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Author Topic: Getting started and expectations questions..  (Read 2726 times)

Offline A.O.

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Getting started and expectations questions..
« on: December 23, 2017, 08:42:23 AM »
So, For when I actually decide on a mill...

I cut down a tree and cut it up into logs that will fit said mill... What needs done before I mill them? Paint the ends? Age them or just cut them up??

I understand after I mill them I'll sticker them and air dry to start. At particular thickness on the stickers? And how close together do I put them?

Years ago in Oklahoma I did the inside of my house with cedar, trim, ceilings, cabinetry ect. I bought a "bunk" of rough sawn cedar from a local mill, set it outside with a plywood top for about 6-8 months to dry and it seemed to work. It was all 4/4.
In doing dimensional lumber how long before it is useable for building?

And how much can I expect to get out of a tree/log?  The one tree I cut was about 17" DBH and got about 50 feet of logs. Will I be excited when I mill them up, or disappointed?

I know I'll be doing a lot of trial and error stuff, but just trying to get an idea of things before I get going.

Offline Ox

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2017, 10:26:58 AM »
This is how I do it:

Stickers are made from edging and not so good boards.  They are 1" x 1".  Any type of wood works as long as they're dry.  Wet stickers leave sticker stain easier.

On an 8' board, which is actually from a log cut at 8'6" for trimming the ends to square up and get rid of any end cracks when building with the boards, I'll put three stickers along its length.  To be better it would take 5 stickers.  Be sure the bottom blocks for the starting row are up out of the weeds, minimum 4x4 blocks, are straight and level across them.  Straight stacks make straight lumber.

With trees less than around 12" the return is disappointing but larger trees usually surprise me with the lumber that comes out of them.  I hate waste and so saw even the tree tops logs and get a knarly 4x4 from it if only just to put down for a lumber stack.

Old tin/metal roofing is good for covering lumber stacks.  I've also bought cheap chipboard from Lowes and painted with barn paint to use when I ran out of old tin.  It sags but keeps the water and snow off.  Some guys put weights up on top of the stacks to compress them to hopefully dry straighter but in my experience if a board wants to move around when drying, it'll be straight in the stack and spring out to where it wants to be when freed from that stack.

The only time I painted the ends is on some really wide black cherry slabs because they were rare, worth a lot to me and cherry is known for checking.  Everything else stays untouched and I don't have any problems.  This is a very humid area and I imagine it's one reason I don't need to paint or Anchorseal the ends.  If you're in a desert it will likely be needed to avoid drying too fast which will cause cracks.

Remember this:  some trees just don't want to be boards.  They will fight you and make crooked lumber no matter what.  Yep, this is a real thing!  I've seen one where the board curled right up off the cant while being sawed and looked like a banana.  Another time I heard a loud pop and the cant just about jumped up off the deck an inch or so.  Tension can be unreal in some of those twisted ugly trees but you can't beat the beauty that's inside all that twisted grain.

Again:  this is me.  Your results may vary and you'll end up experimenting a bit on your own to find out what works best for you, your situation, and your style of doing things.  With a manual mill one needs to remember to try not to hurry it.  You can't!  Always know you'll be slower than hell and accept it and try to just enjoy what you're doing.  I don't particularly like milling but I don't hate it either, so all is well.  ^-^
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1989 GMC 3500 4x4 diesel dump and plow truck, 1964 Oliver 1600 Industrial with Parsons loader and backhoe, 1986 Zetor 5211, Cat's Claw sharpener, single tooth setter, homemade Linn Lumber 1900 style mill, old tools

Offline drobertson

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2017, 11:51:52 AM »
A.O. once again you amaze me with your roots,, my family too comes from Oklahoma, Woodward way,  spent every summer as a kid driving out with my folks to the reunions, most often held at the Boiling Springs State park, that said, Ox had some good suggestions, as usual, and I'm not too different.  I will say this,, when you get the mill, the more practice you have the better for when you start sawing stock that has more (value or purpose) factor.  And with what I believe you will be sawing, SYP,  what I did was to pick out some nicer clear smaller logs that needed to go for what ever reason, and make these logs into stickers.  1" squares make good ones,,  I would saw these logs clean through, then stack up on edge and make the 1" drops through,  bundle them up, (ratchet straps work well) measure out the length you want,  Mine were 42" long, this makes good for both 6" wide and 8" wide boards per layer, sticks should go (depending on how fast you plan on using) at least 4 evenly spaced in 8', 5 in 10" and so on,, for furniture grade stock, 18"  apart is a good number.  All this saying, learn the saw, and logs, and there is no end to learning logs ;D  as Ox said some will jump up and bite ya!  If these sticks are put up in the dry, they will last for years,,I say make a big pile of them, I built two racks to hold them, one for oak stickers, the other for pine,  I could go on and on, this said, learn the mill and what works for your needs,, last thing,,many times plans are made for a stack of lumber and the timing gets pushed back,, more stickers the better, evenly spaced, close to the ends of the boards.. And with this, really try to keep all logs sawn to like footage respectively , it makes lumber stacks and stickering so much easier..

Offline A.O.

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2017, 06:38:56 PM »
Thanks guys, good stuff for a good start..

Ok drobertson gonna throw you a curve now. I was in Oklahoma for about 10 years, west of Tulsa about 35 miles. I actually grew up in the Chicagoand area then kind of bounced around quite a bit for a number of years. Illinois, Indiana, back to Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Colorado, then here in South Carolina... hope I'm done.. but I wouldn't rule out going back to Texas or Oklahoma!! ;-)

Offline drobertson

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2017, 06:48:51 PM »
A.O. now thats funny,   Tulsa, is out there, but not quite west as the family was, when I hear Illinois,  I have a hard time not thinking Chicago, and this is not appealing,  I would take the Wateree, and black waters of the south any day,,just not a fan of the ants,, here in the Ozarks, it's seasonal, ticks and chiggers, and clear running spring fed streams,, smallmouth and google eye, are for the takin' if you know how, Lol  :D  you will find a mill, and it will work for you , and you will work, too, its really kinda fun,, turning rounds into squares,,then flats,,  Merry Christmas!!

Offline A.O.

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2017, 08:01:15 PM »
A.O. now thats funny,   Tulsa, is out there, but not quite west as the family was, when I hear Illinois,  I have a hard time not thinking Chicago, and this is not appealing,  I would take the Wateree, and black waters of the south any day,,just not a fan of the ants,, here in the Ozarks, it's seasonal, ticks and chiggers, and clear running spring fed streams,, smallmouth and google eye, are for the takin' if you know how, Lol  :D  you will find a mill, and it will work for you , and you will work, too, its really kinda fun,, turning rounds into squares,,then flats,,  Merry Christmas!!

Now see, I'd take the ants over the chiggers. They are a pain but they are docile compare to the fire ants in Texas. I hate chiggers, and rarely have a run in with the ants here... but.. when I go for a walk here I try to take ant killer with me to "kinda" keep them in control.
And I love the Ozarks
I'll get there on a mill.. gotta find that fine line between too much, and too little mill.. but I'll get there..

Offline furu

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2017, 02:00:58 AM »
Lots of folks from that area on here. 
I spent a few years from 1963 until 1973 east of a place called Owasso which is NE of Tulsa.
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Integrity is not just doing the right thing when no one is looking.
Integrity is doing the right thing when no one else will ever even know.

Offline A.O.

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2017, 06:57:12 AM »
Lots of folks from that area on here. 
I spent a few years from 1963 until 1973 east of a place called Owasso which is NE of Tulsa.

Well familiar with Owasso

Really need to have a location slot on the left so we know where people here are.. just my thought anyway..

Offline furu

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2017, 08:02:51 AM »
Well familiar with Owasso

Really need to have a location slot on the left so we know where people here are.. just my thought anyway..

In your profile there is a location field that you can fill out.  No it does not appear on the left below your screen handle, only the country does but if you click on the profile icon lower left below the person's screen name on the post it takes you to the persons profile where you can see the location that they have entered.
Integrity is not just doing the right thing.
Integrity is not just doing the right thing when no one is looking.
Integrity is doing the right thing when no one else will ever even know.

Offline HaroldCR - AKA Fla.-Deadheader

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2017, 12:59:03 PM »
Made it to Tulsa myself couple 3 times. Lived in Bruno Arkansas, 38 miles southeast of Harrison. Needed some technical info on a gear reducer gearbox for my wind generator project, and wound up at a motor rewind shop and their head engineer. He gave me everything I needed plus where to get that Browning gearbox.

Offline starmac

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2017, 05:30:39 PM »
A.O. The best way to do it is just buy, beg, borrow or steal a mill and start cutting. You will be pleasantly surprised at what you will be able to do right off the bat.
You will also make mistakes, no way around it.

This is how I done it and the only thing I regret is not doing it 30 years before when I went through a spell of wanting a mill.

I bought a mill sight unseen in the dead of winter, no way to get to it or see it under the snow.
A couple of months later the snow was gone, but I couldn't get to it for a few more weeks till the frost went out, thinking I had actually bought something to rebuild, I still didn't go see it till I could hook on and bring it home.
When I bought the mill, the only thing I knew about them was I wanted one, between the purchase and picking it up, I read the Whole ff forum, that pertained to milling and or logging. I also saw one in operation at an outdoor show, while there A guy I knew ask what I was doing, told him I had bought the mill and was watching this one run, and I also wanted to talk to them and see if adding hydraulics was a possibility. lol  Here is the funny part, my friend had run the mill a little the summer before to make some 20 foot 2x12, and told me that mine had hydraulics. lol I hadn't even thought to ask. His exact words, was the only difference in the new one I was watching in action and mune was the paint was faded some on mine. lol

I finally went to get it, and the guy I bought it from (good friend) brought the battery out of the shop and we fired it up so he could show me how to get it in travel mode, I brought it home and backed it in to the shop to service it, when I finished it, I made a practice run setting it up ready to cut, now I don't have anything to cut, but can't stand it, so I grab an old piece of dunnage and whack it up, smiling all the while. By the time I had finished a friend had come and watched, we went out to the woods and grabbed a couple of small 8 foot logs and brought and cut up.
Mistake # 1 do not mill inside your shop, it takes forever to get all the sawdust out of everything. lol

Offline Ox

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2017, 07:05:47 PM »
Never saw inside your shop.  Check.
lol
K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without
1989 GMC 3500 4x4 diesel dump and plow truck, 1964 Oliver 1600 Industrial with Parsons loader and backhoe, 1986 Zetor 5211, Cat's Claw sharpener, single tooth setter, homemade Linn Lumber 1900 style mill, old tools

Offline starmac

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2017, 08:46:40 PM »
It wouldn't have been so bad if I was sawing some kind of target lumber, as it was I was playing and seeing what I could do with the mill. So I cut several pieces I could actually see threw and all of it was real thin boards. It is hard to believe how much sawdust one can make playing. lol

Offline Ox

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2017, 07:11:32 AM »
I actually know what you mean - I did this once and I couldn't believe the amount of sawdust out of a few cuts of a 3 foot log!

I also know there's much more sawdust in a pile to the side of a mill than meets the eye.  So much trickles between the blades of grass you can almost bet on there being twice as much in the back of a truck than what you expected there to be when loaded.
K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without
1989 GMC 3500 4x4 diesel dump and plow truck, 1964 Oliver 1600 Industrial with Parsons loader and backhoe, 1986 Zetor 5211, Cat's Claw sharpener, single tooth setter, homemade Linn Lumber 1900 style mill, old tools

Offline HaroldCR - AKA Fla.-Deadheader

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2017, 01:04:34 PM »
A.O  Just in case, have you ever heard of Fat Lightered ?  If not let us know.

Offline A.O.

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #15 on: December 26, 2017, 06:29:42 PM »
A.O  Just in case, have you ever heard of Fat Lightered ?  If not let us know.

Are you talking "fatwood" that super resinous pine fire starter? Got gobs of it...

Offline HaroldCR - AKA Fla.-Deadheader

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #16 on: December 26, 2017, 06:59:44 PM »
Yep. That will be very difficult to saw, so, don't try to practice on it.  :laugh: :laugh:

Offline A.O.

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #17 on: December 26, 2017, 07:12:29 PM »
Yep. That will be very difficult to saw, so, don't try to practice on it.  :laugh: :laugh:

Don't think I'd try, I do split it up into fire starters though.. got a couple 5 gallon buckets of it I think..

Offline Ox

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #18 on: December 27, 2017, 10:54:17 AM »
Yep, a fat lightered tree will gum up your blade quicker than anything.  I have to really crank up the drip when in this stuff.
K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without
1989 GMC 3500 4x4 diesel dump and plow truck, 1964 Oliver 1600 Industrial with Parsons loader and backhoe, 1986 Zetor 5211, Cat's Claw sharpener, single tooth setter, homemade Linn Lumber 1900 style mill, old tools

Offline HaroldCR - AKA Fla.-Deadheader

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #19 on: December 27, 2017, 11:17:06 AM »
Y'all won't like this, but, run diesel fuel or kerosene in the drip with fat lightered. No, it won't affect the wood and you don't need to drown the ground around the mill, either. A mill in central Fl saws this almost exclusively from Sinker logs as well as some dryland logs. He has a hellacious market for the flooring at good $$$.

Offline Ox

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2017, 10:46:23 AM »
It's what I run.  I used clear kerosene with some ATF thrown in for color.  Nothing beats a petroleum liquid for pitch removal.
K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without
1989 GMC 3500 4x4 diesel dump and plow truck, 1964 Oliver 1600 Industrial with Parsons loader and backhoe, 1986 Zetor 5211, Cat's Claw sharpener, single tooth setter, homemade Linn Lumber 1900 style mill, old tools

Offline HaroldCR - AKA Fla.-Deadheader

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2017, 06:02:42 PM »
I also fashioned a bracket/holder for a small SS or brass wire brush found around welding supplies, and had it riding on the inside of the blade right before it entered the roller guide and drive tire. That wet sticky sawdust gets mashed onto the blade and then the tire and causes all sorts of problems.

Offline Ox

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #22 on: December 29, 2017, 10:40:57 AM »
That's a good idea.  I've also noticed that just a drip doesn't work when in real pitchy or lightered trees.

I actually don't drip the kero on the blade.  I drip it into/onto a folded felt wick that rides on both sides of the blade and that steadily applies and scrubs off at the same time.  A 2-1/2" piece of 1/8" felt lasts around 4 blades until it's worn down enough for me to want to change it.  It certainly changes its shape into a blob of weirdness...pitch, grease, etc.  It would probably make a helluva fire starter, these remains of felt wick applicators.  Maybe I'll start bottling them up in an old mason jar and give them away for gifts.  Only a tightwad would think of something like this, right? lol
K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without
1989 GMC 3500 4x4 diesel dump and plow truck, 1964 Oliver 1600 Industrial with Parsons loader and backhoe, 1986 Zetor 5211, Cat's Claw sharpener, single tooth setter, homemade Linn Lumber 1900 style mill, old tools

Offline starmac

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2017, 03:00:43 PM »
Ox, I am glad to see you post that, I have been thinking a felt wick rubbing the blade would be better than just dripping lube on the blade, but haven't got around to trying it.

Offline Ox

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Re: Getting started and expectations questions..
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2017, 05:48:31 PM »
Nothing better!

I had a guy I sharpen for have problems in larch/tamarack with pitch buildup.  I showed him my wick setup and he said "Na, that's too much work just to finish up this deck job".  So I suggested tying a sponge to the end of a stick, dipping it in kerosene or diesel and rubbing it on the blade while it was running.  It's just what he did and said it worked great. lol

I've tried just dripping on the blade and it doesn't even do half as good as rubbing a saturated cloth of some kind on it.  I believe this also helps save lube which is just that much more in your pocket.  Every little bit helps after all...
K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Stupid
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without
1989 GMC 3500 4x4 diesel dump and plow truck, 1964 Oliver 1600 Industrial with Parsons loader and backhoe, 1986 Zetor 5211, Cat's Claw sharpener, single tooth setter, homemade Linn Lumber 1900 style mill, old tools