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Points to ponder...."Try before you buy"

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by CT Pellet, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    I have for years now, been watching with interest, different members of this forum encourage other members to "Try before you buy". And I get the theory behind it, I really do. But I want to offer to you the frustrations of a retailer with this theory and possibly open you up to an entirely different side that you may never have pondered.

    You see, when you try several bags of pellets of brand "X" and you find that they perform well, then you can reasonably conclude that you can buy 4 or 5 tons of this brand, and you are safe. Right? Wrong.

    At least this is the case with many brands out there and here is why.

    Many wood pellet manufacturers will buy sawdust from different vendors to make their pellets from. Some Manufacturers have many, many sawdust vendors. And many manufacturers are currently caught up in "bidding-wars" with other manufacturers over the sawdust. If a manufacturer makes a batch of pellets with sawdust from "Vendor A" and then you try them and like them, then quite possibly when you return, you will be buying the same exact pellet brand but the sawdust for that batch came from "Vendor B." Essentially, its the same bag, but an entirely different pellet. And this is something that I am up against all of the time.

    Pellet consistency is something that is much more of an issue today than it was five or ten years ago. Why? well remember, back in 2008, the housing and building market came to a virtual stand-still. Without any new homes going up, lumber facilities halted production, furniture and flooring and cabinet manufacturers became sleepy and the logging industry became lethargic. These are your major sawdust players. If the saws are not turning, the dust is not producing, and vendors who rely on other vendors for sawdust are getting pinched.

    In theory, "try before you buy" is still a good way to go, and I am in favor of the practice. But I just offer this often over-looked "other perspective" as a precaution that it is not conclusive.

    Happy pellet hunting!
    SXIPro likes this.

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  2. WoodPorn

    WoodPorn Minister of Fire

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    No Somersets to try over there CT??
  3. Dinger

    Dinger Member

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  4. iron stove

    iron stove Minister of Fire

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  5. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    This has been discussed many times before in the forum as "batch variance"...

    Until a better way of purchasing the best pellet for your stove, and not getting stuck with multiple tons of inferior pellets (funny how a certain pellet brand is spelt similarly to "inferior" :p ) is discovered, many people will continue to do so.
  6. iron stove

    iron stove Minister of Fire

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    Could almost start a sticky of pellet companies that are fully integrated top down, or those that just buy outside dust. I think the top down is small list, Turman, Hammers, Vermont, etc.....
  7. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    Good idea.
  8. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    As a fellow pellet salesperson, I think the OP's INTENT was simply to state that just because the few bags you bought to try worked GREAT (or not!), is not a 100% guarantee that a buy of several tons will give the same result. I still feel its a good way to go (trying a few bags if the quality is unknown to the consumer), but be forewarned there can be "batch variance", and it can be surprisingly significant.
  9. WoodPorn

    WoodPorn Minister of Fire

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    Good morning Sunshine!!!
  10. gfreek

    gfreek Minister of Fire

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    Yup,, good point
  11. mithesaint

    mithesaint Feeling the Heat

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  12. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    There. I fixed it :)
    Eatonpcat likes this.
  13. subsailor

    subsailor Minister of Fire

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    Does that mean theres more consistency to pellets made by a log or chip to pellet mill?
  14. Dinger

    Dinger Member

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    Currently burning two varietals of beetle kill, New Earth and Eco Flame, both Colorado companies. I'm having what I would call equal, good luck with both. As clean as anything I burned last year, with good heat. I'm extra happy with the Eco's because I got them for roughly $3 a bag.

    I burned Rocky Mountains last year, another beetle kill product, with pretty good results too.

    I also feel pretty good about the fact that my pellets only traveled across the state, rather that across the country.
  15. Ironhorse74

    Ironhorse74 Member

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    Truck loads should be consistent. If not you are buying from the wrong pellet factory.
  16. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

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    I was thinking something along these lines also...Sometimes we put a little bit too much thought into this pellet game we play!! Heinz doesn't always get the exact same tomatoes, but the ketchup always tastes the same!
    briansol likes this.
  17. LMPS

    LMPS Feeling the Heat

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    I think the batch variance is not just a pellet issue. My wife tells me that she can try on two different shirts/pants of the same size and type and they can fit different. The same is true on many different products as well, its just part of the "Manufacturing Process".

    Also is not Cubex one of the top down pellet manufacturers as they are a flooring manufacturer?
    jtakeman likes this.
  18. Eatonpcat

    Eatonpcat Minister of Fire

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    My wife says the same thing...But my theory is a little different!
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  19. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Well I pondered and I still woundn't jump out of a plane without checking my parachute. Nor will I buy a new car with out going for a ride.

    Not all of use are burning these in stoves that will burn just about anything. Not only do pellets vary, So do the stoves they are burned in. And with newbs coming in and asking advice. Our advice is try em first. With the quality of the pellets your selling you might be able to say that, but many come here asking for stuff we have never heard or seen. More bigbox brands that may not hold the same consistency of the larger mills.

    There are plenty of variables with pellets besides ash, moisture and chloride content. The mills process also effects the pellets. They(most of em anyway) also blend the batch and measure ash, moisture and chlorides before the process even starts. IMHO as long as they haven't mucked with the process and do their quality checking, There is a good chance the pellets will be pretty dang close throughout the seasons run. If they go changing the dies or something all bets are off!

    I for one am not going to tell an owner of a picky stove to jump on a ton and then hear em bicker about clinkers and clogged burnpots. I may be able to grab what ever I choose and not have an issue with my multifueler, but Sam with his Breckwell may not be able to. And if I have never seen/burned a brand that is new to market, You can bet your shorts I won't buy a ton without a bit of a test drive.

    Just my worthless 2 cents!
    briansol likes this.
  20. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    And with your "celebrity status" within the industry, I'd also bet my shorts that your "test drive" will be in the form of a couple bags of freebies from the manufacturing plant! Just how DOES this man do it?
    Kinda like the Paris Hilton of the pellet industry;lol
    DexterDay likes this.
  21. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    I've been slackin lately, I still have samples from last season I haven't gotten too yet! ;em

    This fella has the market cornered these days. They are shipping them from all corners of the country for his reviews.

    http://woodpelletreviews.com/
  22. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    You willing to test a truckload of Turman for me? I can send this guy up to in MA this morning! turmantruck.jpg
  23. CT Pellet

    CT Pellet Minister of Fire

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    Driver said no.........Looks like I have to go and unload it.
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  24. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    I sense a road trip is now in order for OMV.
  25. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Hey, Don't you have some fence to install? Pelletmoucher! :p
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.

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