Even more log milling
#11
  
My friend came over after lunch and we milled two ash logs that we picked up at my neighbor's house yesterday afternoon.  The logs were from a single tree that yielded about 17' of log.  We cut it 7' from the top and brought them home with two trips of the log arch behind the ATV.  They were about 14 - 16" diameter and we had no trouble rolling them by hand up the ramps onto the mill.  Here's the 7' one.




The first cut looked better than I had expected as the log had several obvious old limbs.




We rolled the log and cut the bark off the sides, then milled the cant into 6 boards at 1-1/8".  The second log had no visible old limbs in it and I had hopes it would yield nice clear lumber.  The first cut suggested that might be true.  Just perfect.  We ended up rolling it three more times, having found nothing better we put the first face back on top to mill the boards out of the cant.  




We got 7 boards out of that log, the 6 you see plus one more that was about 6/4 thick off the bottom of the cant.  




All the boards will be usable.  Most of the 10 footers are very nice.




Those two logs yielded around 105 BF of lumber.  The last photo again shows how nice a chainsaw cuts lumber.  While a chainsaw cuts a lot more slowly than a BS mill and kerf losses are higher, the surface is just as smooth if you use ripping chain.  Plus a chainsaw mill cuts flat and straight, something a BS mill doesn't always do.  

I hope I've shown you that milling your own lumber is not that hard and doesn't have to cost a lot to get into.  Those who commented that it looks like a lot of fun are absolutely right.  I've milled over 5,000 BF of lumber over the last 12 years or so and I still get excited to see what's inside every log I cut into.  In the past week or so we milled about 600 bf of ash.  One of the slab logs I milled for money.  I will sell the slabs from the other large log after they are dry - live edge ain't my thing but people pay serious money for them so I might as well take advantage of the opportunity.  The smaller logs that I milled into lumber I will keep and/or give to friends.  

The key to low cost milling is finding a source of free logs.  I'm fortunate to know two guys who cut trees and I get logs from them now and then.  One of my neighbors has been cutting down a lot of trees over the past 4 or 5 years, too, and I've gotten several nice saw logs including a very, very nice walnut and a lot of firewood from him for the price of helping him cut them down.  In any case, where there is a will there usually is a way and you'll figure it out if you are motivated to do so.  

John
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#12
  Re: Even more log milling by jteneyck (My friend came over ...)
Nice looking ash you have there

Putzing, the new hobby


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#13
  Re: Even more log milling by jteneyck (My friend came over ...)
Yeah, chainsaw mills do work OK, and if you set up like yours it's not really "hard" work, because you aren't bent over breathing 2 stoke fumes all day.  Crazy

Finding good logs can be one challenge. Nice hardwood is scarce here, and the native trees are all pretty much protected (Need permits to saw them). I can get all the pine I want, but the local stuff is not durable unless pressure treated. I'm cutting pine logs for firewood at the moment that would make some of you cry. 3ft dia and clear pruned wood in the butt logs. Wind blew them down at a friends farm, and not enough for a logger to be interested.  Saved some of the best stuff for boards, hopefully I can get it dry before it stains, and spray some borate to discourage the borers. 

But as part of the general cleanup I've scored some small Sheoak (casuarina), random cypress and white cedar logs that I've sawed up. This is a rather scrappy little Arizona Cypress "ornamental" that that was removed as part of the general cleanup, so I grabbed the log and cut up. 

   

Wood turned out interesting, knotty like you would expect looking at the log, and with lots of little "flecks" through it. 

   

I make a lot of kids play furniture / toy boxes etc. The wood will be ideal for that, and it goes down better with the customers that it's naturally durable, locally sourced salvage, and not chemically treated. Kindy Teachers are really into that sort of thing.  Smirk
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#14
  Re: Even more log milling by jteneyck (My friend came over ...)
Those are beautiful boards, John. I hate that we're losing our ash trees, but at least you can get some nice lumber from them. Some infestations ruin the heartwood, but that doesn't appear to be the case with the emerald ash borer. A good thing, if there is any good in this. Thanks for posting these photos and for your explanation. I've enjoyed watching.
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#15
  Re: Even more log milling by jteneyck (My friend came over ...)
(11-08-2018, 10:01 PM)jteneyck Wrote: My friend came over after lunch and we milled two ash logs that we picked up at my neighbor's house yesterday afternoon.  The logs were from a single tree that yielded about 17' of log.  We cut it 7' from the top and brought them home with two trips of the log arch behind the ATV.  They were about 14 - 16" diameter and we had no trouble rolling them by hand up the ramps onto the mill.  Here's the 7' one.




The first cut looked better than I had expected as the log had several obvious old limbs.




We rolled the log and cut the bark off the sides, then milled the cant into 6 boards at 1-1/8".  The second log had no visible old limbs in it and I had hopes it would yield nice clear lumber.  The first cut suggested that might be true.  Just perfect.  We ended up rolling it three more times, having found nothing better we put the first face back on top to mill the boards out of the cant.  




We got 7 boards out of that log, the 6 you see plus one more that was about 6/4 thick off the bottom of the cant.  




All the boards will be usable.  Most of the 10 footers are very nice.




Those two logs yielded around 105 BF of lumber.  The last photo again shows how nice a chainsaw cuts lumber.  While a chainsaw cuts a lot more slowly than a BS mill and kerf losses are higher, the surface is just as smooth if you use ripping chain.  Plus a chainsaw mill cuts flat and straight, something a BS mill doesn't always do.  

I hope I've shown you that milling your own lumber is not that hard and doesn't have to cost a lot to get into.  Those who commented that it looks like a lot of fun are absolutely right.  I've milled over 5,000 BF of lumber over the last 12 years or so and I still get excited to see what's inside every log I cut into.  In the past week or so we milled about 600 bf of ash.  One of the slab logs I milled for money.  I will sell the slabs from the other large log after they are dry - live edge ain't my thing but people pay serious money for them so I might as well take advantage of the opportunity.  The smaller logs that I milled into lumber I will keep and/or give to friends.  

The key to low cost milling is finding a source of free logs.  I'm fortunate to know two guys who cut trees and I get logs from them now and then.  One of my neighbors has been cutting down a lot of trees over the past 4 or 5 years, too, and I've gotten several nice saw logs including a very, very nice walnut and a lot of firewood from him for the price of helping him cut them down.  In any case, where there is a will there usually is a way and you'll figure it out if you are motivated to do so.  

John

I milled a lot of timber 10+ years ago when I had a 100 acre woodlot in NH.  I had my commercial logger down cherry and rock maple trees (I wasn't skilled enough to do this safely in the middle of the woods) and moved logs with a tractor.  I had a small hand held portable band mill (forgotten the name from a company in SC who is out of business I think) and milled in clearings.  Had a Gator to haul the cut lumber back to my barn where I store several thousand bf for air drying.  I learned a lot about wood by milling myself.  I left a lot of that lumber with woodworking friends in NH when I moved south years ago but moved the best stock with me.  I still have some thick stock that I use for special projects.  While the lumber produced is inexpensive, certainly the cost for log hauling and handling equipment has to be factored into the equation.  I now buy most of my hard wood from a local one man mill. Although the wood isn't inexpensive, in general it is of good quality and since he kiln dries it, I don't have to wait for years to use it.  Your posts bring back some excellent memories.  Thanks.
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#16
  Re: RE: Even more log milling by ianab (Yeah, chainsaw mills...)
Ian, I'm very jealous of your Swingmill and would love to have one.  For a small producer cutting lumber they look to be about the best machine for the job.  Being able to cut logs of any size the frame can straddle, and do it in the bush, is a huge advantage over most other options.  
John
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#17
  Re: Even more log milling by jteneyck (My friend came over ...)
Fifty cents a board foot is pretty hard to argue with.
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#18
  Re: RE: Even more log milling by Phil Thien (Fifty cents a board ...)
(11-09-2018, 03:15 PM)Phil Thien Wrote: Fifty cents a board foot is pretty hard to argue with.

… and decreasing with every additional log.  Of course, not all of it was clear wood, and there were some drying losses, too, but taking that into account it's still probably less than $0.75/BF.  And when I think about getting a 24" diameter black walnut that was 18' long with almost no defects in it, that log alone yielded over 400 BF of lumber.  

But I've gotten somewhat more selective about which logs I will mill over the years, too.  I won't mill hickory, it's just too hard and every one I've milled has brown streaks in it, like what you see in those ash boards only worse.  I don't mill maple anymore either, nor any softwood.  One very nice thing about milling your own lumber is you can sometimes get logs of an uncommon species.  I've milled several black locust, one honey locust, a catalpa, and a couple of red mulberry.  Never have I seen those for sale at my local suppliers.  

John
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#19
  Re: RE: Even more log milling by jteneyck ([quote='Phil Thien' ...)
(11-09-2018, 04:44 PM)jteneyck Wrote: But I've gotten somewhat more selective about which logs I will mill over the years, too.  I won't mill hickory, it's just too hard and every one I've milled has brown streaks in it, like what you see in those ash boards only worse.  I don't mill maple anymore either, nor any softwood.  One very nice thing about milling your own lumber is you can sometimes get logs of an uncommon species. 
John

A bit like me and pine  Laugh  I will saw some of the more interesting softwoods though. Monterey cypress is common here, and is actually a nice wood to work with, pretty, durable, and hard enough for furniture. 

Woods like Hickory are no problem with the swingblade, carbide cutters and all that. Really hard stuff like that cuts slower, and you have to sharpen a bit more, but it's not a frustrating headache. I've been sawing Sheoak, and that stuff is HARD. But it cuts OK. 

Finding decent woodworking wood locally is a hassle. Local mills all saw Pine, although there are a couple of smaller operations that cut some oddball logs. But most hardwoods are imported, with a cost to match. Hence my motivation for getting a mill. This is what the Sheoak looks like. Going to be some live edge shelves for my daughters room when I get time to finishing it. 

   
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#20
  Re: Even more log milling by jteneyck (My friend came over ...)
My sawmill rig hooked up behind my Toyota hatchback. 

   

Don't worry, it's not an anemic 4 cyl, it's a JDM special with a 3.5l V6, hardly notice the little trailer and mill on the back, so I can haul home ~500 bd/ft AND the mill. Smile

But you can haul a mill like this with a quad bike if you have to. Get to logs where it's not worth, or practical, to get in heavy machinery to move the logs out.

Big logs, remote locations are common in NZ and Aus, hence where these mill are popular here.
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