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Cutting dried logs

Started by AKBOUND, July 08, 2024, 10:48:41 PM

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AKBOUND

I am brand new to sawmilling and was given a pile of walnut logs that have been left in the Oklahoma sun for a lot of years.  These are the first logs I have tried to mill on my used WM LT40 I just bought.  Initial efforts identified some issues with the mill to include failed guide roller bearings and misaligned blades.  I think I have these worked out but I am still having issues with the blade climbing in the log, loosing tension, popping off the drive wheel or stalling. 

I have read a few posts and it sounds like I might have started with some of the hardest wood to cut (dried vs green).  I am wondering if there are some secrets to cutting it, it is worth saving for a later date when I have more experience, or if it is a really great pile of firewood?

AKBOUND


scsmith42

With the bark still attached those logs aren't that old. Maybe a year or so. The heartwood should still be green.

I would check your blade alignment.
Peterson 10" WPF with 65' of track
Smith - Gallagher dedicated slabber
Tom's 3638D Baker band mill
and a mix of log handling heavy equipment.

Jeff

I do not see one single thing in that pile of what I would call a saw log.
Just call me the midget doctor.
Forestry Forum Founder and Chief Cook and Bottle Washer.

Commercial circle sawmill sawyer in a past life for 25yrs.
Ezekiel 22:30

barbender

 There will be quite a few things you will have to fight through by trial and error as a new sawyer, on an older mill that has been sitting. I'd get some fresh logs to start with, just to eliminate some variables and come back to that pile once you have some experience. 

 Do you have brand new blades? If not, get some. The mill should really have a complete alignment and tune up before you get sawing so you are starting off on a good footing, and not fighting latent issues on a continual basis.
Too many irons in the fire

RetiredTech

A dull blade will cause the climbing and diving in the cut. But,the first thing I would try to address is why the blade looses tension. Second would be popping off the drive wheel. Recent experience tells me that if the blade comes off, even at a low speed, it probably needs to be resharpened or replaced. I'd have a good look at the bearings and mounts for both wheels. If your mill uses belts for the blade to ride on check those too. Then check your band wheel alignment. You shouldn't loose tension just sawing a few logs and the blade should stay on unless you do like me and catch a piece of bark or something on the return. :wink_2:  Recheck the blade guide alignment after you get the band wheels taken care of. With a nice mill like that you should be sawing up the world!.

Side note: Be careful what you do with the walnut sawdust. It has a chemical in it that kills most plants. 
Good Luck. 
Philippians 4:8

Branson 4520R, EA Wicked Root Grapple, Dirt Dog Pallet Forks
Echo cs-450 & cs-620p , Husqvarna 136, Poulan Pro, and Black Max Chainsaws
Partially built bandsaw mill

customsawyer

I will suggest that you use as little lube as possible. Your lube is causing the dryer sawdust to swell up and it is heating the blade, thus losing tension on the blade. Keep your eye on the blade pressure gauge and tighten as needed. Start with some new blades, and double check all alignments.  
Two LT70s, Nyle L200 kiln, 4 head Pinheiro planer, 30" double surface Cantek planer, Lucas dedicated slabber, Slabmizer, and enough rolling stock and chainsaws to keep it all running.
www.thecustomsawyer.com

NewYankeeSawmill

Quote from: Jeff on July 08, 2024, 11:19:01 PMI do not see one single thing in that pile of what I would call a saw log.

LOL! You guy's are brutal!  ffcheesy
He said he was just starting out... 2 posts! Cut a guy a break, man! Bought a darned nice saw, might bit better than mine! Lets help the guy make sawdust and pringles!
Norwood LUMBERPRO HD36V2

Nebraska

Since it's old dry wood try you might buying some new seven or four degree blades so you know they are good and sharp.  Try a slow feed speed, until you find a sustainable sweet spot. Saw some bench slabs out of the smaller curved pieces.  If they end up as designer firewood I have found it burns the same.  Those aren't the greatest sawlogs but you sure can learn a bunch with them.  Good luck enjoy the process. 

Magicman

If the blade is loosing tension when not sawing, you will need get a kit from Wood-Mizer and  rebuild the blade tensioner. 

Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic   WM Million BF Club Member   WM Pro Sawyer Network

It's Weird being the Same Age as Old People

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Southside

I agree with the others who said to get a couple of fresh cut logs, poplar, cedar, pine, basically wood that saws easily as far as the band goes, and figure out if your mill has any issues.  Those older Walnut are only complicating things for you. 
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows

AKBOUND

This is a great help, thank you all.  The photo is of the logs where I picked them up. A fair amount of the bark fell off when I moved them. 

The saw was made in 2003 and has just over 2400 hrs on it and I am not sure of the maintenance that was done other than change blades.  It came with some blades I was told were new and/or resharpened.  I am going to just buy some new blades.  I was thinking the WM747 for this harder wood.  I also was not using any water on the blade at the time (mostly because I still need to replace the hose).

As long as I am ordering blades, I will get new belts for my drive and idler wheels and check alignment on those just to make sure there isnt an issue there too.  I already ordered the WM maintenance pack and engine pack as well just to make sure I am hitting all the usual suspects.  This is mostly oil filters and drive belts.  I was also thinking of replacing the o-ring on the tensioning assembly.  I dont see any oil leaking from it but have read that it can leak, loose oil and not hold tension.

Thanks for the help.  I have a bit of work to do on the saw before I make another run at cutting slabs.  If I can get some softer fresher logs, I might try that while waiting on parts.  I will let you know how it turns out.

Southside

Those 747's are not the ticket for dried out hardwood.  4's or maybe Turbo 7's.  The 747 has a really tall tooth profile which isn't what you want in this instance. 
Franklin buncher and skidder
JD Processor
Woodmizer LT Super 70 and LT35 sawmill, KD250 kiln, BMS 250 sharpener and setter
Riehl Edger
Woodmaster 725 and 4000 planner and moulder
Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows

AKBOUND

Thanks for the blade recommendation, I will look for those.

YellowHammer

It is true that dry logs are more difficult to saw than the same species of green logs, but walnut is easy when green and maybe not quite as easy when dry.  Either way, a dialed in LT40 with sharp 7 degree bands , (I agree, I also do not like 747's) with proper type and amount of lube should blow through those "logs" easy.

LT40's have a pretty sensitive hydraulic tensioner, and it is the heartbeat indicator of the sawmill, assuming it is not leaking.  However, if it is operational, it is an invaluable indicator for how your band and mill is cutting.  If band gets hot, the band will expand and the hydraulic pressure will drop.  A band getting hot indicates a lot of issues including improper alignment, improper bands, improper type and amount of band lube, etc.  A band should only be slightly warm when sawing, never hot, so the hydraulic pressure should never drop to any significant degree, so if it does, that means there is a problem somewhere.  Once a band gets hot or black, it is toast and needs to come off.  I have had bad cuts in hickory where the band heated so much in one cut that I overheated the band by the time I got to the end of the logs.  It can happen that fast.

You should be able to tension the band cold, with the mill not running, come back a few minutes later, reset it to account for any compression of the wheel belts, and then it should hold constant tension for hours if not days if the tensioner is not leaking. 

A band should never dismount itself without there being something really wrong. 

It's impossible to cut a straight hunk of cheese with a sawmill that is misbehaving and not aligned properly.  Woodmizer has a series of alignment and sawmill videos you should watch, or watch my video of the "First Five Test" to get a quick feel for the mill's alignment.

YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it won't roll, its not a log; it's still a tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, they're burned, and you can't fix them.

Sawing is fun for the first couple million boards.

Be smarter than the sawdust

Old Greenhorn

As usual, yellowhammer got right to the point and covered everything that matters. Try following his advice on the study and research, then set aside a day and do nothing but go through the steps until you KNOW everything is just right. If something doesn't make sense or look right, as more questions here. Photos of your problems help the folks here get you through it. Don't let it get you frustrated, you are likely fixing neglect issues from the previous user and it will take some time. Start at the beginning, and work through each step until you have it right, then move to the next. If you do get frustrated, take a break and walk away, or quit for the day.
 Use the BGAT and get it all lined up. As YH said: " A band should never dismount itself without there being something really wrong. " I too had to learn this the hard way, but knowledge is power and once you get through it everything makes more snse and it is much easier to find when something is not quite right.
 Tell us where you are by updating your profile. Perhaps there is another WM user around you that can help you out?
 Best of luck.
Tom Lindtveit, Woodsman Forest Products
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 350, 450, 562, & 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) Retired and trying to make a living to stay that way. NYLT Certified.
OK, maybe I'm the woodcutter now.
I work with wood, There is a rumor I might be a woodworker.

Jeff

Quote from: NewYankeeSawmill on July 09, 2024, 06:39:10 AM
Quote from: Jeff on July 08, 2024, 11:19:01 PMI do not see one single thing in that pile of what I would call a saw log.

LOL! You guy's are brutal!  ffcheesy
He said he was just starting out... 2 posts! Cut a guy a break, man! Bought a darned nice saw, might bit better than mine! Lets help the guy make sawdust and pringles!
That is the very best advice a new sawyer can get.you need to know what a log looks like. Crook, sweep, limbs, crotches, knots, rot, storm damage all will have a huge effect on the lumber product quality outcome. Saw crap logs you get crap lumber even on a brand new perfectly tuned mill.
Just call me the midget doctor.
Forestry Forum Founder and Chief Cook and Bottle Washer.

Commercial circle sawmill sawyer in a past life for 25yrs.
Ezekiel 22:30

Old Greenhorn

Jeff is right of course, reading logs is a critical skill for the sawyer to learn and those logs will tell an ugly story and have a mush lower than desired yield. However, one man's ceiling is another man's floor and we all have to start somewhere, right?
 I would mill those logs just to get whatever I can out of them because I have yet to get my hands on ANY walnut at all. But, for production or maximizing output, those logs won't get you there. They will also present cutting challenges further frustrating a new sawyer making for a rough start. But in this case, there are mill issues to overcome first before any log goes up.
 Everybody starts somewhere and we ALL have to learn those lessons either the hard way or the easy way, but there is no getting around it and no shortcuts.
Tom Lindtveit, Woodsman Forest Products
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 350, 450, 562, & 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) Retired and trying to make a living to stay that way. NYLT Certified.
OK, maybe I'm the woodcutter now.
I work with wood, There is a rumor I might be a woodworker.

Jeff

Sure, he should mill them, but dont use them as a guage to why the mill may be sawing one way or another. 
Just call me the midget doctor.
Forestry Forum Founder and Chief Cook and Bottle Washer.

Commercial circle sawmill sawyer in a past life for 25yrs.
Ezekiel 22:30

YellowHammer

Yes, 100% I agree FWIW

Those logs are definitely not the best ffcheesy but if an LT40 won't cut those, the "logs" aren't the problem.
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it won't roll, its not a log; it's still a tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, they're burned, and you can't fix them.

Sawing is fun for the first couple million boards.

Be smarter than the sawdust

Magicman

Quote from: AKBOUND on July 09, 2024, 08:00:30 AMI dont see any oil leaking from it but have read that it can leak, loose oil and not hold tension.
If the blade tensioner is leaking down, it will not leak to the outside where you can see it.  The leak will be internal where the ATF is bypassing the seals.

Only rebuild the tensioner if the pressure is leaking down which will be whether you are sawing or not. 
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic   WM Million BF Club Member   WM Pro Sawyer Network

It's Weird being the Same Age as Old People

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

AKBOUND

Jeff, thanks for the comment on the quality of logs.  When I cut them, I will be looking at them differently.  Rather than what can I sell from them, I think the more valuable option is what can I learn from them.  After all they where free so it is just my time I am spending and I enjoy working with the mill so its more like going on an adventure for me.

Once I get the saw tuned up, I will still try to make a buck on them but I will value what I learned from them more.

GAB

Quote from: Southside on July 09, 2024, 08:07:03 AMThose 747's are not the ticket for dried out hardwood.  4's or maybe Turbo 7's.  The 747 has a really tall tooth profile which isn't what you want in this instance.
My experience with 747 blades is that the teeth lack beam strength and it does not take much to break off the tips of the teeth.  I bought one box and will not be buying any more of them.  The 734's have a longer survivor life and I have four 15 packs ready to use.
GAB
W-M LT40HDD34, SLR, JD 420, JD 950w/loader and Woods backhoe, V3507 Fransguard winch, Cordwood Saw, 18' flat bed trailer, and other toys.

Magicman

I have never used the 747's and because of reviews, I never even tried them.  I did try the 7/34 but could not see enough reason to change from the 10° that I was using at the time.

I am now 100% Turbo 7's (7/39).
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic   WM Million BF Club Member   WM Pro Sawyer Network

It's Weird being the Same Age as Old People

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Larry

The 7/34's leave a smoother cut than the 7/39's. They do not cut as fast as the 7/39's and leave more sawdust on the board. I usually keep a few on hand just for that smooth cut.

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

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