Running a Quality Forest to Finished Flooring
Selling finished flooring multiplies our forest income by about 100 times the value of our standing timber.
Making an income is essential for a successful business, but other things are just as important to me. I feel a strong pride in my line of high quality products. My customers show genuine appreciation for my work. My day is always interesting and creativity is rewarded. I feel respected in my community for my business philosophy. The business is always improving and growing. I love to teach and share with people at all stages of the operation.
The latter benefits are actually my main motivation in life, but you do have to make money to stay in business. I think a good worker should earn $1/hour for every year of their age, as you become more experienced and better at doing your job. That sets my goal for my personal income at $52/hour when I work. My business must also make money to cover the expenses and pay for improvements and expansion.
Woodworking is a perfect business to attain this type of fulfillment. Wood is simple to work with, is universal, and many products have very high value in the marketplace. Plan your business to earn the types of benefits that are important to you. Here is how we choose to operate a Forest To Finished Flooring business at Timbergreen Farm.
Secret to Success - Choose A High-Value Use For Your Wood
There are many markets for a given tree. Let us take a birch tree for example. I thinned a stem from a clump of three birch trees to encourage the remaining two to grow larger. The tree was 8" diameter at breast height (dbh), had one 8-foot long log that measured 7" diameter inside the bark (dib), and one 8-foot long log that measured 6" dib.
One choice would be to vaporize the wood and generate heat for my log home. The lowest value use for this tree would be to burn it for fuel. More commonly birch is sold for pulpwood, where the fibers are separated and made into sheets of paper.
As cordwood - this tree had a stumpage value of 20 cents, if sold it to a logging company. If I had cut the tree, skidded the wood, and delivered the two logs to a firewood factory or a paper mill in central Wisconsin, their value would have been about $2.00
I chose to saw the logs into lumber, and dry the boards in the solar kiln. The wood as kiln dry lumber was now worth $63 if sold to a woodworker. But I chose to make the boards into tongue and groove flooring. This was actually done just before I bought my own Logosol molder, so the milling was done at a large millwork shop in central Wisconsin. The boards were molded on a 7 head Weinig molder by a crew that had decades of experience. When the machine operator looked at the flooring from this small birch tree, he exclaimed, "That is the most beautiful flooring I have ever seen!"