tips for firewood bussiness

Discussion in 'Christmas Trees & Seasonal' started by Shadowrider, Dec 6, 2005.

  1. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    No, you don't use a metal leanto.

    You buy an old shipping container, like the ones that they use for ocean-going vessels.

    Alot of Wal-Marts or other large box stores use them now for storage behind the stores.

    They're about 40' long and 8' wide, and can fit about 20 pallets of wood in them.

    Then you use a air circulating fan and some venting fans on the top.

    Here's an article that might be of some interest as well....

    http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/documnts/fplrn/fplrn254.pdf

    You need to get the moisture out.

    If done right, maybe with some heat, you can turn your wood over in about 5 days, rather than letting it just sit for 6 months - 2 years.
     
  2. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

  3. Petr51488

    Petr51488 LawnSite Silver Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 2,372

    Thanks, My dad works on tractor trailers and can get me one of them containers but the location of where i live just wont permit that. Im better off stacking it and tarping it. And i wouldn't pay no 15000 for a kiln.
     
  4. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    I think the $15000 price tag is a little steep also. You can buy those containers for $1000-$2000 depending on type and size. Of course you still have to know how to get the right air circulation and vent properly or you just end up with a storage shed.

    Here is a links to the lean to design I have seen in other places.
    http://www.motherearthnews.com/library/1982_July_August/A_Homemade_Solar_Lumber_Kiln

    This is Woodmizers lean to lumber kiln. don't know the price of this one. it should be easily adaptable to fire wood.

    http://www.woodmizer.com/en/secondary/kilns/solar.aspx
     
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372


    Yes, you all are right, that $15k might be a little steep. However, on my end of it, I think it's reasonable.

    After all, the processor I bought last year was just over $43k.

    The links to the "home-made" kiln, it says that it takes up to, possibly more to dry the wood.

    With the $15k kiln, it takes 2-6 days.

    Now I will agree that there's costs with the $15k kiln to get the heat and such, but if you're doing tree work, there's usually scrub trees that people don't want to burn in their fireplace anyways, that you could use to run the kiln.

    Yes, it's expensive for $15k to dry wood, but look at it as you're trying to mow 80 acres with a 21" push mower because you don't want to spend the $10k+ on a zero turn mower.

    If you can turn your wood, that means that you need that much less land to use the wood.

    That means that you could drop a tree one week, the next week sell it, not leave the wood laying around taking up space for a year or two.
     
  6. muddstopper

    muddstopper LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,342

    If i had $43 grand in a processor, I would probably be thinking along the same lines you are. I have cut wood all my life, had my own log truck before I had a drivers license. I never liked fooling with firewood, to much work and not enough money. Of course back then we used a go-devil to split with. We would sell the logs and just leave the limbs and such. Since we cut year round, we always had good seasoned wood laying, still in the woods, that we would just go cut up. You would be surprised how fast a tree top would cure out with the leaves drawing moisture from the wood. For your operation and the volume of wood you are handling, one of those container kilns might be the answer. For someone that just sells firewood as extra income, the lean-to kiln or even air drying might suffice.

    I have considered getting back into selling "some" firewood. I see all the trees left to rot by developers that can be had for the asking, might even get paid to clean them up. With heating prices getting higher, I think the firewood market might be pretty good and getting better. We used to get $30 for a rounded up long bed pickup load. Guess you can tell its been a while since I sold any wood.
     
  7. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372


    Yes, I agree, that it's all about volume, and much like any other line of work in this industry, location.

    Within the last 4 years, we've seen wood jump from $300 / full cord (4' x 4' x 8') delivered and stacked to just under $500 for the same thing.

    People here are paying almost $100 for a stack of wood 4' x 4' x 16" if you'll deliver and stack it.

    This year we're making racks on pallets and am limiting ourselves to customers that will take a 4'x8'x16" volume of wood, left on the pallet.

    It'll be $135 delivered. If they want it taken off of the pallet and stacked somewhere else, and extra $50. If they want to stack it someplace else themselves, then we'll just throw the wood off next to the driveway.

    I'm doing this so in about 4-5-6 years I can have it all set up for a kiln.

    I'm trying to build the firewood business to a turn key operation with about 5-600 customers / year, and then sell it for $200k or so, that's the plan anyways.
     
  8. AssuredServicesCo

    AssuredServicesCo LawnSite Member
    Posts: 113

    Down here in Texas it doesn't get that cold so when it does we would go out on the side of the interstate and park with a flatbed full of firewood. We found people were inpulsive and would stop and buy. I agree you sell more by the stack and most poeple who are just stopping to grab a few sticks only want a few pieces anyway. I is alot of work to obtain and split the wood. You can of course buy a cord from a firewood woodyard and resell it as stacks if you can't do splitting. Alot of tree companies have mountains of split wood...you just have to make sure it's suitable for firewood. Down here we use Live Oak and Pecan since it's so plentiful.
     
  9. newz7151

    newz7151 LawnSite Silver Member
    from Tejas
    Posts: 2,419

    Wow, you're jsut wasting pecan if you are burning it in a fireplace.. Sell it to the BBQ places that do their own cooking
     
  10. northwest lawn

    northwest lawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 196

    what type of firewood processor did you buy.....im looking into getting one. just curious to know the brand and style that you bought and how you like it.
     

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