logging in maine woods
I do a fair amount of logging, when I am not guiding, not with horse, though for many reasons. My grandfather used them and as a kid I remember cutting with horse to well, most of them guys never saw a retirement because they were to worn out by 50, to live much longer. Horse logging is done half by horse half by man, I can tell you story's from guys who cut ceder for R&R ties, they would have to drag the ties out of the swamp by hand to the horses, because horses can't work in mud. Horses don't pile wood, men do (or skidders) and the wood needs to be piled to be loaded and trucked. It a nice idea, but if you need to make a pay check you need to produce wood, and your not going to do it with horses. I can tell you right now pay for cutting and yarding wood/ wood delivered to the mills is almost exactly what is was 20 years ago, bit less for some, bit more for some, depending on what it is. The cost of stumpage has gone up, and the cost of trucking has gone up, as well as operating cost, in 2000, I was only paying 65 cents a gallon for off road diesel, now its 3$. The cost of equipment is crazy 20 years ago you could buy a cable skidder for 10,000, that same skidder after 20 years of working is worth 15,000 if it has been kept up. I do not feel you could ever produce enough wood to buy a / make payments on a new cable skidder here. You go down to Bangor 20 years ago every dealer had a dozen new machines, and the company's (john deere, cat, case, tree farmer, timberjack, franklin) would finance one to anyone with a contract to cut wood, now they don't even stock a cable skidder.
Logging is on a down hill slope here in Maine. I feel it started with the CLP (certified logging professional) this added a $5000 yearly expense to most of us, when mills won't take your wood unless certified. Another one of the sounds good feels good, lets tell someone who has cut wood for 20 years how to cut wood and charge him for it, But pay him the same amount. Maine lost most of there small independent loggers because of this. Now next to none of the mills require it because they need wood. 1996 was the last year I operated on company ground, they don't want a man with a chain saw, the wanted mechanized crews. The mills and the lumber economy is going to kill the cutting industry, they won't pay more for the wood and it has gone to far to recover,no ones making enough money to re invest in equipment for the future. The skidder I run every day all last winter is a 1982, if it dies I am done, and not necessary by choice. There is a lot of small wood lots in maine 100-200 acres size, that need these type of crews to harvest the wood, and manage them for the future. There will always be some big company's with mechanized equipment, but they wont produce enough wood to keep the mills open in the long run. The days when people like myself, and farmers own a skidder and cut when other work is slow is numbered. This did produced more than half of the wood here in Maine.
As far as finding quality wood for boat building there are still mills around that do grade and separate, lest here in Maine. Your much better off looking at the small mills. Cedar has many different outlets here, from log cabin stock, fence posts and shingle mills, most ceder mills are not producing boards...but there are some and if your looking in Maine i can send you to a few. Most of the larger mills buy rough stock from smaller mills like log cabin company's buying from a mill sawing out cants for them to shape into cabin logs, these smaller mills do separate and grade boards from the sides of these cants.
I think there is plenty of good wood out there, right now, it is just a matter of knowing who has it.