For dedicated woodworkers, deciding whether to mill your own lumber at home has to do with more than cost. While the cost of milling equipment alone can run to thousands of dollars, milling your lumber is often also a frustrating process. Even seasoned woodworkers make mistakes, and the costs to re-purchase lumber when there is a mistake can add up. Not to mention the cost of the time you spend doing tasks that you could easily relegate to milling services available in your lumber yard or from independent wood millers.
However, there is rarely anything more personally rewarding than completing your woodworking project yourself from start to finish, including milling each piece yourself. In some cases, you can also make a larger profit on wood items you plan to sell by completing the entire process yourself. Whether you are a beginner, hobbyist, or a seasoned expert, let us examine the pros and cons of milling your own lumber in detail. These key points may help you decide if milling your own wood pieces yourself is right for you or if you should consider seeking expert help from wood milling services in Los Angeles.
The Pros of Milling Your Own Lumber in Los Angeles
It Costs Less to Mill Smaller Wood Pieces On-Demand
If you are looking for a flat board with unique dimensions to fit your woodworking project, it will be expensive to have your single piece milled to that specific size. Having the appropriate milling machines can allow you to produce your perfect piece at no additional cost. Moreover, you will also have the option of turning salvaged lumber into something more useful at a lesser cost or none at all.
Milling Yourself Is Convenient
If you have a big enough yard to store or stack logs, it may be more cost effective to mill and store all the wood pieces you need for your woodworking project. In the comparatively drier climate of Los Angeles, you won’t have to worry much about moisture compromising the weight of the lumber you store outside your workshop. If you source your lumber from lumber yards such as Bohnhoff or smaller sawmills, they will allow you the option of taking home smaller pieces that will be convenient to mill later on.
Dedicated hobbyists look for various sources of lumber such as discarded construction formworks, old railroad ties, truck bedding, and even packing crates. Using your milling equipment, you can repurpose these discarded wood pieces into something more useful.
You Can Use Your Milling Skills as a Secondary Source of Income
Once you have the necessary skills, you can provide your own milling services in Los Angeles. The cost of milling equipment can be steep, and using these as a source of income can quickly recover these costs.
Doing Your Own Milling Allows Flexibility
Having your own milling machines means you won’t have to wait for the perfect piece of wood from your lumber yard or wood supply store. Once you have stacks of good quality lumber available, it is a matter of cutting and milling them to your desired specifications anytime you want.
The Cons of Milling Your Own Lumber in Los Angeles
The Cost of Milling Equipment Is Steep
For some dedicated hobbyists, the cost associated with acquiring equipment is no object. However, the steep costs of milling equipment make them worthy of mentioning. The range of prices for mills is between $2,000 for smaller sizes to $75,000 for a fully hydraulic mill. For instance, one of the most versatile mills, the Norwood HD36, starts at around $9,000. Associated replaceable parts can also be costly. A rotary blade alone, which is good enough to cut through only four logs, costs about $25. These factors may make milling lumber cost prohibitive to many hobbyists and beginners.
Storage becomes an issue if your woodworking shop is in Torrance, Downey, Alameda, Burbank, Glendale, or any highly-urbanized area in Los Angeles or Southern California. With limited space, you would need to consider storing your lumber somewhere else while considering that freshly-cut lumber has a very high moisture content. If you found a storage location elsewhere, such as Monterey Park, or suburbs such as Santa Clarita, Long Beach,or Pasadena, the weight of freshly cut timber with its high moisture content will be expensive to truck away and bring back when you are ready to use it.
Drying in Los Angeles: There Is More to It Than You Think
There are several ways to dry newly-milled lumber. In the arid climate of Los Angeles, especially in summer, air drying can be a viable option. However, even with a favorable environment, the drying level will remain as dry as the relative humidity levels. For instance, the expected relative humidity in Burbank is around 65% all year, with May being the most humid at 75%. Drying under these conditions means it may take months to dry the lumber to the proper level before using it for woodworking. An obvious alternative is purchasing a kiln. However, the kiln will demand a substantial investment up front.
Cupping and Warping
Even the most skilled woodworkers will have issues with warping and cupping after milling raw lumber. To produce workable boards, you must invest in a proper surface planer, a durable table saw, and a jointer. For most hobbyists in Los Angeles, where space can be an issue, having additional equipment won’t be a viable alternative. That leaves them looking for wood planing services in Los Angeles to produce a proper board.
Conclusion: Bohnhoff Lumber Company Provides a Healthy Compromise
Bohnhoff Lumber Co, besides supplying a wide variety of high-quality hardwoods and some softwoods, provides lumber milling in Los Angeles for both dedicated woodworkers and beginners. The lumber we supply allows woodworkers to quickly produce fantastic pieces of woodcraft. Some of these examples are showcased on this page. Our in-house mill facility contains an SCM 24” Planer, SCMI 43” Belt Sander, SCM 20” Jointer, a Sawstop Table Saw, and a 30” Agazzani Bandsaw. We specially selected this milling equipment to address the specific needs of many Los Angeles woodworkers. We take excellent care of our equipment and will always be ready to turn out the perfect piece you need. Suppose you are looking for a 1x12x12 oak board, a 5/4 lumber, or any cut from a hardwood of your choice. In that case, you won’t need to look further than Bohnhoff Lumber Co. Depending on the scale and difficulty of the requests, we can queue your recently-purchased lumber pieces, and we will commit to a timeline of when you can get your perfect piece. Since having your own kiln requires substantial investment in resources and space for many Los Angeles woodworkers, all the lumber we sell in our lumber yard is kiln-dried.
To learn more about our milling services in Los Angeles, call us at (323) 263-9361, or contact us. Our milling services are open on the same schedule as the lumber yard. We also offer curbside delivery services to any point within Southern California.