growth rings per inch minimum. No color defect, knots, mineral, etc. It's a very specific cut & can really only be achieved by quarter sawing, then ripping along the grain. It's a lot of work, lot of time & requires very close attention to detail. I know the work & am well experienced at it. What worries me is finding the specific quality of log in quantity enough to meet the demand. And how much it will cost in time & effort to locate those logs. It'll be a log here, log there kind of thing. I won't be able to call in a truck loaded with it & get to work. I know of log auctions where veneer logs can be bought, but even a lot of veneer logs aren't the exact qualities i'm looking for. It's a good start though.     
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Offline Kansas

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2011, 01:05:18 AM »
That sounds like a lot but actually works out to about 3200 bd ft, about a smaller semi load. I think I would try to find a bigger mill that would sell you prime logs, or a logger willing to let you  buy your pick at the logging site if you agree to pay a premium. Even if it takes 8000 ft or so to get exactly what you need after you do the specialty ripping that still isn't that much. The cost of your logs will be minimal relative to what you are doing.

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2011, 05:51:39 AM »
There's also the prospect of buying lumber to those specs.  Offer a premium where you could buy a few boards that are pulled during the production process.  If a guy can move a couple of hundred bf for a nice profit, they'll set it to the side.  Haul it in your pickup and bypass the milling operation.  But, you have to be pretty specific on what you expect to get.  Wholesalers may also be an outlet for lumber.
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Offline qbilder

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2011, 08:46:38 AM »
Yeah, I had considered doing the lumber route & skipping the milling job. I actually did exactly that for myself before I got in to milling. The issue with it is that it's ultra time consuming. There aren't many places quarter sawing maple except for larger operations & the larger the operation, the less likely they are to let me cherry pick boards. But I think it would be foolish to not keep that option open. 

I like the idea of visiting log sites & picking my load before it gets loaded on a truck. Will have to get in touch with some loggers & see about it. I am pretty confident it'll work out that way as I know numerous loggers & sawmills in the area. Hardwoods is a huge industry in that country & everybody knows everybody. I'm still expecting to see some trouble finding exactly what I need, though. Am hoping to only have to work September through early December. Ohio is a long way from NM and I have kids in school and a home to take care of here. My wife retires from active duty in a year or two & when this call came in yesterday it was like God laying it down on a silver platter for me. Timing is perfect & even though the work was unexpected, i'm not opposed to doing it. It would actually be enjoyable. I grew up in Appalachia and know the forests well. I love it. Pretty good gig for a semi-retirement job. I just want to be sure the overhead doesn't outweigh the profit to the point of it being more hassle than money. That's why i'm here, searching for advice. I certainly appreciate all the input.     
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2011, 09:14:12 AM »
Don't get too set in your ways. You may find buying from a logging site too much of a bother. Or it may be better than an auction.
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Online beenthere

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2011, 10:13:52 AM »
I like Ron's approach, but buying the dried 4/4 lumber such as FAS and setting up a sort line to pull any desired boards for further cutting to get the 30" cuttings you are after. Plane the cuttings to 1", then rip the 1" final dimension. Sort for grain quality needed.

The FAS lumber not used can be re-bundled for sale on the open market.

This removes a lot of the loss (let alone the trucking, sawing, drying, handling) from selecting top quality maple logs in the forest, or a log deck, or at an auction. The time alone doing that would be very costly. IMO

And a 1" square cutting won't care if it came from a quarter sawn board after it is turned into a cue. Before turning, the squares could be sorted using ultrasound techniques to verify strength of the wood (similar to methods used now to sort through maple bat stock for the major leagues).
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Offline qbilder

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2011, 11:51:12 AM »
Believe it or not, the wood does know if it was quarter sawn or not. Plain sawn wood is under much more stress and the tension causes it to warp & bow as it's being cut to a thin tapered dowel. Quarter sawn wood is almost always free of that stress and they stay straight, which means higher yield plus confidence in knowing the cue will likely stay straight for years to come. Believe me, i'd rather plain saw everything but in this situation, quarter sawn makes a gigantic difference. Once round you'll never know how it was milled, but somehow the wood knows. 
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Online beenthere

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2011, 01:00:59 PM »
Believe it or not, the wood does know if it was quarter sawn or not. .............., but somehow the wood knows. 

Ok  I won't believe it, but suggest you don't kid yourself either. ;)
Keep your eyes wide open for this venture.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline tyb525

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2011, 01:01:51 PM »
Qbuilder, the stress & tension you're talking about may well have more to do with drying stresses, i.e. casehardening, than the orientation of the grain in the board.
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Offline qbilder

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2011, 02:26:17 PM »
Yeah i'm sure it's got a lot to do with drying. But I have yet to find kiln dried maple that doesn't have that stress in it, except for quarter sawn stuff. The big seller for me on quartering is how you dry it. I can stack the quarter sawn wood & dry it. With plain sawn, it needs strapped down & the straps retightened every so often to keep the boards flat. Quartered stuff dries as flat as it stacks.   
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #15 on: April 28, 2011, 02:53:11 PM »
qbilder,

Shrinkage may be reduced in theory, but each board still have it's own mind due to the way it grew as well and it's age. Old maple tends to spiral to the right and lean to the left. See my signature photo. Every darn old maple in there leaned at least 10 degrees. ;)




Move'n on.

Offline jim king

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2011, 04:12:10 PM »
It is to bad they are stuck on maple.  There are some beautiful exotics for pool cues.  I made these bats for someone who was here on vacation who worked  the NY Yankees.

 


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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #17 on: April 28, 2011, 04:34:59 PM »
Other than Jim's beautiful exotics down there, I would use yellow birch. But I know it would be a lot more sparse than hard maple. I have thinned almost pure stands of yellow birch up here. But as a mature tree it is only a small percentage of  northern tolerant hardwood stands, maybe 10 %.
Move'n on.

Offline qbilder

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2011, 05:14:26 PM »
For cues we use the exotics in the back end, handle. Only the front half requires the straight grain maple. It's most popular because it's smooth textured, flexible & good memory to flex.
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Hard maple log pricing
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2011, 05:29:52 PM »
Yes, I would agree there about the maple. The birch might be difficult to get a glass finish now that I think about it.
Move'n on.


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