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Stihl Unknown

Milled timber why?

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After my first experience with a friends Alaskan saw mill i had this immense desire to buy one and mill for myself.


Question is what is the best use for the timber?


I've had a few jobs where there have been some sweet straight stems but im worried about stock pileing timber with no outright ideas on what to do with it.


What are people doing with their timber?

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Personally I use it as a way of making more money it seems a waste to turn it into firewood, I suggest planking it, for uses as tables seats etc. I just mill the stick for the customer and leave it, what they do with is upto them, I have no doubt most gets left to rot away but it's money in my bank,

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I'm repairing my house with the stuff I've milled.


You could always try to sell it by the board on fleabay....collect only, of course.

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I bought my mill for my own projects - initially to cut the timber for repairing a couple of wooden canal boats. This was long before the firewood boom when offering a farmer £50 for a standing dead oak on a field boundary made their day - I borrowed their teleporter for the day and we were both very happy.


Since then, I have still mostly milled my own timber, most recently to build an extension on our house. Next major project will be taking out the concrete from the sills and the bottom of the posts, seeing how bad it really is and then renewing a lot of the lower timbers.


I also have some stock for building a 1690's style longcase clock case in ebonised pearwood and an collecting up plum whenever anyone has some available, ultimately to build fitted bedroom furniture which will go under the slope of the ceiling in the original part of the house. I want to build an open fronted bookcase in walnut to go against a particular wall (log for this is arranged) and a few other things with field maple for the new kitchen.


I also mill timber for people on an occasional basis - sometimes people have a tree taken down, often in a back garden where access is poor and it will need cutting up anyway so they would rather have planks than firewood (as above, probably a fair amount of this ends up rotting but less so with oak in particular); sometimes it's an unusual species or an exceptional specimen and someone has a use for it.


I do very little speculative milling 'for stock'. Although I do sometimes sell my surplus, I don't have the time to market it and you can guarantee that if you mill 1.5" boards, the next potential customer will want 2", or you will quartersaw and they will want wide slabs etc. I have some 'spare' oak, cherry, pear, black poplar and elm but I will probably end up using it for something before I get round to selling it.



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You could see if any small cabinet / joinery workshops local to you need any types of timber which you could supply if you do not let people know you will not sell.

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i use the timber for my own purposes but if i had the space i would eventually look to selling it too.


i don't yet have an alaskan and work out of my garden so get other people to slice and dice the wod for me.

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It's a good question what to do with milled timber...



To start with many have projects or jobs in mind when they buy a mill. This makes everything a lot easier.



If you don't know what to do with the wood I would settle for milling some wood for your own projects. Selling wood is hard indeed! As it is such niche market and depends on where you are in the country.


Most people who buy wood tend to enjoy talking about wood more than they do the actual buying it if you see what I mean!


Also the nature of the product means it is hard to sell ie. difficult to send by post, every piece is different, you often need to plane it or sand it before selling it (or it just looks like a dirty piece of wood), difficult to store...


I sell wood on ebay - but it is not easy - every piece has to be planed, labelled and photographed 12 times! http://stores.ebay.co.uk/chainsawbarsalaskanmillandtreet/All-wood-related-things-/_i.html?_fsub=5877698015 and when you take off ebay fees, paypal fees, vat, shipping.... there ain't a lot left but there is just enough to make it worth doing.


So you have your work cut out in selling wood...


Really I would always start milling wood by -



  • Being picky what you mill - only mill the best stuff
  • Do it for yourself and family and your own projects
  • See it as doing it more for the love rather than the £...




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Basicly what Rob said.


I started milling for my own use about ten years ago, then for other people before I started buying trees to mill and built up my own little store where I now sell to local furniture makers.


It takes time, money and a lot of hard work.

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The title of this thread sounds like a question my family sometimes ask me!


I enjoy sourcing, milling and drying timber as a hobby in itself and have accumulated several tons of milled timber over recent years which is gradually getting used mainly to make pieces of furniture for family. Part of the interest has come from working with numerous different species of wood, seeing how each reacts to the drying process, how to avoid drying defects, experimenting with different methods of milling to achieve different grain patterns, aiming to produce timber that it is not readily available to buy, which to me gives it ‘added value’ but still for my own use.


At the start I was concerned about the time it would take to air dry planks on the basis of the rule of thumb of a year per inch thickness followed by perhaps another year storing it in a dry indoor environment as I had no access to a kiln and wanted to use if for furniture in a centrally heated home. So a 2 inch thick plank might take 2 ½ to 3 years before being ready to use.


Having got passed the first two or three years when I was impatiently waiting for the first timber to dry, replenishing the ‘stock’ on an ongoing basis has far outpaced the rate at which I can use it, hence the mounting pile of timber. So I tend not to mill for specific projects and follow advice I read in a book written about 40 years ago, ‘The fine art of cabinetmaking’ by James Krenov. In the chapter titled ‘Wood’ he says, ‘Recently I have noticed craftsmen tending to obtain wood by sawing it themselves. A concept new in America is emerging: that of the flitch cut log and fine, thick planks which will later be re-sawn to sizes needed.’ So I now tend to mill quite thick, say 3 or 4 inches which takes years to dry but I can now wait, and then re-saw it on a large bandsaw to the sizes needed for specific projects which I aim to design to suit the characteristics of the available timber rather than milling to suit a specific design.



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