RE: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Big MadroneÃ¢â‚¬ Posted below and at:
One of the lovelies of swing-blade sawmills is that they cut L-shaped sections through the log. That means the log can lay on the groundÃ¢â‚¬¦it means the mill cuts from top bark to bottom bark without having to make a cant first, which produces more accurate lumberÃ¢â‚¬¦
Ã¢â‚¬¦and it means the defects in the log can often be sawed around. For exampleÃ¢â‚¬¦
I began this board deck (one horizontal layer of boardsÃ¢â‚¬¦these are 4/4 X 4Ã¢â‚¬ CVG flooring stock) on the right of the picture. I made an L-shaped cut in two passes to remove the wane (bark), then another set of cuts to remove a 1X4 board, which took me right to the edge of a pitch pocket. That completed board has been removed, and I merely move the mill horizontally a half inch to cut out the pitch pocket, then begin again to cut a clear board seen along side.
What causes pitch pockets? They are usually windshakes from severe stormsÃ¢â‚¬¦where the tree bent sufficiently to crack the cambium layer beneath the barkÃ¢â‚¬¦the pitch or resinous sap flowing into the resulting void is a healing action that deters insects. But other injury also causes pitch pockets. Like bullets:
Lead saws like butter without the characteristic Ã¢â‚¬Å“Zing!Ã¢â‚¬ of hitting steel or the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Snap!Ã¢â‚¬ of a small nailÃ¢â‚¬¦so out comes the metal detector, which pegs outÃ¢â‚¬¦and excavation is required:
Bullets donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t damage the carbide saw teethÃ¢â‚¬¦but that nail that held up the target 40 years ago certainly willÃ¢â‚¬¦so out it comes.
With 20 minutes lost, I continue to mill CVG boards by rift sawing. For the entire 1500BF tree that makes 6 nails, one railroad spike, a dozen or so bulletsÃ¢â‚¬¦and retipping two sawbladesÃ¢â‚¬¦and slower sawing speedsÃ¢â‚¬¦an extra 4-6 hours added to the cost of the wood. Consider that when pondering what your local Ã¢â‚¬Å“urban sawyerÃ¢â‚¬ wants for his stock.
When I arrive at the point where IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll get no more CVG 1X4Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s, I can saw a few flatsawn boardsÃ¢â‚¬¦but this Madrone likes to warp when flatsawn and is great wood for turning, so I switch to turning squares for my final dimensional stock.
Instead of cutting up the small remaining slab for firewood, I flip it over flat side down on the bearers and mill it into a live edge flitch thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be more usefulÃ¢â‚¬¦.with lots of thickness left for flattening should it cup and twist in drying.
Shown here are the previous live-edge fitches waiting to be stacked and stickered along with pith waste to the right that will also be dried and later resawed to produce more stock for turning.
This 240-year-old tree was near the end of its natural life when we harvested itÃ¢â‚¬¦the least I can do is to insure minimum waste of the resource.
For more on how the sawmill works:
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think…that a time is to come when those (heirlooms) will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, Ã¢â‚¬ËœSee! This our father did for us.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ Ã¢â‚¬Å“ –John Ruskin.
Edited 4/17/2004 11:50 pm ET by Bob Smalser