time to get to work on the next grapple load

twd000

Feeling the Heat
Aug 28, 2015
403
Southern New Hampshire
Well it was about time to buy another load of logs. Last delivery was a 9-cord load in spring 2016 plus I scrounged 4 cords from a neighbor's tree work 2 years ago. I have 4 cords splits stacked and dried for this winter, but I need to get going on future year's supply.

Posted a wanted ad on Craigslist and got a few takers but they wanted $900-1000 per load. Found an ad on Facebook Marketplace that was a little out of his preferred range but with a bit extra for delivery I was able to get this load for $750. He estimates it will stack out to 7 cords and I have no reason to doubt it. Almost all red oak, with the exception of two apple tree butt logs that I'll probably split up for the barbecue smoker. There are some 24" sections but most are closer to 20" . I may need to flake off some rounds with the Fiskars if they're too heavy for me to safely lift to the splitter table.

Looks like we got a break from the heat and humidity for the next few days. Time to get to work.

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twd000

Feeling the Heat
Aug 28, 2015
403
Southern New Hampshire
That’ll keep you busy for awhile. I bought a truckload a year and a half ago and I just finished getting it all cut split and stacked. Up here 100% red oak goes for $950 for a 11 cord grapple load but we are in a hardwood forest area with lots of logging for the paper mills so that helps some. Scrounge is pretty easy here too.
the economics of firewood have always been interesting to me

we have a lot of timber here, but very little logging. The logging is primarily up north, where there is less hardwood and more pine. New Hampshire is the second most heavily wooded state in the country by percentage. But my local area is pretty well developed, with houses on 1-5 acre lots generally. There are still some lots being cleared for new houses, but not much new construction going on lately. There is Town-owned land with selective timber harvest but I think they sell that wood to cover expenses.

These logs are all yard trees from local arborists. The driver told me the lumber mills don't want them due to the fact that they're crooked, knotty with branches and may contain nails and other metal.

Of course the substitution effect matters, and I know most here heat with oil instead of propane.
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Natural gas service is concentrated in the heavily populated Merrimack Valley corridor.
Pellet stoves were popular ~10 years ago when oil prices spiked to almost $4/gallon, but many have lost interest in them. Cut and split hardwood, delivered green and dumped in a pile on your driveway sells for an average of $285/cord locally.

Our gas prices are a bit higher than the rest of the country - this site says diesel is $2.55/gallon compared to $2.14/gallon in Wisconsin, so that's a 19% cost increase for operating the grapple truck. https://gasprices.aaa.com/state-gas-price-averages/

Then of course is the labor rate and everywhere I've lived there is a certain floor where laborers won't get out of bed for any less than that. This site says average wages are $24.13/hr in New Hampshire compared to $21.75/hr in Wisconsin so that's a 10% increase in cost and is probably the biggest expense in getting a load of logs delivered.
 
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WiscWoody

Minister of Fire
I heat with 2/3 wood and 1/3 propane. Since the big LP shortage of the winter of 2013/2014 summer LP prices have been under $1 a gallon and I’ve gotten it as cheap as $0.79 a gallon a few years ago. i just ordered my summer tank fill this morning and it’s $0.94 a gallon now but many up here still heat with wood. Of course part of that is like myself they like wood heat more than forced air heat which is the primary way to supply gas has heat here.
 
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mrd1995

Member
Feb 21, 2020
93
North East, Pa
I heat with 2/3 wood and 1/3 propane. Since the big LP shortage of the winter of 2013/2014 summer LP prices have been under $1 a gallon and I’ve gotten it as cheap as $0.79 a gallon a few years ago. i just ordered my summer tank fill this morning and it’s $0.94 a gallon now but many up here still heat with wood. Of course part of that is like myself many like wood heat more than forced air heat which is the primary way to supply has heat here.
Woah that is cheap! In Pa it is $1.59 cash price, add $0.15 for credit price...
 

WiscWoody

Minister of Fire
I recently found a cheaper way to get mixed hardwoods by the truckload, it’s mostly maple both soft and hard and there’s some birch mixed in. It comes from a paper mill pulping mill and it’s rejected logs that have some sort of metal in them or they are too big to go through the pulp plant And they are put into a cull pile where they are sold for $35 per cord. The wood has been debarked also. The guy that sold me my truckload of wood delivers to the place and he said he would bring a truckload of the wood for $10 a cord plus 30 cents a mile and the plant is 30 miles from me if my math is correct it would cost me $459 or a even $460 for a load. The delivery price seemed low to me so I saw the trucker in town not long ago and I confirmed the cost with him again And it was correct. Here a couple of photos of the wood at the pulp plant. The problem is, is that I don’t need any more wood now as I have a good 5 years worth on the racks but maybe I could get a load and let it sit in logs for a couple of years. I don’t know.

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Zack R

Feeling the Heat
Sep 27, 2017
398
Sisters, OR
flic.kr
Now that the gyms are closed start a side gig where people who want to exercise outdoors come to your place and cut the wood with crosscut saws and split/stack it by hand ;) Charge them a nominal amount for this opportunity to cover the purchase cost of the wood.