off to the sawmill for the first time! Any advice?

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Chilihead

New User
Chilihead
I've been building furniture for 15 years now. I've always bought my lumber already cut and dried at a lumber yard. Well a buddy of mine just took down 2 large red oak trees, and he called to ask if I wanted the trunks for lumber. One is 14 ft long and the other is 10 ft long, both about 22" diameter. Heck yeah! So I got them hauled (that was an adventure in itself....heavy!) to a local guy who can mill them up for me. I'm going tomorrow afternoon to watch the process. Very excited and curious to see how its done. This guy can quarter saw them, so that's probably how I'll have them milled.
Any words of advice from you guys is certainly welcome!
 

ShawnS

New User
Shawn
don't get addicted haha. I love to watch what comes off the then end of the mill compared to what goes on it. I'm still using my grandfathers old circle mill but its still a thrill to see what comes out when you open up a log. If the guy is a decent sawyer you should have some great lumber.
 

Bill Clemmons

Bill
Corporate Member
Is it a circular saw, or band saw? Last year I had a guy come to my place and saw some logs. He had a portable band saw mill. My advice:


  • If he works alone, be prepared to help him as much as possible. But stay out of his way when he's busy. He will appreciate it, and it will go faster.


  • Take gloves and safety glasses.


  • BE SAFE!


  • Enjoy yourself.
 

jazzflute

Kevin
Corporate Member
Is it a circular saw, or band saw? Last year I had a guy come to my place and saw some logs. He had a portable band saw mill. My advice:


  • If he works alone, be prepared to help him as much as possible. But stay out of his way when he's busy. He will appreciate it, and it will go faster.


  • Take gloves and safety glasses.


  • BE SAFE!


  • Enjoy yourself.
Geez Bill, I was going to tell him that, whatever he does, don't volunteer to off-bear!

;-)

Also, add earplugs to Bill's list.

K
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
Recognize that if you have the wood quarter sawn the boards will be much more narrow (roughly half as wide). The boards will also tend to be more stable and will have the possibility of the often sought after "fleck" grain pattern.

I've never watched "my" wood cut up. That would be interesting. I like going to the sawmill to get wood, however. More interesting place to go.

You may be past this but recognize that stumps and crotches are where you find the most interesting grain patterns.
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
This guy can quarter saw them, so that's probably how I'll have them milled.
Any words of advice from you guys is certainly welcome!

Best thing you can do. You can get plain sawn oak anytime. Finding a patient man willing to quarter is special. After cutting, stack it carefully and be patient with drying. It takes time.

good luck
dan
 
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CrealBilly

Jeff
Senior User
Personally speaking... Since I own a sawmill and i cannot recall the last time I purchased lumber from retail. For my personal use I only cut quartersawn for furniture use. Ofcourse this requires larger diameter logs but I can control that. If I'm going to use the lumber for construction then I flat saw it. I do make exceptions for figured logs like crotches burls Pippy etc.

Anyways you can read a little more about it here ---> https://sites.google.com/site/millscustomsawing/logs-to-lumber-1
 

sawduster2

New User
Don
After sawing tomorrow your work has just begun. Perhaps you will get the lumber custom dried by someone and all you will have to do is deliver the lumber.

If you are going to do part or all the drying you need to have a plan to dry the newly sawn lumber. Select a site that will get daily gentle air movement You should be prepared to stick the boards as soon as possible on kiln dried "sticks". Start your pile on a good foundation, such as 4 x 6 bolsters (running across the boards) every 2 - 4' apart and level. If you start stacking on an uneven base you will get crooked lumber. Start building your pile. I would recommend 3/4" x 1" ( or 3/4"x 3/4") sticks (if 1" - the 1" is against the face of the board) that extend across the width of the pile. For 4/4 (1") oak lumber I would place the sticks 24" apart. Make sure each course of lumber has a stick on the leading edge (both sides). Make sure all of the sticks are uniform with the stick below. You should look at you pile after sticking and see all the sticks align vertically. If you want wavy lumber, then ignore this suggestion! Keep the edges of the pile even. If you will have space between boards, make the space internally, not on the edge of the pile. After you stick your last course put a top on the pile (plywood works okay) and I recommend putting some weight on the top to encourage flatness in the pile. Often the top 2 or 3 courses of lumber will have some twist & cup since the drying pressures exceeded the weight overhead. Putting some cinder blocks or even dunnage such as firewood can increase your yield. Don't hang a tarp over the sides, this will impede air movement.

After air drying the stack for 90 - 120 days your moisture content should be down around 30% unless you start in the dead of winter. Around this moisture content you are ready to get the lumber kiln dried or keep it on sticks until it reaches the EMC (equilibrium moisture content) which in our area is around 13 -14% If you plan on totally air drying, getting oak from 30% down to the EMC could take many months depending upon the relative humidity and temperature.
 

scsmith42

New User
Scott Smith
Quartersawn oak shrinks twice as much in thickness as flat sawn oak. If you want 5/4 thick dry rough sawn lumber (suitable for 15/16" - 1" finished stock), your miller should mill 1-7/16" green thickness. For 4/4 stock, he should mill at 1-1/8" green.

Very good advice from Sawduster 2 about air drying. 24" sticker spacing is ok, but 18" would be better. At this time of year in 3 months green oak will be between 35 - 45%mc. Don't try to rush it or you will have problems.

The ideal way to air dry is to stack and sticker your lumber under one of those portable metal carport structures that you see advertised for $695.00 on the side of the road in rural areas. Unrestricted air flow yet out of the rain and direct sun.

Definitely QS the logs. Ask your miller to mill out both the sapwood as well as the first 10-15 years of pith wood and your boards should dry straight. If not, they will most likely crook towards the sapwood and check in the pith wood.

End sealer helps to prevent end checks, but starting and ending your stickers within 1" of the ends of the boards helps to prevent checking also.


Scott
 

scsmith42

New User
Scott Smith
Geez Bill, I was going to tell him that, whatever he does, don't volunteer to off-bear!

K
Aww, you are such a spoil sport! He did not indicate that they were going to mill some 20" wide 8/4 planks like certain Offbearing gluttons for punishment requested so his back should recover in less than the two months that it took for you.

Your back did recover, didn't it???



Scott
 

CrealBilly

Jeff
Senior User
Quartersawn oak shrinks twice as much in thickness as flat sawn oak. If you want 5/4 thick dry rough sawn lumber (suitable for 15/16" - 1" finished stock), your miller should mill 1-7/16" green thickness. For 4/4 stock, he should mill at 1-1/8" green.

Very good advice from Sawduster 2 about air drying. 24" sticker spacing is ok, but 18" would be better. At this time of year in 3 months green oak will be between 35 - 45%mc. Don't try to rush it or you will have problems.

The ideal way to air dry is to stack and sticker your lumber under one of those portable metal carport structures that you see advertised for $695.00 on the side of the road in rural areas. Unrestricted air flow yet out of the rain and direct sun.

Definitely QS the logs. Ask your miller to mill out both the sapwood as well as the first 10-15 years of pith wood and your boards should dry straight. If not, they will most likely crook towards the sapwood and check in the pith wood.

End sealer helps to prevent end checks, but starting and ending your stickers within 1" of the ends of the boards helps to prevent checking also.


Scott
Solid advise... Hey did that guy from WV with the big studio contact you about QS Sycamore? I told him to tell you I sent him :) he wanted way more than I have on hand...
 

scsmith42

New User
Scott Smith
Yes, I recall that I sent him to Ivey because I did not have what he needed.

I'm supposed to pick up a couple of 36-40" sycamore logs in the near future...


Scott
 

CrealBilly

Jeff
Senior User
Yes, I recall that I sent him to Ivey because I did not have what he needed.

I'm supposed to pick up a couple of 36-40" sycamore logs in the near future...


Scott
Cool glad he contacted you and I hope Ivey got some business.

40" sycamore butt logs make for oh so nice QS sycamore. I exspecially like sycamore with pink streaks. Lacewood ain't got nothing on QS Sycamore.
 

jazzflute

Kevin
Corporate Member
Aww, you are such a spoil sport! He did not indicate that they were going to mill some 20" wide 8/4 planks like certain Offbearing gluttons for punishment requested so his back should recover in less than the two months that it took for you.

Your back did recover, didn't it???

My back, yes. My front and my sides... I'm not so sure.

Lately it doesn't require much heroic activity to incur injury. Example: I found out about a month ago that I have three (new, to go with the ones that were already there) meniscus tears in my 'good' knee. That did help explain the watermelon imitation it was doing. After the doctor shared the 'both knees need replacement but we'd like to hold off until you really can't walk due to your relatively young age' speech—one which I was already familiar with—he asked how I had hurt my knees over the years. I said "Well, the first one was a parachute malfunction and I had a hard landing under a reserve, and the second one was during the championship game of a racquetball tournament." He then asked how I had managed to inflict the new injury.

"I was standing in my closet, and when I started to walk it just went."

Aging sucks.

K
 

jerrye

Jerry
Corporate Member
After the doctor shared the 'both knees need replacement but we'd like to hold off until you really can't walk due to your relatively young age' speech K
My wife needs a replacement, and has for a few years. She got the same speech when we were in Raleigh. Moved here, and found a surgeon that told her three things have changed in recent times. One, each knee is custom made to the specs required by your body. Two, the replacements he uses now last up to 50 years. Three, he does replacements in about an hour.

It may be worth finding another surgeon Kevin. Or you could come visit her surgeon. Hey, it's winter, so Florida might not be bad for ya!
 

jazzflute

Kevin
Corporate Member
My wife needs a replacement, and has for a few years. She got the same speech when we were in Raleigh. Moved here, and found a surgeon that told her three things have changed in recent times. One, each knee is custom made to the specs required by your body. Two, the replacements he uses now last up to 50 years. Three, he does replacements in about an hour.

It may be worth finding another surgeon Kevin. Or you could come visit her surgeon. Hey, it's winter, so Florida might not be bad for ya!

You see that Scott? That thing directly above is called a "helpful response". Sympathetic to my situation; containing useful information that is actionable and valuable.

Now let's examine your response, shall we?

*sigh*

You really should try to be more serious in your messages...

Your friend,
Pot
 
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