Quartersawing by the Board Foot

An appropriate board-foot rate for sawing services really depends on a lot of details. October 4, 2007

I have a person that wants me to quartersaw oak at his sawmill to help him catch up. I have a lt70 Wood-Mizer mill and have been sawing for about three years but only by the hour. I have never sawed by the board ft. This person wants to pay .25 per board ft and says he can use me about ten days a month. Is this a fair price? Would any of you guys quartersaw for this?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor G:
What about edging? Maybe you could just saw one day for him and re-price if needed. If someone is willing to book you for 10 days a month, he is probably expecting a discount of your hourly rate, which would be fair.

From contributor B:
Rates vary widely geographically, but I wouldn't QS at that price. There are several ways to QS, some more labor intensive than others, but the method I use requires me to charge $.45 per bdft, and I'm probably going to raise that. I would find a log similar to what you would typically have to saw at that yard and quarter saw it on your own time, not the other mills. Keep track of how long it takes you to do all the tasks involved that would be expected of you there as well. When you have a time figured out for how long it took, apply your normal hourly rate to that time and divide that number by the bdft yield to find the price per bdft you need to charge to equal your hourly rate.

I don't agree that you need to give the guy a quantity break on your price whether hourly or by the bdft. If you weren't there, you could be out elsewhere getting your full price. If you like the conditions at that job and feel the stability is worth taking less pay home, you could think about a price break.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Will you have to load your own logs? After one log is done and there are no more logs immediately ready, will you not get paid for "waiting time?" Will you have to carry the lumber and scrap away from the saw and mill yourself? How close to perfect q-sawing is required? Will you get paid if the lumber is not always q-sawn, such as when a slab and a piece of lumber is cut in order to get a stable, flat surface? What about edging... Will you have to do this on your mill? Will the BF be based on the footage after edging for grade? Are the logs much over 25" in diameter (handling time will be high) or under 12" (almost no yield of q-sawn)? If the grade of a piece is low, will you be paid less? Will you have to move location from time to time? Will you have to stop and move sawdust away from the mill? If any questions are answered "Yes!", then you need to charge much more... closer to 75 cents. He should trust your work ethic enough to pay by the hour.

From contributor T:
I will Q-saw for .27 but that is, as I understand it, rift sawing. Square the log and then quarter and then flip flop the quarters to get the straightest grain. After I do a few jobs, I may raise my price more for the extra work, but I should come out okay.

From contributor C:
Quarter sawing does not have the same yield as flat sawing, and is more labor intensive. You will have random width off the mill, and will have more waste. You want larger diameter logs for best yield. I flat saw at $.27 bdft, soon to be $.30.Qt sawn is $.40 more/bdf.