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Author Topic: Cutting Stickers  (Read 1421 times)

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Offline High_Water

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Cutting Stickers
« on: July 20, 2021, 08:55:41 AM »
So I've been cutting my stickers 1"x1" out of small logs and scrap on the mill. Not nearly as uniform as you would get using, for instance, a table saw.

I'm curious what is the preferred method among my fellow sawyers.

Sometimes I'm able to dry them first sometimes not it just depends on how lazy I'm being, sticker stain hasn't been a huge problem but I'm still fairly new and 80% of what I've cut is still stacked. The worst offenders having been stacked with too small of stickers, or stickers that had paint or something else on them (psa: don't use old trim as stickers lol). My last attempt at cutting stickers ended badly as somehow by blade alignment got screwed up and most of the cuts ended up different thicknesses, and it just seems to be more and more of a pain every time I do it.

Offline btulloh

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2021, 09:21:32 AM »
Well this topic will generate some good responses. 

I use 1x1 stickers cut on the mill for framing lumber and generally have a supply of dry ones. In a pinch Iíll use green ones. For hardwood and high grade lumber I use kd stickers that have been planed.  There are some valid reasons to use something like 1x1.25, etc. but personal preference comes into play on that question. 

If youíre not able to cut accurate and consistent stickers on the mill, I think that should be checked out. If you can saw accurate lumber, you should be able to saw accurate stickers. My mill is all manual and I use the index holes on the lifting mechanism to to get consistent results. For me this works better than the scale. Just depends on your type of mill and how well you can use the scale or if you have some sort of programmable control. 

What do think is causing the variation in your mill cut stickers?

HM126

Offline VB-Milling

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2021, 09:51:19 AM »
For hardwood and high grade lumber I use kd stickers that have been planed.  
Is this just to make sure they are exact dimensions or for another reason?

I have plans to cut all my KD stickers on the table saw so I can get a head start.  
HM126

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2021, 10:01:33 AM »
I cut stickers from dry boards and fresh cut ones.  I prefer to saw them from air dried boards even if the boards have only air dried a month or so.

The reason that I use air dried boards is that I plane them before sawing out the stickers on the sawmill.  Planing both faces of the boards makes all the sticker boards exactly the same thickness.  So when the stickers are sawn out two opposite faces are planed and two are not.  Makes it easy to put the planed face down so each sticker is exactly the same thickness. 

Therefore if the rough face sawn on the mill is not exactly the same thickness for all the sawn stickers, it does not matter because the planed face serves as the reference face when placing the sticker on the stack.  
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Offline btulloh

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2021, 10:03:58 AM »
My mill cut stickers are accurate enough, but precise is better and kd is important for controlling sticker stain. There is a case for running a groove top and bottom to create an H pattern. Commercial stickers are made like that. I donít go to that length, but if I was sawing real high-grade expensive stuff I would. 

A stack of lumber will take on any shape caused by uneven layers or stickers, or any bow caused by a base thatís not flat. Sawing lumber is a fair amount of work, but the final results are dictated by how you handle it after sawing. I think everyone learns real quick when theyíre starting out that sawing is the easy part. 
HM126

Offline alan gage

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2021, 10:16:58 AM »
I have a handful of planed stickers that came from scrap in my shop but the majority are rough sawn on all sides. I usually saw them out of short logs and then stack and sticker them to air dry. Most of my stickers are cottonwood and ash and they don't seem to dry straight if not stacked for even airflow.

My mill is all manual and I haven't really had any trouble with consistent sizing. I use the 1" scale and drop down 1" for sticker thickness and 1 1/4" for width. This leaves me with a 7/8"x1 1/8" stickers. This way I can saw quick and a little sloppy when sawing out the 1 1/8" width and then slow down and be more exact for the 7/8" thickness. There will be a few that are too thick or too thin but I'm always surprised how consistent they are.

I'm just sawing for myself and pretty low volume compared to many others here. If I was doing more, and attempting to make money from it, I might be more persnickety about my stickers.

Alan
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Offline High_Water

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2021, 10:46:56 AM »
I think most of my variation in dimension comes from the very bottom cut, because its hard to clamp a bunch of small 1" boards vertically the bottoms up against the deck will not all be touching, or will move a little during the final pass, I've started just throwing those in the scrap pile and just keeping good ones. Also I usually wait to cut stickers until its just about time to change blades so I'll get some small waves, max 1/8" otherwise they get chunked. I like the idea of planing some 1" boards before cutting into stickers, it just takes a bit more pre-planning than I've been doing, but I do have some have some small branchy pecan logs that should be perfect for that. Right now most of my milled wood is stacked on blocks outside so not exactly perfectly flat, but the intended use is for a swingset so not exactly fine woodworking quality required. In the future I will stack in a shipping container kiln so I can get flatter and I think sticker uniformity will be more important. Not to change the subject but another thing I've noticed is that it seems I can't add enough weight to stop cupping on 8/4 red oak but maybe that's just the nature of red oak.

Offline btulloh

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2021, 11:12:17 AM »
Red oak, and most hardwoods, are going to cup. Thatís one reason that the hardwood scale is thicker than the softwood scale. Itís going to need some extra thickness to be able to plane to finished thickness.  

There are ways to minimize the cupping and other drying defects.  Generally the drying rate needs to be slowed down by limiting air flow and heat. Itís easy to dry to fast in the summer if the stack is exposed to wind and sun that would be fine for something like pine.  I still have trouble slowing oak down enough in the summer.  Cup can be planed out, but surface checks caused by drying too fast last forever. Iíve done thar way too many times and turned furniture grade oak into junk.  

Grain orientation and balance can reduce cup to the minimum. Sapwood on one face is deadly. A little sap wood on each edge can be ok, but it should be minimal and balanced. Oak, and red oak especially take some care to get right. Itís important to pay attention to the maximum drying rate for any species. Iíve had a lot of experience drying oak too fast but not much experience doing it right in the summer.  Your going have some cup with the red oak so you just need allow for enough thickness to plane it to target dimensions. 
HM126

Offline VB-Milling

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2021, 12:15:30 PM »
A timely video for this topic.



Scott Wadsworth would fit right in on FF.

HM126

Offline High_Water

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2021, 12:36:19 PM »
I've considered getting a banding tool, its even possible I already own one but its in the barn somewhere and hasn't been seen in years. I don't have a fork lift (yet) but I reckon it would still be useful even to just hold pressure, I've used ratchet straps before but UV got to them pretty quick. Do you still need a lot of weight on top of bands or just slightly less? Not sure if the bands just hold everything together or do keep some pressure to hold flat shape.

Offline VB-Milling

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2021, 12:39:41 PM »
I've considered getting a banding tool, its even possible I already own one but its in the barn somewhere and hasn't been seen in years. I don't have a fork lift (yet) but I reckon it would still be useful even to just hold pressure, I've used ratchet straps before but UV got to them pretty quick. Do you still need a lot of weight on top of bands or just slightly less? Not sure if the bands just hold everything together or do keep some pressure to hold flat shape.
I'm probably going to mimic @doc henderson setup when the time comes.  I've actually had various banding tools in my Amazon cart several times and haven't pulled the trigger.
You'll still need the weight because the bands loosen up as the wood looses moisture and shrinks.  IIRC, some banding can be retighten
HM126

Offline VB-Milling

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2021, 12:46:15 PM »
Found his post where he talks about banding

https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?topic=105726.0
HM126

Offline alan gage

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2021, 12:46:31 PM »
Banding and ratchet straps would help hold a pack tightly together but I don't see how it can take the place of weight. All the pressure will be at the corners rather than on the wide flat top of the stack.

Alan
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Offline K-Guy

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2021, 02:11:18 PM »
If you are banding or strapping you need to do it evenly across the bundle and only put them on the areas supported by stickers.
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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2021, 02:28:59 PM »
Banding is good for keeping stacks of wood together while transporting.  As the wood dries, the bands get loose quite quickly, so we use Kubinec type banding in the logyard.  It's very easy to tighten up.  Once a few stacks of wood are spilled off a forklift, which we consider a rite of passage for a new employee, we don't have to keep reminding them to band the packs.    

I have tried all kinds of stickers, including making my own.  As others have said, good stickers make good wood.  Even being a little off on sticker height will put a kink in that board, and the ones above it, for a few layers.  You can't unkink a board without planing it into toothpicks.  Kinking or bowing wood due to poor sticker manufacture, design, or placement is self imposed punishment.  Here is a video of me making profiled "H" style stickers using a power feed and dado head on my old table saw.  We made thousands and thousands of them.  This was years ago, and we have progressed since then.




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If it wonít roll, its not a log; itís still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyíre burned, and you canít fix them.  Donít burn the cookies.

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2021, 11:11:16 PM »
I make sticks on the shaper sometimes similar to what YH showed.





With the shaper I made a cutter that cuts the groove and sizes at the same time.  80 feet per minute and it goes fast. 

This style of stick is essential to get white woods dry free of stick stain.  If the wood is dark like oak or walnut I'll just use a regular stick.  Still get stick stain but it planes out.

I re-examine my process at times.  My good friend that runs a mill a mill full time cuts all his sticks on the mill and I have sawed lots of sticks for him when he gets behind.  His end product is every bit as good as what I do.  With 4/4 his boards clean at 3/4" but my boards clean at 7/8".  He asks why.......
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2021, 09:21:58 AM »
With 4/4 his boards clean at 3/4" but my boards clean at 7/8".  He asks why.......


You and your friend need to document the heck out of drying loads of the same wood and size, then compare notes. There has to be some variance in the drying either by one of you or the wood. Also, your chambers or drying sheds may be just a little different from each others. This is usually airflow.
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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2021, 09:23:51 AM »
Good looking stickers by the way, Larry. I bet Yellowhammer is jealous!!  ;D
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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2021, 02:15:47 PM »
Yes, those are some high grade stickers. smiley_thumbsup

Larry could open a side business and sell those. If people bought them, they would save themselves a lot of misery.   ::)  Quality stickers make quality boards.  
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wonít roll, its not a log; itís still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyíre burned, and you canít fix them.  Donít burn the cookies.

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Re: Cutting Stickers
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2021, 05:17:40 PM »
I betcha YH makes em out of curly maple.  He's just not showing us his good ones!
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.


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