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Author Topic: Growing pains (standard new guy problems)  (Read 503 times)

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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Growing pains (standard new guy problems)
« on: December 03, 2018, 09:19:10 PM »
Just got my Oscar 328 6 weeks ago, rushed to set it up down in the woods because of the impending winter. I wanted to build a shed for the mill supplies and my logging tools to store over winter and also get in the fastest and hardest lessons (you know, basic stupid mistakes) before the winter so I had time to re-think and figure out how to proceed when the ground thaws.
 It was working OK until I thumped the mill bed pretty hard with a 2000 pound log and moved the whole thing out of whack, so I spent another day re digging in semi frozen ground and redoing the bed supports and re leveling it all. Back to milling and building as I went with a better base.
 I have learned that my wobbling problem with the mill in heavy (wide) cuts piles a lot of sawdust on the left rail which gets packed on the rollers and causes the left side wheels to be of bigger diameter and allow for a wobbling. if I scrape or clean the rollers as I cut, the wobbling problem goes away. I just have to figure out a way, some kind of cover or guard now to keep that dust off the rail. I can also see that these 1-1/2" angle iron rails are pretty marginal as far as stability goes. I may have to do some fabricating work to fix that (next year).
 I am still figuring out blade life. I keep changing species to use what logs I had cut and it is hard to characterize the wood and it's cutting properties. Well dried ash cut very nicely, white oak is tougher, and maple is downright hard and heavy pushing is required.
 I can't figure out what kind of blade life I should get, but I do now know the value of cleaning off the bark where the blade enters the log. I bit the bullet and ordered a case of WM blades today and set up an account for re sharps.
 I had a maple log up Saturday and all four sides of the cant cut with a swoop in them so that it looked like a Maltese cross when it was squared. I changed the blade and the cuts straightened out, but the milling was still hard. I am thinking the clutch may be slipping and band speed is dropping enough that I can't see it but it is making the cut hard. I stalled the blade many times until I could get the pressure right. Long day, sore shoulders. I think the blades are thicker than they need to be (.047?) so I got the thinner blades when I ordered (.035?).
 I have been around long enough and run enough equipment in my years to be able to figure things out pretty well, given enough time (40+ years as a machinist). I have also worked with enough 'stuff' that is new to me to expect a learning curve and some frustration. Further, I have learned to embrace this and learn from it with humility rather than get ticked off and frustrated. However, in this case I am very anxious to get this silly little shed closed up before the weather gets worse and that adds pressure to not waste time. It's cold, my toes are frozen, I am working in the dark when I can, the snow, and on wet days too. Time is my enemy and is driving me to make dumb moves I fear.
 You notice I ask no questions. I have been reading the board for about 6 months now. I know some of you (probably many) will read this and smile having learned the solutions to my 'issues' through their own hard work. Please feel free to comment on any of the things I have mentioned and offer what advice you might care to share. I have learned much from my many hours of reading here. I have much more to learn yet.
 It's a process, right?
I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here.

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Growing pains (standard new guy problems)
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2018, 09:37:45 PM »
We have all been there and learned a lot of the same lessons that you are learning now - in my case mostly the hard way.  Have you checked your drive belt tension?  That is one thing that can make a really big impact in how your bands will perform.  Don't think that more tension is better, there is a correct tension, too much and you will damage your engine.  Do you have a way to monitor band tension?  When bands get hot from too much friction they expand and tension drops, which causes poor performance and additional friction and heat, reducing performance even more.  It is a good gauge of both shapness and lube effectiveness to keep an eye on your band tension on live basis.  What degree band are you running and how many HP do you have?  Band profile can make a HUGE performance difference.  I suspect you also may be up against frozen or even worse - partially frozen logs - that can impact performance in all kinds of ways and sometimes not the same way twice. 

Sawing is one of those things that you can only learn so much about by reading - it takes the experience of doing to really get a feel for things, and even then the logs will throw all kinds of surprises at you along the way. 

Keep at it - you will lick it good.   
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Growing pains (standard new guy problems)
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2018, 12:54:43 PM »
I learn something every day -  some days I learn about the mill, some days I learn about sawing, some days I learn something about logs, some days I learn something about lumber, some days I learn about drying, some days I learn about material handling.  The list could go on!

Most days I learn something about several of these and more.  Most of the time it is all fun.

It takes time to dial in the equipment and time to polish your skills.  Experience will teach you what to do to get good results consistently.  I'm still improving my own skills after ten months of sawing 3-4 days a week. 
Woodmizer LT35HD25, Kubota MX5100, IH McCormick Farmall 140, Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill, Husqvarna 372XP, Husqvarna 455 Rancher

Offline OffGrid973

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Re: Growing pains (standard new guy problems)
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2018, 07:32:51 PM »
Good luck and yes it gets better, once you have paid the price for trying to fix it without help :)  

Read the forum, ask questions and when its helpful remember to hit the donate button on the side to help keep the site running...I couldnt have gotten to a comfortable stage of cutting without the forum and the key for me was a concrete pad to keep the base level..then its just small tweaks moving up the saw and keeping the rails clean... maybe a large industrial fan if you have power at the shed, plus helps keep away flies on hot days.
Your Fellow Woodworker,
- Off Grid


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