One of the responsibilities that come with running a sawmill is having a constant source of logs and timber, which you can process, market, and sell. This can be hard to do since logging companies don’t usually advertise their services and are often not included in phone books or local newspapers. Fortunately, you can create a network of suppliers and loggers by reaching out to people who work with timber and logging companies and asking for referrals.
If you run a sawmill and have a hard time finding someone to supply you with logs, read on to find out how to find these resources near you.
What Is a Logging Company?
A logging company is a business that is licensed to cut down trees on a commercial scale for sale as pulp or timber to sawmills, carpenters, and other companies. Logging is an economic activity done to facilitate other activities such as agriculture, mining, oil extraction, property development, farming, and manufacturing. Without logging companies, home building and furniture businesses would suffer.
Who Can Connect You to a Logging Company?
If you cannot find any advertisements for logging companies – and you probably won’t – you can turn to the following people who regularly interact with loggers:
1. Timber Cruisers
A timber cruiser is a person that traverses forest land to estimate the number of marketable timber and collect other data for sales and logging. Because of the nature of the data they collect, they are regularly in contact with logging companies, and you can easily contact them through advertisements and local phone books.
Another good connection to logging companies is timber buyers in your area. Timber buyers often advertise when they need timber supply, and you can be sure that they have a professional relationship with local logging companies. Even if they don’t, they are often looking for sawmills to sell their lower grade logs to.
2. Firewood Businesses
Some businesses are dedicated to selling firewood, although this is usually a side venture. There is a good chance that such companies are also logging companies or run a related business from which you can get your logs. If not, then they will surely know the loggers that operate in your area. Either way, they can help you get access to log supply. To contact firewood sellers, look out for advertisements and signs that read ‘Firewood for Sale.’
A forester is a professional who specializes in cultivating, exploiting, and renewing forest trees for commercial purposes. Foresters often work with landowners who sell timber to help them get the best prices for their products. Consequently, they usually have a network of loggers with who they work to provide good quality yield. You can get your supply from these foresters or their network of loggers.
4. Natural Resources Departments
The state is the largest landowner in any jurisdiction and will usually own acres and acres of forest land used for recreation, hunting, camping, or other activities. To manage these lands, the state will hire an agency that goes by different names by state. Some of these names include:
- Fish and Game Department
- Department of Natural Resources
- Parks Service
The agencies sell a lot of timber and logs and will usually have a list of logging companies with whom they work. You can contact them and ask for the contact information of a logging company near you.
5. County Farm Agencies
Another good source of timber is county farm agencies. A farm agency will usually know which farmers in your area are considering or having their timber harvested. Consequently, they can allow you direct access to these farmers, eliminating the need to go through timber cruisers and sellers. This will enable you to acquire standing timber, which you can then harvest through a logger.
Other Sources of Timber
- Reclamation and Salvage Companies. Two types of companies specialize in reclaimed timber operations: sunken log recovery and building demolition and salvage companies. These companies reclaim and salvage wood, then resell them at a profit. Typically, they list the type of timber they are selling so you can check if their offers match your needs. A good place to look for these companies is the web and Woodplanet (online resource).
- Tree Services. Tree services are usually looking to dispose of their material and will be happy to sell you as many logs as you want to get them out of their way. You can easily find these businesses at the back of the phone book or in the local newspaper because they advertise their services.
- Other Sawmills. Some big sawmills sell their logs to smaller sawmills if they are not the appropriate type for their operations. You can easily reach these companies through business directories, ads, and the phone book.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much is a board foot of timber worth?
Generally, the value at which a logger sells their timber will depend on the tree quality, size, and species. The logger will often determine their total operating costs over a given period and divide this number by the number of board feet they produced during the same period. The price may also vary depending on location.
How much do loggers charge?
There are different kinds of loggers, and they will usually charge you depending on the type of service they offer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, loggers who use chainsaws or felling machines to cut trees make $21.46 per hour, an equivalent of $44,650 a year. This is a median wage. On the other hand, graders who inspect, measure, and estimate the value of logs, make $17.92 per hour or $37,280 a year (2019 figures).
What wood is the most expensive?
The value of wood will depend on how complicated it is to work with, its resistance, durability, and how rare it is. Generally, the most expensive woods (for furniture) include Elm, African Blackwood, Rosewood, Maple, Pink Ivory Wood, and Ebony Wood.
Timber and Logging Companies are a reliable source of timber and logs, but they can be hard to find, mainly because they don’t advertise or list their services. Your best option is to build relationships with other people who deal in timber, such as other sawmills, timber sellers, or state agencies. Ultimately, these connections will allow you access to both a source of logs and a logging company.