Ten Best Questions to Ask
1. What is a board foot (abbreviates to either bf or BF)?
A board foot is a measure of the volume of the wood. One board foot is equal too a square foot of wood that is one inch thick. An easy way to determine bf is to look at the area in square feet you want to cover; if the wood coverage is one inch thick then the bf is equal to the square feet.
2. How does cutting my logs compare to purchase lumber?
In general you will save ½ the purchase price; you will obtain lumber that is larger and stronger too. Some parts, such as siding and beams, can save you even more and there is no price penalty for custom cut lumber; which is not the case if you were to order custom cut lumber from you local lumber yard. You will also have high quality firewood from the scrap material.
3. What is the surface finish of a circular sawmill?
A circular sawmill tends to have a smoother finish but it also includes some saw swirl marks. Rough sawn lumber is just what the name means, it is rough in surface finish and also in size. It is the most historically accurate way to make boards. Just remember saw are used to cut not to make a finish, that is done with other machines.
4. Can I use my lumber to build my house, barn, shed, or anything else?
Yes, you can use it everywhere. For structural lumber it is wise to include the lumber as part of your permit package. Rough sawn lumber also works perfectly well on any non structural application such as: siding, decking, railings, sheds, cabinets, flooring, fencing, exterior or interior trim to name a few. It is a great way to obtain cost effective material. Utilizing local trees in the best possible way is the cornerstone to thinking ‘green’.
5. How do I take care of the lumber you cut for me?
The lumber or boards need to be stacked with stickers to allow air to circulate. I can cut stickers for you but purchasing lath is more cost effective. The stack should be kept dry, but it is better to have it outside so that air movements will help dry the wood.
6. How long does it take to dry?
For one inch thick material a 2-3 month air dry period should work, however drying is not necessary for exterior uses. On interior uses the common acclimatization technique is used, which is onsite storage.
7. What size logs are worth cutting?
The ideal size is a 20 inch diameter log, but logs as small as 8 inches (always measured at the small end) is acceptable. For large logs 40 inches diameter can be sawn.
8. What length logs should I have?
The most cost effective log length is 16 feet. Sizes as short as 8 feet and as long as 24 feet are commonly done. Other lengths are possible too; please feel free to contact me with those questions. Keeping the logs the same length is a plus, a few extra inches is a good idea. It is a good idea to use the base of the tree for any short logs you may need.
9. When should I call to ask for a free quotation?
I would be happy to take a look at your plans before you fell the trees. We can look at the size of the trees, types of trees, and talk about the size of boards you want to have. I can recommend the length of logs to cut, a place to stack them, where to setup the sawmill, and a place to put the scrap wood.
10. How should the logs be prepared?
We want to keep the logs clean; they should be carried or skidded (skidding logs means the logs only touch the ground on one end). Look for metal, mark these areas with a chain saw cut X. Logs would be stacked in a “deck”. The deck needs to be accessible from the side so that the logs can be picked up or rolled. As logs age they produce less wood, it is better to cut your logs within 3 months of harvesting, but logs that are several years old may still yield good results.
11. When can you start, what are the terms?
I usually can start a job within two weeks of placement of an order. The terms are payment on site at the completion of the job.