Value of wood

Thought I should bring this up. I know most folks cut and burn their own wood; however there is still a value placed on it. For the future, I could see travelers buying/trading for wood, as they venture past their ability to haul wood. Or folks in urban areas with limited supply of wood.

Given the labor involved, and the supply/demand for wood in your area, what is wood worth to you? What would you pay (or charge) for 100 lbs of dry wood chunks? How would better chunking equipment affect your price?

Example, I can get all the wood I want in tree form - but hauling/cutting/stacking it by hand means my value (and price point) are very high. I have at least two hours in each 100 lbs. At minimum wage that’s $20 per hundred, or about $3.20/gal equivalent.

When I get a chunker built I will place less value on the wood. If I can cut my labor down to 15 minutes per hundred, I’ll value it at $2.50 (just labor). Heck, maybe I’ll pay myself a living wage and take $5. Of course there’s the cost of the chunker, and its fuel. And wood that’s ideal for chunkers may not be 100% free. Anyways, I’m aiming for $5 a hundredweight, equivalent to $0.80/gal. Maybe I can get there, maybe I can’t.

How about you guys? Any idea what wood is worth? Be sure to count all your time, hauling/stacking/cutting/bagging.


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gas where i am right now, cheapest, is 5.17 for a gallon… and that’s a US gallon, not an Imp. gallon…

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Wow Arvid! We are at $2.99/gallon. I’m not yet to the point to dow and can’t address Chris’ question.

O.K., Chris, Here’s a different take. My time and wood is worth more than money, yea, even more than much fine gold.
In fact I have developed a theory in my years off grid: Money is not really money (in the normal sense), but money is a symbol or a Token of however much Life we have donated to the Man, to the System.
I get my wood in the form of standing trees or logs. I haul them home (often using woodgas). I cut them into cookies with my little Husqavarna. Then I chop the cookies into fuel. Often the only fuel purchased is to run the chainsaw. A gallon of petrol in a chainsaw cuts hundreds of pounds of cookies (500?, 800?, 1000? with a sharp chain?) The rest of the chunking is done by hand, or now, by foot foot powered fuel chunker - YouTube
So that makes my time the main investment, which, I repeat, is worth more than money. And I’m not about to sell fuel wood either. The Beauty and the Truth of woodgas is that the Woodgasser is in the drive’rs seat of a self-regulating system: what you chunk is what you get. It’s the opposite, in a sense, of burning petrol: you burn what you earn and what you earn is meerly a token of what you lost.
Woodgassing puts the Pleasure back into driving. Aside from the cost of the old pick-up truck there is very little lost to the system. All that fun chopping and chunking is value added to the experience. So the value of the wood, added to the pleasure of driving on wood, is simply worth its weight in gold. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
John S.

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To put a value on wood/wood processing has so many variables .I have noticed different methods of processing so for me takes different amounts of time.
For instance if I am cutting up dimensional lumber I can process around 200lbs in 1hr - 1 1/2hrs depending how fast I want to process it …Down here gas is 3.35 gal so if I really hump hard and do 200 lbs in an hr ,equivalent in terms of gas money at 1 lb per mile would be $37.22.
So I basically just paid my self $37.22 for a hr of hard work which is good …If it takes me 2 hrs to do the same amount of wood that still puts me at $18.61 and hr .Electricity used for this would be no more than about .21 cents so that’s really not an issue…

Now another example would be me cutting up oak logs into patties with a chainsaw …Takes me an hr to patty up 200 lbs worth and I just used around .83cents worth of gas and now it takes me almost another 2 hrs to cut the patties up with a hatchet and dump them on my sun drying pad .After dried takes about 30 mins to bag it
So I am in for 3 1/2 hrs with oak logs and my pay so to speak is only $10.39 an hr .Which still aint that bad to me …

I know other methods of processing wood are more efficient but for now this is all I have to go with.

As far as selling wood for the way I am processing it now…
I cut wood for a living pretty much building houses and I make $18.00hr after taxes and everything …
To me I would charge the same for cutting up fuel wood …
So for 200 lbs of dimensional lumber for $18.00 would come out to around .12 cent per mile but for me this would be like taking a pay cut,because I would come out better using the wood my self …
For 200lbs of oak to sell my price would be more than the cost of gasoline …It would be $54.00 to make my usual wage…even if I sold it at minimum wage $7.25 an hr that would still be $25.37 so the buyer would only be $12.00 cheaper than buying the same amount in gas …

Now if later down the road I build a chunker and can process a ton or so an hr , things would be a lot different .We’ll see when that road is crossed.
As for right now I would have to agree with what John Stout said " My time and wood is worth more than money" and “Woodgassing puts the Pleasure back into driving”…

Actually right now the way I see it It really doesn’t matter how long it takes me to process my wood …
It’s something I am doing with time that I normally wouldn’t be doing anything anyway …
Wether it takes me an hr or a day to process 200lbs of wood ,that fact is no matter the case I do not have to dish money out to drive down the road and
to me that is just priceless …


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I have to say Henry, I think you are right on track. Sounds a bit like George Carlin, but I don’t think he was very far off the mark.
How/when did it change that to become more self sufficient means there’s something wrong with that person? We have become people that are so dependent on our outside world for our existence. That realization last year, scared me. The knowledge of wood gassing buys freedom for me, along with raising my own food.
I am grateful for the site and the veteran gassers. A diverse group of people with a collective knowledge on all aspects of gassifying.
Bill Schiller


There is the health aspect to the value of wood!
If you are processing you own wood fuel, you are highly unlikely to give your self a heart attack. If you are working to earning money to buy the wood fuel, the stress of that is shortening you piece of string.
My 2 cents worth

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I was reminded this morning that all wood is not created equal. I have a pile of hackberry logs from trees that blew over in a storm 6 years ago. Hackberry is easy to split when it is properly seasoned, and burns hot, but you’d better have a ton of it because it burns up FAST. Also, doesn’t keep very well due to rapid spalting (i.e. rotting due to fungus) once the tree is cut. Becomes less like wood and more like sponge cake the longer you let it sit around. Logs don’t split, they break off, which is what I experienced this morning with my six-year-old logs. But, it grows like weeds around here, and it WILL be my primary fuel source for the foreseeable future. Fortunately, we also have an abundance of mesquite, oak and elm to supplement, all of which keeps very well, as long as you keep it up off the ground.

So, my point is, value of some woods diminish with time, and we have to “rotate our stock” to optimize the value. This business of extracting energy from wood is just as much an art as it is a science.

Alex T: How much does Hackberry wood weigh compared to Mesquite, Oak, or Elm? My guess is that it is similar to my local “Cotton Wood” and “Poplar” which are quite light for wood and have the same characteristics as you are describing but should have the same BTUs per dry pound/KG as a dense/heavy hardwood, they just take up more space with that Lb/KG unit.

Very light. I can close my eyes and pick up a piece of both and immediately tell you which one is which. Also have LOTS of juniper (scrub cedar) which lasts forever.

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Strictly from a business point of view, without a large mass production operation (as in pellet production) I think wood fuel by hand for sale is financially unfeasible. Unfortunately, currently there is not enough demand to support such an operation, so it looks like chunking is going to remain a labor of love for the foreseeable future.

I been thinking the best way to put this one into words.
Ha! Sat back and let others do it.

This same question was seriously posed to me back in about 2010.
As happens I still had 4 of 6 big old grouse roosts ( local/yokel means stand-alones, limby, knoty, wind twisted pitch split filled) Doug Fir trees put on the ground back in 2008. Well the head tops of these is easy, pleasie like a 2nd growth DF at 30 years. I went to the head ends and chainsaw cut a pickup bed level load of 2-3 inch wide discs with my narrowest kerf saw. Thats a LOT of cutting. A LOT of chain chips wastes (chicken litter then). Consider in 18" normal woodstove lenghs I could have cut up the WHOLE tree with the number of cuts it took me to do a couple of three 10 foot top sections. Each cut there is a risk of grounding out your chain on a rock. Might do that bad luck ONCE in a whole tree cut as 18" lenghts into 3-6 CORDS of fuel wood. This grounding dosn’t just dull your chain but bend over teeth if rocked. Takes a LOTs of resetting, filing and grinding to even this “rocked” hit damage out then on ALL of the teeth to even then up to cut straight. I “rocked” hit TWICE on single bed level pickup load discs. HALF the chain life then used up in these groundings.

On our light Doug Fir wood you actually CAN get a full CORD measure at 2200-2400 pounds on a HD pickup with overloads and the right tires.
This at current market at 18" lenths, split, still uncured would sell for $160-200. Plus a delivery fee. Air dried cured only existes for 1-1 1/2 months of the year. Then ALL is either green uncured, or rain soaked wet. You buy, dry and then dry store your own raw cut fuel wood. With out regional 11-12% annual property tax rate on buildings ain’t nobody here building and paying taxes for blowing sideways rain proof dry wood commerical storage for others. Hay yes. Wood no.

Said I’d never, ever do that disc cutting for any kind of money again. Could not afford the filing/grinding time and the wear and tear on the equipment and my patience.
This is when I determined for sure that woodgasing was for those with thier own trees, their own time and own determination.
I would, and will, gladly cut and chunk for any DYI woodgasser passing through out of friendship with the hopes of them passing the wood goodwill forward to someone else.
Ha! Cost you a woodgas ride, some underhood learing time and some conversation.
I’d woodgas transport my Nursie wife. My Dentist. Any local doctor for future pay back services for services.

Urbans, with Urban devaluing of everything is for sale ways can just keep buying thier enabling Dino juices.
Rurals feeding Urbans woodfuels and wood charcoals is what deforested great swaths of France and Germany in the 1940’s.
When you really dig into the cause of a lot of the US West barrenness dry areas it was wood charcoal making anything woody no matter how slow, dry climate growing to smelt for 1840’s to 1880’s silver and gold until rail developed and brought in eastern coal. Whole books on this with old before and after pictures.

Fellas’ we can be out own worst enemies with sloppy condnesate and tar dumps, and appearing to get greedy for fuel woods.
Your own use fine - you’ll just be written off as excentric. Go visible commercial on anything in my state and they will make up regs to control and regulate. Means get thier $, $, $, cuts. Road use frees. Weights and Measures inspections. Seriously. “Wood heating”, “Fire wood” here can ONLY be advertized and offered for sale to the public in full cord amounts of a true measured out 132 cubic feet. No face cords. No ricks. No part cords. Then we have a 7-8% general sales tax we’re supposed to register to collect and pass up forward.

I see no market for gasifer fuel wood here in Washington State.
Dino juices are too operating turn key easy. Why it took back over again even in Europe in the late 1940’s and early 50’s as soon as they could get it again. Japan in the 50’s and 60’s. Korea.

Face it. Woodgasing is for the really hard core hearty who will be willing to make up thier own fuelwoods.

Just my opinions from 40 years of wood cutting for fuels. Mostly “illegal” in one way or the other. No fist in the air doing this. A sneeky quiet snicker only. Ya’ have to look poor, desperate using really ratty road side trucks to pull it off. Shiney will get you fined by someone for somthing here thinking you can afford to pay up.
Steve Unruh

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As beautiful as that State is by what your pictures show Steve, I don’t think I could live by all those ridiculous laws. I’ll deal with the cold weather.

Some days I think South Africa is going to the dogs with all it’s corruption and idiots in the government. Then I read the laws and regulations that you guys have to deal with, and we are not so bad! My black staff still can’t believe that I have an engine running on wood, they think there is some black magic ( tagatie ) going on!

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I been thinking a little more on this subject the last couple of days and have come to a conclusion …
I know that time involved in preparing wood for a gasifier is time consuming and a lot of work but that time and work represents to me freedom .
Freedom of my choice of fuel for one , I am no longer stuck with just having to buy gasoline.
I control that now and money saved is put toward more important things.
And the key thing about freedom is being free ,no matter the time involved into it…
So with that said I really don’t think I could charge a fellow wood gasser for fuel .The more I think about it ,the more I think it goes against the reason I done this to start with…Started out just wanting to save money and it has saved me some money so far but now that I been doing this for a little while it’s more about the freedom that it offers me even tho I have to work my butt off for this freedom …To me it is freedom …
And with said if for some reason a fellow gasser come by my way and I have wood chopped and ready go , they would be more than welcome to it and I would just expect them to return the favor if I’m ever their way …
Thats my take and stand on it after really thinking hard on the subject …


Excellent, and noble conclusion, Johnny, I couldn’t agree more.

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When the wife and youngon are helping me cut ,chunk and bag wood it brings the point home to them much better than I can  preach,  there are no free rides in life.

When I pull into the gas station and swipe my card it just doesn’t register with the kids that it took sweat and blood to be able to make the swipe…

Note . Some rides cost more than others !!!