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Woodwanter

The science behind forced log drying

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I don't disagree all though not sure I can't get it down to 15%? Especially in the sized material I will end up with.
 
I have the shed space to store 600 tons but it's the opportunity cost of that space which gets expensive!
Agreed. I don't think kiln dried is noticeably better than properly air dried firewood. Yes you can achieve a lower % but in day to day use in a domestic burner do you really notice it? I'd say no.

As OP has said it is space and speed where it excels. I did run a kiln for firewood and it's was very efficient in terms of usage of space. I used to have 2-3 weeks worth of stock stored and kept that topped up with log fresh from the kiln. It was essentially 'just in time manufacturing' where you are only producing what you will need/sell in the immediate period to reduce overheads/inventory costs. Perhaps if you are rurally based it is less if an issue but in South and southeast where commercial rents are so high it can be a good option.

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On 12/02/2018 at 18:20, Woodwanter said:

I don't disagree all though not sure I can't get it down to 15%? Especially in the sized material I will end up with.

 

I have the shed space to store 600 tons but it's the opportunity cost of that space which gets expensive!

That's exactly the problem with seasoning wood against kiln drying it. The sheer volume of space required to properly season firewood is enormous, and certainly in the London/Home Counties/south East England area, you can find many other uses for such large covered areas that produce more/same income for less work. Stock is simply money tied up. If someone holds £100,000 worth of stock for two years to season it, whilst I hold £5,000 worth of stock and keep replenishing it, and I turnover my stock once a week for a 26 week season, then I actually sell £130,000 worth but only tied up £5,000 at any one time......Its not how much stock you hold, its how fast you sell it and replace it and sell it again that counts.

Edited by Chalgravesteve
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3 hours ago, Chalgravesteve said:

That's exactly the problem with seasoning wood against kiln drying it. The sheer volume of space required to properly season firewood is enormous, and certainly in the London/Home Counties/south East England area, you can find many other uses for such large covered areas that produce more/same income for less work. Stock is simply money tied up. If someone holds £100,000 worth of stock for two years to season it, whilst I hold £5,000 worth of stock and keep replenishing it, and I turnover my stock once a week for a 26 week season, then I actually sell £130,000 worth but only tied up £5,000 at any one time......Its not how much stock you hold, its how fast you sell it and replace it and sell it again that counts.

Completely on my wave length. We only differ by the colour of our boilers and the fact that as mine is for my own use I don't need it processed down as small as you would.

 

how many tons do you sell per annum? V smart website too

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That's exactly the problem with seasoning wood against kiln drying it. The sheer volume of space required to properly season firewood is enormous, and certainly in the London/Home Counties/south East England area, you can find many other uses for such large covered areas that produce more/same income for less work. Stock is simply money tied up. If someone holds £100,000 worth of stock for two years to season it, whilst I hold £5,000 worth of stock and keep replenishing it, and I turnover my stock once a week for a 26 week season, then I actually sell £130,000 worth but only tied up £5,000 at any one time......Its not how much stock you hold, its how fast you sell it and replace it and sell it again that counts.
Someone that finally talks sense! 🤩
I think there's definitely a difference between people that are trying to run a commercial firewood company to pay themselves and make money with budgets/cashflow to worry about and farmers with unlimited cheap finance to spend £500k on kit without worrying and space to do what they want but don't understand the day to day of running a business.

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1 hour ago, Woodwanter said:

Completely on my wave length. We only differ by the colour of our boilers and the fact that as mine is for my own use I don't need it processed down as small as you would.

 

how many tons do you sell per annum? V smart website too

We sell almost exclusively in barrow bags. Hand packed so they are solid. We sell a bag between £39.50 - £49.50 each depending on how many are ordered together. 4 or more for the £39.50 rate. 

 

We sold virtually bang on 900 bags this year. I reckon they are about 100kg a bag on average so that would be 90 tonnes. 

 

Website is quite tidy, thanks! 

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2 hours ago, ash_smith123 said:

Someone that finally talks sense! 🤩
I think there's definitely a difference between people that are trying to run a commercial firewood company to pay themselves and make money with budgets/cashflow to worry about and farmers with unlimited cheap finance to spend £500k on kit without worrying and space to do what they want but don't understand the day to day of running a business.

Do many farmers deal in firewood? I thought it was mainly surgeons running this as a top up to their felling day job? Just curious really. Spoke to local chap here who has 4-5 gangs out daily, he just processes it himself on the quieter day and pushes it into a windy shed.

2 hours ago, Chalgravesteve said:

We sell almost exclusively in barrow bags. Hand packed so they are solid. We sell a bag between £39.50 - £49.50 each depending on how many are ordered together. 4 or more for the £39.50 rate. 

 

We sold virtually bang on 900 bags this year. I reckon they are about 100kg a bag on average so that would be 90 tonnes. 

 

Website is quite tidy, thanks! 

Crickey. So call it £42 on average x 900 = £37k

 

at 90 t that's just over £400 / ton!? Transport, processing, bad debt / tolerating the general public aside, from the outside that seems like a respectable business model!

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8 hours ago, Chalgravesteve said:

That's exactly the problem with seasoning wood against kiln drying it. The sheer volume of space required to properly season firewood is enormous, and certainly in the London/Home Counties/south East England area, you can find many other uses for such large covered areas that produce more/same income for less work. Stock is simply money tied up. If someone holds £100,000 worth of stock for two years to season it, whilst I hold £5,000 worth of stock and keep replenishing it, and I turnover my stock once a week for a 26 week season, then I actually sell £130,000 worth but only tied up £5,000 at any one time......Its not how much stock you hold, its how fast you sell it and replace it and sell it again that counts.

Are you a one man band, or do you have guys working for you doing the firewood, if so how many?

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I think nearly all firewood businesses are started by tree surgeons or farmers because they both have access to free/cheap wood to start out.

 

I don't know any local firewood sellers who purely rely on firewood as income, there's a few farmers who wanted to make use of their woodland machinery in the winter (including us although we've now split the business) and a lot of tree surgeons and gardeners who sell cheap but tend to run out.

 

Back on the original topic, we kiln dry our wood because of lack of space and the weather here but we also season first to try and cut down on drying time and improve the logs.

Edited by gdh

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17 hours ago, briquette_seller said:

Are you a one man band, or do you have guys working for you doing the firewood, if so how many?

Main business is my golf club. I do the firewood as a winter business for my greenstaff. So I already have most of the overheads covered and it’s just additional revenue/profit and keeps everyone busy. I now want to expand it and employ someone full time which means we need to double our output to about 1800/2000 bags to justify the additional staff cost. 

 

We dont advertise as hard as we could so it’s entirely feasible to do it in my opinion. 

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17 hours ago, Woodwanter said:

Do many farmers deal in firewood? I thought it was mainly surgeons running this as a top up to their felling day job? Just curious really. Spoke to local chap here who has 4-5 gangs out daily, he just processes it himself on the quieter day and pushes it into a windy shed.

Crickey. So call it £42 on average x 900 = £37k

 

at 90 t that's just over £400 / ton!? Transport, processing, bad debt / tolerating the general public aside, from the outside that seems like a respectable business model!

Yup that’s about right. No bad debt. It’s paid for in advance. We rarely do COD. It’s as much about service, delivering the bags to the customers log store not just dumping it on the drive. We even taken them through or into some houses! 

 

 

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