I have about 20 acres of tops, cut last year, that i can cut into firewood. I am unable to split the wood. Is it feasible to sell unsplit firewood? how would one pro-rate the value of firewood ,unsplit? Thank you.

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Hi Chaz:

Great question.  I suspect this is a situation that many woodland owners experience, especially after a timber sale.  The short answer is that yes it is quite feasible to sell firewood that has not been split.  When marketing the wood, just be clear that the wood needs to be split, or that the wood is branch wood or a certain range of diameters.  The value will depend on the time of year and the local market demand.  In central NY I see firewood available roadside (buyer picks up) for $60 to $65 per face cord (4' x 8' x ~ 16"), although I haven't stopped to measure any piles.  You could estimate the amount of time it would take to split the wood, and reduce the cost by that amount at some reasonable hourly rate.

Beyond the short answer, here are some other thoughts to consider:

  • Whomever extracts the branch wood and tops from the forest should use considerable caution.  The harvest may have left some hanging branches or other hazards that could dislodge and fall if there is additional activity.  Make sure the firewood collector uses personal protective equipment.
  • The sale of firewood in NY is regulated by NYS Department of Agric and Markets.  Depending on your state, learn the regulations.  In many NE states, the recent spread of emerald ash borer has impacted the distance any species of firewood can be moved.  Learn the law before investing in collecting firewood.
  • The harvest in your woods hopefully retained good trees, either canopy trees or seedlings, that will form an improved future forest.  The value of the firewood is likely less than the value of the future forest trees.  Avoid damage to the valuable future forest when extracting the firewood.
  • You might consider working with a trusted friend or partner who can safely and effectively extract the wood and split the wood.  This value added would be recovered in the sale.  The nature of your relationship (the legal details) will determine if the person is a partner or employee or contractor.  Avoid getting into a completed arrangement.  The cleanest arrangement is likely for you to sell the tops as they lay, confirm the buyer has the skill and equipment to operate safely, and let the buyer do the work.  You might sell for $20 to $30 per cord, but would save you the effort...although the effort may be a desirable aspect of the process :)

Let the forum know how this works out.  I hope others can share their thoughts on the process and also on their local firewood prices.

Peter

The only thing I would add about selling round wood is that finding a buyer who has the ability and willingness to split it would normally be much more difficult than just selling split wood.  I would be glad to pay a reduced amount for round wood, but I consider splitting wood on a cold winter's day good exercise, others may not. You may want to see if you can find a buyer in advance to make sure your effort is worthwhile.

Kevin

Thank you for the replies. let me add that i have both the equipment and expirence to cut the tops, what i lack is a log splitter. Buying one at this time is not an option and renting one is too costly to retain any value in harvesting the wood. Splitting by hand is no no longer an activity that i can participate in, the pins in my back object to it.

$65 t0 $75 is what i have been seeing here, for split wood. I was thinking maybe 40% of that? That would be $30 + or -. But there again i would have to find if there is a market.

The other dilemma is how much wood do you get out of a 4 x 8 stack of unsplit wood? is it more than 4 x 8 or less than 4 x8 ? This would also change the asking price. As kevin said, I dont want to waste time and fuel then not beable to sell it for a resonable return.

Chaz, those are some very good points. My harvest was done as an improvement, over seen by a professional forester. This is the seconed done in about 15 years. I am very pleased with the prospects of my woodlot. I very much enjoy cutting wood and other related activities. to me, selling the fire wood would be only to offset the cost of "cleaning up" I am reluctant to sell the tops on the ground due to the damage that could be done. Plus, of course,  thats my perfered recreational activity.

Thanks again, for the input.

Chaz, We've had good success selling roadside firewood at our farm over the years.  Most people that burn wood are looking to save a buck, and thus are willing to haul and even split wood if the price is right.  With that said, splitting firewood from tops can be more difficult due to the grain than from straight stems.  Rather than thinking of a pro-rated price, I suggest that you figure out how much time it will take for you to cut, haul out and stack a cord (face or full) of unsplit firewood - be conservative, and be sure to put a value on the wood as well (~ $20/full cord is a normall stumpage value).  Once you've reached this price, you can compare it to what firewood is worth cut, split and delivered (generally, around $200/full cord).  If you can offer it roadside in chunks for about half of that, then you'll probably find buyers.  If not, then it's better rotting in the woods.  Dont' mess with it unless you can compensate yourself fairly, and it's something you want to do.

In my area of VT, Log-length firewood goes for in the neighborhood of $100 to 125 per full cord (depending on how much you buy). Cut and split goes for maybe $200 - $225 for green wood (sometimes as high as $300 or $350 if it's seasoned). The whole log length thing seems to be getting increasing interest. People are interested in "doing it themselves", but don't have the skills or equipment to do their own felling and haul it home. Depending on your area, you may find customers among folks who aren't comfortable with a chainsaw, but own a splitter, or enjoy splitting with a maul.

What you are offering would be somewhere between log length, and cut and split. If you can establish those prices for your area, that would at least narrow down the range a bit.

Chaz,

I've cut my own wood and also sold to others for many years.  I recent years I've kept time logs of person-hours spent on each phase of the operation (fell, skid, buck, split, haul, stack).  I looked at some of my sheets and it looks like the splitting phase takes between 22% and 30% of the total time.   Lots of variables but maybe this will be helpful to you.  Be safe.

Tim

The other factor besides time is equipment. First, the type of equipment Tim is using to split will affect the time it takes.The other equipment issue is the expense and expertise required: many homeowners might be able to justify the purchase of a hydraulic splitter, and just about any of them can figure out how to use it. The investment (in $ and in training) is just not that big (at least as compared to a skidder or feller buncher, or even a tractor and logging winch). Higher capital costs, higher levels of expertise, and higher levels of risk tend to mean higher value added for the earlier steps in firewood harvesting and processing.

Put another way: even if the splitting phase accounts for 22% - 30% of the time invested, I would not allocate 22 - 30% of the total value added to the splitting phase of making firewood.

Of course the true test is "whatever the market will bear".

Dear Chaz U. Farly,

My Name is Noah and I have read the very helpfull answers given to you great question. I agree with all that they have to say. On the contrary I am not replying to help answer your question. I am answering to see if you have any cords of wood left? If you do have any cords left that you are willing to sell I would be interested in purching some of your wood. If you have some left that you are willing to sell please contact me at noahrbrous@gmail.com

BI préfèrent toujours un coin et un marteau de 5 livres... Dès que le coin est logé dans le rondin de bois, vous soutenez le rondin, le tournez à l'envers et le laissez tomber pour que le coin frappe le billot de cuisine. Peut-être ce n'est pas que plus facile mais il soit plus amusant pour moi et vous ne voulez jamais le manquer. Cette méthode travaille seulement pour le médium à de petits rondins de grandeur qui sont faciles de choisir.

abordable bûche de bois compressé

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