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How Low Does The Price Need To Be Before You Scroungers Would Put Away Your Chainsaws?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Todd, Jun 22, 2009.

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  1. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I know there will be a big difference in cord prices dependent on location, but I found a guy 20 miles away selling cut and split Hard Maple, Oak, and a little Birch mixed in for $135 per cord. He charges extra for delivery. I checked it out and he's ligit, he has stacks set up on metal pipe racks that measure 4x8, so there is no discrepancy in the cord amount. I'm very tempted to jump on this, I only need 3 cord per year and buying it would save a lot of work and scrounging. I'm 2 years ahead now but who knows when the prices will go up or the free scrounging dries up. I have another source where I can cut Oak for $30 per trailer load and my trailer fits 3/4 of a cord, but it's about the same distance. I'd save about $200 if I cut and split myself. Decisions, decisions.

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Both!
  3. iceman

    iceman Minister of Fire

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    i would do both ... but if i had to chose i would do the trailer load since you are 2yrs ahead.... or rent a bigger trailer truck and do one massive load from the guy... but 2 yrs out make it a point to make one or 2 trips a month... you've got time!
  4. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Well... I'm not really a scrounger although I do supplement what I buy with stuff I take off my own land so I do have a POV. My wife wants to stop buying grapple loads at $100 a cord but at that price I still prefer it to carrying it out of the bush on my shoulder. I'd even pay the additional #35 to have it cut and split but I don't know about the delivery bit.

    Now, I'm doing OK financially and can still afford to pay for my wood but I do keep in mind that if I fell on hard times and had to choose between paying for wood or paying for groceries, I would be making trails out back. I also wouldn't be keeping the place at 78 degrees.
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I have never bought a split in my life, everything has come off this property, but at $135 a cord I would never touch a chainsaw again. Or feel the pucker factor making that felling cut into the back of a 70 foot 36" red oak(got five that need to come down right now). Which then has to be wrestled into the trailer and then off and under the splitter. $135 a cord sounds like a giveaway. I would buy fifteen cord delivered and by the time it was burned I would be drooling in my soup in "The Home".

    "Riggs I'm getting too old for this chit!"
  6. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    I drive 35 miles to cut cherry, maple, ash and some other hard woods for free. This versus paying upper $100's per cord split, not delivered. It would have to be at or below $100 per cord to get me considering paying for wood. I typically drop, buck and haul 2 cord per trip in my 20' trailer. A hard days work but three or four times per year and I'm doing okay. I plan to get at least one year ahead this summer before I have my heat stroke....
  7. jadm

    jadm New Member

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    I order the bulk of my wood and pay $180.00 a cord plus 20.00 for delivery. I would jump on your deal especially since he is a legit. outfit. Just keep stacking and get ahead as much as you can.

    I envy those of you who have space for multiple years of wood on your property. I have space for 4 cords only and that is about 1 1/2 winters.

    Keep scrounging. Gives you something to do so you don't get lazy or bored. ;-P

    Neighbors who know I burn are very generous with their yard work trimmings - makes great kindling.
  8. joshlaugh

    joshlaugh New Member

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    It would have to be pretty low for me to stop doing it myself(less than $75/cord). It seems the only "me" time I get is when I am cutting and splitting wood. I really like doing it, enjoy the time outside and alone as well as the fact I am not paying to heat my house.
  9. newstove

    newstove Member

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    I've been scrounging around this spring, and managed to scrounge up about ~3.5-4 cords of Oak and Cherry for 10/11 burning season. But, it hasn't exactly been close, or exactly been easy - so I'm not sure I would call it "free". ;-)

    I just got a quote from one guy for 10 cords delivered. $90/cord log-length, $120/cord unsplit, $140/cord split. Also, another guy also quoted delivery of $140/cord split. All hardwoods. Now, granted, I've never seen either of their products before, so I have no idea about their legitimacy, accuracy, or anything else.

    So, since I have about ~7-8 cords right now, I figure I'm going to go through ~4 cords/year, I've got almost 2 years worth stacked and drying now (I have ~3.5-4 cords of maple/oak already dried for 12-18 months for this coming burning season.)

    Now, I have room to stack another 10 cords, so I've been debating if I really want that large a jump on it. Question is, how much work do I want to do to it? Do I go for the split, or unsplit or log-length? Do I just rely on my scrounging skills and luck and hope the wood sources don't dry up? Or do I finish my honey-do list first (that is the most likely choice)? ;-) ;-)

    Decisions, decisions...
  10. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I'm still hoping the city recycle area will come through for me again. Two years ago I bucked up 6 cords of Black Locust courtesy of them, but since then all they have is trash wood. I know free wood is free wood, but I have enough of this shoulder season wood for the next 2 years and I'm looking for the good stuff since I have limited room. I think the city workers are getting first dibs on the good stuff.

    I'll probably wait a couple months, he said the price will be good till late Fall. Maybe something else will fall into my lap over the summer. Besides, it's way too hot now to be processing firewood, I need to go float around in the lake with a cold one.
  11. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    Todd, luckily I have fallin into some good finds. Since I have a splitter I take the stuff some people leave behind. That and I am 6 ft and 275 so lifting is not a big problem for me... Peop;le generally do not want to work that hard so they leave the big stuff behind.... I had an add on craigslist and it netted me 3.5 cords of oak...
  12. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The guy I always want on my side in the bar fight. :coolgrin:
  13. karl

    karl Minister of Fire

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    $55.00 a cord. It's slab wood but who cares. I called them last week to order it. I got a little scared. The lumber mill said they're only cutting a couple of days a week. On the plus side, she said she would make sure they are all 18 inches in length for free. Last year, one load was a bit longer and I gave my miter saw a work out.

    I'm getting three loads this year, I hope. 2 cords a load. So six cords for $330.00. That will heat this house all winter with no natural gas except for hot water. I would be paying $330.00 a month in natural gas to heat this place in January and Febuary. $200.00 for December and March. At that savings, who cares.
  14. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I guess if the wood was free, and cut to 16", and split really nice, and stacked in my wood shed, I would put away the chainsaw. I too really enjoy the time outside felling and bucking the trees. Been doing this for 19 years. I then tow the splitter to the log site in the woodlot behind our house, and split and load my Pug (6 x 4, about 1000 lbs/load), haul to the woodshed, and stack. Just finishing up restocking now - wood for the 2011-12 winter. Finished filling the woodshed yesterday (holds 14 cords), and now adding the open stacks. I keep about 18-20 cords on hand and burn only third year wood; 3-4 winters of wood on hand is perfect.
  15. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    Yeah, but then you would have to buy the beer :p
  16. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I'm not sure where the line is for me either. Last fall when it all started for me I paid $270/cord for pseudo-seasoned wood. Then this spring I was excited to find I could buy some split to pick up for what ended up costing about $150/cord once the truck rental was considered. Now I have a truck and access to a trailer, I've found CL posts for free wood here and there and am almost a year ahead so the urgency is down. I also have confidence that I can cut log lengths down as well as split some pretty big pieces, even with knots (sledge and wedge if necessary) so it is really a question of saving time. The problem of course is that I can't just calculate $x/hr saved and toss it into the cost/cord since like so many of us I enjoy each step of the process - some parts more than others of course. I also have taken this to be my exercise routine of sorts since I don't do much lifting or any other strength type of work in my job so I can't figure how to add that into the value.

    I think there is a price point that I'm willing to go but it has to be a case by case basis. I scrounge but I am willing to pay a bit here and there. A couple months ago I was saying to myself "net $100/cord or less" as my goal, but since I now am ahead on supply and have wood to process it needs to be lower than that to pay for it, but I certainly wouldn't walk away from a good deal. I.e. if I see a CL listing for 4 year old oak woodpile for <$120/cord I wouldn't think twice about heading out to verify it with cash in my hand.

    Now all this may change in a couple months once the new baby comes... :)
  17. wldm09

    wldm09 New Member

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    BB - I don't want to hijack the thread...but did you ever take your splitter out to the woods and split there so that you don't have to wrestle the big rounds to your trailer? Another benefit is that all the bark, dirt and little pieces stay in the woods...
  18. wldm09

    wldm09 New Member

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    Even better... He is a Packer fan!!!
  19. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    I can tell you it's hardly worth all the effort to fall, buck, haul, split, and stack a cord of wood, (plus the injuries that often happen while doing so) when you can buy it for under $150, especially when you consider the $ we have invested in our equipment/tools to make it all possible.

    With that said and despite what logic tells me, I have a hard time stopping and letting someone else have all the fun. I thoroughly enjoy processing wood, I can't tell you why, but I do. Maybe it's the inner caveman in me, maybe it's the desire to work with powerful tools, I have no idea... but I don't think I can stop. OTOH, I know a good deal when I see it and I have to say I'd be the first to give someone $100 for a (real) cord of quality CSD oak or hickory.
  20. stee6043

    stee6043 Minister of Fire

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    The "worth it" part may be true. But at the end of the day, all financial arguments aside, processing wood is just a plain old good work out. Many of us have very sedentary jobs these days being stuck in cubes on PC's all day long. I try to FIND reasons to get out and be active. Processing wood is good for the heart and good for the soul. Paying for wood is some folks only option...but my back, legs and arms remind me that I'm doing something wortwhile every time I go out....even if I'm not quite breaking even....
  21. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Maybe if he stacked it and stopped by to fill the stove every morning.

    Scrounging is a beautiful thing. Once word gets around that you have a trailer and a chainsaw, opportunities come. As long as I can back my trailer to where the wood is, it just isn't that much work to block it and throw it in. I often find it blocked anyway. While not quality wood, it burns and is relatively little effort compared to paying for it. Although I did drive away from a full load of 20"+ diameter blocked pine and willow yesterday because I didn't have time. I probably would have made the time for oak or hickory.
  22. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yep. Several times. More of a hassle than it is worth trying to find ways through the woods to the tree that are wide enough to get the splitter through. Better just to put the ramps on the back of the small trailer and grunt and roll them up into the trailer and bring'em up the hill to the house.
  23. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    Don't let people convince you that you're not beaking even scrounging. Those same people would argue you are losing money in your vegetable garden. As long as you enjoy it as much as your next best recreational substitute, you are doing much better than breaking even when you are consumer of the wood (or vegetables) you scrounge. If you have kids, they get a sense of where the things we eat and the warmth in the winter comes from. After your initial capital investment, scrounging or gardening for that matter is a no-brainer. And how long do tractors, chainsaws, dump trailers, splitters and rototillers last when they are only used for your food and heat? Amortize that over a lifetime even without the inevitable rise in food and energy prices. Chains, bars, fuel, oil, wear and tear are pretty inconsequential compared to the wood or food you can produce with them.
  24. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    How about if you cut a trail thru, a few feet each trip. Eventually you will have your path and closer with less hauling to the trailer? I did this at my brother in laws woods. Had a giant oak that netted me 3 to 3.5 cords. Now way I was carrying those rounds out of the woods!
  25. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    That works really well if you have a tractor with a back blade to maintain it. I can knock down the trails that give me access to 30 acres of woods in an hour. Once that is done, I pick the end of the tree up off the ground and drag it to the landing next to the woodshed. That pile of logs can be processed when it isn't perfectly dry in the woods. Only using the trails when they are dry keeps them from getting trashed and causing erosion problems.
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