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Author Topic: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019  (Read 2994 times)

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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2019, 06:58:18 PM »
Well today was a long day for an old man. I got up before 5 and was on the road by 6, drove out an hour to see my favorite GOL instructor before he started his class today. I had some questions that have been burning for a while and he helped me out. Also ran in to @nybhh  who was taking the class. Worth the trip. Then after another stop I was back home by 9am and tried to get the lawn tractor started ( the grass is 12" high in some spots and the rain does not stop!), no joy there, back on the charger.
 Anyway, I headed down to the mill, the goal is to get it square and true and cut a flat square cant. This is what I found:



 

 
In case you can't tell this tarp covers the work area and is normally about 20' in the air. It picked up about 200 gallons of water in the down burst we got last night.
It took me over an hour to get the 200 gallons out without tearing the tarp, cut a new support pole (the previous one was a 20' hemlock stalk that snapped off from the weight.  I finally got it to look like this:



 

SO then I could finally get to the task at hand, true up the mill. First I had to make 2 6"x6" x 6' timbers to put under the bed and finish the length off (I ran short last fall). So I did that, set the blocks underneath and got them lined up pretty close. I drill some hole through the frame to lag it down securely but I will need more lag screws. I hope this will cut down on the wobble. Then I stretched some lines from end to end to see where it sat. Turns out, one side is pretty good, but the other side has a long swoop in it. I milled some long wedge boards to use as opposed jack planes against each other for fine adjustment. I've got the big swoop coming up and flattening out, now I have to drop the far end, and there we will be going back and forth for a few hours.

 


I ran out of steam at around 3:30. The leveling work is something I can do in the early hours without disturbing neighbors. So I came up and this time got the tractor started, so I spent about two hours mowing. It looks terrible, but it's a start. Maybe I can go over it again tomorrow.
 But now, it's beer-thirty.
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Offline nybhh

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2019, 10:20:12 PM »
Yea, GOL class was very good.  Thanks for the recommendation/suggestion.  Definitely some different techniques to get used to and some bad habits to break but I think these methods lend themselves to a lot more control than what I was doing before.  He taught me a cool technique (plunge down the center of the face cut splitting the hinge in half, and clipping side sapwood) to stop the ash trees from splitting and screwing up the but log.  Ive had that happen a couple of times on nice trees.   I ask him about that after one of the other students had an ash split splinter up 4-5 feet because his hinge was a little too thick but it was not off by much and Ive honestly had that happen several times on ash.  Its good insurance thats gonna save some butt logs for sure.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2019, 05:52:44 AM »
I use that same technique on smaller trees where there is little room for wedges. I often forget to split the hinge on those bigger trees because they are very dead and I worry more about bad spots.
 Sometimes learning a small trick can make the whole day worth while. I hope you got a few. Bill is pretty sharp. My 2 questions were worth the drive for me.
 Looks like the forecast has changed and today is another rain out. Hope my tarp isn't trashed again.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2019, 11:03:58 AM »
Well Sunday was truly a washout, with steady rain, off and on quite heavy, we got 1.3 " through the day. I was up early again (see timestamp, previous post) and finally went down around 9am. Not too much water damage to the tarp this time. I spent a little time trimming it up, but will have to kill a few hours on a dryer day fixing things a little better so it can survive when I am not around to tend it.
 Anyway, I figured out why that first log had the swoop in it. It seems that the log was stiff and couldn't been or relax, but the was a swoop in the bed on one side, so when the carriage passed over that section, it dropped a bit and the blade followed. It makes sense and all the evidence fits. I tried working back and forth to get things true to the string line, but it was slow going on my hands and knees digging in the mud, rain coming down, tarp dumping down on my back from time to time. I made some progress on the rough leveling, but it was hard to get the finer stuff done considering the conditions. So I switched back to drilling lag bolt holes which is tough on the back, so I spread it out. I got a handful more holes in and set 3 bolts, now I need to get some more to finish it off. But after just an hour and a half I was soaked, depressed, and a little disgusted with the weather. I was also getting cold, it was 40 and we even had some sleet in the rain. I called it a day, came up to the house and did other stuff then took a 3 hour nap, which I apparently needed because I don't nap and if I do, it's 20 minutes max. I took the wife out for a Mother's Day dinner in the evening.
 So progress is slow but I keep pushing forward. I know there is no point putting logs up when the bed is not right. I also know life will be better and I can really start making lumber when the bed is straight and secure (until the next thing pops up, right?). A friend of mine and long time cabinet maker who I worked with in a machine shop for 18 years gave me some good advice the other night. He said "You have to stop thinking with the precision of a machinist and start thinking with the accuracy of a woodworker." There is a big difference to be sure. (But "straight" is still "Straight".)
 Also on the previous toe board issue: I had an 'accidental wedge' I made sometime last fall laying around in the duff at the mill. It's about 16" long and it turned out to make a perfect wedge to lift the log. Works like a charm!
 We are supposed to have rainy weather all week and temps in the 40's and low 50's until Friday. I have an intense week at work with auditors coming in and running rampant, so I don't look to be getting much done at the mill, but I am really hoping to have another log up by Saturday afternoon at the latest. The learning process continues.
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Online btulloh

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2019, 11:25:34 AM »
Tough weather for what you're working on, but you're getting it done.  Looks like you've found and fixed some issues.  True about woodworking accuracy vs. machinist accuracy, but straight and level is straight and level.  Just like woodworking, choosing the right degree of accuracy for a given thing makes all the difference in the outcome. Roy Underhill said once "Work accurately.  The funk will come in on it's own." I thought that was a wise statement.

Good luck with the auditors (ughhh) and the weather.  The funk will come in on it's own.   :D

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2019, 09:00:59 PM »
Oh my gosh this rain is killing me! Poured again last night and we had a surprise visitor from Texas for the night. All I got done was to trim the tarp again, and get a chestful of ice cold water down the inside of my jacket. Great night.
 Only rained for the second half of the day today, so I went down after work and finished all the lag bolts before dinner. I started clearing the ground so its easier to do the fine leveling working on my knees, maybe tomorrow. It should be dry all day without the rain starting until an hour before I leave work.  ;D >:(  Anyway, the bolting up seemed to straighten things a little more. Tomorrow night I hope to get more of the wedge leveling done, maybe done. I gotta get a log up because it's pretty close. This chinking away a tiny bit each day is killing me. I might get sick on Friday because it's my birthday. ;D (but of course, it's supposed to rain.)
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2019, 06:01:21 AM »
 It should be dry all day without the rain starting until an hour before I leave work.  
I was thinking,there about time, dry for a day,than I got to the hour before I leave for work part. :( 
I have been getting rain here too,as in the weather thread. I had 2,yes,2 days of dry weather. 8)
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2019, 06:14:00 AM »
We had one, Saturday. I need to take half a day and lower that tarp and hem it up, then add some more lines. I just don't have enough daylight in the evenings to get it done. This weekend I only get one day to work, the other is tied up. I am getting frustrated. Frustration leads to haste, and haste makes waste. Beautiful morning here now, and I am off to work. ARRGGGHH!
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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2019, 10:26:31 AM »
Are you cutting hardwood or softwood @Old Greenhorn ?

I only cut hardwood -Ash, Walnut, Cherry, Honey locust, Osage, and a little oak.  I cut a lot of beams up to 25 feet on a manual mill (LT15).  I don't use a toe board.  Most logs 16 feet and under I use my 60" cant hook as a lever against the mill rail and under the front of the log to lift and shove wedges under the first cross bar.  I do have the toothed wedge that Yellowhammer described, but I've used home made wood wedges too.  Logs too heavy to lever by hand, I use my forklift to lift the front end of the log to put the wedge or wood blocking under.  Additionally, as I learned on the forum, putting the small end (top of the tree) at the start of the mill makes life easier most of the time.

How do I measure to center the pith?  My cross bars sit above the side rails 1".  So I have a board that is 1" thick that can span from rail to rail.  Since the end of the log is typically hanging between two cross bars, I stick the board at the front of the log and use that to measure the height to the pith.  Then you take the board and go to the butt end of the log and do the same thing.  Look at the difference in height, and adjust the front end with wedges as needed to get them to the same height.  

Example.  If the front end measure 8 inches, and the back end measures 9 inches.  That's one inch difference.  So theoretically you'd raise the front one inch.  Logs have taper though, and the pivot point (your last cross bar) could be at the very end of the log, or it could be 2 feet from the end.  So what you'll find is that the amount you need to raise the front end is less than 1 inch, depending on the amount of taper and where the pivot point is.  Likely in this situation, the correct amount will be between 5/8" and 7/8".  After doing this a bunch, you will get a good feel for it and be able to nail it most of the time on the first go.  If your pith is off center 1/8" or 1/4" when you're trying to center it on a fair sized log, it's not going to be a big deal.

What if your pith is way off center at each end?  And maybe not in the same direction at each end?  Then you do what you feel is right.  If I'm making a beam and some jacket boards and the pith is 2 inches up at one end and an inch and a half down and and inch and a half over at the other...Then I have to consider what I'm making.  If my goal is a beam, I might decide to  ignore the pith, and center the diameters approximately on each end.  I use the same board to measure the dia at both ends, or approximate if they are not round, find the center height and level the log to those measured centers.  After a lot of practice, you can eyeball how much shim you need on the front end and get pretty close.  You may still need some wedge to adjust it a little more.  For example, I may start with a 2x4 block under the front end or a 3/4" or 1/2"?

So the beam in that scenario may remain fairly stable as it dries if it's Walnut, or may check and move in one or more directions if it's oak.  In those cases you may want to cut it a little bigger so that later after it has dried and moved some, you can remill it back to the size you want.  I have a mill beam planer that I use for that job too.  The jacket boards you get off that log may or may not stay flat as they dry, depending on species and internal stress and if you have weight on them as they air dry.  

I've become very fast with my tape measure and dividing and figuring how far I need to move the small end, to level the pith or the diameter.

To your other question- to rotate your log 90 degrees after the first cut or 180?  I started out rotating 90, which seems logical at first, but I learned from the other guys here that 180 was the way to go.  The reason is keep the weight of the log symmetric to make it easier to handle rotating it and clamping it.  Additionally, one you have two parallel sides, and then rotate it up to do the first of the other parallel sides, and have to center the pith or the dia, it's much easier to measure not just the ends, but to see if you're going to get wane in the middle and need to adjust your center (which you'll base your initial cut on) to not have wane even if it means a slightly off center pith.  I hope that's clear?

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2019, 10:42:11 AM »
I take half the taper off each side.  If the taper is 1  inch  use the wedge or toeboard to raise the log 1/2 inch.   Lower  toeboard or remove wedge turn log 180 degrees and make second cut.  Then do the same for the other 2 sides. 
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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #30 on: May 15, 2019, 11:08:10 AM »
Thanks gents, Learning here everyday. Brad, yes you were quite clear, in fact as I was reading I was nodding my head because it all made sense and matches what I have slowly figured out for myself. You confirmed everything I had figured would work best and how the geometry works out when leveling.I had even, just the other day decided that the 180 flip was, for me, the way to go. Doing that was how I found my swoop problem, which forced me to figure that out before I move on. It's very good to get confirmation that I am on the right track and not taking a wrong turn. I did have a scissor jack in my watch list on fleabay for the leveling, but didn't order it yet because the wood wedges are working well. My only issue there is lifting an 800# or more log to start the wedge. Only hand tools here, and even with a cant hook it can be hard to lift and hold the log while reaching in to set the wedge. So I may still get that jack but I am focused on the process and how I do things right now, I can streamline once I have improved my understanding. At this point I really believe it is possible for me to get out a timber of decent length and have it straight when it comes off the mill. I have 24' of bed and I would like to use it for something besides a tool rack. :)  The sun is shining bright as I sit in my office and it is killing me right now. ARRGHH!
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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #31 on: May 15, 2019, 11:12:33 AM »
Sounds like all you need is a little spare time and some cooperation from the weather.

Those little scissor jacks are only $15 brand spankin' new and the little trolley jacks run about 25-30$ when their on sale.  
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #32 on: May 15, 2019, 12:48:06 PM »
Brad, I forgot to answer your basic question. Up till now I have done hardwoods, ash, white oak, and maple, with maybe a little red oak. I will be working on hemlock in a month or so and I have a couple of rotten pine logs of good size that I am going to open up because I think there are some timbers hiding in there that I can use for some short creek bridges for the UTV trails. Maybe get the planks out of them too. If they are junk, they just go over the bank, which is where they would have gone in the first place. I might get some posts out of them for drying racks. Never hurts to take a look and one of them is about 18' long, so it would be a good test of how flat that bed really is. If I mess it up, it is a small loss. If I don't mess up, I may wind up with a 12x12x18' that I have to find a use for.
 Yes btulloh, I know those jacks are cheap, but I am holding up long enough to see if I really need/want one. Sawmills have a way of collecting tools and I am only trying to get what I need and use. Otherwise that mill shed I built will be full up with stuff I am not using. As it is, every time I am up at the shop I see stuff and say 'maybe I should bring that down to the mill in case I need it.' I will wind up with a duplicate set of tools there at some point, but I am trying to avoid clutter. Also, I am cheap, so I wait a week and see. I don't have side access the operate that jack under the mill, it's on timbers. SO I might actually be wanting something different. I won't buy until I have figured out the right solution for the issue. Slow and steady. Heck, it took me a year to decide on which chainsaw pants I wanted to buy, and now that I have ordered them, even before they arrive, I am second guessing myself. Sometimes I hate me. ;D
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #33 on: May 15, 2019, 08:47:36 PM »
Well I managed to get a whole hour and a half at the mill tonight and got the bed as straight as I could. I cut the short log I had on the bed and it is straight as I could check it. I am using a 4 foot level as a straight edge and it now comes down to the imperfections in the edge of the level. I think It's time I dropped the machinist mindset and went to the woodworkers mind set. Maybe it will show up clearer on a longer log, but I had no time for that tonight.
 Next issue is squareness. My logs clamps don't really seem to hold the log square. i am not sure if they are damaged (bent) from use or if it's something else. I haven't really worried about it too much because of the bigger issues, now it's time to figure this out next. I have to check if the clamp bars are square to the bed first. If they are, I'm not sure what to do next. It's one thing if board edges are a little out of square, but on a 6x6 it's a real problem. I really don't like these clamps at all and immediately had to start coming up with work arounds to get them tight. I have to put shim boards under the clamp side to get them to hold a board flat against the clamp. They are fine on logs for the first and second side, after that, not so much. No pictures just yet to explain. I didn't have a camera tonight. I'll just keep poking along on one issue at a time. 
 Anyway, i wound up with a bunch of random boards from what was on the mill and what I had started last weekend. I am trying to clear the decks, clean up the area, nail down my handling process, get a stump dug up that is really in the way on the side of the mill and make things more workable. I think I may take a vacation day Friday and just enjoy my birthday working on these issues. At my age birthdays are just a reminder that I am getting old, so I might as well get some enjoyment out of it, especially after the week I've had.
 Here's an old photo from my gallery that may give an idea of the clamp design.


 
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #34 on: May 16, 2019, 09:25:46 PM »
Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits. My Dad used to say that. The point was that sometimes you have to stop, sit down, and look or think things over. That was my goal tonight.
 I had to teach this afternoon, so I got home late and there was little time to get into anything so I figured I would go and figure out what I want to do tomorrow, what I will need, make a list and think things through. But aww, when I got down there I saw the wind today had broken one of the ropes on the tarp and the whole thing is flipped over the ridge. Sometimes I feel like I can't even win at losing. Didn't feel like getting to work on it now, that can be an early morning task, not a big deal, just wasted time...again. I made a list of stuff to haul down, call it spring supplies. I have a recycled ikea desk that will become an outdoor workbench, I want to bring the camp stove and supplies to make coffee (no coffee, no workie) and some other odds and ends. Then I went and checked out some short logs I want to skid up and mill tomorrow. The goal is to do my first 'paying job' for a co-worker. He needs enough siding to build a smoker. 5 foot long 3/4 boards of random widths from ash. I have some dead logs I took down last June that should do the trick and if they don't I have other better stuff I would rather not use on this job. The price is the cost of a saw blade. These are logs I would have made into firewood otherwise.
 I am fairly happy with how last night's work turned out so I want to do this run and see if things go well. Then decide whats next.
 I also have a lot of cleaning up and organizing to do around the mill just to make me happy and make it easier to work. (LOTS of trip hazards.) When I got the mill I never guessed how much work there would be in just making a usable work area. Lumber stacking is another issue I am still wrapping my brain around with all the random lengths and sizes I am producing as I learn. I knew there would be a lot of details and I knew i would miss a lot in my plans, but I am surprised at just how much there is to do. It's only mid-May, but I feel like I am behind already. Tomorrow is Norwegian Constitution Day and I plan to celebrate it down at the mill doing what I want.
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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #35 on: May 17, 2019, 12:46:16 AM »
well happy Norwegian const. day.  and happy birthday as well.  hope you get your 3 day weekend

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #36 on: May 17, 2019, 07:26:42 PM »
Well, its been a long day. I did not fly the flag today as it was going to rain, and it did, oh boy! I got down to the mill at a reasonable hour and brought down some of the necessary comforts I had been looking to add, like a workbench to lay tools on and such. Also brought a camp stove, coffee pot, some fresh water (forgot the coffee). I had to first get the tarp back up and this time I put more effort into trimming it off so it drains better. Having all in order, I got to work.
 The tarp is back up.


 

The Employee break room is prepared.



 

So first order of business was to cut the promised order for my co-worker. I wanted to get that done before I started playing with fun stuff. I plain milled a 6' ash log and centered the pith over a 2" slab that was left on the first log. I noted that the mill is much more rigid, totally different from when I first started. All these little tweaks are paying off. It is much more rigid, I hardly get any shake on the wide boards now. I should have checked my thickness consistency, but i didn't. It looks good on 3/4 boards.  I had to keep an eye on the clock, my daughter was taking me out to lunch for my birthday. Around 11 it started raining, I couldn't hear it with the mill running, but working near the edge of the tarp at times, I felt it. Then as I was resetting clamps, the tarp decided to dump about 2 gallons of pretty cool water in the middle of my back. I was soaked. I finished off that log, came up, got a dry shirt and went for a lovely lunch with my daughter. It rained hard for a couple of hours. I got back to the mill around 2 and took that 2" slab and made a quick outdoor fire-pit cocktail table for my neighbor, he needs one. I forgot to take a photo, it took about 20 minutes. I ran the table up to his yard and on the way down found a red oak stump that I cut a 20" diameter by 18" long round off of to use for a table pedestal down at the mill. That's my little coffee table now, with the rest of the 2" slab on it. Didn't take a photo of that either, its ugly and functional. Then I hooked up the arch, headed down to get another ash log because the rain was done. I brought that up and this one went quicker as I learn the mill and what I can and cannot get away with to make time. Then I edged all the boards. Pretty quick math says I made about 80 board feet. Not very much, but it does go out to a 'customer', so that is a first.

Stack on the left will get loaded Sunday night to deliver Monday morning. All ash. The stuff on the right is all maple and I have no idea what I am doing with that..... Yet.


 


The weekend office.



 


The view from the office.



 

Tomorrow I am going to focus on purely fun stuff. I have no idea what that will be yet. :)
Can You help out the Coleman Veterans Memorial by chipping in a few bucks? Go here for the full story: Can you help this year? in General Board



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

Online btulloh

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #37 on: May 17, 2019, 08:18:51 PM »
Happy birthday OGH. Sorry you had to spend it in the rain, but it looks like you made the best of it. Youre getting the creature comforts dialed in as well as the mill. Good deal. I bet you wont forget the coffee tomorrow.

You probably oughta sticker that lumber in the morning rather than leaving it dead stacked til Monday. Itll probably be a nice shade of green by then.

Good progress. Take the rest of the day off. 😁🥃
HM126

Online btulloh

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2019, 08:39:43 PM »
I apologize if youve already covered this, but are you planning to build a shed over the mill right away?
HM126

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: The Greenhorn's initial sawing season 2019
« Reply #39 on: May 17, 2019, 09:02:31 PM »
OG,

   Happy birthday and Happy Noggie Constitution Day. Did you wear your fancy outfit with the silver buckle shoes and the little knife on your belt? I remember working in Kristiansand in 2007-2009 and found the fancy embroidered aprons the women wore indicated their village and maybe some family associations. My wife took a year LOA from teaching and joined me there and we had a real good time.

    Keep plugging on that mill and you will learn something new every day and will every log. Remember - some lessons are cheap, some are costly. As long as you or nobody else gets hurt and you learn it was worthwhile.
Howard Green
WM LT35HDG25(2015) , 2009 4wd Dodge PU, Kawasaki 650 ATV, Sthil 440 & 441, homemade logging arch (w/custom built rear log dolly), JD 750 w/4' wide Bushhog brand FEL

Dad always said "You can shear a sheep a bunch of times but you can only skin him once"


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