Scrap Wood From Sawmills....A few Questions

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BurnIt13

Minister of Fire
Jun 10, 2010
623
Central MA
Hello everyone! There are a couple of Sawmills in my general vicinity that I've been thinking about approaching for scraps. I was hoping you all could tell me the right terminology so I sound like I have half a clue when I talk to them. I believe the scrap wood that I'd be interested in is "slabs" right? Anything else worth asking them about?

Also, for those of you who have burned such pieces...how did it go? I imagine there is a lot of bark but bark still burns. I probably wouldn't even need to split it...just cut it to the length I want and let it season. Thanks!
 

zzr7ky

Minister of Fire
Jun 12, 2006
1,053
Hi -

You're correct. The primary scrap products are 'slabs' from th squareing up process and ther are also cut-off ends or blocks. It depends on the type of product they are producing.

If I had to buy wood I would consider this source. I have used both slabs and cut-off RR tie ends. The tie ends were kind of tough to manage. They had to be piled, not stacked, where air could get at them so they would dry. A front end loader and empty tobaco barn came in handy.

ATB,
Mike
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,340
Unity/Bangor, Maine
BurnIt13 said:
Hello everyone! There are a couple of Sawmills in my general vicinity that I've been thinking about approaching for scraps. I was hoping you all could tell me the right terminology so I sound like I have half a clue when I talk to them. I believe the scrap wood that I'd be interested in is "slabs" right? Anything else worth asking them about?

Also, for those of you who have burned such pieces...how did it go? I imagine there is a lot of bark but bark still burns. I probably wouldn't even need to split it...just cut it to the length I want and let it season. Thanks!
I burn some slabs each year . . . in fact they're nice since they're generally thin enough so you don't have to split them and they season fast. Around here the only issue is that most the mills cut softwood so most of the slabs you will get are softwood . . . which is fine for making kindling or for some use during the shoulder seasons . . . the flip side is being softwood they burn up quickly . . . also processing them can take a little more time than dealing with wood in the round.
 

BurnIt13

Minister of Fire
Jun 10, 2010
623
Central MA
I'm FAR behind on my wood scrounging. I had the idea to buy the stove during the begining of the winter. So now that the snow is gone I'm cutting and splitting my own wood but most of it won't be ready for next year. I'm hoping the Ash, Pine, and Cherry might. I'm hoping the slabs will get me though shoulder season. Plus if I can get them for free....it'll be worth the trouble.
 
I get mine $50 for ~cord of pine, or $100 for hardwood (price includes delivery). The wood will dry pretty fast because a lot of it is thin cut (some is pretty heavy thicker stuff). Much of it is actual usable 1" thick boards- so making sure there's airflow by random stacking and mixing it up is important.

Safety: Softwood in a woodstove will burn super fast and could lead to an overfire. I cut right through the stack when I buck up the bundles, but you have to be very careful as there's a lot of bar tip contact which could lead to kickback. I also climb around on the stacks as I cut- and they shift around as you cut them.
 

3fordasho

Minister of Fire
Jul 20, 2007
980
South Central Minnesota
My first year scrounging I picked up a couple pickup loads of slabwood from a guy with a portable saw mill. It was all hardwoods like red/white oak, cherry and black walnut. Seasons really fast, pain to process/stack and not the greatest btu content because of high bark and sapwood content. Now that I've got plenty of places to cut I don't bother with the slabwood anymore.
 

BurnIt13

Minister of Fire
Jun 10, 2010
623
Central MA
Bummer....Just called the 3 mills that I'd consider driving to and they don't keep the slabs. They make more money on them by chipping them into mulch and selling it to the local utility companies. One mill did say they have tons of rounds, about 10" in length or less and that they have plenty on hand. $75 a cord green if I pick them up. Something to consider...
 

3fordasho

Minister of Fire
Jul 20, 2007
980
South Central Minnesota
BurnIt13 said:
Bummer....Just called the 3 mills that I'd consider driving to and they don't keep the slabs. They make more money on them by chipping them into mulch and selling it to the local utility companies. One mill did say they have tons of rounds, about 10" in length or less and that they have plenty on hand. $75 a cord green if I pick them up. Something to consider...

I'd rather have the short rounds... more heartwood, less bark.
 

woodchip

Minister of Fire
Dec 6, 2010
1,389
Broadstone England
Sounds a good price for 10" rounds, easy to chop and you'll probably get a good pile for a cord as they will stack down quite tightly...........
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,812
Michigan
BurnIt13 said:
Bummer....Just called the 3 mills that I'd consider driving to and they don't keep the slabs. They make more money on them by chipping them into mulch and selling it to the local utility companies. One mill did say they have tons of rounds, about 10" in length or less and that they have plenty on hand. $75 a cord green if I pick them up. Something to consider...
This would be better than slab wood.....depending on what type of wood it is. That would be my first consideration; what type of wood is it?

On the slab wood, lots of folks burn slabs. They are a pain to cut up unless you have a buzz saw and you do have to be careful to not fill the stove with all slab wood else you very well might overheat the stove.

Good luck, but do ask what kind of wood it is.
 

bogydave

Minister of Fire
Dec 4, 2009
8,426
So Cent ALASKA
Backwoods Savage said:
BurnIt13 said:
Bummer....Just called the 3 mills that I'd consider driving to and they don't keep the slabs. They make more money on them by chipping them into mulch and selling it to the local utility companies. One mill did say they have tons of rounds, about 10" in length or less and that they have plenty on hand. $75 a cord green if I pick them up. Something to consider...
This would be better than slab wood.....depending on what type of wood it is. That would be my first consideration; what type of wood is it?

On the slab wood, lots of folks burn slabs. They are a pain to cut up unless you have a buzz saw and you do have to be careful to not fill the stove with all slab wood else you very well might overheat the stove.

Good luck, but do ask what kind of wood it is.
+1 Logs are much better than slabs.
Cord is going to be pretty heavy.
Double axle trailer load is my guess. 10" would be split mostly in 1/2. Lots of standard size splits.
$75 is reasonable, but may look for a delivery of "log length". round sizes vary & so will split sizes, good size mixture.
About $800 for 10 cord load here. I'm betting cheaper in lower 48.
Delivered is nice, cut some, split some, cut some split some stack some. All as time permits. If you have space for it.

Get it soon. Gotta get it seasoning ;) Oak 2yrs+
 

BurnIt13

Minister of Fire
Jun 10, 2010
623
Central MA
Its a hardwood and softwood mix. Thier primary market for the rounds is for people with outdoor furnaces but they do get a descent amount of wood stove owners as well. They charge $75 for a cord but you can buy less than that. My Tacoma has a short bed and will hold a 1/4 cord is stacked neatly. They would charge me accordingly. If I do go that route I would just pick up a 1/4 cord every time I'm in that neck of the woods. Might add up to a cord or so per year. Sounds worth it to me.
 

cptoneleg

Minister of Fire
Jul 17, 2010
1,546
Virginia
If those 10" rounds are hardwood sounds like a heck of a deal, I actually cut some on purpose 10 to 12" stuff for N to S loading of my stove. :zip:
 

ChipTam

Burning Hunk
Besides slab wood and small rounds, you might also want to inquire about the long thin strips which are produced by the mill when they rip the rough cut 2x4s and 2x6s to standard widths. Typically, these pieces are 1/4" x 1 1/2" x 8 foot in length. They dry very quickly and make great kindling when cut into 14" lengths. I have a buddy who has a one-man mill and he gives them to me free. By the way, you might want to check out very small mills in your area. They may not have the ability to process the slab wood as easily as the big guys and be willing to sell it in slab form.

ChipTam
 

uggabugga

Member
Oct 26, 2010
30
DC area, MD
I bought a cord of slabwood in December, all hardwood and debarked, delivered for $140. It wasn't as well-seasoned as was advertised and some of the pieces were odd shaped and/or difficult to split, but the amount of wood I received was pretty generous.

Haven't decided yet whether I'd do that over again or not..
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,812
Michigan
BurnIt13 said:
Its a hardwood and softwood mix. Thier primary market for the rounds is for people with outdoor furnaces but they do get a descent amount of wood stove owners as well. They charge $75 for a cord but you can buy less than that. My Tacoma has a short bed and will hold a 1/4 cord is stacked neatly. They would charge me accordingly. If I do go that route I would just pick up a 1/4 cord every time I'm in that neck of the woods. Might add up to a cord or so per year. Sounds worth it to me.
Stating a hardwood softwood mix to me would not be enough, especially when you realize that popple, cottonwood and willow, among others are classified as hardwood. I'd hate to buy and find a bunch of popple along with the pine. Nothing there to hold any overnight fire for sure. Yes, it will burn and give heat but this is the problem with burning too much soft wood is that you won't hold the fire long and you won't get the coaling. Now if it is an oak, maple and softwood mix, that to me would be much better. But if they only say hardwood, that is like saying I'm going to buy a car. Just look at all the choices there are when buying a car. Same goes for fire wood.
 
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