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Author Topic: Water wheel or wind powered firewood saw  (Read 603 times)

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Offline DMcCoy

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Water wheel or wind powered firewood saw
« on: September 19, 2021, 09:06:03 AM »
Someday project(s)- Just thought I would put this out there.  
There are plenty of old lumber saw mills run by both water and wind but no firewood cutting mills that I have been able to find.
Without doing the math I would think one could run a small overshot water wheel in a "river run" kind of set up using flexible drain pipe to deliver the water at elevation.  Using a pitman arm to run a reciprocating saw seems like a real possibility.  It would be very slow to the point it would be ideal to have a "shut off" or ledge for the arm to slide on once the cut was complete so you don't have babysit the thing.  Some sort of cow bell alarm when the cut was complete.
I have taken this project as far as buying 100' of drain pipe. ::)
Wind powered could be crude and simple.
Someday...
 


Offline mike_belben

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Re: Water wheel or wind powered firewood saw
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2021, 09:56:55 AM »
If the grid went dry at the same time fossil fuels were banned, id do a steam drive stationary circle mill and hide it before they ban that too. 


At that point id also make my stoves out of layed down water tanks in a rocket configuration so i can feed in spindly 4 foot long limbs sawed with a one man crosscut instead.  Theres enough thinnings to keep me heated for eternity. 
Isaiah 63:10

Offline Don P

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Re: Water wheel or wind powered firewood saw
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2021, 10:57:55 AM »
I've been playing down by the creek and having similar mind wanders  :D.
There's a very crude waterwheel hp calc in my corner of the toolbox but I'd like to know more about sizing them.

We were working on a gristmill that had originally had 2 big stands of old time slow stones and a wooden overshot wheel. Shortly after the Great War it was refitted with a 20' steel overshot wheel and a 3 stand high speed roller mill with big sifter elevators, etc. A university professor/expert on old mills who knows the mill well was out walking through it showing me how it all worked. As we walked up the old raceway and were surveying the breached dam I was asking if one set of the old stones could be turned "run of the creek". He made the comment that with the current flow of the creek maybe. Then he said with the flow and the size of the millpond that when they installed the "modern" equipment he didn't see how they could run continuously, there isn't enough water to be running that machinery, it must have run in "pulses" then recharged the pond, then run for another hour or two.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Water wheel or wind powered firewood saw
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2021, 08:46:56 AM »
Don, you took this the direction I was thinking.  I have a small pond which I could also use.  I added an adjustable drain (the sluice gate) to it because of beavers, it's about 18" below the overflow.
Either way, river run or using the pond as a battery my thoughts were to make a metal frame with a wooden 4' wheel with maple wood bearings - lacking east coast hard maple I have set aside some vine maple.
I cannot remember how I determined the following but somehow I estimated 35lbs of force would move the saw.  Cutting up to a 12" dia. log would be adequate for my use so a 6" pitman x2 would deliver @ 12" stroke.  If the wheel buckets were 6" deep and I did the easy way and went with 3' dia. or 18" radius I would get 3x power. If 35lbs is adequate then I need @ 12 lbs of water at the horizontal spot.  This is where I stopped doing the math as far as sizing, with all buckets adding to the force and wheel speed needed to determine the flow required. This seems relatively easy to get the required force but I would like my math to back me up, so my project sits.
Below is a very inclusive document on overshot water wheels.

Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: Water wheel or wind powered firewood saw
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2021, 11:19:01 AM »
I see no reason that design wouldn't work.  Powered hacksaws used to be quite common before metal cutting bandsaw blades became cheap.  They are pretty much the same idea. 

Assuming your math on how much power you need and how much power your wheel will produce the next issue will be, do you have enough water?  A small pond could be drained in a few minutes,  a big pond with an inlet stream would never drain.

There were also antique drag saws that used the same idea but coupled to some type of engine or tractor.  There is no reason they couldn't be powered by anything spinning that had enough torque.

I also like the idea of cutting the firewood to longer lengths, two times the firewood and half the cuts.  When you have a chain saw that will make the cuts in a few seconds there are more benefits to having shorter wood.  If you don't have the power to make cuts quick the cons of shorter wood may outweigh the pros.

Having a waterwheel could also give you power via shafts or belts for other tool/experiments as well.

Here is a video on a similar project

He uses it to grind wheat, sharpen tools, generate electricity and wash clothes.

I started building a waterwheel for a similar project last year but building the cabin has pushed everything else aside so it has been sitting in the basement ever since waiting for me to get back to it.

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Water wheel or wind powered firewood saw
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2021, 12:44:42 PM »
our first metal cutting bandsaw was a ww2 model hacksaw off a ship.  it beat pushing the blade by hand. 
Isaiah 63:10

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Water wheel or wind powered firewood saw
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2021, 09:29:35 PM »
   I would think speed could be improved by just gearing it down further. Starting with big going to small gears/cogs makes for increased speed. I keep thinking of the size difference between the gears on my honey extractor.
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"

Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Water wheel or wind powered firewood saw
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2021, 08:09:08 AM »
My concern with trying to go faster is I would loose an equal amount of torque.
4x faster but 1/4 the torque.  I agree it would be very, very slow.  One fear I have is it will cut just fast enough that you can't walk away from it.  That would be very irritating.
If I attach the saw directly to the pitman so it would swing up and down slightly maybe my calculation of 35lbs would be so much more than needed that I could increase the speed, I simply don't have anything to reference to other than pushing on a floor scale, which isn't very scientific. 
I have an old drag saw hanging in my shop, the saw blade is held on a frame so it slides back and forth.  Often there is a lot of wisdom built into old, lightly powered equipment, so the swinging saw blade might have an issue I don't see yet. 
Also I have concerns over the pitman and the force it will exert through it's entire circle being uneven.  The water wheel itself would act as a flywheel to help overcome this but by how much.
I'm going to have to build one and find out.
Joe Hillmann - Thanks for the video.  I have another reason to save my old dead battery powered drills, the original reason escapes me at the moment...
Wife - 'Why are you saving all these old drills'? 
Me - 'Well, Joe Hillmann posted this utube link....'    ;D 


Offline mike_belben

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Re: Water wheel or wind powered firewood saw
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2021, 08:18:29 AM »
This is just a fun tinker time project, right?
Isaiah 63:10

Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Water wheel or wind powered firewood saw
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2021, 09:18:10 AM »
This is just a fun tinker time project, right?
Totally!

Offline Don P

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Re: Water wheel or wind powered firewood saw
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2021, 06:39:44 PM »
A green firewood processor. Jed move away from here  :D
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester


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