Using a Saw Mill vs Buying From a Retailer

If you’re reading this, you already know you get more for your money by hiring a saw mill than buying from a big box retailer. Besides the obvious – you can’t buy 20′ long beams at Lowes, there are other benefits:

You get EXACTLY what you want –Longer, shorter, thicker, quarter sawn and bookmatched- we can cut it all.
MOST importantly – You get bragging rights by showing off your one-of-a-kind piece of furniture or building and say “that wood came from my land”. Then your kids and grandkids will inherit those bragging rights, too.

How to Put Money in Your Pocket and Get Your Wood Sawn for Free

We have people call us for white oak, pine and other species daily.  If we have a buyer, we’ll pass your information along so they can put that cash in your pocket. You’ll not only make back the money you paid us but you will most likely end up recouping more. You can also post your lumber for sale on Craigslist, in Facebook Community Groups and other online outlets that specialize in connecting wood buyers with sellers.

Prices

We work on a half day and full day basis. If you are in the area and can bring your logs to us, it is considerably cheaper. If we come to you, we need to visit the site or see your trees or logs to give you an accurate quote. Some jobs require us to bring a skid steer, some do not. Some require more prep work. No two jobs are the same.

Additional Charges

Travel Time Outside Our Area

No charge for counties adjacent to Polk County NC. Outside these areas, billing time starts when the mill leaves the shop to head to your location.

Broken Blades

$30 per blade. Breakage can occur, among other things, from foreign objects embedded in trees. The most common will be metal objects, which can be detected with a metal detector. We have seen marbles in trees! So if you sweep it with a metal detector and it comes up clean, be aware there may be other embedded objects that can break a blade.

Prep Work Will Save You Money

We prefer to arrive, setup and start cutting. This maximizes the amount of lumber you get for your money. Sometimes, though, this is not possible. You can save money by having the prep work done when we arrive. This entails having your tree guys (if it’s not us) to keep the logs as clean as possible. This means do not drag the logs through mud to the saw mill staging area. It also helps to have them stacked neatly in piles near a flat area where we will set up.  Have the branches removed so that all that’s left are the trunks or branches large enough to saw (larger than 10″ in diameter). We also prefer them cut to the length you will want your boards (otherwise we have to cut them). For instance, if you want 8 foot long boards, the tree lengths need to be cut at 8 foot 6 inches. Always add 6 inches to the length to allow for end cracking during the drying process.

If we do have to do prep work, we charge $80 an hour. This includes chain saw work (removing branches, cutting to length, etc), moving logs and cleaning logs so they can be milled. Many of these costs can be eliminated with proper preparation on your part (see Ways to Reduce Your Costs below).

Ways to Reduce Your Costs

The main way to reduce your milling costs is by being prepared and reducing the amount of time we are on site. You can do this a number of ways. First, make sure your logs are clean and trimmed. This means no caked on mud or dangling branches. Second, make sure the log is free of foreign objects. We have found rocks, nails, clothes line supports – all kinds of hard objects embedded in trees. These objects will break our blade on contact, which will cost you $30 per blade to replace. The majority of these items can be found using a metal detector. If you have one (or can borrow one), it will save us the time of inspecting each log with our metal detector, thereby saving you money as well. Third, try to have all your logs in one location. It takes approximately 30 minutes each time we move and re-setup the saw mill. Time is money, friend. If we have to move more than once, there is a $25 charge for each additional move.

Log Size

To get the best quality and quantity from your trees, it’s essential to have them cut into proper lengths. You may have a specific project in mind that requires a particular length of board. If not, we suggest cutting your logs in 2 foot increments, starting with 8 feet 6 inches (10’6″, 12’6″ etc). The extra six inches allows for trimming the ends when it’s used for building furniture, siding etc. Due to the time involved, we typically do not mill logs shorter than 6′.  Log diameter is also important. Logs should be between 10″ and “42 inches in diameter. We can saw smaller logs but be advised it will take longer to yield a specific quantity of lumber this way. You will get more bang for your buck by  milling logs larger than 10″ in diameter.  Also, our mill can not handle logs larger than 42” in diameter.

Log Condition

To get the most lumber, it is best to saw as quickly as the trees are cut. If this is not possible, there are some steps you can take to preserve the tree for milling.  These steps should be taken if more than a month will pass between the time it’s on the ground and the time you have it sawed. First, raise the logs off the ground at least 4-6 inches and keep the grass around them trimmed. This discourages insects. Second, to avoid shrinking and cracking, seal the ends of the logs soon after cutting. You will want to use a wax, a heavy coat of paint or a product like Anchor Seal. Simply “paint” the ends of the logs to seal the end grain. If you are just now reading this and did not seal your ends, no worries! Most likely you’ll only end up with shorter lumber.