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Author Topic: Sawmill advice needed after wildfire  (Read 845 times)

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Offline JeroenJ

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Sawmill advice needed after wildfire
« on: September 19, 2021, 03:54:01 AM »
Hello all,

As this is my first post here I will introduce myself. My name is Jeroen, I am part of a cooperative farming project in Evia, Greece.

Our farm got ravaged by one of the biggest wildfires in greek history this summer (more than 50.000 hectares burned). 
So now we are in the situation where we have to rebuild the structures we lost in the fire, wood prices have more than doubled the last few years, and there hundreds if not thousands of dead pines standing within a few hundred meters of the farm.

We used to cut our own lumber with an alaskan mill and a vertical bandsaw for making the slabs into dimensioned lumber. Now we need to cut a lot for ourselves, plus we want to take advantage of the dead trees and cut lumber for selling as well. So we need something more productive and ergonomic than the alaskan mill.

Normally we would probably do a diy bandsaw mill, but we don't have time, as there is way too much work to be done now. So we want to buy something ready. Money is tight too, as many things have to be replaced on the farm.. So we don't want to buy something too big (also, after this glut of logs there will not be much to cut for the next 50 years).

The logs we have available are almost all pine(and the occasional cypress and eucalypt) and are 1 to 3' in diameter(mostly 1'-2').

Could we preserve the logs somehow? There are way to many for us to cut before winter, and dead pine left in the weather for one rain season is gone..
Could we just pile the logs and put a roof over them and cut them over the next year(s)?

Any thoughts, advice and help are appreciated!
Also if someone knows a second hand sawmill for sale in europe that would be great!  ;)


Kind regards,
Jeroen


Offline Gere Flewelling

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Re: Sawmill advice needed after wildfire
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2021, 06:48:54 AM »
I am not sure it is done much here in the USA anymore, but back in 1938 there was a devastating hurricane that hit the area where I live that wiped out much of the pine forests in my area.  The standard procedure back then was to submerge the logs in water in local ponds to preserve them.  Many of the logs stayed preserved in the water for several years that way.  I read a newspaper article a few years ago telling of a sawmill operation run by mostly women during the early 1940's.  This was due to the shortage of men to run the mills due to many of them serving in the military during World War II.  They were sawing lumber that had been probably placed there after the hurricane.  My family owns a small beach area on a local pond that was an old sawmill site where they hauled logs out on the ice in the winter and sunk them.  I am not sure how long they stayed there before they were sawed up, but it certainly worked to  preserve the pine and hemlock around here.  There is the occasional missed log that surfaces once in a while.  I have never tried to saw one up, but they still appear solid after all these years.  You can see evidence if pine bark in the sand at the beach that is still solid as well.  That is one method I have knowledge of.
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Offline maple flats

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Re: Sawmill advice needed after wildfire
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2021, 11:26:29 AM »
Another method of saving them is to debark them. That may give you a year, but likely not as much as putting them in a pond.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed, Woodland Mills HM130Max , maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline kelLOGg

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Re: Sawmill advice needed after wildfire
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2021, 11:32:02 AM »
Jeroen is not far from salt water. Will that preserve pine?
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Offline customsawyer

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Re: Sawmill advice needed after wildfire
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2021, 11:50:52 AM »
Is there a chance you could just hire a portable sawmill to come in and cut your logs up? This way you don't have the expense of the mill, and your lumber will last a long time if it is stacked right and protected.
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Sawmill advice needed after wildfire
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2021, 01:18:21 PM »
A BIG local mill here has monstrous piles of pine ( a lot from the Paradise fire 2 years ago).  They are stacked up high with sprinklers going 24/7 keeping them wet.  I'm talking about 3 or 4 piles wide x 1/2 mile long and 50' high (at least).  I believe they are recycling the water as it runs off the piles and supplement from wells.
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Offline maple flats

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Re: Sawmill advice needed after wildfire
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2021, 08:02:52 PM »
While not a pine mill, but a local furniture factory, who made top end Cherry Furniture for 174 years (but went out of business 5-6 yrs ago) always kept huge piles of cherry logs. They had their own sawmill and they used sprinklers on the log pile. They likely had a 3-4 yr supply at most times. They were on the banks of a medium large creek and they dammed it, to ensure they never ran low on water. I think their sprinklers were on a timer running every 20 or 30 minutes 24/7/365. That kept the logs in top condition.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed, Woodland Mills HM130Max , maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.

Offline JeroenJ

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Re: Sawmill advice needed after wildfire
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2021, 02:23:57 PM »
Thanks for the replies!

Hiring a portable sawmill is not really an option I think, as probably half the island is trying that. Anyway we greatly prefer doing it ourselves.

Actually we passed some huge piles of spruce logs today in Austria with sprinklers on them as you said in some posts.
We are going to think about submerging them in water. Sprinklers will be difficult here as water is quite scarce. Maybe the sea is an option as it's about 1 mile from here.

Any advice on the mill we might need? I have been looking at bandsaw mills and swingblade mills. There is a woodmizer dealer here in Greece.

Offline customsawyer

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Re: Sawmill advice needed after wildfire
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2021, 06:12:48 AM »
It's great that there is a WM dealer close by. Trouble is that WM and every other manufacture is close to a year behind.
Two LT70s, Nyle L200 kiln, 4 head planer, 30" double surface planer, Lucus dedicated slaber, Slabmizer, and enough rolling stock and chainsaws to keep it all running.
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Offline maple flats

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Re: Sawmill advice needed after wildfire
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2021, 09:12:51 PM »
Advice for which type of sawmill requires a few questions and your answers. I ran a flip blade (Peterson 8" WPF mill) for 17 years. It's strength was being able to saw logs you couldn't move, just set up over the log and start sawing.That was a good mill, but I think it was best with larger diameter logs. Mine could do 48" logs, and under 12" diameter was do-able but kind of a nuisance. 14-36" were best IMHO. I sold that mill and I'm now assembling a totally manual band mill that is rated to cut 30 diameter max, but with lots of trimming and turning I will be able to do some a little larger. I also have a CSM (chainsaw mill) that can cut up to 32" If I need to use it but that will be my last resort.
What size logs do you see coming from the wildfire? Diameter? What equipment will you have to handle the logs? After sawing, what about drying the lumber?
Back to the flip blade mill, they make more sawdust. The kerf on most bandmills will be about 1/8" with the tooth set, on a flip blade the kerf is slightly over 1/4", so they produce slightly over double the sawdust.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed, Woodland Mills HM130Max , maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.


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