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Thread: Does this make sense?

  1. #1

    Does this make sense?

    Long time lurker, but now I have something I think is worth posting about . . .

    About 18 months ago we acquired some land near Texarkana, TX. About 16 acres of mixed pine and hardwoods (cedar, oak, elm).
    We have decided to build a home in a clear area but we have decided that we need/want to remove a number of the pines closest to the site.
    These are southern yellow pine trees. (Not planted pine like is typical of this area - these are not neatly set in rows.) I have measured them to be between 80 and 100 feet tall and they have diameters in the 20-24 inch range.
    There are at least a dozen trees of this size that are either too close to where we want to build or are crowding a magnificent 80 foot tall oak that we want to make a feature of our place.
    We are going to have the shell of the house constructed by others and then my wife and I are going to finish the inside.
    Rather than purchase lumber to construct the interior walls, etc. we were thinking of making the investment in a sawmill to produce our own dimensional lumber.
    For $4,000 I can purchase new a Woodland Mills HM126 that should be able to handle the trees that I have.
    I already own the tractor and the other tools that I will need for moving the logs around.
    I also have the time to dry the boards before I need to use them - it will be at least 6 months before construction begins and we expect to be working on the finishout of the interior for another 6-9 months.

    From my home design software, I have calculated that I will need between 3600 and 4000 FT of 2x lumber for the framing work we will be completing.

    Without regard to the issues of drying the wood, does this seem reasonable? I am not too worried about 'covering' the entire $4K expense - if I end up saving myself $2k of lumber, I will be satisfied with the ROI on the sawmill.
    Besides, the wife has ideas for other projects after we get the house completed.

    Thanks

    Martin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    cleveland,tn.
    Posts
    379
    if it is going to be a inspected house I was told that the wood must be certified for the inspectors to approve it, But they also said if it was going to be a hunting cabin they did not want to know about it. I would use it for any non-structural wood applications like cabinets, trim, vanities , counter tops what ever. yellow pine could even be used as flooring. It will dent but as long as you know it, some like denting it to distress the look . Yeah I thought about doing what you were thinking. It wasn't the wood that held me back it was our government.

  3. #3
    My house is going to be a post-and-beam shell constructed by a contractor. So when he is done I will have one big open room. So none of the things that I am going to construct on the inside are structural.

    And where this property is located I do not have to deal with building inspectors - unincorporated part of a rural county. So that will not be a problem.

    Martin

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Stover View Post
    Long time lurker, but now I have something I think is worth posting about . . .

    About 18 months ago we acquired some land near Texarkana, TX. About 16 acres of mixed pine and hardwoods (cedar, oak, elm).
    We have decided to build a home in a clear area but we have decided that we need/want to remove a number of the pines closest to the site.
    These are southern yellow pine trees. (Not planted pine like is typical of this area - these are not neatly set in rows.) I have measured them to be between 80 and 100 feet tall and they have diameters in the 20-24 inch range.
    There are at least a dozen trees of this size that are either too close to where we want to build or are crowding a magnificent 80 foot tall oak that we want to make a feature of our place.
    We are going to have the shell of the house constructed by others and then my wife and I are going to finish the inside.
    Rather than purchase lumber to construct the interior walls, etc. we were thinking of making the investment in a sawmill to produce our own dimensional lumber.
    For $4,000 I can purchase new a Woodland Mills HM126 that should be able to handle the trees that I have.
    I already own the tractor and the other tools that I will need for moving the logs around.
    I also have the time to dry the boards before I need to use them - it will be at least 6 months before construction begins and we expect to be working on the finishout of the interior for another 6-9 months.

    From my home design software, I have calculated that I will need between 3600 and 4000 FT of 2x lumber for the framing work we will be completing.

    Without regard to the issues of drying the wood, does this seem reasonable? I am not too worried about 'covering' the entire $4K expense - if I end up saving myself $2k of lumber, I will be satisfied with the ROI on the sawmill.
    Besides, the wife has ideas for other projects after we get the house completed.

    Thanks

    Martin
    There are those that build with green wood but I wouldn't recommend it. Yellow pine is prone to warp and twist anyway so using it green I think you would be asking for a lot of problems. Then one of the benefits of having the lumber kiln dried is it heats to the wood to a temperature which would kill any insect infestation that might be in the wood. You might inadvertently build a house which is being eaten from the get go. You might check into perhaps having a company kiln the wood for you or perhaps if you are patient jury-rig a dry kiln yourself.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Mountain City, TN
    Posts
    536
    I think it makes perfect sense. Let us know how it works out. I am thinking of harvesting pine trees from our property to build a timber frame carport, replace the roof on an out building. We also have white oak, cherry and poplar to be sawn. Can I borrow your mill in a few years?😁

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Deep South
    Posts
    3,969
    Of course, you will have to plane the wood after it dries. You need to figure on the expense of the planer and the labor to do that.

  7. #7
    I have an uncle that built his house this way. It is entirely possible and sensible. Takes some time. (again, the biggest hurdle is inspections but that might not be a big hurdle for you)

    On another note, big trees can be worth $$. You might see what you can get from the trees, and compare that to purchased lumber for the same purpose. On more than one occasion I have 'done it myself' in a way that saved very little $, but added considerable effort and time. But often I am ok with that...

  8. #8
    If you air dry your lumber, keep an eye out for little piles of dust that fall from bug holes onto the lower board in the stack. Those are powder post beetles, and you do NOT want those in your new house. Heating to about 140 degrees and holding for a few hours will kill any bugs in your lumber.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,606
    When building a house the rough in is only 10% of the job. You are planning to take on half the rough in and all the rest.

    If this is your first house build or your first lumber milling and drying effort, it might be too much to bite off both at once.

    Anyway, Southern Yellow Pine is pretty unstable, that will add another challenge.

  10. #10
    Wow so many want to bend the rules and laws that is so not right

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    10,481
    I have a small Woodmizer sawmill and do saw logs from my property when a tree comes down or when one must be removed (or in the rare case I take a trailer and go pick up logs). I use this wood for construction but not for house construction but for farm building construction, for girts, purlins, siding, lining horse stalls, etc. Iíve also used quite a bit of pine for shelving in the barn and such, roosts for poultry, etc.

    But even if I can saw the lumber still I buy pressure treated for posts and things that come some in contact with the ground or concrete and for certain framing lumber thatís directly exposed to the weather.

    I also saw and dry planks and slabs for woodworking, donít do much flatwoodwork but a lot of woodturning. I could also sell every slab I cut from hardwoods (walnut, cherry, etc) but I donít know about pine. (I donít try to sell wood but sometimes give in when my arm is twisted.) Iíve sold a few pine beams for mantels on request. I also saw for friends on occasion.

    Whether you will be satisfied with the ROI I couldnít tell. Sawing is a lot of physical work and takes a fair amount of level ground with good access AND would be difficult without some equipment for log handling. I use a tractor, skid steer, and now my latest acquisition, an excavator (so much better for everything but skidding!) There are also the real dangers associated with chainsaws and trees that must be carefully considered. Lots of ways to die felling trees... I pay someone to cut the big ones.

    I look at the sawmill not only as a way to save money on farm construction but as a relaxing ďhobbyĒ and for the good exercise. (Iím 70 so I need all the exercise I can get!) All this has made it well worth the cost for me. My little Woodmizer was about $7K 15 years ago.

    As someone mentioned, before sawing wood for framing on a dwelling Iíd check with the local authorities. If it would be allowed Iíd definitely get the wood kiln dried. In general, pine must be heated to ďsetĒ the resin so it doesnít ooze out later - maybe not much problem for studs could be for other uses.

    BTW, we have some Virginia Pine here and I hate to saw it. Itís so full of resin that even with plenty of lubrication the resin can build up on the blade and cause the cut to waver, suddenly trying to ďdiveĒ in the cut instead of cut straight. I have to regularly clean the resin from the blade. It only collects on the inside of the band, probably because resinous sawdust gets compressed between the band and the wheels. Not difficult to clean but a pain. White Pine is not as bad, Eastern Red Cedar is no problem; no problem with hardwoods such as oak, cherry, yellow poplar, etc.

    JKJ

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Greater Manor Metroplex, TX
    Posts
    248
    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Stover View Post
    Long time lurker, but now I have something I think is worth posting about . . .

    About 18 months ago we acquired some land near Texarkana, TX. About 16 acres of mixed pine and hardwoods (cedar, oak, elm).
    We have decided to build a home in a clear area but we have decided that we need/want to remove a number of the pines closest to the site.
    These are southern yellow pine trees. (Not planted pine like is typical of this area - these are not neatly set in rows.) I have measured them to be between 80 and 100 feet tall and they have diameters in the 20-24 inch range.
    There are at least a dozen trees of this size that are either too close to where we want to build or are crowding a magnificent 80 foot tall oak that we want to make a feature of our place.
    We are going to have the shell of the house constructed by others and then my wife and I are going to finish the inside.
    Rather than purchase lumber to construct the interior walls, etc. we were thinking of making the investment in a sawmill to produce our own dimensional lumber.
    For $4,000 I can purchase new a Woodland Mills HM126 that should be able to handle the trees that I have.
    I already own the tractor and the other tools that I will need for moving the logs around.
    I also have the time to dry the boards before I need to use them - it will be at least 6 months before construction begins and we expect to be working on the finishout of the interior for another 6-9 months.

    From my home design software, I have calculated that I will need between 3600 and 4000 FT of 2x lumber for the framing work we will be completing.

    Without regard to the issues of drying the wood, does this seem reasonable? I am not too worried about 'covering' the entire $4K expense - if I end up saving myself $2k of lumber, I will be satisfied with the ROI on the sawmill.
    Besides, the wife has ideas for other projects after we get the house completed.

    Thanks

    Martin
    I don't know enough about milling trees into lumber, except it is a lot of work.

    The question I would ask myself: is this something I am going to enjoy doing or be proud of when it is completed--knowing that it will be a ton of hard word and most of this lumber will be hidden behind the walls?

    If "yes" then I would go for it, with the understanding in the back of my mind, that halfway through I may bailout, sell the lumber mill and order material for the interior of the house.

    If "no" then I would not do it. To be honest, in terms of the amount of money that will you will most likely be spending on this project, $6K for lumber will be a noise number. For me, the aggravation, the learning curve and the time spent to mill 4000 ft of SYP construction grade lumber, would not be worth it to save $2K, even with the fact that the sawmill would have "paid for itself".

    Also, one other coment I will make (having built and done the finish out on several structures, including the house I am sitting in right now)...the project is going to go on for what feels like foreverrrrrrrrr and there will always be "one more thing to do" Adding in a big task, like milling all of your own interior lumber, will not help with that feeling.

    Again this is me....your millage may vary.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Cashiers NC
    Posts
    452
    Do it. It will be a ton of work but you will enjoy running that mill. You can show your grandchildren the results.
    Charlie Jones

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