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tapxrc3's picture

milling elm (post #74857)

I have 4 American elm trees in my yard with Dutch elm disease.  2 are already dead and 2 are dying.  I am thinking of hiring a portable band saw owner to come by and mill the trees for me.  Questions: can the standing dead trees still be used?  Is the cost, $300 the first hour, $100 for each additional hour worth the effort?  Any other suggestions or advice would be appreciated.




jerry's picture

(post #74857, reply #1 of 8)

hey rob - i don't really know about how viable the wood will be, but i was caught by the pricing. the sawyers around here (northern ca) usually charge by the board foot - xcluding falling.
so the question would be how many board feet can they cut in an hour?


wolfman's picture

(post #74857, reply #2 of 8)

Ditto what Jerry said. I had some trees milled last year and the sawyer charged me $40/hr, 6 hr. minimum. The trees were already down for him, he just had to come and slice. I would look for more reasonable prices. Check out for sawyers in your area.

B.O.B. (now known as wolfman)

AndyE's picture

(post #74857, reply #3 of 8)

Wow. That price caught me too. Is he taking the trees down for you or just milling them. The guy I use charges $50 and hour.

Standing dead should not be a problem, as long as there is no rot or infestation.

Good luck with it, whatever you do.


"It seemed like a good idea at the time"

Knotscott's picture

(post #74857, reply #4 of 8)

That price does seem really high. Seems that I recall being told about $65 setup depending on how far a drive, plus $35 an hour. See if you can get some other quotes. 4 trees should yield alot of wood! Sorry, I don't know the answer about the dead trees.

Red Elm is gorgeous, but does need to acclimate as it can be prone to some movement.

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hammer1's picture

(post #74857, reply #5 of 8)

You should know that those big logs will be full of black knots and most likely some rotting and maybe some crazy coloring. The wood will be rather soft and it can be a challenge to work. If you can do better on the sawing price, why not. Just don't expect lots of nice clear lumber like Scotty showed. My next door neighbor has a saw mill and he did my old elm for $25. As I air dried it, some of the boards got covered with a heavy white cotton like mold/fungus?. It scraped off with effort, the lumber had lots of black, blue and some purple streaks. Interesting but not high quality stuff.

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

Beat it to fit / Paint it to match

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KeithNewton's picture

(post #74857, reply #6 of 8)

I am guessing that everyone thinks that the first $300 is for the saw-mill guy, but I am betting that you are talking about the tree service to use a crane to keep it from going through your roof and tearing up your yard.

Elm does decay pretty fast, so those dead ones will be dropping limbs soon, and the wood will not be usable for very long.

jazzdogg's picture

(post #74857, reply #7 of 8)

Have you calculated the board-footage on the stump?

I'd be curious to estimate the potential yield so I'd have some values to plug into a formula with which to calculate a range of costs per board-foot for the roughsawn lumber you hope to obtain; if the numbers pencil higher than an acceptable threshhold, no sense in proceeding; if they fall in an acceptable range, then proceed with caution; if they're low enough, go for it!

You might also want to crosscut parts of the trunk into bowl blanks for turning. If you're not a turner, folks who are might jump at the chance to buy some from you - especially if the sawn wood contains spalting or unusual figure.

Good luck,





"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Gil Bailie


"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Gil Bailie

WillGeorge's picture

(post #74857, reply #8 of 8)

Dutch elm disease..

I'd call the local forest service and have them taken off the property..

Chicago here.. We have NO Elms left as I can tell.. Just some old China elms that look sort of sick...

However I paneled my house in ELM from trees I lost.. Folks always say.. I HATE wood panelling OR What beautiful walls!

Edited 8/17/2005 2:15 pm ET by WillGeorge

Have a great day.. Life is wonderful even if you are having a bad day!