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
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!
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
Greg G. wrote in message
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:
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
Remove the At in the email address
On Fri, 26 Dec 2003 08:38:41 -0500, email@example.com wrote:
I agree. Having watched them strip my home of everything standing, I
have an even more profound appreciation of the few remaining stands of
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.
I know about quarter sawn, flat sawn, etc. wood and such, but was
hoping there was a general info guide to the process.
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
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
if you want any more info on it, i'd be glad to answer questions, just
On Fri, 26 Dec 2003 11:22:57 -0500, 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
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
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < firstname.lastname@example.org>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
<Greg G.> wrote in message
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.
"Man is a reasoning rather than a reasonable animal."
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...
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
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.
Klein bottle for rent. Apply within.
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