The Timbergreen Trials
An example of value-added processing and direct marketing
From Forest To Finished Floor:
Timbergreen Farm has been harvesting, sawmilling, solar kiln drying, manufacturing, and marketing wood products from our forest since 1985. During the winter of 1997-98, Timbergreen Forestry worked with six other forest owners in the local watershed to harvest timber following Full Vigor Forest Management. Skidding was done with horses & radio controlled winch, and two prehaulers were used to forward, sort, and stack the logs. Some of the logs were sold to sawmills, but about 100,000 board feet of logs were sawn at Timbergreen. Sales of the kiln dry lumber and flooring now provide actual figures for all steps of the process from forest to finished floor.
The Marketing Message:
We have chosen to market our wood direct to consumers primarily through a "factory outlet" sales room in our old dairy barn. Our message is "buy direct from the producer", "buy wood from a SmartWood certified forest operation", "buy wood that has been carefully dried in our unique solar kilns", "come to the country for a real experience in woodworking". We have found a huge demand for our wood and have not advertised our products for 5 years. People truly enjoy buying wood at Timbergreen and return over and over. Our main problem is not being able to produce enough wood to meet the demands of our regular clients and potential customers.
Over the past decade, most of our lumber has been sold as rough kiln dry lumber. The average sale price of all species and grades from our worst first harvests is $2,200/mbf. Our wood is now in use in many thousands of creations including boats, homes, furniture, arts&crafts, wooden pens, etc. on five continents. Retail prices at urban markets for this same lumber would average $3,000/mbf, showing there is a larger opportunity for income than we attain at this time.
Hardwood flooring has been strongly confirmed as the best opportunity for value-added processing and marketing. We sort out the lower value boards, and manufacture flooring and paneling. We can use many boards for flooring that have little value otherwise. Oak, walnut, cherry, ash, red & gray elm, red maple, birch and aspen all are in great demand. We have been selling rustic grade 2 ¼ to 6 ¼ tongue and groove flooring for $3.00/sqft. Boards that turn out too poor quality for flooring can often be used for paneling. The demand for certified flooring is very high and customers are paying higher prices to have SmartWood! Retail prices for plank flooring from larger companies often range up to $6.00/sqft showing another opportunity for added income as the business grows.
The Finishing Touch:
The ultimate opportunity for value added income comes in the final steps of installation and finishing. We are now completing the entire process by installing our flooring in a customer's home. We earn $3.50/sqft for the work and get tremendous satisfaction in getting to know the home owner. We tell our story and usually give tours & wood samples to neighbors, who often later order more flooring for themselves.