How to Make Money as a Solo Sawmill Business

We just did a review video on the Hudson Sawmill and now I've got some more Questions for Ryan here about the idea Of buying a sawmill to either First get it to pay for itself but then Hopefully eventually to make it earn a Living or a side income for you so what Kind of luck have you had as far as Making some money back off the mill I I Feel like it very much depends on where You're at what's what your local market Specifically looks like depends on how Successful you you're going to be it is A big Trend right now that I'm kind of Riding with the live Edgewood in general That's that's 99 of what I do is Live Edge slabs after we run them through the Eye dry we've got a warehouse that we Supply all of our local DIY guys and I Say all of it that's wishful thinking Plenty of our DIY guys locally and our Custom uh furniture makers so that in Itself we're riding this kind of uh you Know the high side of this wave and it Is very very fruitful when you're able To sell that much wood all in one piece For the guys that are selling two by Fours of that and just to give you an Idea if you're selling a 2×4 for it's Worth about five dollars some of these Slabs like what you see behind us They're bringing two to three four Hundred dollars a piece our local Market's really good here in the Tulsa

Area so so you do not try to Mill Dimensional Lumber or do some kind of Bulk orders what you want is individual Unique looking pieces of slab with Live Edge for someone who's trying to make Something artistic or A table top or a bar or something like That yeah because you're getting more Return for the time you spend on it Exactly yeah yeah it's it's more volume Volume is what you're selling when it Comes down to making money selling wood I don't want to kind of try and dissuade Anybody that wants to to Mill for other People that'll always be an option but Once you start getting an inventory Built up with some unique woods and Stuff like that you get an idea of what Your local market looks like I think There's a huge draw or necessity to Associate social media with this type of Thing it's very difficult to get word of Mouth and that because it's such a niche You know and people are in taking so Much media on these River tables and Table tops and stuff like that that's Already where they're at seeing it so That's already where it needs to be Available at the same time if that makes Sense so what I see from most of Anything in this category if you're Wanting to buy any kind of machine and Then get paid to work with it the idea Sounds easy easy and then it becomes

Much more difficult I've talked to a few People who had smaller Mills that were Portable and no they thought they were Going to be able to go to a person's House who had a log and and make money That way and they found it very Difficult to get a real return on that The two things that I see is what you're Doing which is More unique pieces of wider slabs which Requires a different type of Mill so you Need to know that ahead of time or what Paul my friend Paul case is Doing Bulk customers that are using the same Thing over and over again to make a Product and they're just stamping it out And that comes down to what you have Access to they have access to log Handling equipment and Unlimited trees were for you you have to Hunt down the right trees sometimes so Yeah it's not just going to come to you Until you kind of get some some steam Worked up but yeah you've got to go Pretty hard you've got to go and you've Got to meet people and when it comes Down to getting a saw guy or a saw Company or a tree a tree company to work With you first what you got to consider Guys is you're asking them to do Something that's completely unnatural to Their business they want to cut it up Small enough where they can handle it

Throw it on the trailer and get it to The dump now It seems pretty intuitive that you could Just go up and if that's a nice guy well He's going to help you out what it takes For a saw company to supply you with a Usable log at six or eight feet long is Far outside of their wheelhouse it is Much more difficult for them to to deal With that handle that I mean they're Just guys like you are you you can't Handle that stuff be willing To drop their their brush haulers you Know quick trip gift cards or come and Go gift cards be that guy put put a Hundred dollars in the in the saw man's Hand be you know you're asking them to Do do you a favor but it's going to take Them a lot of work to be able to supply You with what what you need most of them Are going to think that what you're Doing is fantastic and they're going to Want to help you but at the same time it Takes more labor to get what you need Out of them their business makes your Business so you need to be able to make A gesture to those people right away to To make sure that they're first they're Going to remember you and they're not Going to look at you as there's this Kind of pain in the hind in That makes our job harder because we're Doing him a favor so that's that's a Really good little tidbit of information

I think that that is a good idea and so Now you've sourced a mill you've Purchased a mill that can handle the Types of jobs you want to do and you're Finding the trees to work with and the Next thing is even after you cut them They're not necessarily ready to sell Right away not even close everybody most Of your customers want a product that Has either been Kiln dried or air dried For a long time right most of your Furniture makers creators whatever you Want to call it they're going to know if You're just getting into it they're Going to know quite a bit more about What they want out of their raw material Okay and you'll you'll get to the point Where you're understanding moisture Contents and stuff like that which is Really really important if you can get In with a local Kiln service and kind of Let them handle that portion for you do That but selling green Means you're you're selling it at the Cheapest possible rate that you can Because it's not usable material it may Take depending on the thickness of that Piece of material it could take six Months up to a couple years to get to a Usable moisture content but even still Your real furniture makers and custom Guys they're not going to touch your Product unless it's been through a kiln And been bug killed and it's you know uh

To a certain standard of that and what They what they mean by that is let's say This is set here and and it's air dried All the way down to a 10 moisture Content or 12 and it's really usable but I can't guarantee that if I sell it to You in six months you got a pile of Sawdust on the floor under your trailer Because there's actually a bug in there Still working on that wood so that's a Huge thing no custom furniture Manufacturer anybody wants to have to Deal with that or or apologize for that For something that you've done and it's Ruined their product so it's very Important to get your stuff killed and Dried it'll make you the most profitable And you're going to have the best Product and once everybody kind of gets That word around that you've got the Good stuff It's over they're going to come to you They're going to be a repeat you're that Smiling face you're not a pain in the Butt you've got what they need they can Trust your wood It's over at that point so so the next Question I have what are some species That you've found to be good for you That that work to get sawn and dried and Sold my favorite and it seems to be Really common in my area I'm in I'm in The Tulsa Oklahoma area just outside of Tulsa Oklahoma a lot of the

Neighborhoods in here they have these Pin oaks it's a red oak species that's Super common it grows really fast it has Real sharp bristle tip oak leaves it Drops a little bitty acorns and it's got A gray kind of tight skin to it bark You'll see it From a mile away once you kind of get Your eyes on what you're looking for That stuff has some of the most Incredible grain patterns like if Everything was trying to measure up to a Walnut This does that for a local You know attainable easily gotten people Will give those to you that wood is Absolutely incredible looking it's got Awesome grain patterns That looks fantastic my entire Property's covered in pin oak it's all Three foot diameter yeah yeah and it's Hard not to cut them all down but I want To leave some but that's what I'm Stacking up about the house those are so Walnuts probably number one absolutely And then pin oaks another good choice Yeah Nook is number two in my sales Because when people DIY guys walk in the door they get wiped Out by some of the price tags of some of The material that I've got in there and I always give pin oak as a number two Option and they always buy You have any idea what I could do with

Like a 35 to 40 inch diameter Hackberry Is that any good turn it into firewood Chances are there's a big hole inside of It so Yeah you could fill it with a bunch of Epoxy so You're looking at Hardwoods you guys Have run across cherry or anything like That or cherry guys uh cherries cool it Sounds cool it's not as cool as it Sounds to me somebody's gonna slap me Around for this I'm sure you're gonna Catch some heat on this video Cherry the closest thing you could get To a saw guy is probably a wild cherry And in my area those are about the Crookedest trees you could find in the Woods I've got some of them on my back Fence line over here they're beautiful It's awesome wood they cut awesome but They're just they're all over the place You're not going to get a really Fantastic piece of dimensional Lumber Out of something like that I just have Had a lot of trouble I'm a huge fan but Those are hard for me because they're so Crooked so in an ideal scenario as soon As you cut that you're taking it to a Kiln or does it need to dry before it Goes to the Kiln well there's a focus Because you're gonna have a long road Ahead of you so in order to make Kiln Drying like I said find that Kiln Operator in your local area and try and

Get in with them and use them right Where Kiln drying costs you the most is When your material is too green So uh solar Kilns become very handy you Know even like like what you've done you Put in your shop with some fans you can Really accelerate the moisture content What we want to shoot for is getting all The free water out that is free to get Out and then the last little bit will Pay for that's how you stay profitable In Kiln drying Lumber so what so you Want to definitely stack an air drive For as long as you can handle it I know You're excited you're going to want to Just get it out and take pictures and Sell it you can but really what you need To do is stack it and let it start air Drying pretty quickly so I noticed Something with a couple things actually With the way yours is stacked that might Be ways I can improve on what I'm doing First you've painted all the ends of Your logs before you cut them and then You're stacking them and sticking them The way that I do but you've got straps Around them too and I've noticed all the Tops of my stacks are bowed like crazy So you're putting straps in there yeah Yeah and along with the straps it's There's the fibers are kind of shrinking As it dries as well so there's a little Bit of Maintenance to your straps if You're going to do straps you definitely

Need to come every Four weeks or something like that and Really crank them down I do that just to Keep the top ones honest that's exactly Right and then Um the sun is also having an effect so But yours are not covered some people Say to put a piece of tan across that I Never did it sure I'm I'm using my top Piece as a sacrificial piece of board to Be honest with you Um there's there's a lot of different Ways to skin the cat guys there's no Wrong way to do it we have a predominant South wind the wind is hitting me in the Face right now and you see my boards are All obviously stacked the wrong Direction you know if they return this Way the wind would be sweeping through Them I would be getting some of that Free drying and then the last the last Question that came to my mind is how are You deciding how thick to cut this what Is there a a sweet spot you've found for What people want sure sure there's a Sweet spots in different categories Right you've got your DIY guys that are Building charcuterie boards you got your Soccer moms everybody he wants that Small stuff and short enough where they Could throw it in their Honda And take it home so you need to have That smaller material that's always Ready for those people I think I'm not

Telling you what to do but I like to Have a lot of smaller stuff so as you're Milling it's tough to build the menu Before you start cooking you know what I Mean so as you're cutting through your Can or your log or whatever you're doing I generally tend to cut a couple of one Buys out of there or eight quarter Pieces out of there and make sure that I've got at least a couple of them in my Stack that way when I stack everything Up I'm going to have the bulk of what I Do want which is table tops for me but I've still got some of that DIY guy Stuff so charcuterie boards name plates Wall hangers welcome signs that simple Cool stuff Live Edge that people really Dig looking at they can burn you know Burn their name into it or whatever you Know people go they do amazing stuff Blow my mind all the time what you can Do with this stuff I've never even Thought of So then when when you know what you want Like there's like a three or four inch Slab you're thinking someone's gonna Want this thick piece if you know you Want to finish two inch are you going Two and a quarter two at three days yeah Two and a quarter at least Um if I know somebody wants two inch Finished and I'm not real familiar with The wood species I'll go even a little Bit thicker because I don't know if it's

Gonna warp uh some of your trees like um Sycamore sweet gum they're gonna be Really easily attainable but you're Going to learn hard lessons on them Because they do kind of crazy stuff Because of the nature of them once you Guys get into Sawmill and more or you've Got maybe a better machine than I do Where you can quarter saw some stuff Then you can get some more reliable Pieces out of those species but like I Said if you're gonna Target uh X Thickness you're not familiar with the Wood go a little bit thicker if you need To you know charge them a little bit Less because you know the wood's going To behave a certain way that you're Doing them a favor they'll appreciate That kind of stuff for sure And so to summarize it for me is most of Us are looking to just make a little bit Of money and make sure that our Mill Can kind of pay for itself yeah but I Think you just need to be thoughtful About the mill you're buying and know That it's not going to be quick and it's Not going to be easy you're going to Have a process on getting any returns Out of it yeah yeah definitely you There's going to be a lot of Brand new use showing up in the world Once you start to get in there because You're making new contacts you're Rubbing shoulders with different people

Maybe you're lucky enough where you're Already in that world and it's just a Easy slide right into the next position But chances are you're new to it you're In love with it you're looking for other People that are in love with it too and When you start to meet those people You're building valuable relationships With people that like what you like they Have what you have and they want what You have or they have something that That helps your process out as well we Were talking a little bit earlier none Of my friends have The kind of coin in their bank for a Mill and a kiln in a big warehouse and a You know a bunch of uh solar Kilns Outside But a handful of us together are really Starting to get some some some steam Built up in that regard you know and Probably the number one thing is You need to love it because it is going To take time he's probably he's probably Bored me saying that honestly I don't have the best business mind Answer for for the business side Question of course I wanted to make some Money but guys Bottom line is I love this machine I Love the mechanics of it I love what it Does I love The sawdust in my eyes I just dig it I Dig it a lot it ticks all the boxes for

Me Um I have made the payment Right out of my pocket before and it Doesn't hurt my feelings I'm happy to Have the machine it's like a really cool Dirt bike that you know I get to play With yeah awesome well I appreciate you Telling us about it I appreciate you Guys taking time to watch and we'll see On the next one see you guys

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