UKTC Archive

RE: Alternative extraction/conversion etc

Subject: RE: Alternative extraction/conversion etc
From: Topher Martyn
Date: Dec 09 2008 12:14:21
Quite right, Ben.  Sums absolutely would not add up in accounting terms.  
HOWEVER, I generate a fair bit of wood as a 'waste' product from tree work, 
and I have to do something with it.  In the old days, we used to put it in a 
large pile and pretend it wasn't there, but that option no longer exists, and 
was inherently unsustainable.  Another option now would be to hire in a girt 
big tub grinder every few years to munch it all up, but then we have to pay 
for that, and still have to store in the interim.  And it uses lots and lots 
of diesel.

Now, we already have the tractor and pickup, as they're tools of our trade.  
We have a shiny new Schliesing which eats all brushwood, and we have in-house 
staff and an assortment of kit to do the work with.  The only specific 
capital cost is the £750 of splitter (before that I had two competitive young 
staff hurling axes around on rainy days as an outlet for testosterone...)

We are not contractors, but are concerned with maintaining the park and 
arboretum here at Syon.  Wood and other arisings are secondary to that, but 
still need to be managed.  By processing into firewood, we are making a few 
quid out of something that we have no use for, and its sustainable.  Good 
thing to do on a lousy wet day, too.  Also, by logging and splitting we make 
the stuff easy to handle and to move, and you can fit a lot more logs into 
the trailer than unprocessed twisty limbs.

Finally, in previous years our firewood sales paid for us all to have a good 
Christmas lunch.  

But you're right, I would never get rich doing it as a contractor.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] 
Sent: 09 December 2008 11:16
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: Re: Alternative extraction/conversion etc

In a message dated 09/12/2008 10:38:28 GMT Standard Time, writes:

Interesting Topher, off the top of your head could you convert that  into man 
hours for your £400

I bet it's a lot....
The way I see it, the firewood sums don't add up unless you're running it  on 
the back of another enterprise; if your contracting business covers the cost  
of the pick up for delivery, the tractor to drive the splitter, and supplies 
you  with the basic material then it might just add up, but it's a lot of 
for  not a lot of return.
Have a look at (  for 
prices and the  mans reasonable philosophy, dunno if he makes any money 
even at his  (what I'd say were quite high) prices.
Also see our own Ken Linford's website _www.lancashirelogs.com_ 
(  and note his  drying in poly-tunnels. he 
doesn't mention 
prices though....
Personally it seems to me that you've got to cut and stack about 250 tonnes  
of firewood in feb/march to sell about november, which seems like a lot of 
work  to have in the bank, so to speak. If you've got space for a shed for 
250  tonnes then the shed might cost you £10k and the firewood might be worth 
£30k,  well it all looks a bit marginal, even if you've paid for the plant  
But overall; I dunno, cutting logs for yourself somehow seems more  rewarding 
than selling them.

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