UKTC Archive

Re: Alternative extraction/conversion etc

Subject: Re: Alternative extraction/conversion etc
From: benfuest
Date: Dec 09 2008 13:25:51
So were all in agreement, we can`t do on the cheep. Fuel wood is and always will be an expensive option that just makes us feel good, nothing wrong with that. Having said that there is now in vogue wood fuel for bio mass, and that is just processed fire wood, Spam. This requires a much more committed commercial approach. The supply chain is everything, I think the planting must be done in such a way as to assist in the harvesting and conversion process and the storage facility must marry to the hopper for feed to boiler. ----- Original Message ----- From: "Topher Martyn" <>
To: "UK Tree Care" <>
Sent: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 12:14 PM
Subject: RE: Alternative extraction/conversion etc

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 work
for  not a lot of return.

Have a look at (  for
prices and the mans reasonable philosophy, dunno if he makes any money though,
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 the 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 and

But overall; I dunno, cutting logs for yourself somehow seems more rewarding
than selling them.


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