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Author Topic: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019  (Read 8346 times)

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Offline Old Greenhorn

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The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« on: May 06, 2019, 08:10:34 PM »
I got my mill back in October and got it set up and running well enough to cut some lumber and build a shed to hold the tools overwinter. (Thanks again to @nybhh for the roof sheathing boards just before the snow came which allowed me to finish enough to close it in. It still needs battens. Details on that debacle can be found elsewhere on the forum.) anyway, my first effort was at best, a 'slap-dash get it done' kind of thing. 
 So now I have spent the winter reading and learning here on the forum and feeling very much the greenhorn. I am trying to start fresh. Tonight I just had a little time after work so I went down and uncovered the mill, it fired on the third pull with the old gas in it. :) I rolled the blade for a little bit then let it idle for a while to run in a bit. Then I rolled a log I left cued up back in January and never worked on. It's 12" on one end and 11" but a little odd shaped on the other. The pith is about an inch off center at the small end. Centering the pith on a manual mill with no hydraulics or a helper is pretty tough, but I did it. Then I ran out of time and had to head up for dinner. Tomorrow I hope to start cutting. My hope is to get a 5 1/2' timber from this with the pith centered and use whatever is around it for 4/4 boards. I need two of these timbers to match the existing 6" PT posts I have under most of the mill bed. I didn't see the point in buying two more when I can make my own. Part of my plan to make the mill bed more stable, which is an issue.

 So, at this point if I had a question it would be this: Any of you fine folks with a manual mill and no hydraulics figure out an easy way to center the pith for your first cut? Maybe I should ask "An EASIER way".
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here.

Offline John Bartley

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2019, 08:36:30 PM »
So, at this point if I had a question it would be this: Any of you fine folks with a manual mill and no hydraulics figure out an easy way to center the pith for your first cut? Maybe I should ask "An EASIER way".
When I bought my manual mill in 2007 I also ordered an option called "toeboards".   Mine are hydraulic using a manual jack.  They are used to raise the log for doing just what you are trying to accomplish.  I ordered two so that I could always have at least three points of a log or cant touching the bed (one end on the mill and the middle and other end on toeboards). Another way is to use a scissor jack under one end of the log or cant.



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Offline nybhh

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2019, 08:50:39 PM »
I bang a felling wedge under the log on the furthest out bunk on the small end.  Ive found one inch normally gets me pretty close but I have an old scissor jack in the barn that works pretty well too.
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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2019, 08:56:58 PM »
X2 on the toeboards.  First you need to level the pith - that's what the toe boards are for.  I just use a scissor jack or small trolley jack.  Anything to adjust the level of the pith at one end to match the other end.

For sawing 6x6's, etc.  I just use a sharpie to make tic marks on all four sides of the pith that defines the timber I'm sawing.  I have some gauge blocks for each size, but you can just use a tape measure.  If there's side lumber to take, I'll set the saw blade to the top tic mark, then index up the number of boards to come off and then saw down to the top tic mark.  Same thing on the second side.  Sides 3 and 4, I usually run the head down to the finish level for the  timber, measuring off the bunk, then index up for the side lumber and saw down to the finish cut. 

Don't forget to readjust your toe board for the second side!!  Don't forget to remove or lower the toeboards for sides 3 and 4!!  (Nobody has EVER forgotten this step.  :D)

It's actually a lot faster than writing this.  It's not elegant or tricky, but it works well for me.  We'll see what others are doing.   This must sound pretty archaic to the setworks crowd, but that's the deal.  It really is easy and fast after you get a flow going.

By the way - you'll need to oversize a little to allow for shrinkage during drying.  How much depends on the species and the target size of the timber you're sawing.  Maybe an 1/8 to 3/16 over for a 6x6, depending.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2019, 09:03:26 PM »
@John Bartley that toe board is slicker than deer guts on a door knob! Not sure if it would fit my mill, they don't have enough detail on their site and I note that they have no US outlets. None the less your suggestion of a screw jack, as well as the others after you make me feel stupid. I should have thought of that. I wonder how many of those I have scrapped over the years.
 NYBHH the felling wedge is also a great idea, I had one ten feet away and never thought of it this evening. I did grab a wedge of filtch and used that. Gotta go scrounge in the shop for that nice screw scissor jack I saw laying around a few months ago.
 You guys are great.
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here.

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2019, 09:12:28 PM »

Don't forget to readjust your toe board for the second side!!  Don't forget to remove or lower the toeboards for sides 3 and 4!!  (Nobody has EVER forgotten this step.  :D)
OK so now you have me. My thinking (I have not done this yet) is that you set the toe board for the first cut to get the pith level, then you flip the log 180 and rest on the first cut, this makes two parallel sides. Now you will have to set the toe board on the third side, then remove for the forth. Is that right? As I type this I realize that you probably set and cut side one, the roll 90 and set the toe board to center the pitch again, then remove the toe board for 3 and 4 sides.
So did I understand you correctly? Just trying to work this out in my thick head.
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here.

Offline John Bartley

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2019, 09:14:20 PM »
Hey OG,

If you are thinking of getting ambitious and building a set of toeboards, I'd be happy to post up a bunch of photos for detail for you.  Lemme know.

cheers eh?
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Offline John Bartley

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2019, 09:15:12 PM »

Don't forget to readjust your toe board for the second side!!  Don't forget to remove or lower the toeboards for sides 3 and 4!!  (Nobody has EVER forgotten this step.  :D)
OK so now you have me. My thinking (I have not done this yet) is that you set the toe board for the first cut to get the pith level, then you flip the log 180 and rest on the first cut, this makes two parallel sides. Now you will have to set the toe board on the third side, then remove for the forth. Is that right? As I type this I realize that you probably set and cut side one, the roll 90 and set the toe board to center the pitch again, then remove the toe board for 3 and 4 sides.
So did I understand you correctly? Just trying to work this out in my thick head.
Either way works and yes, you have it correctly.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2019, 09:18:59 PM »
Hey OG,

If you are thinking of getting ambitious and building a set of toeboards, I'd be happy to post up a bunch of photos for detail for you.  Lemme know.

cheers eh?
My time for milling is precious and short. My time for fabricating is even less, but important stuff, I make the time for. I am trying to thread the needle between 'quick and dirty' and being elegant and thorough. I'd love to see some photos, but don't want to make a project for you. Just something to give me an idea of what your approach is. Thanks for offering.
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here.

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2019, 10:01:12 PM »
The scissor jack will work fine until you have some spare time to fabricate. I find spare time can be kinda sparce, so Im still using the scissor and trolley jacks. It gets easier the more you do it, so doin it is the most important thing.
HM126

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2019, 05:25:18 AM »
 It gets easier the more you do it, so doin it is the most important thing.
This is good advice for a LOT of things, which reminds me, it's high time I picked up my mandolin again.
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2019, 05:34:58 AM »
One member put a roller on top of the scissor jack.
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2019, 06:45:20 AM »
Centering the pith is "nice to do" especially cutting timbers, its usually not needed. Keep a couple of various thickness pieces of sticking handy, pry up one end of the log with a peavey or bar and slide the sticking under. Frank C.
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Offline Dana Stanley

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2019, 07:25:09 AM »
Hey OG,

If you are thinking of getting ambitious and building a set of toeboards, I'd be happy to post up a bunch of photos for detail for you.  Lemme know.

cheers eh?
I'd like to see them. I like making stuff! I did welding and fabrication for 6 years, and like to keep up my skills, I am rounding up stuff for, trailers, log arch, and siding jig. One more project would be great!
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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2019, 07:37:25 AM »
The WM LT 15 has a cool way, Ive used it.  They sell a little metal wedge that slips over the bed rails and I used a cant hook as a lever and simply lever the log up a few inches and slide it in.  

I also welded a rail under mine and used a car jack for a while, it works fine.  Since the car jack has rollers under it, it will move back and forth on the rail.

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2019, 07:46:55 AM »
There are lots of ways to make some toe boards and there are many examples on here scattered through various threads.  Do a search and see what you come up with.  There are probably quite a few examples in in the SAWMILL MODS thread.

If you've got room to put a rail underneath like YH is talking about, the little trolley jack solution works well without a lot of fab work.  I have a couple of the really small trolley jacks and find them to be really handy, both around the mill and everywhere else.  They show up on sale all the time at HF, Northern, etc. for 25-30$.
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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #16 on: May 07, 2019, 08:32:15 AM »
Although I have a Lucas swing mill, I saved this photo just because I thought it was a good idea.



 
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2019, 09:14:14 PM »
Yup, definitely gonna do something about toe boards one way or the other. 
 Got down there tonight for a short bit, worked until dark, we had 1/2 of rain in an hour just before I went down. So there was about 30 gallons of water in the tarp. Anyway, still getting my sea legs back I got a stupid mistake out of the way and forgot to tension the blade. Popped it off the wheels 8" into the cut. 10 minutes lost resetting the blade and back to work. First slab went off easy and quick.  Second 1" slab easy also. 3rd slab was now getting close to 12" wide and the mill started shaking from the load (common problem for me), but I got it off, nice board, pretty maple and very clean, 1 small knot.
 When I flipped the cant 180 (and remembered to remove the toe wedge) I noticed there was a huge bow in the bottom face that I had just cut. Perhaps over an inch in the middle. This log is 12'6". I stopped at this point because it was dark enough that I couldn't read the scale. I wanted to think on what I saw before proceeding. I also wanted to see if it would relax in 24 hours, I left all clamps off.
 Today's questions:
 1) Are logs known to 'relieve themselves' i.e. 'bend' in the direction of the first side that is slabbed? 

2) If you cut on the opposite side and take a couple of slabs will it lay back flat? I took one thin opening cut.

3) I have no idea how I could pull this flat on this mill. Before you ask, I cannot confirm, at this point if the cut itself was bowed. Not sure how I would prove that since I rolled the log already. (That's not a question, but I would like to hear thoughts.)

4) I need this timber to put under the mill track. I would have to do some finer measurements, but it could be that I can cut this in half now and mill each one separately to get what I need. I was going to cut two pieces after it was milled. Any thoughts on that? I still have to measure to see if I could do this. 

5) I realize that my bed may be at least part of the problem if it has moved over the winter. These beds aren't very stiff and subject to the supports they have. It's just angle iron. I will check (again) that too as soon as I can. (not a question, just a detail.)

6) Is it reasonable to think I am never going to be able to mill anything square and straight over 6' long? (Please tell me that isn't the case.)

I think I have already asked too many questions. That's enough for tonight.
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here.

Offline doc henderson

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #18 on: May 07, 2019, 09:39:35 PM »
Hey OG.  If the bed is arched or swooped, then I believe the center of the slab produced after flipping should be thicker or thinner than the ends.  Prob. need a long level and or straight edge, or even a piece of string to check for bed flatness along the length.  mine will shake or vibrate if not supported by all 6 jacks.  I know that branches (as opposed to trunks) will come with tension or compression wood.  I would stack flat and see how it turns out when dry.  slight deformity can be milled out with joiner/planer or back on the mill to flatten.  As requested, I will tell you that "you will mill straight and square over 6 feet!!!"   8)  8) 8)  count-em, 6 feet.
ps the part about a "log relieving themselves"  I am not touching with a... ten foot pole! :D :D :D
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #19 on: May 07, 2019, 09:47:55 PM »
pss, I guess even if the bed is swayed or if their is spring in the wood,  it depends on if it is contacting the mill bed
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