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Author Topic: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams  (Read 9598 times)

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Offline Biocmp

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Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« on: July 28, 2012, 10:50:51 AM »
Because I'm having a difficult time finding the information I want about processing timbers, I thought I'd open it up to the board.

 How are large timberframe beams processed? Are lunchbox planers used? Does someone need an old Oliver 16-20" jointer? Are the combo machines capable of handling such timbers?

 I've only worked with furniture sized timbers so, I'm uncertain how to handle sticks of wood larger than 8 feet (and usually only 8/4).  Do you build processing in and outfeed tables?

 I think I understand the curing process for these large timbers when green, but if someone would choose to work with dried woods, they'd need to go into a kiln or sit for a very long time while the excess moisture escapes.

Ultimately, I'd like to write up a guide for myself: cut, store for so many months to let it settle, kiln, dimension, let it settle again, possibly a final pass through the machines, move to barn for layout/cutting, etc.

 I know many people work with green timbers but I'd like to know how you would approach this

 Thanks everyone

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2012, 11:34:58 AM »
First question, what type of wood are you planing on using?

Are these frames or frame going to be a house or out buildings like barns?

Are you using square rule joinery or mill rule?

Jim Rogers
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Offline logman

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2012, 11:48:36 AM »
I saw my timbers on my Wood-Mizer.  I lay out and cut the joinery.  I sand them with a random orbit sander.  They come out looking planed.  I assemble the frame and put it up.  I have cut joinery on RF dried Douglas Fir and hate it.
I much prefer working with green white pine. 
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Offline Ironwood

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2012, 11:59:17 AM »
I think Jim's points are a start. I have seen people crib up the beam and let a portable planer "walk" down the beam. Also, there are portable 12+" hand held planers, they are very $$$$ and can quickly wear you out (I have 6" one here and have no idea how long I could run a 12" ::)).

 Also, as far as stationary equipment for continual processing of timbers the only planer I now of in the Ole Arn category is a 30" Oliver model 261 (about 5000#, two or four jackscrew table), it can go 12" or so height from the factory. You can take and build "blocks" machined out to lift the head of many old planers but you have to have a unit heavy enough to handle the weight of the 12"+ x 12"+ x ???? long timber(several thousand pounds). I have several wedge bed 30" Oliver 361's here that would handle the weight and can retro fitted to do this. I am ready to part with at least one, and maybe two of them as it is likely I wont restore them. One has an "itch head" , the other a standard straight knife head. Both weigh about 9000# each. I would sell them very reasonably. I have three  ::), they are modern circa 1950's with ball bearing and round safety heads. My best one is from 1980's and is a twin to the other two they made these units for 40 or so years.  (need a 12 step program).

 As far s infeed outfeed, the best idea is scissor lifts, how many of those you want???  ::) I have a few extra, Did I mention a 12 step program?

Ironwood
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Offline tyb525

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2012, 01:11:01 PM »
Instead of planing them, you might try surfacing them with a ROS equipped with a microplane sanding disk: http://www.toolsofthetrade.net/industry-news.asp?articleID=512949&sectionID=1504

Woodmizer has came out with a planer that sits on the mill rails and moves down the track so you don't have to move the timber. To me, moving the timber through the planer should be out of the equation, it would involve so much more work. I would look at moving the planer over the timber. Or the microplane disks I mentioned.
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Offline logman

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2012, 01:35:18 PM »
I checked out the link to those microplane sanding discs.  Have you tried them?  I do go through a lot of sanding discs especially on sappy pine.
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Offline tyb525

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2012, 02:49:03 PM »
I haven't tried them yet, but I plan to get some soon. The article seems to be honest, and I have heard good things from other people about them.

The coarse and medium disks sound like they would be perfect for smoothing roughsawn beams and removing wood fast. The fine sounds like a good finish disk - equivalent to 150 grit.

LT10G10, Stihl 038 Magnum, many woodworking tools. Currently a farm service applicator, trying to find time to saw!

Online Ianab

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2012, 04:06:09 PM »
This is an attachment to a swingblade mill that will let you plane and sand table tops and beams. Any piece of wood up to the capacity of the mill really.
http://www.lucasmill.com/Default.aspx?tabid=267

Working on a similar strategy I have a large router that clamps to my mill's frame and can then be run up along to joint and plane table tops. Would work just the same for beams.


The sharp end


In use


No reason it couldn't be adapted to a bandsaw mill, or even built as a stand alone "router bridge" with a couple of rails. M<ain advantage is that the table top or beam sits still  You move the cutter / sander over the wood. Much easer.

Ian
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline tyb525

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2012, 06:57:23 PM »
Yes, imagine having to move an 8x8x14' beam from outfeed back to infeed multiple times per side, 4 times per timber :o Even with a forklift or roller tables it would be a pain.
LT10G10, Stihl 038 Magnum, many woodworking tools. Currently a farm service applicator, trying to find time to saw!

Offline Mark Wentzell

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2012, 07:19:37 PM »
I don't know much about timber framing, but makita makes a twelve inch power planer for timbers. 

Here's a link
http://www.baileysonline.com/itemdetail.asp?item=MKA+KP312&CAT=

Offline Biocmp

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2012, 09:10:55 AM »
First question, what type of wood are you planing on using?

Are these frames or frame going to be a house or out buildings like barns?

Are you using square rule joinery or mill rule?

Jim Rogers

Hi Jim,

 This is still in the planning phases, so I'm unsure. I'd like to use many of the local hardwoods (oak, walnut, cherry, maple). Of course, anything that comes my way would be fair game. And I don't think pine is out of the question, I'm still learning about all of this.

 I didn't know if it was common to take it straight off the sawmill and begin laying out the joinery or if there were processes for curing it first.

As to your second question, possibly both. I imagine I'll put up a small building(s) to understand the process before attempting a home. I still don't own a bandsaw mill and I haven't moved back to the midwest yet, so this a dream defined by an excel sheet and forum posts.

In regards to your joinery question, not sure yet. Perhaps I shouldn't be asking for advice with so many unknowns, I just want to make sure I understand what costs could be coming my way. I'm not a rich man, and I want my purchases to be well planned out.

Thanks to everyone for your replies.

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2012, 11:50:02 AM »
Well, now we have some information to work with.

I would like to start by telling you a story. When I took my first timber framing class with the fellow in Maine. We walked out of the classroom and down the the workshop to look at timbers he had in the workshop. There were lots of timbers.

All of these timbers were planed, on all four sides to full dimension. They were perfect; very nice 90 corners. Another student asked: "why are we working with planed timbers?"

The owner, teacher, told us a story about visiting previous customers of his home-building business several years after they had been living in their new timber frame home. All of these previous timber frame homes were built with rough sawn timbers.

The woman of the house, told him that she tried and tried to keep the house as clean as she could. But the rough sawn timbers had a very coarse texture. And the dust would settle into these rough sawn timbers and no matter how hard she tried to vacuum off the timbers, they would look dusty.

She explained that she took her vacuum cleaner with extra long tubes and a brush attachment and tried to vacuum off the overhead timbers to make them look clean. But they still looked dusty and dirty to her.

This happened to him many times with many different homeowners. So he decided that if he was going to cut a timber frame for a house that they would be with planed timbers.

The surface of planed timbers is much smoother and the dust does not settle on the surface. The house looks cleaner. This is what the woman of the house, wants.

And we all know we have to keep the woman of the house happy.

Since he told us that story I have told everyone who is considering building a timber frame home to work with planed timbers. For the very reason that it looks cleaner for the woman of the house.

Barns, outbuildings, sheds and other such structures do not need to be built with planed timbers; unless you want them to be. They can be built with rough sawn timbers.

When working with planed timbers at the school in Maine, we laid out the joints to the surface of the timber. There were no housings cut. Unless, there was a need for a shelf to sit a beam on where it joined a post.

This type of layout, if I'm not mistaken, is called "mill rule."

Shortly after my first timber framing workshop; I joined the timber framers Guild.

At the first Guild workshop that I attended, we worked with rough sawn timbers for a barn. I asked how can these joints come out correctly with rough sawn timbers. They explained to me, that they used "square rule joinery".

I had a short chat, with one of the executive directors of the Guild that day. I explained to him that my sawmill, did not produce planed timbers. And that I wanted to learn how to layout joints using square rule joinery. He suggested two different schools for me to attend to learn how to layout joints using square rule joinery.

I attended one of these he suggest.

Learning how to layout joints using square rule joinery is in my opinion, the best way to layout joints. It has been tested over the years, many, many times. And it works.

You can layout joints for houses in planed timbers with square rule joinery.

The reason why I asked if you were going to build homes or outbuildings; was to understand what you intended to do. I feel you should start with some simple standard outbuildings, like sheds or barns to learn timber framing.

Once you have constructed a full frame, raised it, and enclosed it, you'll have a better understanding of the entire process.

It is common to take fresh sawn timbers off the sawmill and cut joints for your structure without any short term or long term drying. We do this all the time.

If you are planning on constructing a new home, you may want to consider buying a portable planer.

There are several different types and sizes of portable planers. Some cost a lot more than others.

I saw one at a logging equipment show in Maine. Of all the ones I have seen, I like this one the best. You set it on a timber, and it walks it self down the timber planning as it goes. you do not need to even hold on to it.

And is not as expensive as the nationally known brands.

If you do a Google search for Hunter timber frames in New Hampshire, you will find his site, and a webpage about his planer. I checked earlier today and it is still up on his site.
I did however, get a warning about his site being infected with a virus or some other problem. So be careful.

If I was to buy a planer for timbers, I would buy this one. It uses commonly available blades. And you can buy extra parts directly from him.

He explained to me, when we talked face to face, that he planed timbers each day. But only the timbers he was going to cut joints in that day; just before he brought them into his shop.

Others have taken rough sawn timbers and cut the joints first; then just plane by hand the sides of the timbers that will show inside the house. This way you are not wasting time planning, non-showing faces. You can use a power planer to do this or just a hand plane.

There have been some companies that have the capabilities of drying timbers, but they are few and far between. Normal kiln companies, do not dry timbers; because they are difficult to dry. And it takes a long time; and costs a lot.

I hope you found this information helpful; and keep asking questions.

Jim Rogers
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Woodmizer 1994 LT30HDG24 with 6' Bed Extension

Offline logman

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2012, 01:39:49 PM »
I have to disagree with Jim on needing planed timbers in a home.  No one could be any pickier than my wife and she hasn't complained about our bandsawn and sanded timbers.  They are just as smooth as planed timbers.  I have worked with planed timbers and they are nice when it comes to laying out but I don't think it is a neccesity.  It doesn't take a lot of time to sand nicely bandsawn timbers with a random orbit sander.   

 
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Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2012, 07:25:42 PM »
logman:
I'm happy that your wife is happy with your timbers.

I do understand that band-sawn timbers are a whole lot smoother to begin with and I agree a sander can "clean" them up nicely.

The story I was referring to was about rough sawn timbers from a circular sawmill in Maine.

Some of those timbers can be very rough, and when you compare those timbers with your band-sawn timbers there is quite a surface difference.

Jim Rogers
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Offline Wudman

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2012, 07:28:28 PM »
http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,23672.msg337355.html#msg337355

Take a look at this link.  I dropped the base off of a Ridgid portable planer and hung it under the carriage on my mill.  It worked well.

Wudman

 

 
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Offline frwinks

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Re: Processing (planing & jointing) large beams
« Reply #15 on: August 01, 2012, 04:25:07 PM »
and one in action ;)



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