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Author Topic: Harvesting Hemlock..  (Read 2132 times)

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Offline Treeman49649

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Harvesting Hemlock..
« on: February 11, 2018, 09:59:41 AM »
I found where a Hemlock builder keeps the bark on while drying. I am hoping that the trees I have just taken down may not need to be peeled until I begin building process.
 Can they remain where they are until needed ? If the logs are cut as beam why peel ? Ends are sealed... Any thoughts ?
 Thanks in advance !
 Great site ! Very inspiring !

Offline starmac

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2018, 02:04:07 PM »
Treeman, all I can tell you about is our spruce.

We winter cut 99% of it, and peel nothing except for logs that are going to be used in natural log houses, these get peeled in the spring.
Once the temp gets right the logs peel very easy, but you have only about a month to do this before some hungry grubs move in.
These grubs die as soon as you remove the bark, but will make worm holes that are 1/4 inch across, big fat juicy grubs.
These grubs will only bore a couple of inches into the log, so not really a problem if you are sawing beams or lumber out of it, even them the problem is just looks and some folks like the looks of them.
The sawmill we sell logs to, will have logs (unpeeled) decked up for as long as 3 years, with no problems.
Again, this is white spruce, and our climate is pretty dry, your mileage and hemlock may vary.
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Offline Treeman49649

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2018, 03:36:03 PM »
Thank Starmac, looking forward to seeing whats there in the spring. I may be delayed...  I understand that Hemlock can be real tough to peel if you wait too long and I'm just trying to consider my options.
I know that I don't want to wait too long and have trouble milling and cutting also

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2018, 03:39:42 PM »
You are in MI,kinda like ME weather. They should start to peel about May.depends on the weather,warm-cold. June is for sure,mid July the bark will start to stick. Cut the linbs of flush and I do mean flush. Don't be afraid to get some of the bark when limbing. When you start to peel you will know why.





This is a spud. Loggah was kind enough to send me one. My brother "borrowed" the one my Father had. I doubt he even used it. You can see the curve part. I cheat and use a chainsaw and run it just through the bark the whole length of he log. This leaves a line on the log. Than I work the tip of the spud into that line and start peeling.Very easy to do. Just do not step on the smooth side of the bark. You will not be standing on 2 feet long. They use to use the edge of the spud to make a slit in the bark. I can get the whole log peeled in one piece,if I did a good job sawing of the limbs.



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Offline Treeman49649

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2018, 07:00:35 PM »
Thanks thecfarm ! I'm looking forward to peeling !  Bucked about 35 today and should finish the others tomorrow. Did you ever build a Hemlock building or home ? Im hoping to go round...  I appreciate the help !

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2018, 07:16:04 PM »
For logs that will be sawn, we want the bark on as long as pssoible to avoid drying.  Dried wood is harder to saw.

Bark often has sand and small rocks that quickly dull a saw.  So,we debark. 

Large mills debark as wood chips without bark can be used to make paper...have some value.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline starmac

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2018, 07:26:49 PM »
When you say bucked, are you talking about you bucked them to length?

I am just curious, as I hauled house logs for the only guy that really dealt in them here, and the custom house builders that were the buyers always had a list of lengths that they would order depending on the house they were building.
These logs would generally be between 37 foot up to 60 feet, the 60 footer generally would be the ridge pole.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2018, 07:35:05 PM »
Yes,I built 2 buildings out of hemlock. I won't be much help to you about the building part. This was built in the winter time.
This is the back side of a horse run in,4 inch batten,10 inch boards.

 

 

Than the Women Cave.

 

 

Both of these was built green. Cut the tree down,haul it to the sawmiil and put the nails to it. Sometimes within one hour.

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Offline Treeman49649

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2018, 08:21:25 PM »
Thanks guys I appreciate the information !
 starmac I was talking about delimbing trunks. I want to forward the logs forstorage purposes soon.
 I am hoping to find information about using Hemlock for round log homes.
  I still can't see any pictures or other information of those that others have built

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2018, 07:59:28 AM »
Come spring, hemlock is about the easiest log to peel.

Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2018, 08:25:22 AM »
I find that if I leave Hemlock logs in the pile for a few months, most of the bark falls off and makes a mess around the will when sawing, but is much cleaner to saw.
My last batch was winter cut.
It will peel easily in the spring.
Hemlock was largely harvested for the tannin in the bark which was stripped off in the woods and the trees left to rot in the old days,
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Offline Treeman49649

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2018, 08:49:30 AM »
Thanks everyone ! I may let them lay where they are and just clean up the brush for now and focus on the inventory etc. I have a lot to learn, you guys have been great ! Please keep the info coming.
 I hope to have enough Hemlock to do a decent cabin. I have several large white pines to harvest too. I have wondered how they may mix ?
 The build may be a few years away but I knew I had to start somewhere. Dry down means a lot.

Offline rjwoelk

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2018, 08:59:52 AM »
I built a log cabin. Did dovetails on a 8x10 cant.from hemlock.  Nice wood to work with. Ours is from the west coast
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Offline Treeman49649

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2018, 02:30:13 PM »
Many of my logs are 18" dbh and 40' long... not straight as I would like but many good sections. There's not much shake

Offline starmac

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2018, 03:04:01 PM »
I have a good friend that was one of the best custom log house builders in the state. He is sort of retired now, so will not build the log mansions anymore, but still does a smaller house once in a while and repairs older log houses some.
He also did his own logging, so was not as particular on the straightness as most custom home log buyers. It is a little more labor and takes some planning if your logs are not straight, but it can be done and the out come is just as good.
He would use his straightest logs for the long runs, and cut the ones with a little crook for use where the windows and doors went, everything used was still straight, just had some shorter logs in the mix.
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Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2018, 05:41:59 AM »
There is considerable difference between eastern hemlock and western hemlock.

One major concern is that trees of eastern hemlock at about 75 years old almost always have a bacterial infection in the lower butt log.  This creates shake and a foul odor, plus weakens the wood.  Hence, old eastern hemlock trees look nice, but do not yield well when sawn into usable lumber.

Upper logs are usually better, but cost more to use due to smaller size.  So, if logs from other species are available, such as eastern white pine, other species are preferred most of the time.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more

Offline Treeman49649

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2018, 10:23:32 AM »
Thanks for the information... so far so good. I have found shake at the base of some of them and then cut it away. The grain looks healthy and I would like to use that for a round log  I hope I'm on the right path.

Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #17 on: February 14, 2018, 09:14:14 AM »
dont trust that you have eliminated the shake. Sometimes it doesnt show up right away.
I have bucked trees that have had butt shake and then some in the higher logs with a good section in between.
Doc, is this an anomaly?
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Offline Treeman49649

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2018, 09:57:34 PM »
I'll bet your right... I'm watching for the signs. Thanks !!!

Offline GeneWengert-WoodDoc

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Re: Harvesting Hemlock..
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2018, 10:51:11 PM »
In brief, bacteria (Clostridium genus) get into the living tree through the roots.  They are more likely to invade when the ground is disturbed, such as from grazing or previous logging.  Wet sites also make conditions more favorable.  The bacteria are anaerobic, so they cannot live in air.  Hence, they do not get into the tree via an open wounds above ground (but other organisms can get in and cause damage).  Once in the tree the bacteria move a few inches up the tree every year, increasing the green MC to 100% or higher, weaken the wood due to enzymatic degradation, and create a foul odor.  Due to weakened wood, the tree develops shake, especially when the wind blows.  Sometimes the defect is called "wind shake."

  However, the bacteria do exist beyond the shake, but just did not yet weaken the tree enough to allow shake to occur.  The additional stress in drying or even planing, can increase the stress to the failure point in some cases.

So, when eliminating shake, I suggest cutting at least 6past the visible shake and maybe 12.  I wish there was a dye or stain we could apply to wood to find out where the bacteria were active.
Gene - Author of articles in Sawmill & Woodlot and books: Drying Hardwood Lumber; VA Tech Solar Kiln; Sawing Edging & Trimming Hardwood Lumber. And more


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