Some high value timber products can be sold fresh cut at high Moisture Content (MC) or air dried. I sell some Log Cabin logs, Timbers for timber framing, and various arty/crafty stuff for specialty orders. If I had conifer timber, I'd sell log cabin siding as an air-dried product. Take the slabwood off for siding as the high value product, and then saw the squared cant for the lower valued lumber. Don't chip off the high-value slab for pulpwood - Duh!! Value - not Volume!
Air-dried white oak and black locust decking is another suggestion for high value product with minimum manufacturing. The same species are good for long lasting outdoor furniture too.
Here at Timbergreen Farm, our choice is to sell most of our annual hardwood harvest as flooring, millwork, countertops, and other interior furnishings to get the best possible value. This means that we must kiln dry our lumber.
Secret to Success - Sell Your Story
Oak, is Oak, is Oak, is Oak….. my sales don't come from selling Oak flooring - my sales comes when I sell my story. But everyone in the timber industry tells a good "Sustainable" story these days, so I really Show My Story. One of the most visible and meaningful aspects of my business story is our Solar Cycle Lumber Kilns.
Using free natural energy to dry our wood proves our commitment to the environment. This is the single most influential piece of information to our customers. It is a true local 'eco-label' that anyone can instantly see - and you can't buy that kind of certification.
In running this business, our Solar Cycle Kiln is the supreme Secret To Success. My electrical energy costs are lower than any other type of lumber kiln, but there are much more important benefits to our design.
Secret To Success - Sell the Best Quality Wood
As soon as we started to sell solar kiln dried lumber 16 years ago, our customers began to report back that this was the best quality wood that they had ever used. "It is flatter, less stressed, less damaged, brighter colored, easier to machine….." Yes, having the best quality wood available is a secret to success for any business!
Here is the reason - the biggest difference between our Solar Cycle Kiln and a commercial lumber dry kiln. A standard kiln heats the wood steadily throughout the drying cycle, creating a moisture gradient from the surface to the center of every board. The surface of each board is actually over dried while the water in the center of the board is reduced to the desired MC. Then the whole stack of lumber is steamed to bring the dry surface of the boards back up to the 6-8% MC target moisture. They call this "conditioning" the wood - such a nice name. It is like calling a clear-cut logging job a "regeneration harvest."