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Thread: Milling for Shares - What's Fair?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    WNY
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    Milling for Shares - What's Fair?

    I talked with a guy about milling some logs from trees on a development parcel he owns. He's in no particular hurry (good), and it could spread out over several years (also good). In my brief walk around a small portion of the property there were quite a few 24" walnut trees, as well as others I couldn't recognize of similar size and at least 25' clear to the first crotch. Whenever the trees get cut he can get the logs to the road and load them on my trailer to bring home which is only a mile away.

    We're still in the feeling out stage but it's clear he wants a portion of the lumber (not slabs) rather than pay for me to mill it. My question to you all is what's a fair deal? He'll be supplying the logs, which most likely will end up as firewood if I don't mill them. I'll be milling and drying the lumber in my yet to be built solar drier. So, again, what's a fair % for each party? And beyond that, who get's the FAS and who gets the #2, etc.? What are those of you milling for shares doing so both parties are satisfied they are getting a fair deal? Thanks.

    John

  2. #2
    Although I don't mill "on shares" because of the problems you mentioned, I do have a protocol for those who are looking for something similar. They bring their logs and I scale them, just as I would when buying logs from a tree service or other provider. I tell them what each log is worth to me. They then pick out the logs they want milled. We mill their logs and total up the fees. If the remaining logs are worth more than the milling bill, I pay them. If the remaining logs are less than the milling bill, they pay me. It is likely that this would only work for logs brought to me. At their site, their logs would also be covering my Travel and Setup Fees, plus $2 per mile, both ways, for another trip to pick up "my" logs.

  3. #3
    There is usually no "fair" for both parties and that is why I either purchase the logs outright or walk away. It's the same reason I will never be shanked into "going in for half a cow" with someone for the beef. The three or four times I fell for that got me a freezer full of stew meat and not a single molecule of filet-mignon. You will get accused of cherry picking all the figured wood that don't exist. Do what you want, but it just never worked for me. If I had to do it again and had no choice I would let the guy pick thru the entire pile for what he wanted first and then he has no complaint.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Jerico Springs, MO
    Posts
    44
    This is what I have done, and it worked out well, although I probably shorted myself in the beginning by taking only one third of their walnut and cedar (I now ask for one half). I saw their logs per their specifications. When finished, I call them to come over and divide the boards. If splitting halves, I put two boards of similar grade together and let the customer pick the one they want. Then I get the other. We repeat that until we're done. I only do this now for valuable species. I've also split up logs by tabulating board feet and then just cutting their portion.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
    Posts
    9,495
    Since I do it as a hobby I don't worry about an exact method of division.

    I normally ask for 1/3 of the wood if it's something I want, 1/2 if I don't want it very much.

    The above is for furniture grade hardwoods.

    I've milled logs into slabs and only taken one slab per log, however that was when my daughter wanted some live edge furniture..........Rod.

  6. #6
    If youve got to kiln dry it 80/20 would be more reasonable and that would be a stretch. Most loggers around here are barely getting 200/MBF to cut, skid, and haul. So on something like top grade FAS Cherry the mill is getting the remaining 1800/1900/MBF to saw and dry it. So they are working on a 90/10 arrangement. If you were just sawing and he was taking the green boards sawing on the thirds isnt bad. Its still a lot of work but.... there is a TON more work in sawing, stickering, air dry, load and re-sticker into the kiln (if you dont have a car/rail setup to load your kiln), monitoring the kiln, unloading, restacking, banding, etc.. 80/20 would be a gift. And make it clear that the boards are simply loaded and unloaded you are not culling and neither is he. Its packs of ungraded rough material.
    Sometimes I just want to look at pretty pictures,... Thats when I go to the Turners Forum

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    WNY
    Posts
    6,125
    Thanks Mark, that info. was very helpful.


    John

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