I have several oak trees over a couple of acres that I need to take down. Some of them are too close to the house. Others are too close to the driveway. Some are 16-18″ diameter at the base. Many are 12-14″. I can drop them and split them for firewood, but we really heat with oil and use the fireplace for ambiance. That’s a lot of ambiance.
I’d like to know if it would be cost effective to have a portable sawmill guy come and convert this to lumber. Things I don’t know:
1. What is the maximum beam length I’d need? I can move 10-12′ logs around the property OK. Anything bigger and I need either a bigger machine or better friends.
2. How much lumber can I get out of a black oak given 30-40′ of trunk that meets or exceeds a 12″ diameter?
3. Not sure how fast the mill guy is, but he wants $125/hr. This may not be up your alley, but would THAT be cost effective vs just buying lumber?
4. Finally – is all of this effort worth doing or am I better off kicking ambiance up an notch and just getting lumber from a local mill? I just hate the idea of burning all this hardwood and not putting it to better use.
The longest timber in all of our cut lists in the barn plans library is 21′ 8″ Most are less than 16′ with many of them in the 10 to 12 foot range.
If you are going to hire a sawyer at $125 per hour I would recommend maximizing his time on the mill. I would rent a skid steer with a 3k lb lift capacity or more. That should move all the logs you need to move to the mill. You don’t want to be wrestling around with logs while your sawyer is sitting around waiting for you at $125 per hour.
To get the most bang for your buck with a hired sawyer, you may want to just have him cut one large timber per log, 6×6 up to 6×10. So basically he is making 4-6 cuts per log, and all the slab wood can be used for your ambiance. Yes you will be loosing some potential 1×6 lumber, but time is money.
Your not likely to get much side lumber out of a 12″ diameter log anyway. 1 log = 1 beam, as long as the logs are fairly straight.
Is it worth while? Well that depends on a lot of things, how good is your sawyer? How good is his sawmill? How much board footage can he produce per hour? How much does rough cut lumber cost per board foot in your area to buy?
I think it could be worthwhile, as long as you keep his sawmill running, and concentrate on beams first, 3×6 purlins second, 2×6 girts third. Everything else would probably be more cost effective to purchase.
You just need to find out some prices and go from there.