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Author Topic: Western larch my new least favorite  (Read 1173 times)

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Offline Crossroads

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Western larch my new least favorite
« on: September 27, 2021, 12:00:47 AM »
Was milling for a regular customer yesterday and had a couple of 8íx20Ē western larch to cut. Iíve dealt with them and the pitch build up on the blade before and with the short logs I simply clean the blade before each cut with my pocket knife. Then we put a 16íx22Ē log on the mill and at about 12í into the cut I would get enough build up to cause some wave 😤😤. Even with cleaning the blade between cuts and squirting diesel on the blade with a squirt bottle while in the cut on one cut the blade took a hard upward detour, there was no saving it so I kept going while lifting the head, just to get out of the cut. Fortunately, the lumber we needed from this log was only 10í so I was able to buck the last 6í off and finish the order. Iím ashamed to admit that it had me using words I donít normally use before it was all done. Iím glad I donít deal with that stuff very often, it sure takes the joy out of an otherwise good day of milling. 
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Offline Satamax

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2021, 07:52:23 AM »
Crossroads, i don't know if your larch was real pitchy. 

I cut mainly european larch, "larix decidua" 

Pure diesel works well for me, but the stream has to be big like a small welding rod. 

What i do now, mix diesel and washing up liquid. 2/3-1/3, and mix that mix with water. 

1/3 lube mix 2/3 water. And kind of flood it. In an afternoon, i might go through 2 or 3 gallons. Cutting the lube on the way back. 

The washing up liquid helps mix the diesel with water. 
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2021, 08:01:41 AM »
Eastern larch must be a different animal. It saws like a dream, however it likes to act up after the fact.  I may change my tune as I have some here to saw that were dead standing 
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Offline JRWoodchuck

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2021, 10:28:43 AM »
I primarily saw dead standing Western Larch Iíve found that there is usually so much pitch build up in the butt log that Iíve started turned my the bottom 10í log into firewood and then the rest of the logs usually cut really well. Took me awhile to realize that the butt logs were creating the grief. Most logs would mill really well then all the sudden the next log would be not so fun. Being the guy felling the trees also helps with that. 
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Offline GAB

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2021, 10:56:27 AM »
JRW:
Have you experimented with just putting the bottom 5' into firewood.
Does the DBH also affect the heavier pitch length.
GAB

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Offline moosehunter

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2021, 12:07:38 PM »
Sawed up a triaxle load of larch this weekend. 4900 bd ft. , 20 gallon of water/ Dawn lube. Only had the blade wander twice on wider cuts. Running the lube wide open most of the time. 
mh
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Offline donbj

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2021, 02:00:53 PM »
I have cut a ton of western larch and it cut great. As others have mentioned it is probably the butt end youíre cutting. I have run into that with d-fir and larch. 
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2021, 09:44:23 PM »
Yeah these were the butt cuts. Iíve varying results with it even with the second and third logs in the past. At least with the bigger logs. I run straight diesel in my lube system and even with flooding the cut, it still has builds up with pitch. If I clean the blade before each cut with my knife, I at least will make a straight cut for 8-10í. Iím not familiar with the eastern larch. The western larch is also referred to as tamarack. As far as Iím concerned it can all go to firewood lol as it does make great firewood. 
2017 LT40 wide, Kubota l185dt, 2-036 stihl, 2001 Dodge 3500 5.9 Cummins, l8000 Ford dump truck, hr16 Terex excavator, Farmi logging winch, Valley je 2x24 edger, Gehl ctl65 skid steer

Offline JRWoodchuck

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2021, 10:25:13 PM »
I tried to do smaller firewood sections when I first noticed this problem but on the bigger logs it did seem to not work as well so Iíve just done 10í ish and that seems to help a lot. 
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2021, 10:35:00 PM »
Iíll be cutting for this guy again in a few weeks, I know he has at least 1 more bigger WL, hopefully the order will allow us to cut some off the butt and see if it helps. I would guess the colder temperatures would probably help a little, but Iím not sure. 
2017 LT40 wide, Kubota l185dt, 2-036 stihl, 2001 Dodge 3500 5.9 Cummins, l8000 Ford dump truck, hr16 Terex excavator, Farmi logging winch, Valley je 2x24 edger, Gehl ctl65 skid steer

Offline donbj

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2021, 12:46:16 AM »
Yeah these were the butt cuts. Iíve varying results with it even with the second and third logs in the past. At least with the bigger logs. I run straight diesel in my lube system and even with flooding the cut, it still has builds up with pitch. If I clean the blade before each cut with my knife, I at least will make a straight cut for 8-10í. Iím not familiar with the eastern larch. The western larch is also referred to as tamarack. As far as Iím concerned it can all go to firewood lol as it does make great firewood.
It's actually eastern larch that is referred to as tamarack. I'm curious, is this wood coming off a steep slope or other situation that changes things? I know slope trees can have a lot of stress in the butt sections causing what you are experiencing.
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Offline Ventryjr

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2021, 06:06:36 AM »
I cut some eastern larch that was stacked on the ground for about a year.  I just cut it into 6x6 posts for my sawmill roof and they are pouring out sap.   I was nailing in a header and got completely covered in sap.  
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Offline Satamax

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2021, 07:53:59 AM »
The other day, in firewood, i had one covering me in water, well, very "lean" sap! With the chainsaw. 
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Offline wisconsitom

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2021, 09:13:03 AM »
I was stripping bark off a few hybrid larch poles cut last winter.  This stripping was early this summer.  The wood/bark was still so juicy I had flecks of sap all over my face and glasses.  Really wet stuff.  Smelled good too.

Too bad I never got to the other 400 or so that are still laying in piles.  Wonder when/how I'll get to all of that, especially given I can thin an equal number of stems out of those same stands this coming winter!

Larch is rich in a polysaccharide (like a whole bunch of sugar molecules chemically hooked together) called arabino-galactan.  This stuff also makes the wood less suitable for pulping, and a given amount of larch pulpwood must be mixed with a given amount of other wood types for that process to work.  This same substance is extracted and used as a dietary health aid for the human gut.  It acts as a soluble fiber.  I use it and think it beneficial.

And yes, this substance is concentrated near the butt.
Far as I can tell, it's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other...

Offline randy d

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2021, 08:02:45 PM »
Tom we started cutting Tamarack today. I kind of like cutting it, saws well. its drying and keeping it straight is tough to do. It sure is pretty when it's planed up. Randy

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2021, 10:40:36 PM »
Yeah these were the butt cuts. Iíve varying results with it even with the second and third logs in the past. At least with the bigger logs. I run straight diesel in my lube system and even with flooding the cut, it still has builds up with pitch. If I clean the blade before each cut with my knife, I at least will make a straight cut for 8-10í. Iím not familiar with the eastern larch. The western larch is also referred to as tamarack. As far as Iím concerned it can all go to firewood lol as it does make great firewood.
It's actually eastern larch that is referred to as tamarack. I'm curious, is this wood coming off a steep slope or other situation that changes things? I know slope trees can have a lot of stress in the butt sections causing what you are experiencing.
Thatís interesting, hardly anyone calls it western larch, most people around here call it Tamarack. As for weíre the trees came from, I donít know, they were trucked in is all I know. I didnít see any of the normal signs of stress in the wood like lifting, bowing or pulling. The only thing I had was pitch buildup. Interesting thing though, the last blade I ran on Saturday was only on the mill for a few cuts and had quite a bit of buildup on it when I pulled it off and coiled it up. I put it in the pickup last night to run on todayís job. It rained last night and all of the buildup was broke down and whipped off easily. So, maybe diesel isnít the best thing to use on tamarack? 
2017 LT40 wide, Kubota l185dt, 2-036 stihl, 2001 Dodge 3500 5.9 Cummins, l8000 Ford dump truck, hr16 Terex excavator, Farmi logging winch, Valley je 2x24 edger, Gehl ctl65 skid steer

Offline Runningalucas

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2021, 11:11:41 PM »
Yeah these were the butt cuts. Iíve varying results with it even with the second and third logs in the past. At least with the bigger logs. I run straight diesel in my lube system and even with flooding the cut, it still has builds up with pitch. If I clean the blade before each cut with my knife, I at least will make a straight cut for 8-10í. Iím not familiar with the eastern larch. The western larch is also referred to as tamarack. As far as Iím concerned it can all go to firewood lol as it does make great firewood.
It's actually eastern larch that is referred to as tamarack. I'm curious, is this wood coming off a steep slope or other situation that changes things? I know slope trees can have a lot of stress in the butt sections causing what you are experiencing.
Thatís interesting, hardly anyone calls it western larch, most people around here call it Tamarack. As for weíre the trees came from, I donít know, they were trucked in is all I know. I didnít see any of the normal signs of stress in the wood like lifting, bowing or pulling. The only thing I had was pitch buildup. Interesting thing though, the last blade I ran on Saturday was only on the mill for a few cuts and had quite a bit of buildup on it when I pulled it off and coiled it up. I put it in the pickup last night to run on todayís job. It rained last night and all of the buildup was broke down and whipped off easily. So, maybe diesel isnít the best thing to use on tamarack?
Yup, I've used the term Western Larch, and people often look clueless, but to say Tamarack, brings them back.   
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Offline donbj

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2021, 11:13:46 PM »
Yeah these were the butt cuts. Iíve varying results with it even with the second and third logs in the past. At least with the bigger logs. I run straight diesel in my lube system and even with flooding the cut, it still has builds up with pitch. If I clean the blade before each cut with my knife, I at least will make a straight cut for 8-10í. Iím not familiar with the eastern larch. The western larch is also referred to as tamarack. As far as Iím concerned it can all go to firewood lol as it does make great firewood.
It's actually eastern larch that is referred to as tamarack. I'm curious, is this wood coming off a steep slope or other situation that changes things? I know slope trees can have a lot of stress in the butt sections causing what you are experiencing.
Thatís interesting, hardly anyone calls it western larch, most people around here call it Tamarack. As for weíre the trees came from, I donít know, they were trucked in is all I know. I didnít see any of the normal signs of stress in the wood like lifting, bowing or pulling. The only thing I had was pitch buildup. Interesting thing though, the last blade I ran on Saturday was only on the mill for a few cuts and had quite a bit of buildup on it when I pulled it off and coiled it up. I put it in the pickup last night to run on todayís job. It rained last night and all of the buildup was broke down and whipped off easily. So, maybe diesel isnít the best thing to use on tamarack?
It's a regional thing as well as for what people call it. My uncle called it tamarack as well. I guess being a scaler I lean to the proper names. The sap build up can be a challenge for sure. I have a couple butt ends here that went to the firewood pile, more for shake than anything else but the sap would have been ugly.
I may be skinny but I'm a Husky guy

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Offline JRWoodchuck

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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2021, 10:14:45 AM »
Gotta educate those people that we donít have Tamarack we have Western Larch. Like we donít have ĎRed Firí itís Doug Fir. 
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Re: Western larch my new least favorite
« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2021, 12:11:34 PM »
Everybody calls my hybrid larch tamaracks.  Just one of those things.  
Far as I can tell, it's 6 of one, half a dozen of the other...


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