I have been asked by a land developer about sawing a very large quantity of hardwoods. He is interested in making a product to sell that would be profitable for both he and I. The most prevalent product I have researched is construction mats and heavy timbers. Does anyone have experience producing them and what price can you charge for cutting the lumber and assembling the mats? I was considering charging approximately $200 per mat and $.35 bd/ft for the timbers. (Mats would be 8'x16' made from 8/4x10'' boards.) Mats in this area are renting for $100.00/month and selling for up to 600 each new.
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor N:
I manage environmental construction projects that often have a need for heavy wood mats to support large, heavy equipment on soft ground conditions. We generally treat them as disposable, in that the mats are quite damaged and often contaminated. Mats vary from supplier, but are usually hardwood 12 by 12 inch timbers bolted together, creating a four or five foot wide by 16 to 20 foot long mat.
Keep in mind that in excess of 100,000 pound track excavators are working from them with great force, lifting and swinging, so generally one inch threaded rod is drilled through the timbers every four or five feet to secure them together. Be sure to drill and loop heavy cables through the mats one or two feet from each end on the working side with the loop up for the operator to hook the mats with the bucket of the excavator to move them. The cables must be heavy (one inch), as the mat often has significant suction from the mud or sludge.
I haven't purchased any recently, but believe that they are about $800 each plus freight in some markets. I had a project about ten years ago that used heavy planks (three to four inch thick), and they did not last. So my advice is to research this further by contacting an engineer from a civil or environmental contractor in your area and asking them what their needs are. You did not list your city/state. This is one product that is definitely a consumable and generally does not make it beyond one project. And as I recall, there is limited demand, but more importantly, limited suppliers. This could be a good side business.
I would ask around at a few site works/grading companies to see what they use/need or what they call the standard size. (We called them "put logs" at the company I was at, but we called scaffold planks "put logs" too). If you have the resources, build up four of them to get a feel for it and set them out front with a for sale sign on them.
A few other things come into play here. Is all of the land going to be cleared at once, leaving you with too much work at one time? Are you doing the felling? How big of a cut does your new partner think he wants? It is not always the best for money in the pocket, but for quicker turn around, selling the timber straight to a buyer or mill could make more sense if you can't find a buyer for an end product.
I was always able to sell them whenever I wanted to horsey people. You might look into that market. In fact, since your post, I have been asking around at my new location and have received some good responses from the local ranchers and farmers. Now I can't wait for the rainy season.