Small Scale Logging

How to start a small scale sustainable logging business
How to start a small scale sustainable logging business

Most builders use at least some wood when building houses. This is true even for earthbag, strawbale, adobe or other types of sustainable homes. But what’s the lowest cost, most sustainable wood source? The following article has some good ideas for starting a small scale sustainable logging business and obtaining wood at low or no cost.

“Sometimes all it takes is a little creativity and a willingness to think outside the box to find a new niche in an otherwise crowded industry. If you would like to start a small one or two man logging business consider this approach.

There are millions of board feet of good usable timber that is passed by everyday by the big sawmills and logging companies. This is a tremendous opportunity for you as a small logging company. You can go into a small woodlot and harvest timber because you don’t have all the overhead that the big guys do.

Portable sawmill
Portable sawmill

With a portable sawmill and a team of horses you can carve out your own niche. Here is what you need to do. Advertise yourself as an eco-friendly logging company. Let people know that you log with horses which is a low environmental impact way of logging.

Tell them that you will go in to their forest and cut a few select trees. Then you will skid them out with your team of horses, doing as little damage as possible. Once the logs are on the landing you will set up your small portable sawmill and cut the logs into lumber right on site. You can inform the landowner that this is a better way of doing things, because you are saving fuel by only hauling away the material that is used.

All the bark, slab-wood, and sawdust can be left to decompose right there in the woods. Anytime organic material goes back into the soil it is beneficial to the whole ecosystem. As a side benefit you will have reduced the chance of spreading harmful insects like the Emerald Ash Borer. The Ash Borer resides in the outer layers of the Ash tree just under the bark. All of that will be in your waste pile left on site.”

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Image source: Cook’s Saw Mfg.

2 thoughts on “Small Scale Logging”

  1. Good article and love the “Horse Tractors” idea!

    We have about 60 acres left of our original 100 acres Tree Plantations. Roughly 40 acres have been replaced to make way for our Persian Lime Plantation, and make space for other Agricultural and Tourist activities and Guadua Bamboo.

    To cut our logs we use a small 18HP Diesel trailerable Woodmizer Mill. This activity could easily be made into a Business on its own.

    Other side by-products that can be obtained from this activity is Wood Vinegar (we use it as a natural fertilizer and repellent) and Wood Charcoal. From leftover branches and tree material we obtain “Wood Chips”.

    • Many natural builders are pursuing alternative lifestyles in rural areas and so businesses like this have a lot of potential. A used portable sawmill could pay for itself just on buildings around your homestead. One option is milling hard to find specialty woods for woodworkers. These woods command a premium price, but are often not commercially available due to scarcity or difficulty of obtaining adequate supplies. Woodturners, fine cabinetmakers, musical instrument makers, hobbyists, etc. are all potential customers. You could build up a client base and mill the wood to their specs. Visit a specialty woodworker’s supply store in a major city to see the eye-popping prices being charged for specialty woods. Cut out the middlemen and sell direct and/or over the Internet. Maybe I’ll do a blog post on this…

      Wood vinegar is also used to kill ants.


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