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At what price per cord is it not worth scrounging?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Constrictor, Jan 15, 2009.

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  1. Constrictor

    Constrictor Member

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    Ok im new to burning, im really enjoying keeping my house nice and toasty for less money.And ive been scrounging
    and im thinking how its not worth it. Even under the best circumstances we have a place right now that a farmer wants every tree taken down and gone so he can turn it into pasture. So far weve cut down walnuts and hedge trees. Work hard all day long and hand truck the wood up a rocky hill i end up with about 1/2 cord of wood then it still needs to be split when i get home. Around here you can buy a cord of oak cut and split all day long delivered and stacked for $150.00 or pick up for $90.00 im not sure its worth hauling out $1,500 worth of chainsaws and all the backbreaking labor for that? Its also funny that there are always craigslist ads wanting you to come cut & split up their downed trees, and leave half of it for them because its theirs. some even want you to haul off the branches!

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  2. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    go pick up 3 cds of wood for 270 scrounge the rest but at what is good for you ... like a tree already down or wood cut up you just pick up and split.... also if you can pick a cord up for 90 ask him how much for unsplit wood delivered to your house ... offer 40 bucks a cd and tell him you'll take 5 .... or even offer 50 a cord and take 5 ... 5 cds for 250 and all you gotta do is split in your yard is a steal if they are 128cf hell i would pick up 2 or 3 already split for next year and at least 4 more unsplit to make it like a 500 deal to make the guy happy 8 cds for 520 bucks!!!! wow i would be all over it
  3. wccountryboy

    wccountryboy New Member

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    To really answer your question, you need to decide what your time and sweat are worth. Im new to burning as well, and bought 2 cord to get me through this year at $150/cord. I've also been harvesting trees of a neighbor's place for free. In one Saturday, working with a friend, we cut and bucked, and moved about 4 cord. But we didn't have to hand carry very far; moved the truck right up to the rounds, and tossed them in. Drove 1/4 mile, and dumped them out. We also stacked up all the branches for burning in the spring, and cleaned up after ourselves. (least we can do, I have free access to acres of wood). I still have to split and stack, and am guessing that's 2 days with a splitter (which I can borrow, haven't bought one myself yet). I think 3 days of my time, when I have nothing better to do, is worth $600 in wood. Here in rural NC, $200/day for manual labor is a great wage.
    The job you've described dosen't seem worth it at all. I woudn't do it, myself.
  4. myzamboni

    myzamboni Minister of Fire

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    This is debated a lot and everyone has an opinion on it. Here is a brief set of consideratioins:

    The positives:

    Time outside
    Exercise
    Fresh Air
    Getting to use power tools
    Not paying for wood (money can go to other expenditures)
    Keeps you from being lazy (less idle time is less time to think of what to spend your money on)
    The feeling of accomplishment

    The negatives:

    Time that you want to use for something else
    Cost/Maintenance of Saws/Vehicles (gas, oil, chains, etc.)
    WEar and tear on machinery and your own body
    Bugs, poison oak/ivy/sumac

    Everyone has their own level of involvement/commitment ranging among but not exclusively to:

    -Picking up a phone and order wood delivered/split stacked.
    -Picking up a phone and order wood delivered in log length and do the processing
    -Taking their pickup and felling trees, buck into rounds and bring them home themselves and do the processing.

    Find what works for you from a satisfaction/monetary/time standpoint.
  5. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    I can't get Oak here at any price. I pay $100 for Black Ash logs delivered but I still have to buck, split, and stack it. I'd pay the additional $50 for Oak that is already bucked, split, delivered, and even stacked for me. I can get all the Poplar I want off my own land for free but it's not worth it for me.
  6. Constrictor

    Constrictor Member

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    [quote author="myzamboni" date="1231999779"]
    Getting to use power tools
    Not paying for wood (money can go to other expenditures)


    quote]

    Getting to use the power tools is fun. Ive got a sthil 044 and its fun power.
    But you drive 30 miles and haul out a $900 chain saw, then a $300 saw to cut limbs, dull a couple of chains on both
    Scratch up the bed of the new truck, im not sure there is any money savings either. Im sure that $900 saw will need rebuilding at some point and other maintenence.
  7. drdoct

    drdoct Feeling the Heat

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    I figure less than $100 a cord and I'll buy a few. But only if it's split and to my length. I'd love to find a few cords delivered for $250. That'd give me room to scrounge the at my own pace. You are right though... scrounging is hard work.
  8. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    I see harvesting, cutting and splitting wood as recreation, but that's me. If you don't like doing it, you can't make yourself like it. I hate messing with anything outside when it's freezing cold though.
  9. Malatesta

    Malatesta New Member

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    I think Scrounging is the way to go unless your body just cant take doing the Processing anymore.

    Which intern means felling the trees, bucking , lifting and hauling all the wood . Then Spliting and Stacking.

    Then theres the decision on whether or not to buy a log splitter or Mauls and axes.

    All my wood is free from my Tree Service Friend and a few other resources.

    So , for me i'll be Doing Half the Processing most the time.

    I dont buy firewood, to many ways to get it for free.
    Batman likes this.
  10. TreePapa

    TreePapa Minister of Fire

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    There are always (or so it seems) ads on CL for "come do the work for me and I'll give you the wood, or some of the wood." There are at least two right now in the L.A. area ('tho one of them is pretty far away). But there are sometimes ads on CL for free green wood, already bucked (more or less). Take it home, split and season it, you'll burn it next winter. And occasionally, at least 'round here, there are ads for free, seasoned (but not usually split) wood. Happens more in the summer when few folks want firewood, but I saw one last weekend, pic looked like decent wood, at least 1/2 a cord, maybe more, looked very dry (this is So. Calif, wood DOES dry unsplit if you leave it long enough). Unfortunately (1) it was about 25 miles away, and (2) I didn't have the trailer yet. Once I get the trailer registered, new tires on it and and trailer hookup (electric) on my Ranger, I'd jump on that one.

    Even better is when I find firewood literally by the side of the road, usually green wood roughly bucked. Occasionally nice and dry. It helps to take side routes through residential streets when possible.

    If you can buy enough wood that you don't have to scrounge for this year's wood, you'll be able to jump on the good hauls and walk away from the lousy ones. If you keep scrounging after the burning season is over, you'll probably have plenty for next year.

    Peace,
    - Sequoia
  11. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    150 saved is 150 earned...it may not sound like much unless you do it 10x...now your talking serious coin imo.

    Then again some scrounge missions are way harder than others. It's a personal decision, for myself I really hate spending coin for fuel cause you just burn it up...then there's nothing left but reciepts. Now you make that same monetary sacrifice for a good piece of furniture that could become a family heirloom when your long gone...

    ...so your progeny can be sitting in some rocker 60 years down the road talking about the great times they had sitting by your fire.
  12. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

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    If you can get a few years ahead on wood supply, then you can start being picky with your scrounging opportunities. When I first started scrounging I was taking everything I could find, but now find myself only going for easy to get to stuff. I also am working on getting a tree service guy to drop some loads off, here they have to pay to dump the logs.
  13. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    An entire day work for 1/2 cord in the truck?? I don't think I'd consider that 'worth it' even if the wood is hedge. I'd find a way to get the truck closer to the wood or find wood that you can get the truck closer to! I usually figure I'm 'doing good' if I can cut and get the truck fully loaded full in about 2 hours - that is hedge from an old hedge row which is anything but straight and requires as much time (if not more) limbing and cutting up small wood as it does cutting up the big 'meaty' chunks that actually make the bulk of the load. If I ever came across a nice straight tree like you see in 'Ax Men', I'd be in heaven!
  14. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I would quite cutting at 75.00 a cord drop!
  15. Risser09

    Risser09 New Member

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    This is a tough one. This is my first burning season and I am lucky enough have inherited many cords of seasoned cherry. Even with a lot of wood to burn I still went nuts on my scrounging. During the summer I scrounged everything I could. I took on a downed HUGE silver maple that was down the street. I worked on a HUGE sweet cherry that fell down a block away. Both of those I spent the time to cut up and process.

    My work cut down a hackberry and cherry that I took 4 heaping truckloads of. I got 2 truckloads of black walnut from a guy 10 mins. away. Both of those were already cut up (though not to size).

    After all that I still considered buying a cord of mostly locust c/s for $115 that I had to haul. Then I stopped myself and realized that I have a bunch of wood at my disposal already, so why waste $115 on wood? I guess the point is, if you have the time and energy, save your money and go do the work. I bought my stove with the intention of saving money, not spending it.

    btw, I'd do anything for osage orange.
  16. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    $50 per cord - cut, split, delivered
  17. bsruther

    bsruther Minister of Fire

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    Sometimes having the right tools or knowing someone that does, can make all the difference in retrieving wood.
    There are a bunch of downed hardwood trees down the road that are laying down on the side of a hill that's too steep for a tractor.
    There's no way I'd ever try to pull them out by hand. I can pull them out with my winch though.
    It would drive me nuts if I had to watch them rot.
    A 4X4 and a long chain or sling can make a big difference too.


    I'd stop burning altogether if I had to pay for wood.
  18. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    I've thought about this as well. Where I live wood is still over $150 C/S/D so I will continue to grab what I can from doing tree jobs and freebies for others. I agree though, scrouging a cord of wood can be very time consuming and labor intensive. I have big saws, truck and trailer, and a fast splitter, but it still takes more work and time than many would feel comfortable doing. I do it not only to save money (which I probably won't do for a long time given what all my related equipment costs), but more so because I enjoy doing it. If I didn't enjoy doing it, which has been the case in the past and I stopped when so, I would probably pay up to $150 a cord (a real cord) for good wood. Anything more than that I'd scrounge assuming I had the time and ability to do so. I've heard of people in other areas selling CSD wood for under $100 a cord, some as low as $40 a cord. I would certainly buy at that price, but I can't believe sellers even bother at that price given the time, equipment, and amount of work that it takes to do so.
  19. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    your paying something even when you do it yourself (gas,oil, among other things) I in joy doing it myself but at some price it is cheeper buying it.(wont happen but theres got to be a price point)
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Whoa!!!!! I'd like to know where you buy those expensive saws! First you state $1500 and then it is down to $900. You can buy a really good chain saw for $300-$350 that will cut more wood than you are cutting now. Or are you just deliberately inflating the costs of everything?

    In addition to that, why are you hand trucking that wood? For sure, if you can't get the truck next to the wood you are cutting, personally, I would not cut the wood. It is just too difficult to do that by hand. Is this why you can only cut 1/2 cord a day?

    It sounds like you really don't like this job of cutting and hauling the wood. If not, then go ahead and buy it already done up. Then you'll have more time for yourself.
  21. Constrictor

    Constrictor Member

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    not inflating anything. ONE saw i have is a $900.00 saw, a stihl 044 magnum.
    Im trucking the wood up a hill becaused the trees that are down are down a hill.
    I havent found that sweet place yet i can pull up right next to the wood.
    Im betting that there is some number like $20 bucks a cord that the saw divides into
    for original cost and rebuilding. I enjoy the cutting, and splitting, but the laoding wood onto the trailer
    is no fun at all. Maybe if i could pull right up next to it............
  22. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    An 044 mag cutting firewood for typical personal use will probably outlast the original owner. At 5 cords per year (just guessing on wood consumption), that saw should be good till about the year 2080 if maintained properly.
  23. TKeller

    TKeller New Member

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    I wouldn't pay for wood period. For me it goes against the idea of it being a hobby that I enjoy and the desire to save heating costs. Packing out of the woods and splitting with the maul are the hardest parts of the process. As far as saving work on packing 1) get good free wood delivered by tree service, 2) cut trees from your own yard or woods.3)cut close to home as next door neighbor where you can drive a truck right next to the wood etc. The worst packing is like what you had to do; lugging it piece by piece for a distance to the truck. But if that is what is available. I once hauled (after age 50) about 7 cords about 5 chunks at a time strapped on a 4wheeler from back in my brothers woods. Spaced it out over the summer and into the fall. He was selling the place and said get some wood. I enjoyed almost every minute of it. Alot of it is desire and enjoyment of the work. Hang in there. It will probably be a better situation next time. Tony
  24. waynek

    waynek Member

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    I ponder this gentleman's question every year, then the moment passes and I head for the woods. Average cost per cord of hardwood in my area is $160.00, split seasoned, delivered and stacked. In 2006 I went through vertebre fusion and bought my first loads of wood since I started burning wood in the 1960s. In addition I bought three bundles of slabwood which was easy to buckup and split if needed. The cordwood cost breaking point for me would be $85 to $90 to consider buying wood.
    Wayne
  25. Constrictor

    Constrictor Member

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    I hope thats true. When ive down research on them, i saw a couple guys that said they last forever, but they had rebuilt them 5 times!
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