Timber Technology Articles

Milling for Profit

by David Saunders

Using a mobile sawmill can add value to your parcel of timber when the volume is insufficent to be saleable in the round. Consider on-site sawing with a mobile mill as an investment - to add value to your round timber, either for your own use, or eventual sale.  In order to do this effectively several considerations should be thought through so the operation runs smoothly on the day, and the timber you produce retains its quality, and saleability.

Take care to organise the round timber in such a way to ensure that the sawmill can work efficiently.

Stacking the timber so that it is accessible speeds up the process, with less down-time and increases the yield over the day.

Consider what you are going to do with the "waste" i.e. sawdust and the slabwood (edge planks which have a high proportion of bark).  Tjis can be collected up for fuelwood, woodchiping or pellets, but there will be more than you think, and it needs to be moved / stored.

Have some clear idea what you would like to get from a day's milling - a cutting list helps, and a good sawmiller will appraise each log to get the maximum value, whilst adding to your own requirements.

Sawn timber can degrade if poorly stacked and stored.  Follow up advice on how best to do this, and dry the timber without degrade.

Remember - sawn planks can be sold through WoodLots, but only accurate milling and careful seasoning will ensure the best prices.

A useful guide to timber conversion and drying timber have been produced by the Chilterns Woodlands Project and can be downloaded by clicking the links above.

A Woodmizer mobile sawmill planking oak timber.

This article was posted on 7 November '08

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