Hello Colorado Woodworkers,
I've been reading up on the Beetle kill pine situation in our state and wondering how I can help and benefit from the problem of many downed trees. Many online searches about the result in small businesses selling "rustic mountain furniture" or wood flooring. Neither of these really excite me, but it does point to the fact that there must be someone harvesting the trees and milling them into usable wood. I've found a few Craigslist ads for the flooring and potentially for the lumber, but it's limited. I've seen at least one posting here about turning beetle kill pine, but not much more.
Has anyone looked into what it takes to get some of the downed trees? A coworker said he saw piles of logs in various spots around Dillon reservoir and brought one home. I doubt that's an approved method with the forest service. What does it take (e.g. a permit) for a hobbyist to bring a few logs home and make something (not for sale or for firewood)? Has anyone done this?
I was thinking it would be nice to get a few logs milled and begin drying for use later in the spring/summer, but don't know where to start.
For those that have worked with it, what has been your experience with it? It is like other softwoods? How did you obtain it? Did you mill it out of logs vs. purchasing milled lumber? Did you have to dry it a long time? Does it machine well? How much variation in wood quality/color have you seen?
I have a number of home projects, mostly for kids furniture, that could get started a lot sooner if I had a source for essentially free wood. I don't want it to look like rustic vacation-cabin furniture, but like normal, hand-built furniture with a Colorado twist (primarily in the wood source). I was thinking of getting a handful of logs, having them milled locally (or try my hand at it with my bandsaw) and drying them. If they split like crazy, I could try to salvage enough to make some garage/basement shelves. If they yield a few nice boards, I could build some nicer stuff. Is this wishful thinking or a real possibility?
Thanks for any insight into this seemly unlimited resource.