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Author Topic: Cutting Telephone Poles  (Read 8734 times)

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Offline woodweasel

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Cutting Telephone Poles
« on: February 19, 2014, 02:16:51 PM »
 Got a phone call today from a fellow who wants me to cut up a bunch of used telephone poles.(Not sure how much is a bunch) He's 240 miles from my location.We discussed mileage,hr. rates. hotels etc.He wants to use them for horse& cattle fences.Maybe 3-4 slices per pole.As a green sawyer I'm concerned about the hard kreosote poles & metal in them.Not sure how many I can cut in/hr.-16' long? I have an LT35 manual with deck package.He's trying to buy the poles and I'm trying to do the research as this is out of my league? Help ???

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2014, 02:26:37 PM »
There are quite a few posts in the archives about milling used utility poles.  The general consensus is stay away from the creosote treated poles, but it's ok to mill redwood and cedar poles as long as you have a good metal detector.

I've used a chainsaw to cut utility poles for farm buildings, but there is no way that I would mill one on one of my sawmills.
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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2014, 02:42:52 PM »
I know only what I read on here about it,don't do it. The sawdust is nasty,it stinks,REAL bad to breath in the dust. It gets on your clothes and than if you jump in your truck,it's in your truck, The smell is not good.
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Offline LittleJohn

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2014, 02:51:45 PM »
I woudl recommend at a minimum to use a resporater of mask if you have to saw creosote; well actually I would first advise against and then mask up.  If the poles were in the country I would not be too concerned with metal other than the huge metal staples and grounding wire.  If the poles where in town, stay away with a 10' pole.

P.S. Old man used to climb poles (Electrical Lineman) for a local co-op and we always had the beck kindling wood  ;) very old air dried poles, split very nicely.

Offline Solomon

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2014, 03:08:58 PM »
Being 240 miles away , you're playing on his home field.
 Common sense would dictate to me that he's already contacted sawyers near him and they didn't want to do it for one reason or another.   I'd say forget it, you're flirting with disaster.
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Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2014, 03:12:12 PM »
I personally won't saw anything treated. I don't know about creosote, but the newer treatments are really bad news. I've heard that besides the health issues, it can be really hard on the metal of the mill. A friend of mine has an 85' power pole that is something like 3' on the big end. We were going to saw it up into 6x6 for a pole barn, but after some research, we left it where it was.
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Offline WellandportRob

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2014, 03:43:14 PM »
 

   I mill them all the time.  I cut the butt end off, that is treated and mill the rest.  The best thing with them is you can see all the steel.  I have the customer remove the nails prior to my arrival.  They have all been past through a metal detector at the pole mill.  Make sure you set-up up wind.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2014, 05:18:25 PM »
I do not saw utility poles.  I once sawed some bridge timbers.  The creosote build up on the blade was really bad. 

The customer will not be getting the treated lumber that he thinks because it is difficult if not impossible to get any significant amount of preservative into the center of the pole.  When the pole is sliced open, this untreated wood is thus exposed to the elements.  But what do I know?  I only spent 32+ years in the telephone industry.

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Offline clww

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2014, 05:31:58 PM »
This has been on here before, as Mr. Smith posted. Three words come to mind: DO NOT MILL! go_away
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Offline WellandportRob

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2014, 05:47:33 PM »
Maybe your guys poles are different than the ones we use in Canada.  All of ours are Western Red cedar and the lumber is beautiful.  I have sided many homes with this wood.
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Offline clww

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2014, 05:49:20 PM »
Maybe. I know all the old, abandoned poles I see clearing are creosote toothpicks from stem to stern. Only thing I touch them with is an excavator.
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Offline WellandportRob

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2014, 05:52:36 PM »
On ours they only treat the end that goes in the ground.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2014, 05:56:02 PM »
You are exactly right WellandportRob.  There is a big difference.  Jumpbutt yours and saw them.

The OP mentioned "hard kreosote poles" which indicated that he had been contacted about sawing fully treated creosote poles.
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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2014, 05:57:26 PM »
Being 240 miles away , you're playing on his home field.
 Common sense would dictate to me that he's already contacted sawyers near him and they didn't want to do it for one reason or another.   I'd say forget it, you're flirting with disaster.

 smiley_thumbsup

      I have cut some for myself a long time ago and I will never do that again.  Mine were treated from end to end

Offline pineywoods

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2014, 05:58:49 PM »
Add me to the "run away" crowd. I let a neighbor talk me into quartering some. Never again. He used them for fence posts, and sure enough they promptly rotted away, everything but the outer inch or so..There is a reason the power companies will give them to you..
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Offline WellandportRob

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2014, 05:59:07 PM »
You are exactly right WellandportRob.  There is a big difference.  Jumpbutt yours and saw them.

The OP mentioned "hard kreosote poles" which indicated that he had been contacted about sawing fully treated creosote poles.
My apologizes,  I do not cut anything that has been treated.
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Offline Claybraker

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2014, 06:20:42 PM »
Down here, we used creosote poles, and then later they shifted to the green poles. Creosote are easier to climb, it's hard to get a spike in one of the green poles.

Both of them, the bottom 10' or so will be full of nails, staples, and whatever else some enterprising individual could find to fasten a sign with.

Offline AdamT

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2014, 06:30:25 PM »
I turn down a few telephone pole jobs each year, it's just not worth the hassle.

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Offline woodweasel

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2014, 06:41:50 PM »
Thanks fellows I believe I'll stay away from those critters! :-\b Daniel

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2014, 08:50:25 PM »
The way to do it is to leave the poles whole for fence posts then cut oak or whatever for boarding. Frank C.
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Offline POSTON WIDEHEAD

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2014, 09:50:28 PM »
We used telephone poles back in the 70's to build a pole barn. Not sure where my Dad got all those poles from but we couldn't call Georgia for 6 weeks.
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Offline Arbor-Mill

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2014, 10:14:33 PM »
I read some previous post about a year or so ago about sawing creasote poles and all the Do's and Dont's and decided that I would do it anyway to atleast form my own opinion.  Customer had 10-20' poles and wanted 6x6's to build a deer stand so I figured I could handle anything for 40 cuts and knock out 600 bf in an hour or so.  I set up up wind but my customer was down wind.  I figured him being a tough old farmer a little creasote wouldnt hurt him.  He actually had burn type rashes around the collar of his gloves and around the collar of his neck.  We finished the job and he actually made an ER visit due to the discomfort.  I felt bad since a little sawmill job cost him a trip to ER.  I guess my point is, you definitely have to keep others in mind as well as your well being.  Good Luck! 

Offline Red Good

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2014, 01:26:50 AM »
Power poles and telephone poles treated the same ? Been looking at some poles that the local power company is replacing , thought it may be a good source . Used to them being cedar .
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Offline Too Big To Fail

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2014, 08:36:37 AM »
I spent 2 days milling up some fully treated poles last fall.  I wore a tyvek suit, nitrile gloves and respirator.  It was raining, which helped keep the dust down, but after a while the exposed skin at my wrists developed a slight chemical burn.  I definitely felt like I had been poisoning myself a little bit.  Kept an eye out for trash, and only hit one nail.  I might do it again if the price was right.  Not worth it at the regular rate IMO.

Offline NMFP

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2014, 12:44:35 PM »
I have cut them but if I do it again, it will be for my own use and no one elses.  Its a real pain in the rear, especially with the dust, the chemical burns and the wear on the machine.

I would run and not even consider sawing them.  There are better jobs out there that have a lot less risk than what you are proposing to do. 

Offline hunterbuild

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2014, 02:02:23 PM »
The western cedar ones we get here are only treated on the bottoms. The upper part is clear of the black mess on the bottom. I'm still very careful and wear a respirator when cutting, and keep the saw dust separate. I use it for fencing and decks. I go over each pole with a metal detector and get out all the metal which can take a lot of time, but we don't have any other supply of cedar here. Store bought is expensive. 

Offline Woodbine Saw

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #26 on: March 31, 2014, 10:41:41 AM »
I have a sawmill and live in Airville, Pa. I am looking for used telephone poles. The person I was getting them from can't get them any more.
Does anyone around my area have any to sell.

Nadine

Offline delvis

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #27 on: March 31, 2014, 08:09:26 PM »
I can tell you first hand that sawing standard telephone poles (even ones that have never been in the ground but have been treated) is not an easy proposition.  The very first job we took when we bought our second mill was sawing 30 telephone poles flat on two sides.  They were clean and free of metal and had never been in the ground as they were purchased new.  They were treated with creosote and that is the stuff that kills the job almost as much as any metal in them.  I made an arrangement with the person we were sawing for to pay for Wood Mizer's carbide tipped blades plus the sawing which we did by the hour.  Those blades are about $75 each and we bought a box of 5 as I had no idea how many we would need.

Just making 2 cuts per pole I ended up using 2 blades because of the creosote in the logs.  I keep hearing people talk about cutting the butt ends off poles but the standard telephone poles are treated all the way from one end to the other.

Anyway, considering the distance you have to travel and what the job entails, I would steer clear off it unless you can get the customer to agree to have you saw by the hour and pay for the blades you'll need.  Good luck.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #28 on: March 31, 2014, 08:13:33 PM »
Welcome to the Forestry forum, Woodbine Saw.
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Offline Nvfd3052

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2014, 12:02:44 AM »
Their are quite a few mills around me, and none will cut poles. So I jumped on that opportunity and now that is all I cut. Always where a mask, glasses, face shield, and long sleeves. Stay up wind. Lay down tarps to catch the dust, and haul it and the scrap wood to the dump. It will have to be manifested and they charge me $45 ton. If you dont the epa will have a cow.. Poles are dryer than a popcorn fart so dont use any water or lube on the blade till after the cut is made, then run it full bore for a sec and let the blade spin dry for a sec before you start the next cut. I cut 6" off of the butts,they are full of sand and mud. Just my 2 cents
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Offline stephen tillery

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #30 on: September 08, 2018, 05:15:59 PM »
Are you still cutting poles? Anything new as to government regs?

Offline Magicman

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #31 on: September 08, 2018, 08:52:08 PM »
The above was his last post and he has not logged on since July 17, 2015.  ::)
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #32 on: September 09, 2018, 04:09:33 AM »
I hope he didn't get sick☹
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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #33 on: September 09, 2018, 09:42:06 AM »
The guy I had mill me about 3500 Bd feet of ash,oak,cherry is one of three brother who are IBEW linemen and have worked out of Detroit for years .They were able to get the butt ends of 90 feet western cedar untreated poles which had been cut down to 70 footers for reuse .They got a small wood mizer of about 16 HP and paid for the mill plus each one now has cedar lined closets in all their homes plus made some money. The cedar lumber turned out really nice .

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #34 on: September 09, 2018, 02:40:23 PM »
The key is treated vs untreated.  Big difference.
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Offline Al_Smith

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #35 on: September 09, 2018, 05:42:25 PM »
Another story .About 35-40 years ago the Erie-Lakawana railroad went out of business and tracts of right of way were sold off .Mainly for the salvage rails etc .One company out of Indiana had some of the ties cut into lumber .Basically new ties only down for about two years prior to the bankruptcy .Those oak sleepers were completely soaked with creosote .Evidently people bought the lumber for farm use .I bought about 400 tons of ballast rock at a $1.25 a ton .

Offline jimparamedic

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #36 on: September 09, 2018, 07:13:12 PM »
tyvex suit glove and respirator is a must. and diesel fuel in drip tank to keep blade clean. then figure what you need to do the job and triple that price. 

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #37 on: September 10, 2018, 12:41:53 AM »
I'm also from Canada, Near Vancouver British Columbia. I cut a bunch of poles for siding a decking when I built by house- lovely wood. They were all really old WRC Poles. I wasted anything that was below the "hash" mark. Even if it doesn't look treated the drill holes in the lower part of the pole are for pouring pesticides into, plus what ever it was treated with and then the dirt its buried in- hard on blades. I was choosey about picking the best parts of the poles where it appeared the weather had worn down what ever they were treated with. I would stay away from "fully" creosote or pressure treated. 

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #38 on: September 10, 2018, 07:28:41 AM »
NewbieSawyer,someday you will be a oldie sawyer. :D
Welcome to the forum. Whatcha got for a mill?
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Re: Cutting Telephone Poles
« Reply #39 on: September 10, 2018, 09:47:06 AM »
Welcome Newbie!


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by bandmiller2
xx
telephone poles

Started by mac on Sawmills and Milling

17 Replies
3765 Views
Last post September 13, 2005, 08:24:12 PM
by treeboy
 


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