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Thread: rough lumber prices

  1. #1

    rough lumber prices

    when bidding on a job how do you figure in cost for rough lumber?
    I've been guessing what that board would cost planed and sized but
    now I thinking about using the price I pay at the mill then adding in labor for planing and sizing the lumber but how much per BF do I charge?
    Is there another way that might be better?
    Mike

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Chappell Hill, Texas
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    4,412
    Mike, I've just come to the realization that if I were to charge my hourly rate for milling lumber, my lumber would be more expensive than gold! Therefore, I just started (with the job I am starting now) to let my lumberyard mill my stock for me.

    As a hobbiest, milling my own stock was fun. However, when working for myself, milling is a waste of my time (changing knives, emptying dust collector, setting up infeed rollers for the jointer, moving big stacks of long boards around the shop, etc). For instance, I just bought some 4/4 walnut. Around here I pay $4.09/bf for rough. S2S is $4.24. I can't mill it for 15 cents a foot. Can you?

    Not only am I having the mill thickness, but also sand and trim to the stock sizes that I need, ie, 3/4" thick x 2¼" width for door frames, 3" for face frame rails, etc. Also, they're making my 1/2" thick drawer fronts, the 1/4" moulding that goes on the drawer fronts, and so on and so on.

    I just picked up some 13/16" S2S Cherry that I will cut to length, edge and glue up into door panels. For the number of doors that I have to do, I just saved well over a day. Maybe more. And, my mill lets me pick the lumber out in the rough too. I went through the stack and picked out 85bf of figured cherry. I figure not too bad for less than $5/bf. And, my clients still gets the benefit of me hand-picking the lumber - I'm merely paying WELL BELOW MINIMUM WAGE for someone else to mill it, with no wear and tear on my machinery. Go figure.

    If time is factor in your projects, let the mill do it.

    Todd.
    My level of WW skill can be summed up with this:

    If I had to buy something that I could make today, I couldn't afford it.

  3. #3
    Much like Todd, I have the saw mill do a lot of the milling for 3-5 cents a BF depending upon the mill. Saves hours of work shuffling lumber and emptying DC.

    Since the milling I get is rough and only close to what I need, I figure about double what I paid at the mill gets charged out. I get 13/16 or 7/8 from the mill depending upon how brave I feel for that order. Then take it down to 3/4 or resaw as needed. They can mill to 1/2 or 3/8 for example, but I still have to pay for all the wood that got milled away. By doing this myself with resaw for thin stock, I basically end up with wood that cost some time to make but didn't cost time to pickup. It's about a 3 hour job round trip to a mill.

    I do this part time, and would expect that you might prefer to pass more of the work back to the mill in return for a slightly higher cost.

  4. #4
    markus shaffer Guest
    i'm curious what type of milling machine the mills you go to use. the lumberyard where i get my wood has what i think is a 4 sided planer.. what i was told by another customer there was that if a board is bowed or crooked, it will come out of the machine still bowed or crooked. i don't quite remember what the cost is for them to dress it since i never had them do it but i think it was something like 25 cents per linear foot. i have seen some of the boards that came out of the machine though and sure enough, they were certainly not straight. is there a difference between "dressing" and "milling"?

    -markus

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Huntsville, AL (The Sun and Fun Capital of The South)
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    3,203

    As a hobbiest

    As a hobbiest I wouldn't even remotely consider buying hardwood (or any other wood for that matter) S4S or S2S or S1S even.

    If I were in the production business I might consider the options.

    However, it has been my experience that unless the material you are buying was all planed at the same time with the same planer you will end up with material of varying thicknesses (DAMHIKT). Which is a pain in the you know what. I have been purchasing rough sawn and planing all my material for over 30 years. Which allows me to get the "exact" dimensional material I need.

    If I were manufacturing 30 or 40 raised panel doors or something like that I would probably buy dimensional lumber because of the time involved.
    "If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride - and never quit, you'll be a winner. The price of victory is high - but so are the rewards" - - Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant
    Ken Salisbury Passed away on May 1st, 2008 and will forever be in our hearts.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by markus shaffer
    i'm curious what type of milling machine the mills you go to use. the lumberyard where i get my wood has what i think is a 4 sided planer.. what i was told by another customer there was that if a board is bowed or crooked, it will come out of the machine still bowed or crooked. i don't quite remember what the cost is for them to dress it since i never had them do it but i think it was something like 25 cents per linear foot. i have seen some of the boards that came out of the machine though and sure enough, they were certainly not straight. is there a difference between "dressing" and "milling"?

    -markus
    No wonder you don't use them for this...25 cents per foot is way to much. Here I pay on average 5 cents per board foot. So to get 100 BF plained it's $5.00.. The milling machines are rough cutting dudes at my mills, and are not a finish cut. Hence the 13/16 or 7/8 cut that I request. But most the stock is just over 4/4 thick and this saves me a lot of time hogging off the nasty outside. Sounds like Todd has a little sweeter of a deal. I don't know the brands or anything, these are big CNC machines that run 70 or 80 HP motors that cut way faster then I even thought possible. I think they plain at about 5 feet per second. The FAS lumber grade does not allow for much twist or bow, and the mill would toss that into a lower grade. So, the boards are pretty flat but not perfect. Bottom line for me, is it cost $2 for a BF of FAS oak. If I want it plained, it cost $2.05.

    I read Ken's comment and I recall at the BP gathering he was paying something like $1 BF from his supplier for just about anything rough. So he's got an even better deal.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Oak Ridge, NC
    Posts
    458
    I buy most of my wood from Wall Lumber in Mayodan, NC. They charge .20 per BF to surface two sides. If you take a 12" X 10' long cherry board that is 12 BF X .20 or $2.40. There is no way I can, even as a hobbyist, justify running that board through my machine to surface it. I can only do one side at a time, I have to empty the DC system, keep sharp blades in the planer, pay the electric bill and spend the time doing it.

    I do, however, take that board and if I had it milled to 3/4", and need a portion of it milled to 1/2", do that myself. If most of the board is needed at 1/2" thick, then I have them mill it that way, same $.20 per BF.

    They maintain their equipment and do accurate work. If I ask for 1/2" thick, I get it.

    Rough lumber has a good deal of grit on the surface and I'd just as soon let them take the wear on their blades than mine. Once the rough surface is cut off wood is a little easier on the plainer knives.

  8. What does s2s really mean?

    To follow up on Markus' question and Eric & Mac's reply. What does S2S really mean. The lumber that I have bought this way is planed on 2 sides buy it is never flat (so one side needs to be flattened before it can be run thru the planer). "Surfaced" seems to mean "We ran it through a planer (perhaps a 2 sided one), but we did not joint one surface flat first." Am I right on this?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    37,698
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Gattiker
    To follow up on Markus' question and Eric & Mac's reply. What does S2S really mean. The lumber that I have bought this way is planed on 2 sides buy it is never flat (so one side needs to be flattened before it can be run thru the planer). "Surfaced" seems to mean "We ran it through a planer (perhaps a 2 sided one), but we did not joint one surface flat first." Am I right on this?
    Bingo. This is the singular major issue with buying S2S lumber...that's not to say you shouldn't, just be aware of the quality of the product and preferably go for skim planed so you can insure consistancy of project components. Yes, it takes time to process lumber in your shop, but the end results can be quite beneficial.
    “Never raise your hands to your children, it leaves your groin unprotected.” - Red Buttons

    If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say -- talk in your sleep...

    Be safety conscious. 80% of people are caused by accidents.

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  10. Quote Originally Posted by Todd Burch View Post
    .

    " I just bought some 4/4 walnut. Around here I pay $4.09/bf for rough. S2S is $4.24. I can't mill it for 15 cents a foot. Can you? "

    Not only am I having the mill thickness, but also sand and trim to the stock sizes that I need, ie, 3/4" thick x 2¼" width for door frames, 3" for face frame rails, etc. Also, they're making my 1/2" thick drawer fronts, the 1/4" moulding that goes on the drawer fronts, and so on and so on.

    I just picked up some 13/16" S2S Cherry that I will cut to length, edge and glue up into door panels. For the number of doors that I have to do, I just saved well over a day. Maybe more. And, my mill lets me pick the lumber out in the rough too. I went through the stack and picked out 85bf of figured cherry. I figure not too bad for less than $5/bf.
    Todd.
    HI Todd!
    Where are you getting Walnut for that price, I pay $8/bf for 4/4 Walnut and a buck more for 8/4. Cherry is the same price, figured Cherry is closer to $10 b/f. I also read someone is getting Hard Maple for $2 b/f and I pay $5 b/f. The only thing I can get for $2 is Poplar. I need to be in the "in" crowd on this or am I in a bad part of the country... (Sacramento)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    37,698
    Frank, this thread is from 2003...prices may be very different in Todd's neighborhood now.
    “Never raise your hands to your children, it leaves your groin unprotected.” - Red Buttons

    If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say -- talk in your sleep...

    Be safety conscious. 80% of people are caused by accidents.

    Equestrian Sports. The most fun you can have with your boots still on...


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