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Author Topic: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?  (Read 5354 times)

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Offline Warren

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Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« on: November 13, 2005, 09:31:46 AM »
Good Morning !  I've been hobby sawing for the past year for myself and friends.  I'm getting ready to saw out a shed pattern for my personal use. I've got the cut list of needed materials.  I've got a pile of logs to saw.  Quick question: Are there any low cost "Log Optimizer" programs available to help a sawyer make the best use of available logs to saw out a specific cut list ?  When I google log optimizers on the web, all I come up with are verrry expensive options for high volume mills.

All help appreciated.

Warren
LT40SHD42, Case 1845C, W&S Forklift, Baker Edger ...  And not near enough time in the day ...

Offline Gary_C

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2005, 11:00:26 AM »
There is a whole bunch of them right on this forum. If you say where you live, you can probably hire one to come right to your place and bring a saw with him. I am not trying to be flip, but the best, low cost log optimizers are custom saywers.

The next best thing is a setworks on your saw. It will help you make accurate cuts, but it will not tell you where to cut.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

Offline Furby

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2005, 02:20:48 PM »
Warren, the best way to get the lumber you need for a "cut list", is to cut up a bunch of logs, getting the best you can from each one.
Then going through the pile to pull the pieces that you need for your list.
Trying to cut the logs to match your "list", isn't always the best way.

Offline Tom

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2005, 03:43:24 PM »
The best way I've found to approach a cut list (we call them a saw bill) is to pick out the widest and/or longest boards or timbers you require and mark the logs that will produce these.  The reason is obvious, if you think about it.   You may cut a bunch of 2x4's using up all of your big logs and then not have anything to cut your 2x12's from.

Recognizeing that you can cut multiple lengths from one log helps in utilization also.  A sixteen foot log will produce 8 foot material.  You just have to cut it in half later.   

You can't get sixteen foot material from eight foot log though, so, knowing your inventory is important.

When sawing a log, use your largest board as a target and try to turn everything else into another dimension on the saw bill.

You will find, in a custom sawing situation, that a human being, making decisions on-the-spot, can beat a computer program Hands-down.  The best Part of a human's decision making is that he can Change His Mind.  :)
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Offline chet

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2005, 09:11:06 PM »
I use Tom' method. I also prioritize the items in da saw bill, just in case there aren't enough logs to fill da list.
I am a true TREE HUGGER, if I didnt I would fall out!  chet the arborist

Offline VA-Sawyer

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2005, 11:18:29 PM »
Warren,
You, as Sawyer, are the Optimizer !  Would you consider yourself 'low cost' or 'just cheap'?  :D
I also tend to use Tom's approach.  The biggest difference is, I probably still make more wastewood from my piles.  I guess that makes me a 'less than' optimizer! :)
VA-Sawyer

Offline OneWithWood

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2005, 09:42:02 AM »
I will throw in another vote for Tom's methodology.  What he has described is the method I used for sawing out the dimension lumber for my barn.  I got the most out of the logs I had to work with.  I would suggest you saw out a few extra of each of the larger dimension pieces just to be sure.
One With Wood
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Offline Warren

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2005, 11:03:21 AM »
Folks,

I appreciate everyone's input.  To answer a couple of the questions that came up:

1) I live near Falmouth, KY. About half way between Cincinnati, OH, and Lexington, KY.   I'm running an LT15 with 10 hp diesel, and 24 ft bed frame.  If there is anyone in the Cincy, Lexington, Louisville area who would be willing to have free labor for a day in exchange for free OJT, I'm game. (and yes, I did update my profile...)

2) Yeah, I know that the best optimizer (or sub-optimizer) is between my ears.  Just interested in trying to shorten the learning curve a little if possible.

3) Re: "cheap" vs "low cost... yes, I'm both.  That's why I started with an LT15 to make certain sawing was something I wanted to do long term, and to slow down the rate of my mistakes.  In my real job I deal with computers.  One of the big "No-No's" is automating a bad process.  Automating a bad process just makes more junk, faster.  I deceided a "slow, manual" mill was the way for me to go until I better understand the process.  Then I'll move to something faster...  Although hydraulics do sound good from time to time...javascript:void(0);
Cheesy

4) Tom, et al,  I kinda picked up to start with cutting the biggest pieces from the largest logs.  What I am still trying to learn is how to make the best use of the stuff coming off the outsde while I am "un-wrapping" the big pieces.

Introduction and Trivia....  I bought the LT15 last year as a stress reliever.  Original intention was to cut out gun stock blanks and piddle.  After a year, I'm still having a lot of fun with the mill, meeting a lot of folks, and the pile of logs in the front yard for custom sawing is starting to grow. 

Now I'm looking at building a saw shed, as soon as I get my storage building built.  I've been lurking here for several months.  Especially interested in the threads on saw buildings.  Still not certain how to frame a 24ft opening on the side of a pole building that will support the truss load without sagging, or collapsing.  Any pictures on how others have framed wide openings would be appreciated.  (how NOT to do it also appreciated...)

Again,  thanks for everyone's input on the subject of optimizers.  Back to the best teacher of all, Experience...

Warren
LT40SHD42, Case 1845C, W&S Forklift, Baker Edger ...  And not near enough time in the day ...

Offline ARKANSAWYER

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2005, 01:40:52 PM »
Warren,
  Saw from the little end and make a mark on each one.   The mark will look like 12/16 and what that tells you is the log is 12 inches wide on the little end and 16 ft long.   Now use the "agin and half" rule to note the size of boards the log will produce.  So if you want to make 2x8's you take the 8 (agin) + 4(half) and know that it will take a 12 inch log to make very many 2x8's.  Now if you are looking at the end of that 12/16 know that you want 8 out of the middle so that means if you take two one inch boards off each side you will end at 8 inches for your boards.  After you take two slab cuts you will want it to be at 10 1/4 inches wide.  You will now have your witdth cut and then just get your thickness.  If you are cutting your 2x8's 1 5/8 thick then square up at 10 3/8 inches.  The boards off the top and bottom will become 2x4's after trimming.   Clear as mud I hope.
  On long logs mark your opening cut then bump up 1 1/8 inches and take a short board out of the slab.   I bet that is clear as well.   Take some time off and come to Arkansas and I will use your free labor.
ARKANSAWYER

Offline ely

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2005, 02:19:52 PM »
i like toms idea too. there is no shortcut to experience. warren, what sort of guns do you cut stocks for, if i can ask. i have a buddy that i cut for at times that has just set up a stock carving machine. he builds custom guns in the pre 1840 era. i have not seen his new set up yet.

Offline Gilman

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2005, 02:26:16 PM »
Thanks for the rule of thumb Arky, I haven't heard of the 1 1/2 rule before.  I'll keep it in mind.

As far as learning goes, Warren, CAD or even a pencil, graph paper, and a compass are handy.

Being able to take your time and erase is really handy when learning.  I was sawing beams at a commerical mill for a while and tried learning from the sawyers working there.  "What size log do I need for for X size beam," was a common question.  They were very helpful, but after two days I decided their rules of thumb were hog wash.  I created some sketches of what the cusomer wanted and what diameter log would work if perfectly round and straight.  Here's a sample.



Knowing what would work with perfect logs and then working backwards to fit reality was very handy.  The cheat sheets were also really handy when cutting a #2 verses a #2 No Wane (shown in the drawing above are 12 x 12's in the two different grades), etc.  The cheat sheet also gave me some confidence when cutting to subsitute for the lack of experience.  After my experience increased, I had it all memorized and didn't need to reference it anymore.
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Offline Dan_Shade

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2005, 03:22:18 PM »
my experience is very limited, but i've done enough to know a few things.  There are many good posts on this topics, Tom has a few posts that have a lot of good info on the subject.

I have drawn up countless "logs" like Gilman noted, and figured out what I'd saw from a certain sized log.  Go to the lumberyard and look at the boards, most will have the grain "centered" or semetrical if you look at the end grain.

part of sawing lumber is keeping in mind how the wood will move as it dries

http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=11269.0
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Offline FiremanEd

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2005, 07:42:39 PM »
Still not certain how to frame a 24ft opening on the side of a pole building that will support the truss load without sagging, or collapsing.  Any pictures on how others have framed wide openings would be appreciated. 


I wrestled with this for a good while. Considering large and long timbers, finally opted for 2 sandwiched 32 and 28 ft LVL's. 18"x1.5" for 30 & 24' openings to feed logs into the mills. I put two of them against one another to create a 3" beam which is probably over kill but quicker, easier and about the same $ as taking the time to cut larger timbers that would safely span that far. These each have 36' trusses on 4' centers riding on them and with 2' of snow load last winter didn't even wiggle.

Eddie
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Offline Larry

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2005, 09:04:03 PM »
Sometimes I saw cants for a market...really weird sizes like 3 1/8" X 5 1/4".  Got a choice of 7 different cant sizes to saw.  Rigged up a template to fit on the end of the log so I can figure out how to get the most out of the log but it doesnt take into account log sweep.

Next step is to saw the cants...not a computerized system but works good for me.  The white marks are a sliding 4/4 scale to get the jacket boards off.  Blue marks are the thickness of the cant, while yellow marks are the width.  Make bout 4 or 5 scales at a time so when they get grundgy I just put on a new one.
 


Never have to worry bout breakdowns on my scale...but sometimes the sawyer breaks down.

Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2005, 10:13:01 PM »
Hmmm? Larry    Auction item? ::) :)
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Offline Warren

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2005, 10:20:17 PM »
Arky,  I think I understand most of what you explained.  Vacation is shot for this year, and still have two weeks of deer season left.  But, I will keep your OJT offer in mind for next year. Thank you.

Ely,  Mostly rifles.  Haven't had any stocks roughed out of the blanks yet.  But did sell some of the cherry blanks to a guy for turning stock.  I'm a southpaw. I stumbled across a left handed .22 a few years ago that shoots much better than I do.  I'd like to have a custom stock made for it out of a walnut tree that blew down here on the farm.  (Interesting firearms are always my downfall...)  This was the original starting point for this whole journey...

Gilman,  I started drwing pictures on graph paper last week.  That's what got me started thinking that there might be a simple software app out there to show possible yield on "ideal" logs. 

Ed,   I finally figured out what "LVL" was. (Yeah, I'm slow...) If you had pictures, that would be very beneficial. I have not found anyone around my area has framed a door that wide in a pole building.  I agree with the "over kill" philosophy.  I'd rather do it once and be done, rather than re-do later.

Again folks,  I appreaciate everyone's time and effort to provide input for the newbie.

Warren

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Offline ARKANSAWYER

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2005, 09:38:40 AM »



  You can build a timber truss like this king post truss that is spanning 31 ft.  You build your building so that the mill sits under the gable end.   Then you will just need 12 ft doors in the side walls.






  These are simple drawings of how my saw shed will be at the new land when the title ever gets clear.  The building will be 24 ft wide with 12 ft side walls.   The opening where the mill is will be about 23 ft inside measure and the other ends will be 16 ft doors.  This will allow for my logs on the log deck to be under roof as well as the edger and stacks of lumber.   Hope to have concrete floor and carts on rollers to stack on so we can roll a full one out of the way when done.
  I have built headers with 2x8's and 1/2 plywood.   I rip the plywood 16 inches wide by 8 ft long then I take good clean 2x8's the length I wish to span and put the plywood on the out side of them spaced to the edges.  Glue and nail or screw it together.  That is basicly a LVL made at home.  If it is going to be used where it is going to be exposed to the elements use PT plywood.  It will hold a lot of force.  Sorry no photo of one.   Two sheets of plywood an two 2x8x24's and you can span 24 ft.
ARKANSAWYER

Offline beenthere

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2005, 11:02:05 AM »
Arky's structural boxed-beam header plan is a good way to go.

If me (and I built one quite similar in length and depth), I'd use 5 ply plywood and not 3 ply, and I'd use glued/screwed backing plates of 1/2" plywood behind the plywood joints, and stagger those joints each side. i.e. 8-8-8 on one side to get the 24', and 4-8-8-4 on the other side.

Hope you get to building your new saw shed soon, there Arky.  :)
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Offline FiremanEd

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2005, 10:00:54 PM »
Warren,

 Go to http://imageevent.com/fireals  and look at the 'sawmill' pics. None of the pictures were to show the LVL's but you can see th wide openings and the LVL's in several of the pictures. We have a white filter material hanging from them to provide adjustable walls. You can see them directly to the left of the Woodmizer and in the 2nd or 3rd pic you can see the wider opening in the far right corner of the building to the right of the Timberharvester mill.

Sorry that I don't have any better pics. I'll try to get some this week.

Ed
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Offline ronwood

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Re: Low Cost Log Optimizers ?
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2005, 10:47:49 PM »
Ed,

Where did you purchase the white filter material?

Thanks
Ron
Sawing part time mostly urban logs -St. Louis/Warrenton, Mo.
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