Planing Charges for Rough-Cut Lumber

      Sawyers discuss the up-charge for planed boards, and for custom planing work. December 6, 2009

Anyone care to let me know what they are getting to plane air dried rough cut? I'd be using a Grizzly 20 inch. Seems like I have seen figures of 15-20 cents per bf. I'd also think hardwood would be more than softwood?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor S:
Charge by the hour, not the bd/ft. Or figure out how much you want to make an hour and then run some lumber through the planer to see how much time it actually takes. Make sure you figure some time into each job for planer repairs and maintenance. If someone else in your neighborhood is doing it really cheap, all this goes out the window and you have to decide if you want to compete with a lowball operator.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
I believe your costs would be around $0.03 per BF with most planers ($30 per MBF) for a long run, 10 MBF. For smaller runs of a few BF, the cost would be proportionately higher. When you add profit, perhaps $.050 ($50 per MBF).

From contributor G:
I wouldn't even consider planing for less than .10 bd.ft. with a single side planer. That's for skip (hit or miss) planing one pass each side to 15/16" thick on 4/4 lumber. Additional planing is .05 per pass. It would cost my customer .20 bd.ft to plane down to 3/4". We use a 10 hp Yates American B-244 planer that goes through the pile pretty good for a single side planer.

Charging by the hour might be better. If the lumber is uniform and straight I can make more money by the bd.ft. Short, cupped, crooked, varying thickness lumber gets billed out by the hour because it will take longer to plane.

From contributor R:
I have been in business here for over 20 years, and I do sell hardwoods to the public, and if a customer buys a board or several or more, I will add 30 cents to the board foot cost, for a handful of boards. I will also say that with a planer of that type, to do 100bf will take you an hour with a person on both sides of the planer, one feeding and one stacking, and let's say the wood has to be finished at 3/4". That's at least 3 times through the machine. You got to go by the hour when there is more than 20-30BF. I would charge 50 bucks an hour for 100bf, etc.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
To clarify, my planing cost numbers are for a large planer (Yates B-24, Newman 282, etc.) and for an 8 to 10 knife per inch surface. This is not for multiple passes to achieve the desired thickness, but just two passes for a single headed planer.

From contributor C:
For ERC we charge $.10 for S1S and $.15 for S2S per square foot. We can run about 1000 square feet per hour. We can also hog off 5/16" per pass if needed. Helical heads make for quick planing with minimal tear at knots. 9 out of 10 people say we do it so cheap that even though they have a planer, they pay us. That tells us that we are priced okay. The one in ten says they just want to plane their own lumber.

From contributor A:
I charge $50 an hour and fool around all day with the guy if that's what he wants. On small amounts of wood, by the hour is the only way to go.

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