Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Portable Sawmill 101: Step by Step Basics

This is a photo- documentation of Carl cutting 407 board feet of 2x4s out of a white pine log that was about 3 feet in diameter and 10 or 12 feet long.

1) He used the tractor to pull the sizable log down off the hill from where the tree was cut.

2) He loaded the log onto the sawmill using a lifting device which is attached to the mill.

3) The chainsaw had to be used to cut out a chunk that wasn't going to fit through.

4) The rounded edges with bark, called slabs, were shaved off by the sawmill blade. This required the log to be rotated several times. Finally a square of log remained. This was to become the boards.(Note- Carl had to cut off another chunk with his chainsaw in these photos- I can't remember why.)

5) Boards 2 inches thick were cut by setting adjusting the mill and then running the squared off log through. Each run produced one board. The boards were stacked to the side, and then run through again, this time set up on their side to cut the 4 inch width, thus making them 2x4s. All the scraps were set aside in a pile and either became 1 inch stickers (used to seperate the layers when stacking the boards) or will become bonfire wood this fall. (Come over and get warm!)

As the 2x4s came off the mill, Carl stacked them neatly to the side, and it was my job to load them in the truck, take them to the piles and stack neatly.

Before Carl started, he judged by the look of the log that it would have 400 board feet of lumber. At the end, we measured 407 board feet cut. Pretty close, Mr. Rice!


kentuckyagrarianwannabe said...

Makes me want to get my mill out and start cutting, hopefully it will cool off enough to do so soon.


Allen Frost, Advanced Certified Rolfer said...

Hey Dana
Great to see you at GL! You have inspired me to do a blog on building my farmhouse. You can see it here. http://pisgahfarmhouse.blogspot.com/
I am very impressed with your lumber pile and very jealous but I must say that I do have a huge firewood pile for the next two to three years.