I just recently placed my order for a TK1220 and I am trying to get a hold of some logs to cut so I can practice with my new mill. How do all of you get the trees that you are milling?
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor R:
I get most of my logs through ads in a local advertising paper. Many people have a tree or two taken down, but don't want to pay the tree service to cut it up and haul it away. They advertise it as free firewood for the cutting and hauling. I have 5 Norway spruces to pick up in the next week or two which are free for the taking. They are all at least 32 feet long and around 20 inches or more at the base. In addition, his neighbor is planning on taking some similar trees down on his property and offered them to me too. For much of the winter I have been clearing a lot for a man who ran a similar ad. Free firewood, mostly cherry. I went to look and found the trees were still growing. He didn't like the look of the trees and wanted the lot cleared. A total of 7 acres. Mostly scrubby trees, but still worth my time to cut. I have some really nice trees in excess of 16 inches in diameter, but they're short. Probably 5, 6, or 7 feet before they split into branches.
I haven't even advertised for trees myself yet. I have more trees piling up than I can get cut. I work by myself and occasionally with help from my son when he is home. I have bought logs once from a landscape supplier. Apparently the tree services pay him to dump their trimmings at his lot and he in turn sells the logs for firewood and mulches some of it up. Either way, with a little effort and some investigating, you should be able to find logs to cut. Watch out for nails and foreign objects in the yard trees.
My mill is a 1220 too. Think about how you will get the logs from where they are to the mill. I have a 16 foot trailer that I mounted a small crane with a hand winch to. I made a ramp that attaches to the side of the trailer opposite the crane. Roll the log up to the ramp position, 2 straps under the log and then around the outside and back over the top and attach to the winch. Rolling is far easier than pulling or lifting. I have done it all and continue to refine my system. I don't saw for a living, but I do sell what I saw.
Of course there are always tree services, power companies, township road commissioners...You could take an ad in the paper, but I would strongly advise against that unless you want 1000 calls offering "free" logs - all you have to do is come and saw the rotten nail infested thing that is hanging over a house down and clean up the mess (saving the homeowner $1500 in tree service work).
If you just want a couple to practice on, see if there is a local mill that will sell you a couple.
Another thing about having a mill you will soon learn: logs just show up after awhile. It may take a couple months, but when people find out you have one (unless there are 100 other mills around you), logs start magically appearing. I have come home to logs, mostly oak, nothing special, that I never did know where they came from. They were just left by firewood cutters, I assume - they leave a fresh log and haul off a trailer load of mill slab that is already partially dry to burn.
One thing you need is a metal detector. Especially in dealing with town trees. It will pay for itself in short order with saw blade savings.