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Author Topic: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn  (Read 1680 times)

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Offline Kerrymr

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Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« on: February 22, 2017, 03:50:58 PM »
I have about 90 logs of Longleaf Pine that are about 75 year old trees. They blew over in a straight wind storm we had last month. Most are around 20-25 inches on the large end and 12'6'' or 16'6" long with four over 20 feet for the 4 main beams. I was going to have someone come and sawmill them into lumber for a barn and flooring material but then decided I could go ahead and buy my own personal mill and mill the lumber myself. I wanted some wisdom on milling the beams.

Best to cut the beams out of the biggest logs or the logs that are the closest to the size of the beam I need? Does the center of the log need to be aligned in the beam center or does that matter much? I know the long beams are hard to get out without twisting and buckling but I have several really straight logs with fairly tight -- not as tight as I would like- rings.

What would be your mindset going in? Do you mill off the 1 inch stuff off of each log until you get to the area of the beam you need? Do you map out each log in advance?

Thanks for the advice. I have worked with band saws and swing arm mills but not a bandsaw mill until now. Spent lots of time working in a sawmill resawing but not had the opportunity to dissect the logs until now.

Here's the cut list:
8 - 6x8x13
8- 6x6x8
8- 6x6x7
8- 6x8x16
8- 6x8x14
4- 6x10x21
5- 6x8x14
16- 4x4x3
8- 6x6x5
4- 6x6x10
56 3x6x12 purlins
28 3x6x10 purlins
50 2x6x10 girt
50 2x6x10 girt
28- 2x8x12 joist
20 2x8x10 joist
140 1x10x12 board
140 1x3x12 bat
100 1x10x10 board
100 1x3x10 bat
225 1x8x14 roof sheet
110 1x8x12 loft decking
Newbie to personal sawmilling- grew up in sawmill and pallet industry- Using Norwood Lumbermate LM29

Offline Kerrymr

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2017, 05:07:27 PM »

read this on another forum-

"If a timber is Free of Heart (FOH) or more than one per log it means that it was cut away from the center of the tree. As a rule I will not cut one unless it is six inches away from the center. If I cannot make a 12x12 from it and cut my other timbers off the sides of that then it is just one timber per log. Posts are best if the heart of the log is centered in them. Timbers sawn parallel to the center are better.
If you have heartwood and sapwood in the same timber (more then 1/4 thickness across the face of the timber) you will find the timber will bend the ends toward the center of the log (heartwood side).

Q-sawn beams will bow the same way but can be useful in they will flatten back out under live load if used for floor joist. The size of the timbers and logs will tell the tale but for logs under 20 inches just one post per log. Also I try not to use the bottom 8 feet of a tree in a timber.
Newbie to personal sawmilling- grew up in sawmill and pallet industry- Using Norwood Lumbermate LM29

Offline richhiway

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2017, 07:17:22 PM »
why not use the first eight feet of a log?
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Offline Den-Den

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2017, 08:53:50 PM »
You can cut the 1" and 2x material from the sides until you get to the beam size which should be centered on the pith.  3 x 6s & 4 x 4s can be pith centered or free of heart.  I would cut the big & long stuff first and make the rest of material out of what ever logs are left.
You may think that you can or may think you can't; either way, you are right.

Offline paul case

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2017, 10:26:35 PM »
Same here as Den-Den.

PC
life is too short to be too serious. (some idiot)
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Offline customsawyer

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2017, 04:32:04 AM »
Welcome to the forum. I think I spoke with you on the phone about sawing your logs. I did talk to several from the Albany area so it might not have been you. If you ever want to come up and watch my mill or just sit and talk about it some give me a shout. One of the worst things you can do on a timber is to split the pith and try to get two out of the same log. You will produce much better lumber if you take your 1x and 2x off the out side and center the pith. Watch for the cathedral grain for the entire length of the log to center the pith, don't just look at the pith on one end.
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Offline fishfighter

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2017, 06:32:28 AM »
why not use the first eight feet of a log?


This?

Offline Kerrymr

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2017, 09:32:53 AM »
The quote about not using the first eight feet of a log was from another forum. I am not sure why that sawyer had that preference.

Thanks for the input. So centering the pith and using heart for both beams and poles is ok? Thanks for the offer to visit customsawyer. I will probably take you up on that.
Newbie to personal sawmilling- grew up in sawmill and pallet industry- Using Norwood Lumbermate LM29

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2017, 09:38:33 AM »
The quote about not using the first eight feet of a log was from another forum. I am not sure why that sawyer had that preference.

Thanks for the input. So centering the pith and using heart for both beams and poles is ok? Thanks for the offer to visit customsawyer. I will probably take you up on that.

Guessing that was in relation to yard trees and trying to avoid metal like hammock screws, fence wire, etc in the bottom log.  If they are forest trees you should be ok but get a metal detector, a cheap investment.
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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2017, 10:46:29 AM »
My concern is the length of time it will take you to mill the wood and cut the joinery, and assemble the frame.  I'm not sure how prone LL pine is to move and twist?  When using green hardwood timbers, the goal to is get it up and assembled before it dries enough to start trying to move.  It would take you a considerable amount of time to cut everything being a new sawyer.  The question is, do you want to be a sawyer, or get right to getting the building up?  An experienced mobile sawyer, to going to get the job done a lot faster.  After two years I notice that I'm now a lot faster at reading the log and deciding quickly how to start cutting.  I don't have to map out on the log end, but a year ago that wasn't the case. 

No matter what you're going to need support equipment to load logs on the mill and get them to the mill.  And you're going to need a helper to off bear and do a lot of other stuff.  What mill did you buy?  On one hand my thought is to have someone with mill experience help you, but on the other hand I learned on my own and it was a good way.  I wasn't fast, but I did learn as I went along.

Yes box the heart when you can.  A symmetric timber will have a tendency to be more stable in drying.  Not to say that it can't move, but less tendency. Free of Heart will tend to bow on you. but as has been stated, you can do it with 4x.  I have done it with 6x, but I oversized the timber in order to plane it again later after moving some.

Any horizontal beam needs to be your highest quality.  Steve Chappell's book "A Timberframer's Workshop" has some really good explanations on visual grading of timbers.  It discusses knot location, knot type and size, and other defects or characteristics relative to structural visual grading.  Even though there's a lot about Timberframing, there is also a lot of info and pictures about milling timbers, how timbers/wood will move depending on where in the log it's cut from, about defects you will come across and how to treat it, shrinkage etc.  Great info and I recommend getting the book either new or used.  See if you have logs that will make your longest horizontal beams.  Once you cut them, visually grade them.  If they are not up to snuff, have too much defects etc, you can re-mill them for posts or shorter horizontal beams like floor joists or shorter tie beams.

Yes get your 1x and 2x from the outside of the log, outside of the timber you get out of it.  Heartwood is preferred as it doesn't have all the sugars that mold and beetles like to feed on, and it's also stronger.    I've not milled softwoods, so I don't know how much the pine has.  This also reminds me, as you get a pile of milled material you may want to fog them with TIMBOR to prevent beetle infestation(not sure if they love LL pine).When it comes to hardwoods, I don't mind cutting a timber out of a log that is close to the size of the timber.  If it's for a post or a brace It can have some wane and some sapwood.  I just bought some 6x Walnut stair newel posts from another sawyer.  I wanted the sapwood and some wane for visual interest.  I didn't have walnut logs small enough to just get 6x6's out of which I why I went to another sawyer and specifically said that I wanted them from smaller logs and that sapwood and wane were acceptable.  He was more than happy because you can get very little grade sawn wood from a log that small in diameter, but they made for great newel posts for my project.

Hope this helps?
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Offline Kerrymr

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2017, 11:08:15 AM »
Thanks for the reply Brad. I am not doing mortise and tenon joints. I am using a metal bracing system with through bolts to connect the timbers. The general consensus is that the LL pine needs to be pretty dry before connecting them anyway- in contrast to m&t joints that tighten up as the logs dry. It will be a while before I would be able to start putting them together so I don't think the log drying will be a problem. I definitely don't plan to get the logs milled quickly because I want to do it well and have timbers that will last a long time. I have enough logs to mess up a bunch in the learning process. I also have plenty of guys that will be working with me as I mill. I am the pastor of a church and have plenty of guys that want to hang out cutting logs with me. I have a few old timers that are old millers that I think will be MORE THAN WILLING to offer advice to the novice preacher! And, I'll just pray I don't ruin all the logs before I get my batch of timbers. I also have two sons in their 20's that are helping me with the project. Most of my time right now is being spent studying how to read logs and then looking at my stack of logs and seeing which ones I think I can figure out and which ones I can't. The good thing is that the LL pines I have are mostly pretty straight and have very few limbs or major deflections or defects.

I have a tractor for loading the logs. I have cut and moved all the logs with the tractor with a fork attachment. I am building a drying shed beside the area where I will be sawing. I bought the Norwood LM29 mill and I have all Stihl chainsaw equipment.
Newbie to personal sawmilling- grew up in sawmill and pallet industry- Using Norwood Lumbermate LM29

Offline Remle

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2017, 11:45:43 AM »
why not use the first eight feet of a log?


This?
customsawyer  is correct: "Watch for the cathedral grain for the entire length of the log to center the pith, don't just look at the pith on one end". On trees with a wide flare at the but, the grain may pass all the way through the piece of wood from one side to the other making it structurally UN-sound.. wide growth rings at the bottom and tight rings at the top are an indication of the cathedral effect. It can also be caused by not centering the pith. Logs with a pith way off center on one end are prone to produce this effect.

Offline Kerrymr

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #12 on: February 23, 2017, 02:03:39 PM »
Thanks Remle. I have noticed some of the logs having the pith way off centered even though the log is very straight. I don't really have any that flare a lot at the butt and I have not noticed if any have a large degree of variation in growth ring width between the two ends.
Newbie to personal sawmilling- grew up in sawmill and pallet industry- Using Norwood Lumbermate LM29

Offline kensfarm

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #13 on: February 23, 2017, 10:33:08 PM »
You're going to need a lot of stickers.. search and read some of Magic Man's threads on cutting pine..  great information w/ pictures from the Yoda master of pine cutting.  ;D   

Offline texican

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2017, 11:28:45 PM »
Before you get too involved in this endeavor, I'd recommend going out and cutting some of these logs, and drag them up to a staging area.... get a few off the ground, and debark them... I've used old flat head shovels, scraping tools, and drawknives.  Look to see if there are any longitudinal cracks in the logs.  A decade ago, we had straight line winds come through, making a ~100' wide swatch of down trees.... I went out and cut them and hauled em to our local guy (before I had a mill)... he called when he started cutting and told me to come talk.  Most of the trees had these long cracks in them, and, the boards also had these 'shatter' cracks.  He said I might be able to use it for 'paneling' or something, but since it was only pine, I declined... as I had plenty of good pine, but was just trying to salvage the dead.

Just my experience... hopefully not yours... :)

Offline Kerrymr

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Re: Help with beams for a pole and beam barn
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2017, 11:14:41 AM »
Thanks for the reply Texican. We did check several of the logs. Most we laid halfway over rootballs and all, not broken off or seem to be too stressed. Of course I will have some that were traumatized by others falling on them etc but won't know till the mill fires up next week. I'll keep you updated. Good thing is that I don't have anything invested at all yet so if they turn into bonfire material we will roast hotdogs!
Newbie to personal sawmilling- grew up in sawmill and pallet industry- Using Norwood Lumbermate LM29


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