Marketing Small-Diameter Lodgepole Pine

Lodgepole pine produces good construction lumber, but small-diameter logs may not yield much value. December 30, 2007

I have to thin out about 50 acres. I will be taking out most of the lodge pole pine. I was thinking that I would mill the logs on my WM LT40, dry and plane into 1/2" lumber to sell as craft wood. Does this make sense? Do you think there is such a market? My other options are 1) burn it, or 2) sell for pulp for $24 a ton.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor T:
Lodgepole makes good flooring. It is tighter and harder than the ponderosa pine we cut here. Also, I have built buildings with LPP 4X6 (they dry straight and do not check), or used the logs for rafters, etc. for barns or sheds. It sure would be a waste to sell it for pulp.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Lodge pole and ponderosa pine lumber have nearly identical properties. They are often grouped together in the construction lumber market. It sounds like you are dealing with small trees, so you might have a lot of small knots (black and red), so be prepared for this. Knottiness can make the lumber undesirable in the craft market. Depending on the growth characteristics, you also may encounter some compression wood with the small diameter material, which means warp in drying.

The bottom line is that these thinnings may cost a lot to process, as does all small diameter, and the quality can be low enough to make this a low profit operation. (Remember that you need to sell all grades of lumber produced and not just the best stuff.)