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Author Topic: MN H.S Student-wants advice about firewood company  (Read 1245 times)

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Offline TDodgson

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MN H.S Student-wants advice about firewood company
« on: December 12, 2004, 08:10:37 PM »
Hello everyone!

I am a senior at a high school called Minnesota Business Academy.  At school students are given the opportunity to create and run their own business for class credits.  A group of us went to Wy in September and cleared 16 acres as a BLM project.  We are now trying to find ways to successfully market and sell this wood for a profit.  All profits made are split between students in scholarship form! (Yea!)

We are in the information gathering stage of our business plan and have zoned in on two major areas.  
1.  Making and selling wood furniture.
2.  Selling pinion pine for firewood.
I feel that there is great potential in both of these areas now I am looking for any general knowledge relating to my situation.  Please please contact me if you have advice or resources for more information!

Thank you!

Offline DanG

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Re: MN H.S Student-wants advice about firewood com
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2004, 09:12:51 PM »
Welcome, T. :)  You've come to the right place. I wish there were more schools that concentrated on creating well-equipped working folks instead of nonproductive scholars.

First, let me talk about your Avatar pic, and your by-line saying. You gotta keep your eyes wide open if you're gonna go into the wood business. The tin cup ain't gonna do you any good. Ya gotta work for what you get in this game.  Now, I know that ain't what you meant when you chose that pic, but I'm just using it to make a point. This is a tough business, but one of the most fun and rewarding.

As for the saying, truer words was never spoke. Knowledge is definitely POWER. For knowledge, this forum is one of the best places to be.  CLASS ASSIGNMENT:  Read this forum until you fall asleep. When you wake up, read some more. Participate in the fun threads and study the serious ones. If something is confusing or unclear to you, jump in and ask a question. More than likely, your question will help someone else understand more clearly, too. Don't worry if the thread you want to ask about is old. Your question/comment will bring it to the top and make it new to someone else.  There are folks here who have built their own sawmills, and people who build mills and equipment as a business. Some of us run small sawmilling businesses, and some are artists who can turn a chunk of firewood into a thing of beauty. Some are teachers, and some are students....actually all of us are students, in a way. ;)

On the matter of the wood you have on hand;  Again, read this forum. Categorize your supply by species and determine what each is best suited for. Some of the hardwoods may be better suited for firewood than anything else, and there may well be better uses for the pine than firewood. All that info is either here already, or is available for the asking. ;D

Good luck, and we hope to hear more from you soon.
"I don't feel like an old man.  I feel like a young man who has something wrong with him."  Dick Cavett
"Beat not thy sword into a plowshare, rather beat the sword of thine enemy into a plowshare."

Online beenthere

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Re: MN H.S Student-wants advice about firewood com
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2004, 09:25:20 PM »
Sounds like an interesting and real project.
Questions.
For what purpose did you clear 16 acres? the wood, or for a management plan of some kind?

What was the species and the size of wood by species that you removed from the 16 acres?

Sounds like at least some of it was Pinion pine. Anything else?

Are you into the 'small wood utilization' programs?
We'd like some more information from you, if it doesn't mean you have to 'tell stories out of school' and get in trouble with your fellow students.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Ianab

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Re: MN H.S Student-wants advice about firewood com
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2004, 11:08:31 PM »
Hi T

If you go back and look at this post:
http://www.forestryforum.com/cgi-bin/board/YaBB.pl?board=general;action=display;num=1099997913

It shows all the steps it takes to convert a tree into furniture. I guess you need to sort out what equipment you have / need to saw, dry and machine the wood into a finished product. Do you have access to a portable sawmill? Have you got a place to dry the timber? Does it need to be kiln dried or can you make more 'rustic' furniture from airdried wood?

The reason I mention rustic style furniture is that it can be made from lower quality wood by semi-skilled woodworkers. I know this from experience :D

I have been building that sort of furniture from the timber I'm sawing for myself and as gifts for friends and family. They have been very well received and I'm sure there is a market for that sort of thing.

I'm sure part of your course is to do a business plan and market research. How much will they cost to build vs what can they be sold for?

As for your firewood, pine is used extensively for firewood here in NZ, but it's no where near as cold as your winters. I believe hardwoods are more popular as firewood because they are denser and give more heat per 'lump'. The pine you may be able to sell as kindling or for 'show' fireplaces. It burns nice and cheery and has that nice pine smell. Maybe you can sell the offcuts from the sawing / furniture making. You have to dispose of it anyway, so bagging it and selling it for $2 beats paying $2 to have it hauled away.

Like DanG said.. have a good read through the forum. LOTS of good knowledge buried in there. Then you can ask some more specific questions as you get your plan together.

Cheers

Ian

Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline WH_Conley

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Re: MN H.S Student-wants advice about firewood com
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2004, 04:50:16 AM »
Jump right in there and get yer feet wet. You never found such a wealth of information as is here. Get an idea and throw it out here, you get a lot of advice from different angles, heck might even get a friendly argument going, if your lucky.
On the serious side, a list of species, length, tree length or chunks, and diameters would be a good starting point. Just guess, you don't need a complete inventory as if you running a warehouse. Like DanG says, read, a lot questions have already been asked, but we can always put some new thinking on em.
DanG, might want to watch him, that monkey might have 20-20, just seeing whats going on.
Bill

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: MN H.S Student-wants advice about firewood com
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2004, 12:38:42 PM »
Mr Dodgson:

This may help you with problem one with marketing your wooden furniture or creating a business plan. I'm not sure and I'm not condoning thier services, just a place to check out.

Click Here

This next link is a Wood Furniture Manufacturer Business sourcing guide for the province of B.C. Although its Canadian it may give you some insights and things to consider. Its an Adobe PDF document.

Click Here

Here is a sample business (manufacturing) plan from the same source as above.

Click Here

A sample Marketing Strategy can be found here

 How to Start and Run Your Own Firewood Supply Business - Click Here

Marketing Timber from Private Woodland - Click Here

Here's a good start. ;)

cheers
Move'n on.

Offline rebocardo

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Re: MN H.S Student-wants advice about firewood com
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2004, 04:42:14 PM »
The most money can be had by turning the wood into furniture or flooring, the least by making it firewood. What you should do if money and time are no object is turn as much wood into furniture and sell the left over wood scrap as firewood along with the tops.

Though, the longer a down tree sits in the woods unprotected and with exposed ends, the more likely all you will end up with is firewood quality wood.

If you have veener quality wood, that should be sold ASAP.

FWIW: Pine fire wood is not a big seller any place where hardwoods are available.


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