Saturday, July 05, 2008

I Came, I Saw, I Sawed Some More

It must be the saw dust they smell. The past ten days have been spent running my saw mill, and I will run it about ten more to get caught up. This is an all out attack on the piles of logs that I have at the flat farm. I want to move the saw to the hill farm.

It all started when a friend referred someone to me that needed a 32 foot long 8x8 beam. After talking to the guy about what he needed I ended up consulting on his renovation project and cut him four large beams for his project and delivered same to the work site. So I ended up making some cash, he got what he needed for a good price, and we both made a contact that will serve us well. There are several mill operators around my "Hill Farm," but none can cut a 35 footer so I corner the market.

My log piles are quite a mixed bag, hard wood, pine, long and short logs, some big fat mojos, and some not so fat but of veneer quality. I cut the beams from white ash and it takes one hell of a tree to get an 8x8 that is 32 feet long, and I needed four beams the shortest 19 feet. This process produced approximately 1500 board feet of very, very, nice one inch thick white ash boards besides the four beams!

Sawing is not the most work when you run a mill. Sticker stacking the raw lumber to dry is! I set the saw up, make a pass with the blade, remove the outside pieces to get one squared up side, turn the log 90 degrees, reclamp it to the table and square the second side to the first. After that it gets easier because the log when turned now lands on a flat side for the last two sides. I use a tractor with forks to load, turn, and position the logs on the saw. After the log is squared up I start to get flat boards that need resawed to get straight edges so those go off to the side to be put back on the table after the log come off. There is a saw made for this purpose but I don't own one, YET!

As the passes are made through the log it gets shaped into a rectangle and boards that do not need resawed get pulled off for stacking. To stack them you need to make stickers to place between the boards so the air can flow. Placing the stickers even is the most important step to get straight boards, they should all line up. So let me do some math here. If you want to stack 20 boards 20 feet long you need to place the stickers every two feet so you need 200 stickers! I get stickers when I put the boards with the rounded edges back on the table. I cut mine two inches longer then the width of the boards I am stacking.

That is a bit about what it takes to get lumber from trees! How I get trees to become logs to saw into boards is another story. Everything I have been cutting the last ten days were less then free. Less then free? How can that be? Two ways, number one I get paid to remove trees, stumps, and do lot preps, I bring them home. Number two, we have several out of town tree services that are doing FEMA work around here after one horrific storm here in October 2006. I take the logs, chips, and chunks, and charge them by the size of the load. So like I said, "Less Then Free!"

Back to the boarding story: So after the boards come off the saw all squared up they have to be stacked. By this time they have been man handles twice already, by me if I am working alone. The bitches are heavy as they have not dried yet. I will sticker the shorter boards (14 feet or less) right on the forks as they come off the saw, as these fit my doorway into my drying barn. The longer ones Have to be handled again, stickered where I am stacking them. By fall if the hot weather holds most of the ash lumber will be ready for the planer.

Today I start sawing a stack of large black pine logs. Most of this will be cut into 2 inch material for framing lumber. This can be used right away and left to dry in whatever you build with it. If it is to stand around it needs to be stickered. I can leave them outside the rain won't hurt them and I will band them up to make them easier to load on the truck and take to the hill farm.

The ash boards are going to be pegged plank flooring and some will become the beaded ceiling over the loft at the "Hill Farm!" The planks will get sized, planed, and run through the shaper to add a bevel to the edges and a half lap. Then they get step drilled. I fasten them with screws and cover the screws with a dowel that gets sanded after installation. Beautiful light colored, very durable hardwood floors are the result. Once it is in you forget the hard work it took to get there!

Have I told you about the spalted maple counter tops I have in mind for the kitchen? I think they will be a hit with hickory cupboards. This home building from the trees down is the bomb!

4 comments:

MarmiteToasty said...

Jebus..... do you know what sprung in me minds eye as I read through your post...... *ok ok so I aint normal*...... I had visions of the Waltons saw mill LOL...... bloody old romantic weirdo living in a wrong age that I am......

Cripes is sounds like you work wellabit hard what with the growing farm to...... do you actually employ any workers? if not I will work for food and lodgings lol....

Ya could bag up the sawdust and sell it to people that have horses for their stables or chickens and rabbits lol....... I know I use to drive up to the little sawmill thats in the back of ShroverHall Manor house up the lanes and he use to actually just bag up as much as I wanted.... but I use to have about 20 rabbits LOL...... now Janet, Mabel and Cedric are well spoilt, I buy this lavender sawdust :) and herbie hay for their bedding LOL.......

I love hearing about you life over there.....Im a great lover of social history and peoples lives......

Lovely post Mr Walton LOL

X

RED MOJO said...

Wow, that all sounds so fun to me! I love spalted maple. I have used it in small projects like jewelry boxes etc. You can fill the holes with a clear acrylic, and that has a very cool effect.

doggybloggy said...

you have extra room, we can move in anytime.....

Ol' Lady said...

If your lookin to take a trip to get some R & R...we have a garage being built...you could 'rest' here ;o