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Author Topic: favorite log size for 2x4's  (Read 328 times)

Offline woody

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favorite log size for 2x4's
« on: August 19, 2021, 02:39:41 PM »
I'm still green, sawing that is and I'm wondering about the perfect log size. I've been playing around with my cherry Timberking B-20 for almost a year, sawn out a few small buildings and some timbers, but now I'm building a sawmill building and need a bunch of 2x4's.
I've got a lot to learn about opening up a log and the whole approach thing, but it seems obvious to me that the bigger log will yield less waste "slab wood" and more lumber. I will be buying the logs and don't know if the scale price goes up with bigger (diameter) timber or is it a straight line bd/ft price regardless of the diameter?
TK B-20 and learning.

Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: favorite log size for 2x4's
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2021, 10:48:51 AM »
Woody, it may depend on your location and the source of your logs.  I am in the metro KCMO area and we are at the edge of the eastern hardwood forest range of the USA.  The only native softwood we have is Eastern Red Cedar (which is actually a juniper).  That means our "utility" species are all hardwoods, something like hackberry, rougher oaks, cottonwood, soft maple, etc.  Longer to dry, harder to nail, logs more expensive to buy.

Around here, normal prices of SPF lumber from box stores like Lowes, H-D, and Menards is very competitive when you consider log prices, milling costs, drying to a useable moisture content, and planing; even if your building codes don't require grade stamped lumber for construction.

If you live in an area of the country where you can get suitable species for construction lumber (SPF), at a reasonable price, and do not need to meet code restrictions, then sawing out your own shed may make sense.  I doubt that the price would change much by diameter unless you are very picky about what diameters you will buy.  Otherwise, I would think that logs that square up to a incremental cant size would be your goal.  Max cant size would be 70% of SED (small end diameter).  So, if you were targeting a cant wide enough for 3 stacks of 2x4s (~18 2x4s), or 2 stacks of 2x6s, you would need a 12" wide cant - that would require an 18" diameter log (18"x .7 = 12.6").  A 17" log would leave some want on the corners of 4 pieces.  That is assuming the logs are straight.  For 4 stacks of 2x4s (16" cant), you would need a 23" log (~32 2x4s).  Those are projections, in actuality you probably just need to take what you can get from the logs you can acquire.  Another B20 owner (2007).
Timberking B-20, log arch, F350 flatbed dump,
20' Trailer w/ log loading arch, Princeton forklift, Bobcat S250 w/ Frostbite grapple.  Nyle L200M kiln.

Offline woody

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Re: favorite log size for 2x4's
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2021, 02:29:42 PM »
Thanks Tom, I've been using a bunch of hemlock for framing and it's not a high value wood here in Maine. Just yesterday my "guy" called me and my order of almost 200 2x4' x12'&14' was ready. He's a mechanical logger that runs a first rate outfit and got into sawing to keep his men busy when there's some reason they can't be in the woods.
He sells me r/s for. 50c b/f - his logs! He's got a good market for his logs right now and  that's what pays the bills.  He's has had my order for a couple of months, so my need for logs right now has relaxed.
I can't pick up a dressed store bought 2x4 anymore without laughing at myself thinking "what's this silly little piece of trim for" especially with even normal time pricing , I'm hooked on r/s and I'm way back in the woods and don't bother with permits or inspections.
My mill is a 2000 that a guy had for hobby sawing, he died a few years ago and his son lovingly restored it, mainly all the hydraulic lines, the 2 plastic tanks, paint and factory decals. It included the sharpener and setter, a lap siding jig and about 40 blades. Apparently he decided to just buy new blades, both the grinder and setter were unassembled and unused.
Thanks for your input.
TK B-20 and learning.