Thinking about selling Cuban mahogany from Florida


Beau allen

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Hey guys, I’m looking for some advice from those who have much experience in the lumber/woodworking world then I do since I am just a hobbyist. I live in south Florida and have been collecting and milling exotic woods that grow as planted yard trees. Mostly Cuban mahogany (actually native to Florida), rosewood, mango, and monkey pod. All of these trees are “urban salvaged” from storms and normal removals.

I have started to ask around and sell some large mahogany slabs that I have. I would hope to think there would be somewhat of a demand for these exotic woods that are sourced domestically and sustainably but I’m not sure. Do you guys think I could ever develop a market for this?

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I am not an expert on milling but I do think you would develop more of a market for you lumber if you were to take the time to mill so that you can actually offer some nice furniture grade lumber.  Just slabbing the trees up is going to keep you in a pretty limited market. 

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You certainly could, but my experience working with an arborist who runs a lumber mill on the side tough me that the amount of metal you find thin urban trees makes them nearly unable to be sold to the public so you have a niche market if guys who can mill rough to dimensional and are willing to gamble with metal.  I've hit a long nail in a log that didn't even show up on the meter when we knew it was there, after ruining a blade.

Another consideration, you need to have the ability to keep a lot of stock on hand. Somebody who finds your ad wants the wood now and will go somewhere else if you aren't ready with it. 

For hours worked and monetary return, the margins are slim but can be a lot of fun

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Document where you got each tree and that they are storm damaged urban trees. Maybe take pictures that show a street sign or a landmark in the background. Cuban mahogany and rosewood are protected and exporting the wood could be impossible without some proof of origin. I imagine that selling it locally might be easiest but if someone out of state is transporting it a little documentation might soothe a rabid bureaucrat.

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