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Removing trees from property


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By Yvonne in Helena, AL on 10/10/2005


First post here - great forum, by the way. We are getting ready to build on 9 heavily wooded acres and want to get started on clearing out the spot where the house will go. I was wondering if there are companies that will clear out the lot and pay us for the trees that they take (most of the trees are mature oak, maple and black walnut). If so, do I just call tree removal companies? Thank you!


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By Marc in Defuniak Springs, FL on 10/10/2005


Yvonne,

Welcome, and good luck on your project.

We had about 60 trees to clear before we could get started. Our lot is easily accessible and we could not find anyone to pay us for such a small amount (it seems they want acres, not a few trees). However we had mostly pines. It may be that hardwoods will be another matter.

My experience in this matter (and it is limited), is that after some local research, I hired a man who cleared lots with his son's help. Some of our trees were 40 feet tall so they cut them up into manageable pieces. He made the statement that having a road and the lot being somewhat cleared saved us some money on his hourly labor. In the end with about 40 man-hours he charged us $1,500 ($37.50/hour), left some great mulch and used a Bush Hog to do some underbrush clearing as well.

The pictures are a sample of before and after view of the driveway.

Keep us posted and send a few pictures.


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By Yvonne in Helena, AL on 10/11/2005


 

Here are photos of the trail that will be our driveway eventually! 


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By Ralph in Fort Collins, CO on 10/23/2005


Hi Yvonne,

I wish I lived closer to you... I would bid that project in a second. What you have is a valuable commodity. Mature trees are worth money.

What I would do is find someone with a portable bandsaw mill that will come to your lot and clear it on shares. You will have a cleared building site and some beautiful wood to use as trim, beams, etc... My oldest brother did live outside of Mobile and did custom milling like I'm describing. He now lives in Idaho and does the same thing in his spare time. There must be others in your area that can do the same job.

The reason I specify a portable bandsaw mill is because it can be set up on site and there is very little sawdust produced due to the thin blade of the band saw. 

Good luck,

Ralph


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By Lauren B. in Oakland Park, FL on 9/2/2007


Hi Yvonne,

Welcome. I am also new to this site and really love it, so will you. I too, am clearing for a cottage in the woods. You can see my journal under Lauren B. There is a sawmill in Green Mountain, NC that will come to the site, clear the trees, mill the lumber and deliver it back to you for a lot less. Your quality finished wood will also be better than what you get at Depot or Lowe's. Check around for local sawmills and lumberyards in your area. You should find something similar. Let me know how you make out. Good luck.

Lauren B.


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By Lauren B. in Oakland Park, FL on 9/2/2007


Yvonne,

I'm going to try to paste these questions that I asked from the general forum/green building. Maybe it'll help us.

Lauren B.

Hello O-B's, I have recently purchased land in a very rural area in Poplar, NC and would like to mill the lumber for the 1,250 sq. ft., two-story cabin with decks. It is a heavily wooded parcel with hemlock, maple, birch, poplar and some nut trees. The cabin will be built using passive solar design principles and the evergreens and some of the deciduous trees will need to be cleared. There are also many large trees that were felled when the dirt road was put in. There's definitely too much for firewood and it doesn't seem right just to burn it. The man who's clearing the site suggested milling it and using the lumber for building. There is an old tobacco barn on site so the wood can dry there. He did his sister's house that way. I wanted to do this from the beginning, but got pooh-poohed.  "Not cost effective" was the general consensus, but I went to the sawmill with a local carpenter and the prices were even less than the local lumberyard!

So, here are some questions for you guys: Which woods are better to use than others?

Has anyone done this before and if so how'd it go? What kind of prices per foot for rough cut? finished?

Would you do it again? Did you use it for exterior, interior, framing, flooring, cabinets?

And if nobody has had any luck with this, can I maybe interest you in some firewood?

Thanks for any input. You can also PM me.  

Lauren


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By Mark in Seattle, WA on 10/12/2007


My land was heavily timbered, and since I live in timber country, there were several ways to get rid of it. First, the Douglas Fir had value as lumber, either milling it on site or delivery to a local mill. Because of the distance, the cost of cutting, loading, and delivery meant that I'd realize about $800, which would actually go to the site preparation guy for dozer work. 

I also had trees that weren't too valuable as lumber (red alder). Again, because I live in the Pacific NW, there is a nearby paper mill that used this type of product. It would buy anything over 8" diameter and has actually driven up the price of firewood locally. Price paid by the mill would just cover the cost of cutting and delivery.

Finally, there was on-site milling. My neighbor did this. He has beautiful straight-grained 6x6 and 6x8s in his house. You can't see them, of course, except by the cracks in his drywall.  My other neighbor warned him about this. Air-dried lumber is not kiln-dried lumber. When it shrinks, and it will, it's likely to cause problems depending on where it's used in the construction. 

My other neighbor also told me that it doesn't "pencil out" to mill your own lumber. He used some on-site milled lumber in his home, but only for exposed beams that can shrink and crack without causing problems. He said that the only advantage is the ability to point at the beam and say "That beam was milled from right here on the building site." Other than that, he could have bought kiln-dried lumber and had it delivered for the same price.

So, I ended up bucking up the alder into firewood-sized pieces and telling the neighbors "come and get it." They split, haul, and dry it, which they thought was a good deal. 5 or 6 cords of wood gone in a week (I kept a couple for myself).

The fir I used two ways (these were >50' logs about 2' diameter). First, as bulkheads to hold some soil and make a level pad. By the time the logs rot, the soil will have settled and stabilized. Flat land on a sloped site is worth more than $800 from the mill. The smaller logs I used to form a border along the driveway, which looks better as time goes by and stuff grows on them. Serves no purpose other than it looks homey, uses lots of logs, and I can drag and place them myself with my 4WD and a winch.

Moderate Mark


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