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Author Topic: Cutting cedar telephone poles  (Read 3929 times)

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Offline Articcub

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Cutting cedar telephone poles
« on: June 08, 2016, 09:32:12 PM »
Just looking for some direction
I have been approached by a gentleman to see if I would like some old telephone poles they are cedar and quite old and dried out are these cuttable on a band ,mill and if so should I change from water to some other type of a lubricant I am just new to cutting wood so go easy on me please .
Woodland HM 126

Offline derhntr

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2016, 10:22:43 PM »
Power poles are known to have tramp metal in them. Power company is going to drop some off for me shortly. They had only been treated for the first 8 feet.
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Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2016, 10:26:14 PM »
No need to beg for mercy on this forum. You have to be really bad to get taken to the woodshed here...

You want to avoid sawing portions of poles which have been treated. The chemicals used are really bad on you. Also, like derhntr mentioned, there's frequently a lot of metal in poles and that can be expensive pretty quick.

Good Luck and Be Careful!

Herb

Offline j_d

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2016, 11:51:09 PM »
I am a noob so my advice is worth what you are paying for it.  I have sawn power poles a few times and did ok.  Some have a lot of metal but it is usually on the outside.  I picked up a relatively in expensive security wand to detect metal.  Water worked fine on the blade, just a little more than normal.  If the wind is right the dust and chemicals don't seem to bad.  When the wind is bad I wear a decent dusk mask and googles, long sleeves etc or prefer to wait until the wind is right.  Most of what I have sawn here in ohio seems to be yellow pine i think and the occasional cedar.  You also have to be more selective on where / how you dispose of the saw dust and scrap.  Best of luck.
Josh
eta:  I also explain to the customer that they don't want to use the wood inside, etc.
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Offline Brucer

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2016, 12:33:39 AM »
I'm guessing from your location the poles will be Western Red Cedar. Typically the base will be treated with creosote (which you definitely don't want to cut) but the top will be untreated. Cut off the butts and saw the tops.

I had an opportunity 11 years ago to saw as many cedar poles as I wanted. The treated butts had already been removed. I inspected a stack and found metal in every single one of them, so I declined.

Your best lube with dry cedar is plain water. Don't add anything to it . The wood is so dry that sawing with no lube will heat your blade to the point where it will go slack in just a couple of feet of sawing.

Your blades will dull quickly, even if the poles are "clean". Dry cedar does that. You also have to watch out for dirt embedded in the cracks in the poles.

You will definitely need some kind of mask. A disposable "procedure mask" that loops over your ears will probably be adequate unless you're allergic to cedar (in which case you shouldn't be sawing it). Dry cedar sawdust is very nasty stuff to breathe.


Bruce    LT40HDG28 bandsaw with two 6' extensions.
"Complex problems have simple, easy to understand wrong answers."

Offline Articcub

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2016, 10:35:46 AM »
Thanks for the feed back its greatly appreciated yes apparently these log came from a old coal mine and were cut down not removed so he is saying they were cut above the creosote line .going to have a look this weekend he's looking at a 50/50 deal I cut the logs and keep half of the wood for cutting the logs
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Offline tacks Y

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2016, 09:12:55 AM »
Cut them up. I have had a lot of them sawed, nice wood. On the poles look at chest high and down for plugs. Around here they drill and retreat then plug the hole. So you may want to discard that section. Most new poles are treated full length but the treatment heads down the pole once standing. I have had the butts sawn also on old poles.

Offline autotomk

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2016, 01:09:47 PM »
we sawed some very large western red cedar logs several years ago for my barn posts.  they were light poles from a sports field set in the 70s.  they were very abrasive and very hard on the blades.  a few of the poles yielded 4) 6x6s. yes I have since learned to box the hearts for poles,  but they are in my barn now and no problems yet.  I think the abrasive was from years of wind blown sand imbedded into them????  I would probably not saw poles for a customer with that experience under my belt.  but you never know
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Offline Carson-saws

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2016, 12:01:50 PM »
Had a man that worked for the phone company and had compiled quite the heap-o-poles.  Gave a wish list of dimensions with the intent of building a "Man cave".  The blueprint he showed was impressive.  When it was finished he called and invited folks to see the finished product.   REAL nice!  If I figure out the "how to" and time I will attempt to post a picture.

The "tramp metal" wasn't that bad, used a RENSon each pole and what was in there was not significant enough to be concerned.  Besides...he bought a box a blades and said " just go for it"  so...no big deal.
Let the Forest be salvation long before it needs to be

Offline ladylake

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2016, 02:41:56 PM »
we sawed some very large western red cedar logs several years ago for my barn posts.  they were light poles from a sports field set in the 70s.  they were very abrasive and very hard on the blades.  a few of the poles yielded 4) 6x6s. yes I have since learned to box the hearts for poles,  but they are in my barn now and no problems yet.  I think the abrasive was from years of wind blown sand imbedded into them????  I would probably not saw poles for a customer with that experience under my belt.  but you never know

  I forget about boxing the heart  when I can get 4  6x6  instead of 1 , for sure on wood without much stress like old poles.  These poles saw so easy the blades saw quite a while for me.  Running 4.   Steve
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Offline Solomon

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2016, 09:12:55 AM »
No need to beg for mercy on this forum. You have to be really bad to get taken to the woodshed here...

You want to avoid sawing portions of poles which have been treated. The chemicals used are really bad on you. Also, like derhntr mentioned, there's frequently a lot of metal in poles and that can be expensive pretty quick.

Good Luck and Be Careful!

Herb
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Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2016, 10:14:12 AM »
I dont saw them often or in large numbers BUT I do have a client that has me saw 8 or 10 poles every year.

I will not saw the bottom of the pole from 2 feet above where the heavily treated portion starts or the top 8 feet where most of the big metal pieces are generally located.

Hard ware is an issue always but this client has a metal detector that is better than mine and has it down to where I have only destroyed 1 blade in the last 2 cutting sessions.

Cedar dust is toxic in and of itself  plus the ill affects of the creosote so I wear a dust mask, coveralls and gloves.   
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
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Offline Gundog

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2016, 11:31:57 AM »
I don't know anything about sawmills but as a retired power lineman I know a little about poles. The old cedar poles usually are very solid on the inside but dry as a bone and shell rotted and very weathered. Of coarse the butts are treated but the upper portion is not on these type poles. If the poles came from a rural setting think transmission line through the hills they won't have much in the way of metal in them except bolts which shouldn't be hard to spot and remove. The poles from in town are another story everyone and their brother has nailed a yard sale or lost pet sign on them using everything from screws to nails and staples. These town poles are also nice once you get past the point where people can reach to attach their signs.

These cedar poles are usually horded by the lineman because they are the best kindling you have ever seen they are great for starting fires they snap crackle and pop a lot but they burn hot and fast and they have had years to season in the sun. I am not sure if any of this information has helped.

Mike

Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2016, 02:01:17 PM »
Mike
That all good info for sure.

The guy I cut for 2 times a year is a retired lineman and he is the one that gave em the advice on utility poles.

He gets the bigger poles that come off the sub mains (thats what he calls them) that have 2 poles in a pair carrying the heavy 3 wire transmission to rural sub stations. There is real nice lumber in those poles.   
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
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Offline Articcub

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #14 on: June 15, 2016, 08:48:23 PM »
  well I have received my cedar poles and now if it would just quit raining I can proceed with cutting them I think the next project is going to be a cover for my mill and rails ?? I know I won't melt but the are calling for 66 mm of rain I could use the poles for a raft lol
Woodland HM 126

Offline Brucer

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2016, 12:23:52 AM »
Heck, I never let 66 mm of rain keep me from sawing.

That was 66 mm spread out over a week, right :D :D?
Bruce    LT40HDG28 bandsaw with two 6' extensions.
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Offline doug olsen

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2016, 12:18:19 AM »
A lot of interesting info. I can if I want, acquire a large # of power poles with up to 20" + butts and 60'/70' long.
....HOWEVER.., I am concerned about the "health concerns" some of you have with sawing them..What is it with the toxicity of the cedar dust.?
 I have some knowledge about creosote but pls refresh me there as well...I realize I can google all this stuff but prefer to see all points of view, especially from those working with this material.  Where I am, cedar is not native and therefore not a lot of local knowledge..Look forward to LOTS of info , pro and con....THX guys
Almost forgot....someone mentioned about sawdust disposal....????
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Offline justallan1

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2016, 08:56:55 AM »
My experience with cedar poles is it's pretty easy money if you don't mind the sawdust. These things are very dry and you will be wearing and eating the fine dust they put out, wear a mask. I actually stopped sawing and turned the mill around once to alleviate the dust consumption some while sawing in the wrong wind. Western red cedar does bother some folks more than other species, so that's an individual issue that each person has to decide on.
With them standing in the elements for years you may find bunches of sand and will probably go through blades a little faster than normal. I don't think that I would saw on halves unless the customer is helping with the cost of blades.
I also found galvanized staples holding the ground wire to the pole on some and realized that my Garrett metal detector will sometimes either not detect them at all or will detect them from the side and not while hovering straight above them.
All in all, I feel it puts money in your pocket, you just have to figure out if you want to mess with them or not.

Offline SCSawyer

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2016, 11:26:41 AM »
A little of key but I'll reply anyway, I was given a pile of new cross ties so I split them into 4 fence post each, great time to find out your allergic to creasote ughh, becareful
Silas S. Roberts , Bluff Mtn. Timber

Offline caveman

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2016, 05:14:00 PM »
I like sawing cedar poles.  There was a T.V. show on a few years ago called the Bullock Family Ranch.  Well the Bullock family is related to JMoore-he and I own a mill together.  Several years ago Rusty Bullock brought us a bunch of cedar poles to saw for him to use on horse stalls and for a photography scene for his wife's use in her business.  We were able to cut the loads pictured in a day and a half on an LT-28 which is a manual mill.  We had good help offloading and JMoore's pa inlaw was adept at loading the logs with my tractor.  The wood eventually found its way onto the T.V. show during a building project that occurred during one of the episodes. 
Caveman

 
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Offline caveman

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Re: Cutting cedar telephone poles
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2016, 05:21:12 PM »
 

  This trailer load was also part of our day and a half cedar pole sawing.  I do not know why I can no longer post but one picture at a time.
Caveman


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