Frequently Asked Questions
...and some less frequently asked for good measure!
Where are you located?
We are located in southeastern Pennsylvania, about 20 miles outside of Philadelphia. We are close to Valley Forge, Norristown, Plymouth Meeting, Collegeville, and Lansdale.
What kind of wood do you sell?
As a hardwood mill, we saw and dry species that are native to the area. Readily available furniture-grade woods include red oak, white oak, poplar, ash, and black walnut. We also have a more limited supply of cherry and "native exotics" such as quartersawn sycamore, sassafras, elm, black locust, pawlonia, and catalpa. Sometimes we stock hard maple and pine, but not on a regular basis.
What size wood do you sell?
Most of our demand is for 4/4" lumber, so that is what we cut and kiln-dry. We also usually have kiln-dry 5/4", 6/4", 8/4" poplar and oak, and a good supply of 3"- 4" stock in different species for fireplace mantels. Mantels are air-dry only.
Do you sell flitch-cut and book-matched lumber?
Yes, we have many flitch-cut (natural edge, not squared) pieces of various species and shapes. You are free to search and find that perfect shape for your freestyle table or countertop! Some pieces are also book-matched. We do not sell entire logs consecutively sawed.
Do you plane wood?
We sell our wood both surfaced (planed) and unsurfaced. Some customers own their own planers, some don't. We try to keep wood in the "rough" for those who prefer to surface it themselves. We also will custom plane your kiln or air-dried lumber brought to the mill. We do not surface green, used, pressure-treated, or low-quality wood. The charge is $75/hour on our Wadkin PAR (planed-all-round). The PAR free-joins cupped and twisted boards, and joins one edge straight to make your work easier.
How do you price your lumber?
We sell by the board foot, not the linear foot. One board foot is equivalent (before surfacing) to: 12" x 12" x 1'. This means that wood planed to ¾" is sold as 1" stock. Wood planed to 1" is measured as 1 ¼", and so forth.
How do you grade your lumber?
We grade lumber at the point of sale, and thus have a range of prices dependent upon width, quality, and figure. Although certified in the standards of the National Hardwood Lumber Manufacturers Associations, we are not required to follow their stringent rules. This flexibility benefits the customer. Most of our lumber is FAS (first and seconds) or better - it does not pay us to dry low-quality wood. We do not stock our lumber by grade; good boards are mixed in with the best boards. After choosing your wood, we will grade it "on-the-spot."
You should have no surprises; grading is logical. If you've picked out perfectly gorgeous, wide boards without any flaws and filled with figure - then they will cost more than a board with a bad knot on one end that you have to work around! However, although that 8' board with the knot qualifies as FAS, we most likely will sell it as a 7' board, saving you a few dollars in the process.
Do you sell wholesale?
We are strictly a small retail operation. If you only want one or two boards for your project, that's not a problem for us! Our customer base includes many small cabinetmakers and woodworking hobbyists who buy only what they need, a little at a time.
Do you mail-order wood, or allow "call-and-pickup" orders?
No, we are too small for the time-consuming process of mail-order. Our customers always choose their own wood - that's what makes them satisfied woodworkers. We might make recommendations, but it's your project. And if you want to dig to the bottom of a pile to find that perfect board, then... go for it!
A large tree fell down in my yard after a storm. Will your sawmill buy it?
No. It fell over for a reason - it either suffered damage in the storm, or the root system already was unhealthy. Neither reason usually makes for good lumber - although you'll have some great firewood for next winter.
I have a healthy tree that I'm taking down. Will your sawmill buy it?
Probably not. We don't have the manpower, equipment, or insurance to take down and haul-out trees. Yard trees often are low quality and have "hardware" in them. Clothesline hooks, nails, stones, ceramic insulators from fences, etc. will damage the saw blade and devalue the lumber. On rare occasions, we buy yard trees from reputable tree surgeons. Very, very rarely do we purchase from a homeowner, because they usually cannot deliver the log to the sawmill.
I have a tree that I want sawn into boards. Will your sawmill cut it?
Yes, we do custom sawing. Bring us your logs and we'll cut them however you'd like! The charge is $175 per hour, mill time. We reserve the right to ask for a deposit, and we require that you sign a consent agreement to pay for any damages to the head-saw caused by hardware or objects found in your log (see previous question). We do not pickup; you must get the log to the sawmill. We can unload the log off your truck or trailer at the mill. We do not cut logs shorter than 4' or larger than 28" in diameter (please note: diameter, not circumference). The logs must be flush-trimmed so they easily roll. You are required to take the off-cut slabs from softwood trees; hardwood slabs may either be taken or left at the mill.
How do you charge for damages to the head-saw?
We charge $1.50 for each damaged bit (saw tooth). Nails cause most damages. One nail can wipe out 8 to 12 teeth. Two nails together usually damage twice as many teeth! Should we hit something larger than nails (you name it, we've hit it - bricks, a horseshoe, concrete, chains) then the saw must be sent out for repair and the damages are much more. THE MORAL: Know where your tree comes from! Let common sense prevail: a tree from the middle of the woods is usually safer than a tree next to a road, fence, or driveway.
Will you quarter-saw a log?
Yes. Although wasteful in terms of board feet produced, the beauty and stability of quarter-sawn white oak, red oak, and sycamore far outweighs the loss in yield. Many customers prize the strong flecking and rays revealed in quartered wood.
Do you sell firewood and sawdust?
We sell the slabs (first-cuts off the saw) as firewood. We are not in the business of cordwood. Slabs are sold cheaply. Our sawdust is sold off the saw (green) in bulk, or off the planer (dry) in bags. We do not deliver. None of our sawdust contains walnut shavings.
Do you sell stakes?
Our stakes are made from high-grade poplar. They are 1½" x 1½" square and all sides are rough. The lengths are: 18", 2', 4' and 6'.
What is a "bender" board?
Bender boards are fresh-cut poplar boards about 3/8" x 4" x 16' long. They are used as form boards for concrete, especially to make the bends around swimming pools.
Do you accept credit / debit cards?
In keeping with the fact that we essentially operate with 1950s technology, we do not currently accept credit or debit cards. Sorry!
Do you mind if I visit the sawmill just to "look around?"
Many of our loyal customers were "lookers" who became "buyers." We're not an intimidating operation. Make yourself comfortable, pick up a tape measure, and start searching for that "right piece." Just remember, you're free to look, but we need to keep on working. Ask questions, but please be courteous of our time. Don't forget to dress for the weather, too. Winter can be chilly at the mill, even with the wood stoves burning. Hope to see you soon!