I am incurably nosey and I tuned right in. I was all ears when Tom asked if I wanted to see a picture of "a really nice log".
Tom looked it over and learned timber buyers had already offered the property owner between $500 and $3000. The land owner asked Tom if he thought he could do any better than those offers. Tom said that he was pretty sure he could do better than those estimates.
Tom paid the landowner $19,200 for the log. That is more than six time what the next highest offer.
The economics of Walnut logsThe heartwood is the only high-value part of the Black Walnut log. That becomes important because an 18" diameter Black Walnut log will likely have four inches of sapwood all the way around. That means that the 18" diameter has a 10" diameter core of heartwood. An 18 inch diameter, eight foot log has 98 board feet in it but the 10" core is only 18 board feet...about 20% of the gross.
By comparison, a 36" diameter Black Walnut log will likely have a 2" band of sapwood around the outside of the log. A 36" diameter, eight foot Black Walnut log has 512 board fee and the 32" core of heartwood has about 390 board feet. So the economic value of a 36 inch diameter log will be about 22 times greater than the value of an 18 inch diameter log solely on the basis of heartwood content.
Another factor that comes into play is veneer for long paneling. High end architecture rarely has eight foot ceilings. One needs longer paneling to reach from floor to ceiling. The buyer also wants to match color all the way around the room. The only way to do that is to buy a large log. A REALLY large log. There is a very limited supply of those kinds of logs and that drives up the price. Tom told me this log is being shipped to Japan.
What impressed me
What impressed me is that Tom could have offered $4000 or $5000 and the landowner would have been thrilled. But that is not the way Tom works. He has been in the logging business for 13 years and he likes having a reputation where land owners call him. He can make the same amount of money cutting a relatively small number of high value logs, and there is much less wear-and-tear on his equipment and his body.
Tom is a pretty easy guy to talk to. He is calm and thoughtful. Tom gives the impression that there is nothing "high pressure" about him.
So, if you have some "pretty nice" oak or walnuts on your property and you are ready for them to be harvested, then give Tom a call at 269-908-0772.