When is lumber drying profitable

Several factors should be considered prior to purchasing a kiln. Issues such as energy costs, constant overhead costs of operating a dry kiln, and lumber availability all play a critical role in the process of considering the purchase and installation of kiln equipment.

A situation often encountered by "end use" manufacturers is inability to buy what they need, when they need it, and the way they need it. In short, the general market cannot furnish the necessary material. First and foremost, lumber operations dry lumber for one basic reason . . .profit.


-- Lumber drying is either a value added process in itself, or part of a larger value added process.
-- If the cost of drying is lower than the value created by the lumber dried, you have a profitable process.

*If the cost of drying lumber - including all the related expenses , such as sticking, handling, storage, etc.-- is lower than the additional value created through a secondary manufacturer (such as furniture manufacturing, steam bending operations, flooring manufacturers, etc), profit is created. As some manufacturers require lumber that is specially dried for their unique needs, material purchasing costs frequently increase when uncommon products are required. Though the market will almost always supply a resource on demand, cost factors ordinarily increase when products vary from the norm.

External structural factors can also effect your profitability, in both the short and long term. Several variable factors are as follows:

-- Price of electricity.
-- Price of heating.
-- Labor cost of handling lumber, operating kilns, and stacking operations.
-- Tax laws and regulation.

Though kiln operators can and should prepare for the unexpected, unforeseen future considerations beyond the control of the kiln operator make it impossible to operate a kiln profitably.

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