I wanted to let people know that it is possible and let people know how I found the people to work with:
- I asked the people cutting down the tree to leave me about 8ft sections from the bottom four sections of the tree.
- For milling, I got lucky here. Just down the road from my house there was a guy who had a sign in his yard saying "Rough Sawed Lumber". I called him, and he had a Wood Mizer and was willing to cut it for me for $0.10 a bf. This was a steal based on some other prices I got from others in the area.
- I called the local hardwood dealers to see if they had a kiln to dry it for me. One did, and he charged me about $250 for drying the whole thing.
- I don't yet have a planer, so I posted on Craigslist that I would be willing to sell some of the lumber, or trade it for use of a planer. One guy called me. He had two planers, and he and I spent a day planing the stock, for which I gave him 1/3 of the take.
I also made friends along the way, I have done more business with both the miller and the dryer. In fact, I got 2 4inx10inx8ft pieces of maple (with some "Ambrosia" they call it in GA) the other day for 10 dollars from the guy who milled the stock for me. I don't know what I'm going to do with it yet, but it was too big a deal to pass up.
I make this post to encourage others to think outside the box when it comes to sourcing your lumber. Although it's a lot easier to pick up the best pieces from the local hardwood dealer, there's a lot of satisfaction to be had and friends to be made finding local people with similar interests.