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Author Topic: finding sawmill to mill logs for timber frame house  (Read 5123 times)

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Offline ohio framer

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finding sawmill to mill logs for timber frame house
« on: March 18, 2013, 12:49:16 PM »
I'm interested in building a timber frame house.  I have a good idea of the cost to have others do everything, hire the timber framer, who buys the timbers from the mill, prepares the timbers (mortise and tenons, etc.), and erects the frame...turnkey.  I can also buy white oak logs from the state forestry division for less than a dollar per board foot (Doyle).  My question is; does it make any sense to find a mill to process the logs into the timber sizes I need, ship the logs to the mill,  then find a framer to prepare the timbers and erect the frame?  If it makes sense, how much should I expect the transportation, and mill/processing costs to be?
Thanks !

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Re: finding sawmill to mill logs for timber frame house
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2013, 01:20:14 PM »
I am too far away to be of any help but Welcome to the Forestry Forum, ohio framer.
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Offline ladylake

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Re: finding sawmill to mill logs for timber frame house
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2013, 01:22:08 PM »
 Around here white oak logs sell for 30 to 40 cents a bf and are not a good choise for timberframing unless dry as they will sag under thier own wieght when green .  Steve
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Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: finding sawmill to mill logs for timber frame house
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2013, 09:54:52 PM »
Hello Ohio Farmer,

Welcome to the Forestry Forum.  It sound like you have done some excellent planning for your project.  Transportation is volatile in all markets currently because of fuel costs, so in that arena, I would call local shipping companies to establish a base line of costs.  Then contact some local foresters that could reference you to loggers that do transport in your area.  You may, in a short time, have some haulers here on the forum share their knowledge.

Now if you don't intend on cutting your frame yourself, finding your chosen timber wright, venting their expertise in the style of frame you want cut, and then taking their feedback, as far as, log selection would be warranted.  Each timber wright will have their own individual nuance on your project.

Traditional timber frames are always cut from unseasoned (green) wood. Rarely is a timber frame cut with seasoned wood, even today, unless it is cut from reclaimed lumber from vintage architecture.  Even fewer from kiln dried wood, unless you count some of the soft wood species that are used in CNC timber architecture.  It is not the nature of the craft to use season wood, soft or hard, and White Oak is a premium species, and a wonderful choice for your frame, if you have access to it.  It will cost a little more, both in species selection, and, sometimes, additional handling charges do to weight, but well worth the effort.  Following your progress will be rewarding, and you will find a wealth of knowledge here on the FF for guidance and consideration.

Regards,

jay
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Offline ladylake

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Re: finding sawmill to mill logs for timber frame house
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2013, 08:01:14 AM »

 If you do use white oak for any long spans it will sag bad unless supported temporally untill it dries out quite a bit. I've seen about a 12' WO beam with about a 6" sag in it.   Steve
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Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: finding sawmill to mill logs for timber frame house
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2013, 10:31:24 AM »
Hi Steve,

I would like to know more about your experience with timber framing with White Oak in Minnesota.  I'v learned that you can have some "strange things" occur from one region to the next, but the only time I'v seen a timber sag (never a White Oak) is when it was cut to small for a span and/or over weighted in the early life of the frame. In some vintage barns, and home attics this anomaly is found from over loading and under sizing members.  It is almost always in the Hay Mow, as in the case of a frame with a "Carriage Barn" in Connecticut I help restore.  The spill over had gone into the attic of the cottage and caused the supports to sag over time.

As for the species, White Oak is consider premium for high end timber frames, and anyone lucky enough to get a whole frame is truly blessed.  I have never, nor do I know of any timber wrights that have attempted to cut a frame from seasoned Oaks of any species, (other that restoration and vintage wood.)  A simple 6"x 8" joist wood take several season to dry to even 12% MC, kilning a timber that size would be cost inhibitive-most likely "case hardening" it, making it arduous to joint-if not almost impossible, and that doesn't even speak to the difficulty of "movement" in some the Oak species (Red Oaks particularly) unless they are trapped in a frame or well "stickered" and bond, until raising time.  I have Cants and Bolts, (and have milled plenty others) that are 8 years old and still considered very green or "wet."

Slowing the drying process down as much as possibly with end sealers and oiling the beams, there by allowing the frame to dry slowly in place, relying on the design and joinery to hold true, only becoming stronger with time, is the goal.  In certain design methods, the beams will be "kerfed" their length to "focus" checking to a location of the timber wrights choosing. Traditional timber frames actually mature with time and become stronger, and of course, develop a character that few types of modern architecture can claim, other than maybe Stone and Earth.

Regards,

jay
"To posses an open mind, is to hold a key to many doors, and the ability to created doors where there were none before."

"When it is all said and done, they will have said they did it themselves."-teams response under a good leader.

Offline dboyt

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Re: finding sawmill to mill logs for timber frame house
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 09:20:29 AM »
I did what you were proposing over 30 years ago, except I did my own framing.  The green (as in not dry) oak did sag a little, as I ran some 12' long beams with no support (but after 30 years, I'm sagging a little, too).  One post twisted a little, but the house is still standing.  Even with green oak, we had to pre-drill the nail holes.  Sagging may actually be warping due to drying stress.  If the beam was cut off center of the pith, it will bow away from the pith as it dries.  It is important, as Jay C. White Cloud says, to involve the framing folks in the selection of the trees and the milling process.  The only real "mistake" I made was working at the sawmill while the posts & beams, joists, siding, and flooring were being cut.  It was hard work, but I enjoyed it so much that I wound up getting a band sawmill of my own.  Best of luck with your project.
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Re: finding sawmill to mill logs for timber frame house
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2013, 09:31:48 AM »
I would like to see a picture of a white oak timber that sagged 6" in 12'?

There must be more to this story.....

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Offline WH_Conley

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Re: finding sawmill to mill logs for timber frame house
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2013, 09:53:34 AM »
That would look like a chair rocker. I would like to see how it was sawed, what part of the log it came from.
Bill

Offline ohio framer

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Re: finding sawmill to mill logs for timber frame house
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2013, 03:24:50 PM »
Thank you for all of the infomative comments!  I think Jay mentioned that vintage hardwood may be too "case-hardened" to joint.  I have just received the opportunity to purchase a lot of vintage timber from a former paper mill in Ohio. Based upon the size of the timbers, and the more finished look I'm after,  I believe I would need to cut down and plane the vintage timbers to my specs., then give to a millwright to do the joinery and frame work. I don't know if I will be able to find a mill willing to re-cut vintage timber (possiblity of nails, etc. destroying saws,etc.), let alone a millwright who can cut the "case-hardened" joints.  So, any advice on proceeding with the purchase of "vintage" timbers to be re-cut?
Thanks

Offline ladylake

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Re: finding sawmill to mill logs for timber frame house
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2013, 08:47:09 PM »
 It did look like a rocker chair, I'd get a pic if I ever figured out how to get it on here.  No idea how it was sawn but have heard many times green WO sags under it's own wieght and have seen proof.  Steve
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Offline Jay C. White Cloud

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Re: finding sawmill to mill logs for timber frame house
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2013, 11:36:27 PM »
I'm not disputing what you have seen Steve, stranger things have happened, and Jim said, there must be more to the story.  However, at this point in my career as a timber wright, I have been part, in some capacity, maybe close to hundred frames cut out of white oak or a mix there off.  I have never seen a single white oak beam, joist or rafter sag under its own weight, ever, not even any noticeable deflection.  So I would more than recommend cutting a frame out of it.  It is a premium lumber for timber frames, now and historically.
"To posses an open mind, is to hold a key to many doors, and the ability to created doors where there were none before."

"When it is all said and done, they will have said they did it themselves."-teams response under a good leader.


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