Current Topic: We had a great opportunity this year to swap resources with our neighbor. They had some logs from trees they cut down and we had building experience which we traded to reduce their burden of extra, ridiculous, overpriced contractor overhead. We provided guidance during the construction phase and did all the electrical wiring for their current projects.
It's Again Been A Few Years Since We Last Used The Sawmill...
When we left off last time we had one log left to saw. Left over because was just too big for us to load on to the mill. It was all we could do to drag it to the mill deck and set it on bunks to reduce ground rot. And it sat there for several months until there was an Excavator on property. We still had to pay a few pesos to get it lift the big log onto the mill deck. And that's where it sat for several more months.
So we start this season with a giant 2-ft plus 22 foot long log on the saw deck. It was for the last of the beams we need for our 'post&beam' garage project. We managed to saw a 12 by 14 inch beam. Sadly most of the side lumber had enough rot from having sat so long that it was unusable. Ugh!
We Started With Our Usual Cleanup And Alignment Maintenance Routine...
We did the usual tuneup on the mill. Motor Oil, filters, etc... Greased up the moving parts And cleared the sawing area.
We also had to replace the starter solenoid and fuel pump. No big deal. A few plastic parts worth about 15 dollars each. Not bad considering the sawmill has sat out in the weather for over ten years since we purchased it.
Finaly... We had to sharpen our sawblades. Sawblades are now about 30 dollars each. We have about 25 blades that have never been sharpened, and, are not to rusted from sitting out in the weather.
We have a marginally accurate automatic blade sharpener however it had not been used in many years and was not set up correctly originally.
After hours and hours of tweaking we finally had an acceptable grind (sharpening). The goal is to make a light grind while covering the tooth top, face and gullet. The top and face are important for sharpness while the gullet is necessary to remove any micro-fractures that naturally occur so the blade wont tear apart (break) under heavy tension.
And Now We Are Ready To Saw...
Our neighbor (adjacent properties) cut down some trees at the beginning of the year. The trees were mixed between Fir and Ceder. They were only interested in the Ceder. So we made a deal for the Fir. Including... We would limb (remove the branches), buck into length, skid to our property and pile up the branches in one neat burn pile for Winter.
We mostly chose sixteen foot lengths for the larger of the tree parts. When feasible. Some of the butt flares were so big that we had to buck them into smaller logs or we would be beyond our handling capacity. We also had to sometimes shorten the logs because of damage or curves.
Squaring Up The Log...
A typical log to lumber sawing for us usually includes sawing one inch slabs until the edge is clean enough for the beam size we are targeting. We then rotate the log 90 degrees and continue slabbing one inch side lumber until the edge is square. We continue this process until the log has become a square beam.
Sawing The Lumber...
In this case we were able to saw a 10 by 12 inch by 16.5 foot beam which we were looking to get 2 by 6 for shed roof rafters. We sawed the beam in half making two 10 by 6 in beams. We put the beams side by side on the mill and made two inch cuts. For each swipe of the blade we take two 2 by 6 peices off the mill. That's ten 2 by 6 plus the side lumber (slabs).
Reclaiming The Side Lumber...
For all the slabs, the peices leftover with natural-edge (wane), we stack them on edge on the mill. We then take one inch deep cuts. This serves two purposes. First is sawing off the natural edge. Sawing by one inch increments we generate lots of 1 by 1 peices. They will come in handy later. When any board is flat on the top it is rotated, if neccessary, to saw flat the other edge. When a boards width is between eight and twelve inches it is removed and any remaining slabs will continue the reduction process.
Seasoning The Lumber...
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