Felling and Machining Your Own Wood

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Hi Folks,
While realizing that it is probably more practical to buy rough sawn wood from a local sawmill, (if there WERE one), I am interested in knowing if anyone has links to a good overview of selecting, cutting, splitting, and milling with regard to maximizing the best grain pattern characteristics and yield. I often run across trees that are being removed by landowners, and hate to see this stuff going into a wood-chipper, when the going price around here for maple and oak is $4-$6 bd.ft - not to mention the availability of unusual species like Cornus and Magnolia.
A friend recently had a nice, straight, drought killed Maple tree removed from the back of his property and that is precisely what happened. I could have gotten this 80' high, 2.5'-3' diameter tree for nothing - but it ended up as chips and stubs. This could have been turned into 200-300 bd. ft. of nice lumber instead.
I have most of the tools necessary to fell and cut into lengths, a neanderthal splitter and sledge, and a truck. And a bandsaw, planer, jointer and other equipment to handle the reduced size pieces.
Heck, if it yielded enough usable wood, a Woodmiser or other field saw could be obtained. We want to build out own house out from the city somewhere, and the process of clearing the site alone would probably result in many usable hardwoods being removed.
Wood is a commodity that is quickly being depleted and I want to horde up my own supply to last until check-out time. <G>
Please, no stories of dropping trees on houses or power lines. We're not idiots...
Anyone?
Greg G.
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Greg on the LamarCraft Web Site you have Links to two sections that will yield a wealth of Information
Chainsaws Timber Drying
http://www.laymar-crafts.co.uk
Richard
<Greg G.> wrote in message

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Richard Stapley said:

Thanks, Richard, I have looked over some of the information - there is a lot - and some of the sites link to other sites, etc. It could take weeks to read it all! Not much on actual cutting methods and techniques, but a ton of good info nonetheless. Even more on wood turning, bandsaws, tools, suppliers, etc. Good link for you guys to bookmark!
Greg G.
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Greg
If you have access to a Woodmizer, go for it! Have it rough-sawn to whatever thickness you need, sticker it and air-dry, covered, at one year per inch of thickness. I'd also paint the board ends to slow moisture transferrence. An old haybarn would be ideal to store while drying. If you've a sawmill handy you could pay them ti kiln-dry it for you. My $0.02 worth. Roger in Montana XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Greg G. wrote in message

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I congratulate you on your concern for all the fallen trees that get sent to the chipper only to end up as particle board. What a waste of useable wood for better purposes.
I wanted to get into what you're about to do many years ago but never did... but have found a procedure which may be useful to you.
OK. There is an attachment sold ( or you can make yourself ) for a large chainsaw which acts as a depth gauge on the chainsaw thus enabling the user to cut from a felled tree consistant thickesses of lumber right from the tree as its laying on the ground.
Its a simple roller bar which is bolted to and runs the lenght of the chainsaw blade. As the tree lays on the ground the user makes his first pass down the lenght of the tree... a rip cut... thus establishing a ' flat ' surface for his next pass which is a precision pass ya might call it.
The roller, which is bolted to the blade of the chainsaw, now rides on the face of the first pass you made and will cut out a board to whatever depth the roller is set away from the blade of the chainsaw . This roller bar acts as a depth gauge.
It was a long time ago I've seen this bolt on roller bar... back in the 70's. The early 70's ! It was orderable from a magazine back then... perhaps it's available online today.
Such species of trees such as oak and maple have a nicer looking grain when the lumber is " quarter sawn " as opposed to flat sawn lumber which is less costly to harvest and therefore purchase.
If you look at the cross-section of a tree... a basic circle... and slice out from pieces from top to bottom you get mostly ' flat sawn ' lumber. Now, if you take the same cross-section and can cut it into quarters like a pie... every piece where the rings are at a 90 degree angle to the flat of the board is quarter sawn lumber.
Much more cutting at the mill... more waist... smaller and smaller board widths... more costly to buy...and hard to find as you say.
It would be a manly challenge to harvest quarter sawn lumber from a felled tree since a man would have to start by cutting the tree into 4 quarters right from the start ! Very, very heavy stuff to deal with.
I'm sorry but I dont know the name of this bolt on roller bar system nor an outlet from which to get it.... it was 30 years ago I first saw such a thing... when I was young and full of energy ! But good luck to you nonetheless because it is a fine thing you want to do.
On Fri, 26 Dec 2003 04:59:38 -0500, Greg G. wrote:

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Hello, There is the Granberg Alaska sawmill, available from LeeValley and Baileys. Not too expensive in the basic equipment, but you definitely need a powerful chain saw (I've got a Stihl 070 AV, 6.5 hp). First cut is made using a board lying on hex screws driven into the log. Take care to add the screw length (including head) to the board thickness for depth of first cut, otherwise you'll saw into the screws. You'll loose about 3/8" saw kerf. There is a book by Will Malloff, Chain Saw Lumbermaking, which shows some improvements to the basic mill (didn't have the time to make any of the changes he suggests). It's out of print, but perhaps available used. regards, Markus
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On Fri, 26 Dec 2003 08:38:41 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@woodworker.com wrote:

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Markus Ellermeier said:

I'll check in to it, thanks.
Greg G.
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snipped-for-privacy@woodworker.com said:

I agree. Having watched them strip my home of everything standing, I have an even more profound appreciation of the few remaining stands of trees.

They still sell them, but I haven't bothered because of the large kerf and the power of the saw which is required - and the process eats blades and guide bars like a muther. I tried it with a homemade version on my saw. Most chainsaws and blades are not really designed for extended duration cutting tasks - more for cross grain cutting in a moderate burst. But then again, a Wood-Mizer, starting at 5,495, is a fairly pricey alternative - even on sale.
http://www.woodmizer.com/Graphics/PDF/WM2004promo.pdf
I know about quarter sawn, flat sawn, etc. wood and such, but was hoping there was a general info guide to the process.
Thanks,
Greg G.
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i have one of the Alaskan attachments for a chainsaw. yes, you need a decent chainsaw to make the most of it. my dad has an old Stihl 041 Farm Boss that i use once in a while, but it is slow and you have to keep adding oil to the bar if you are cutting wood of any real diameter or length. i've used the chainsaw attachment and a 16" Grizzly bandsaw to cut up my own lumber for quite a few projects over the five or six years i've had them. never built my own house or anything though. :-)
if you plan on making less than 5000 bd-ft, a bandsaw mill is probably a bit expensive. and if you want to build projects instead of cutting wood, it is definitely easier to find a friendly local sawmill.
if you want any more info on it, i'd be glad to answer questions, just email me.
andy b.
On Fri, 26 Dec 2003 11:22:57 -0500, Greg G. wrote:

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Greg G. wrote:

I think if it were me, I'd start in two places. The National Arbor Day Foundation and my local Cooperative Extension.
I didn't see anything on either site that would be immediately useful to you, but I'd be willing to bet they could steer you in the right direction if you contact them.
The Cooperative Extension is used to dealing with trees as a cash crop, and the National Arbor Day Foundation takes a very pragmatic trees-as-renewable-resources view. I've read blurbs about how to plant for profit in their various publications, though never anything as specific about dealing with the end result as what you need. Still, I'll bet they can help.
I don't know where you live, so you'll have to find your own Cooperative Extension office. The National Arbor Day Foundation is at http://www.arborday.org /
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try www.logosolusa.com/timberjig/
bolts onto Stihl and Husqavarna chain saws. they recomend a minimum of an 036 saw but with a rip bar and chain I'm hoping an 026 will work, though slowly.
The TimberJig is $165 US at woodworking shows. Got one, had to retro my chainsaw to bolt it on, but haven't had time to try it on an elm 4' long 2' diam. log I rescued when a neighbor had his tree trimmed (this piece was a branch - the tree itself is HUGE).
Lots of wood about, even here in Silly Cone Valley. I leave the chainsaw in the back of my van - just in case an opportunity arises.
charlie b
BTW - don't be in any big hurry to use the lumber you cut. it's 6 months to a year per inch of thickness. If you push it the twists, bows, cups, checks and splits will reduce the finaly yield to almost nothing.
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charlie b said:
Hey Charlie,

I'm not sure how well branch wood works. I've bandsawed some pin oak branches that were 10-12" and the wood is unusable as planks. Full of twisting grain and stuff. Probably make a great turned bowl though.

Yea, I hear you. I've noticed that I have begun scanning the landscape and roadsides for felled trees myself!

Yea, I am aware of the drying process, internal tension and case hardening and such.
Thanks,
Greg G.
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I wish you well. I would like to do the same,but suspect it wont happen on a large scale. I just got a bandsaw last week(A 18 Jet) once I got done grumbling about its shortcomings and threw a good blade and belt on it it worked like a charm.I resawed and milled some ash that my dad had felled a couple years ago. He rough slabbed it with a chainsaw(by hand-no jig or guide-these were only 2ft long. Then stuck it in a barn for the last 24 months 2-3inch thick pcs) We just did it for fun, but now i have enough wood to build a small chest or tool box. It was kind of neat turning firewood into nice lumber. I GOT THE ITCH TOO! Good luck Keith
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Well, that's a lot of answers. I built my house, floors, and all cabinetry from "waste" wood. Hire the bandmill to come. Should cost about 20C/BF to saw. You'll need a tractor or 4WD pickup to drag the logs. Some sawyers will bring a tractor. Stack and sticker as advised. Find a kiln, if possible. Drying should cost 10-15C/BF. For flooring/cabinetry, it's really worth it to take the wood to a real mill and have it T&Ged on a four head mill. About another 25-30C/BF, so you want to keep it as wide as you can. As you can see, the "free" wood costs something to use, but it can be nice! My kitchen has all raised panel doors (shaper $1000), but looks good! Things like cabinet ends and cupboard walls are glued up from T&G flooring. Some are 30" wide. Once you find the sawyer, he may have recommendations about the other stuff. Just keep these numbers in mind and don't get fooled. It's time consuming and a lot of work, but you get some fine stuff for under $1/BF. Talk to the sawyer and make sure he will do what you want. I ran one off because he wanted to tell me what to do with MY wood! All my framing is pine, mostly from construction sites and yard men, but it takes a LOT to build a house!! 2X4 is really hard to keep straight, but you should probably use 2X6 framing anyway, for insulation. Think about windows. If you are not getting custom frames, cut your studs to standard 2X6 width, not full 6". How's that for a start? Let me know if you have more Q's. Wilson
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Greg G asks:

You usually don't need to buy a Wood-Mizer to get your wood sawn into boards...www.woodmizer.com, leave a note with your area listed, and they'll send you the names of owners close by. Check with the owners for what cutting to thickness will cost.
The biggest hassle is usually getting the logs to the mill, a hassle that is eased with some kind of tractor or 4WD (not some sappy SUV that isn't meant to do real work). The Wood-Mizer can go almost anywhere a truck can reach (some of the smaller ones might be pulled the last distance by horses, if needed).
Worth checking: get the names and prices and when the trees are available, call again and get the sawyer out there.
Charlie Self
"Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal." Alexander Hamilton
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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Greg G. wrote in message

Snip
http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/TMU/hardwood_utilization.htm
That's a PDF about your stuff. Hope it helps.
-Phil Crow
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Phil Crow said:

Actually, it's an HTML page of links to PDF's. <g>
Thank You, Phil. When I'm through making sawdust today, I'll check it out more thoroughly - there is a ton of info there!
I've noticed that this computer eats up a lot of my workshop time...
Greg G.
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On Fri, 26 Dec 2003 04:59:38 -0500, Greg G. wrote:

I do this (to a small extent). IMHE, there's no substitute for experience, so this has meant spending the last couple of years on-and-off working as cheap unskilled labour (often paid in timber) for a bunch of Wood-Mizer owners who are already doing this.
You'll also need a chainsaw competence certificate (usually takes a few days formal course and a small amount of cash) before either your insurers, or the woodland's insurers will even let you carry a saw or axe onto someone else's woodland.
Here in the UK, organisations like the Small Woodlands Association are worth looking at. There are also many regional and local organisations. Small-scale forestry just doesn't work for individuals alone - it's a co-operative effort. You need someone who can fell, someone who owns a sawbench, someone with a storage and drying yard, right down to someone who burns it for charcoal or who sells firewood to them Posh Folks As Live In The City - the amount of wastage in timber production is ridiculous, so you still need some way to shift the left-overs.
Over the last couple of weeks I've been building kitchens in 1" thick solid oak (because that's what the owners had a surplus of and nowhere to store it) and helping to clear out an old storage shed in exchange for 12' of lime (basswood) 4" thick slabbed log.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

It is rather like slaughtering the whole cow just to get a 2" strip of filet mignon, isn't it?
Well, I guess particle board/OSB/MDF are good for something after all...
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Silvan said:

Well, no one has ever accused us 'Mericans of being frugal with natural resources.

Yes it is - Jigs, and sheathing the homes of Yankees (Northerners) who move to the South. <g> And fire-starter wood.
Greg G.
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