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Selling Harvesting Urban Lumber  RSS feed

 
Sheri Menelli
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I've been having a discussion with my dad who lives in the Chicago-land area. Often trees go down in storms or have to be cut down for disease or whatever.

I've told him about a David Barmon podcast I heard. But he can't figure out where or how to sell any wood he might have.

I was just wondering how much success anyone else has had with selling the wood? Also what is the minimum width it the tree would have to be for anyone to want the lumber?

Just thinking that there has to be guitar builders out there who would love this wood. In the midwest there are so many maples and I know they use maple for guitars.

Please post your experiences with selling wood.

Sheri
 
David Barmon
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Hi Sheri, there are some urban lumber companies in Chicago. You should look up Horigan Urban Forest Products. www.horiganufp.com There is a also the book by Sam Sherrill called Harvesting Urban Lumber and I believe his is in the midwest.

Trees should be 18" at a minimum to be usable for cutting lumber. Bigger is better or all it is not worth coming and picking up the wood. Your father would be better if he hired someone to mill his trees that have come down, get it air dried and kilned dried and then sell the lumber. There is not much money in the logs on a small scale. Slabs sell for the most money per board foot. Of course if he goes this route, he needs to have a place to store the wood and find buyers which can take time. Craigslist is a good starting point.

Hope this helps!

Dave

PS-Did you see the recent thread about urban lumber. There is a link to a recent TEDx talk I gave in Canada which you might find interesting in addition to my podcast interview with Diego.
 
Fred Morgan
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Sometimes people are reluctant to work with Urban lumber because finding a piece of metal in a log can be very expensive - saws don't do well with nails.

Nor planers, routers, etc.

Some urban trees are so full of metal that it is crazy.

That being said, there are some great trees available for harvesting. The problem is in selling is that you have to find people who want something different. Most people are used to hearing about just a few species of trees, and so don't know that maple would make beautiful flooring, etc.

 
Sheri Menelli
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Thank so much for the responses!

Since I work in the music industry, I decided to call a guitar manufacturer I know last night.

He told me he buys from ebay and wood suppliers.

He said that some of the best wood is by lakes where the land has been cleared for development They frequently throw the wood into the lakes and it just sits in the lake. I was surprised that you could fish it out of the lake and it would still be good. Some of it is pretty old.

He said he likes the wood that is 50 or years old better because it is better wood - stronger and he mentioned something about it being before climate change and that having an impact on the quality of the wood.

He also said if you have logs laying on your property for a few years that that wood is good too.

He likes Eastern Hardwood (heartwood?) Maple and black walnut. Something that says for a lot of money is curly maple - has like 3-D effect. I know there are others used in guitar but a lot are exotic woods.

If you go to a local sawmill he said to have them cut it into 2x8x10 feet pieces if you can.

Not sure if this is new news to David since he has been in this industry a while. If anyone wants more information on what guitar makers want, let me know. I know a lot of them I could talk to and ask questions.

 
David Barmon
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Sherri, it would be interesting to find out more about how instrument makers find their wood products. You can find me on Facebook.

Fred, yes there is often metal in urban trees. I have spent several hundred dollars from hitting chunks of metal in urban logs. This is just part of the equation and anyone milling urban wood should factor it into their costs.

I recently milled a 4' diameter Myrtlewood tree that fell over in someone's back yard a few weeks ago. Great for guitar makers. Attached are a few photos.
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Fred Morgan
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If I were to sell wood from trees from an urban environment, I might wish to invest in an inexpensive metal detector. Destroying your blades because you hit metal is one thing, selling a piece of wood to a client, which has metal in it is a great way to lose a client.

Lots of people who have portable sawmills have metal detectors for just this reason.

Just a suggestion
 
Sheri Menelli
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David,

I'll try to find you on Facebook and give you more details on Luthiers and the wood they use. I think I could hook you up several of them - perhaps we could organize a better way for them to get wood. Or find a way for the suppliers to get more urban lumber.

I know Taylor Guitars is very into sustainability. I've thought about talking to Bob Taylor - one of the owners of Taylor - more about how we could use more urban lumber.

Sheri
 
Sheri Menelli
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David,

Oh, missed seeing those photos for some reason. That is really amazing lumber! I'll send the photos to a few friends who might be interested.

Sheri
 
David Barmon
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Sheri, Thanks for your offer to help connect me with folks in the guitar making business. That would be great! You can go to my facebook page David Barmon or you can contact me on my company website www.fiddleheadlandscapes.com.

Fred, I think you misunderstood my response about metal in urban trees. This is a problem and part of the risk. I certainly think having a metal detector is very helpful. I wand all of my boards before sending them through any wood working equipment. In the future if I plan to sell urban lumber then I would obviously use due diligence to make sure there is no metal present. I also do my best avoid hitting metal as it gets expensive quickly!
 
Satamax Antone
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David, acoustic guitarmakers usualy go for straight grained wood for the tops, Spruce, red cedar, some US based ones tried yellow cedar. At least a german maker tried Euro larch. Thoses woods are usualy tight grained. There's a bit more leeway about backs and necks. Prety much all the woods have been tried. Even figured woods with defects etc. The hard part is to know how to cut it for guitarmaking.

Usualy they make sections, between the branches if there's any. Aproximately 1 yard long for necks, 25" or thereabouts for backs, and 4' for sides. They split billets out of the sections, trying to have faces on the quarter. Disregard anything not straight grained, except for woods with flame, quilt or birdseye. Then they boockmatch pieces on the quatersawn side of the billet, untill they can't get anymore. For spruce, for example, they might re split to make violin tops out of the wood which is not big enough for guitar. Or for exotics, like rosewood, you turn the small pieces into fingerboards and bridge blanks.

Wood for electrics is even easier. Prety much anything has been used, from basswood to black locust, to AAAA flame maple or cocobolo and else. The neck still needs to be quatersawn and split imho (fender used and still does use flatsawn maple) But for the body, you can use quatersawn even not split, riftsawn. I would stay away from flatsawn myself. Anything with a figure can be sold for electrick guitar cappings. Burls and the rest. Make it the right size for an electric guitar, put it on ebay, and someone will like it


HTH.
 
David Barmon
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Thanks for the detailed info Satamax! That's an interesting name by the way. I have a Washburn with a spruce top and Koa wood sides and back. Koa is a kind of Acacia. I think black Acacia grows in Southern California and makes beautiful lumber. That might be a good option for Sheri's garden but I must confess I know little about those particular trees and I could not confirm if they grow well in the San Diego area.

It seems like softwoods make the best tops. Are you a guitar maker or professional woodworker?

I have not been working on milling wood for guitar stock although it sounds interesting. I am pretty much milling slabs for tables, benches ect.. I am capable of doing some quality woodworking but my background is more in drystack stone and landscape construction. Hence my interest in planting trees as well as milling wood.
 
Sheri Menelli
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Thanks guys. I'll look at Koa and see if it can grow here. I'll let you know what I find out.

By the way, I was at one of the big trade shows for the music industry in January - NAMM. Saw one wood supplier's booth and chatted with them about the type of wood they look for.

I saw one piece of curly maple (Maple that has a 3D like effect) and it was selling for $1000 for a piece that was pretty small. I want to say it was 2 x 2 feet by 3 inches.

Sheri
 
Satamax Antone
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David Barmon wrote:Thanks for the detailed info Satamax! That's an interesting name by the way. I have a Washburn with a spruce top and Koa wood sides and back. Koa is a kind of Acacia. I think black Acacia grows in Southern California and makes beautiful lumber. That might be a good option for Sheri's garden but I must confess I know little about those particular trees and I could not confirm if they grow well in the San Diego area.

It seems like softwoods make the best tops. Are you a guitar maker or professional woodworker?

I have not been working on milling wood for guitar stock although it sounds interesting. I am pretty much milling slabs for tables, benches ect.. I am capable of doing some quality woodworking but my background is more in drystack stone and landscape construction. Hence my interest in planting trees as well as milling wood.



Well, both, kindof. I started woodworking in roofing and interior decorating. Got grumpy that they didn't let me cut enough wood. Then did a city&guilds of guitarmaking. And now i'm back to my first love, roofing and timberframing. Self employed. Which lets me cut as much wood as needed. If lucky, i might get back to guitarmaking soon.





Sheri Menelli wrote:Thanks guys. I'll look at Koa and see if it can grow here. I'll let you know what I find out.

By the way, I was at one of the big trade shows for the music industry in January - NAMM. Saw one wood supplier's booth and chatted with them about the type of wood they look for.

I saw one piece of curly maple (Maple that has a 3D like effect) and it was selling for $1000 for a piece that was pretty small. I want to say it was 2 x 2 feet by 3 inches.

Sheri


Shery, a piece of flame maple that expensive is crookery. But the thing is, sometimes, the small guys or diy'ers don't know better. Or can't afford the long trip to one of the big guys like Rivolta for example. And, they will not be cheap either, because there's lots of waste.
 
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