I've purchased some acreage to build a house on, and where the house is
going to be built it is mostly woods. The trees are mostly maple, birch and
oak. Probably 30-40 trees will need to come down, most of them are 1-2'
wide, a few larger.
Do these trees have any value? I'm not interested in "making money" off of
these tree per se, but anything to help offset the cost to have them removed
would obviously be helpful to me. Anyone have any idea how much I can
expect to pay to have these trees removed? Should I have the stumps dozed
out or ground down?
Call your local county ag office or extension agent or state dept of
environment and ask about getting a forester to come & look. Some places
have them on the Municipal payroll and they will come and look for free/
nominal cost. from your description you might have something of value. If
the logs have value a logger will pay you a cut to remove them (50/50 -
trucking) or you could have a portable mill come in and make usable lumber
out of some of it, you have several options. I would have the stumps dozed
See your county extension agent. They even provide woodlot evaluation
gratis here. They also know all the local jobbers and sawyers.
They'll need to uproot the things for foundations. Might as well thin the
Have you considered having a mobile sawyer come to your property and
using the resulting timbers/lumber in your new house? Not sure what
time frame you're working on, so drying may be an issue, but it sounds
like you have a good bit of wood to play with.
Have the stumps removed when the foundation is excavated.
If the trunks have lengths of 8 feet or more that is relativly
straight, you have some good wood for lumber. 4 foor lenghts are rather
short for lumber, but can work. If they come up 2 feet and then branch
out all over the place, you will have a lot of firewood. Of course, if
I lived around you, I would be drooling about all of the bowl stock
that I could trade for. Say, where do you live?
Here's a link that may help you estimate the potential lumber quantity:
You can calculate for each log or the whole group. Example: 40 logs,
each about 15" in diameter and each 8' long will total about 2800 bd
ft. Depending on the cutting method, this volume can be a bit more or
less by 5% to 10%.
If you decide to cut the trees yourself, for future milling, don't cut
them shorter than 4'. Most mills, including portable mills, can't
handle anything shorter than 4'. The clamps on the mills, that hold
the log while sawing, are spaced 4' apart.
If you decide to keep the lumber yourself, and for maximum bd ft, have
the miller scab two adjoining sides, place log on a flat side, then saw
the remaining log using the through-and-through method. With this
method, about 1/3 of your lumber will be quarter sawn, and that 1/3
will be right through the middle of the heartwood. The outer cut
boards will be more apt to warp, twist, check, etc, but if you dry the
lumber in a way to prevent or reduce most warping, etc., then you'll
usually have some relatively nice patterned lumber for some particular
project that highlights the grain. The through-and-through method is
the fastest for the miller to perform, and if he is working by the
hour, then the cost will be the least. And by initially scabbing 2
adjoining sides of the log, before milling, one edge of your finish
boards will be a straight edge, hence you can dress the remaining edge
(board width) as you want more conveniently on the table saw.
Does your house construction plans include beams or support posts? I
can see some nice beams and posts in those trees you have.
If any of your trees have the potential to have been in an area of
people or along an old fence line, there may be the potential for the
lower trunk to have nails, fencing or other metal debris imbedded in
the log. Millers don't like to hit metal with their saws. But your
trees sound like they may be in a relatively rural area, and not be
prone to having metal imbedded in them. It's just a consideration
millers have about milling privately owned logs.
Thanks for the replies! My house is actually stone construction, but it
will have interior exposed beams, rough sawn. Construction is still about a
year out, so I do have some time. I plan on getting the area cleared and
driveway and bridge put in this summer. I assumed having my trees cut into
beams would be more expensive then just buying them?
There is a portable mill called a Woodmiser. They used to maintain a
list of their customers who were looking for situations such as yours.
Some would take the trees for the wood, some might pay for them
depending on species or quality, some would mill if for you
for a price, some would split the wood for you, it all depends on
the individual and the specific situation.
Haven't heard about them lately, but you can probably find plenty
of information in the Google archives of this newsgroup
or via web search.
They are not the only people sellign portable mills either.
I spoke to a forester recently about timber values near where I live in
the Greensboro/Winston-Salem area of NC. He told me his company
generally pays around $800-1200 per acre to come in an cut down your
trees and take the wood. For good hardwoods, it could be as much as
$2000 per acre; for scrub pines it could be as little as $250 per acre.
It's a pretty small amount of money compared to the worth of that wood
as lumber, but it's also a hell of a lot of work to get it to that
point. It's nice to just let somebody else take care of everything and
give you a check when they're done.
The Devil is in the details though. Whenever dealing with loggers, make
sure of a few really important points.
1) Get it all in writing. There is no alternative to a detailed written
2) Specify exactly what degree of cutting will take place - identify and
mark trees to go and trees to stay.
3) If you're wanting the area clear cut completely, make sure that is
specified. Most loggers have no use for smaller stuff and don't want to
fool with it. Firewood just isn't worth that much to them. Clear cutting
is a pain for them.
4) Specify who is responsible for getting rid of the tops and all other
debris. Most loggers want to just leave the tops where they fall.
5) Specify how the ground will be left when the logging is complete. Ever
seen what a skidder does to a woods?
6) Insist on copies of tickets from the trucker if the logger is using an
independent trucker, or from the mill if he's trucking himself.
7) Think hard about what trees you really want removed. It takes a lot of
years to grow another tree. You might want some left in the yard. But
first... think about where the septic system is going to be located...
I'm sure others can chime in with advice from their experiences as well.
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