Profit from Log Salvage?

Could a middleman make money diverting landfill-bound logs to sawmills? Unlikely, say the pros. January 13, 2006

Is there any profit in a business that intercepts trees before they get to the landfill and delivers these logs to a local sawmill? The trees would already be felled due to mother nature or a tree service. Also, if a hardwood seller could get $1300 retail from a log, how much do you think the seller would be willing to pay for the log delivered to their front door?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Such a business is likely to fail, as the quality of the trees is poor (often rotten, often city trees with root damage and discoloration, often tramp metal). Often the species is not a good species. Often there are only a few BF of any one species, which is not too desirable for a sawmill. How will you get $1300 for a log? More reasonable values are $300 to $500 per MBF log scale. Walnut and cherry premium logs would get a lot more.

From contributor D:
What Gene said. I know around here if there is any market at all for tree service trees, the service finds it itself. They will try to sell any decent logs to small mills (like mine), sell to a firewood producer per ton or make firewood themselves. The very last thing they will do with a tree is pay to dump it unless it is junk . Having said that, I have paid for tree service logs (never $1300). I did give a guy $150 for a walnut 34" butt end log 22' long. The first load of logs you bring to the mill full of metal (8 out of 10 yards trees) will probably be your last load you sell to that mill. If you are in a part of the country that you heat with wood, that is probably your market. Get a log splitter and deliver firewood. If once in a blue moon you come across a halfway decent saw log, try to sell it to a small mill.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for your input. The $1300 came from a retail value of ~$450 for 50 board feet of white oak that I saw selling on an internet store. Multiply that by the number of board feet in an 8 ft long 16" diameter log, and it comes to around $1300. That's why I said a retail value of $1300. I was curious as to how much a mill would pay for the log in raw form.

From contributor C:
816 white oak 72 bf doyle. I can have this log delivered to my mill for $40.00. And that is if it is really nice. To get max value out of it, I would quartersaw, dry and surface it.

40 bf quartersawn
30 bf lower grade
and one pallet cant out of the center
Pallet cant $5.00
40 bf at $3 = $120
30 bf at $1 = $30
$155 total finished product
cutting and drying $50.00
purchase price $40.00

This gives you $65.00, not including labor or overhead. Just trying to put things in perspective.