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Author Topic: milling frozen white spruce  (Read 2467 times)

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Offline paddler

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milling frozen white spruce
« on: January 19, 2016, 10:48:42 AM »
Hey folks, ive learned a ton on here from lurking around. Im brand new at this and have so far only cut a pile of smaller sized balsam into 2x4 and 2x6 and haven't cut any other species of wood. thats been goign pretty well for the most part. I have heard a few stories from local guys about cutting frozen white spruce being very difficult. Right now, I have 12 cords of white spruce logs sitting in a clear cut that is mine and ready to mill. my question is, am I better off milling it now, frozen, or waiting till spring?

I am cutting most of it into 6x6 beams for a log cabin project. How long should this dry before its useable? sorry, I guess that's two questions.....

Offline LittleJohn

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Re: milling frozen white spruce
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2016, 11:13:28 AM »
I am by no means a production sawyer, more of a hobbyist with the occasional paying job.  Here are my pros and cons, to cutting in winter

Cons
   ...if wood is frozen it is harder to cut and you and your helpers will also be cold (until you lift the first slab)
   ...have fun with the taper on a spruce
   ...if you run lube, it has to be mixed with anti-freeze  ;D
   ...might have a hard time starting motor, if sawing outside

Pros
   ...minimal sap spraying off the blade (in summer fresh spruce sap looks like water out the sawdust shoot)
   ...in sawing mobile, a full day of sawing is like 6-7 hours TOPS!!!
   ...what else do you have to do, no good sports are on TV til after dark anyway
   ...slabs can be thrown right on a burn pile to make break time a bit warmer or at least manageable

Offline GAB

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Re: milling frozen white spruce
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2016, 03:11:54 PM »
LittleJohn wrote "...if you run lube, it has to be mixed with anti-freeze "
I would use some -30*F windshield washer fluid and if needed add some soap.
If you have a blade lube pump on your mill, in your area of the country, you need to take precautions that it does not freeze or there will be a high probability that you will need to replace it.

I have never sawed white spruce, but if is anything like Colorado Blue Spruce I suggest you go to the drug store and buy a large quantity of patience. 
My first attempt at sawing CBS was taxing, the second time I tightened the blade to 3500 PSI on the gauge (LT40), and it sawed a whole lot better.
Wishing you lots of luck,
Gerald 
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Online Dave Shepard

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Re: milling frozen white spruce
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2016, 06:21:13 PM »
Spruce might saw better frozen, that way the wood is the same hardness as the knots. Spruce is known for being difficult due to the differential in hardness between the knots and the rest of the tree.
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Offline millwright

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Re: milling frozen white spruce
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2016, 01:24:55 PM »
I've cut a lot of white spruce, I would rather cut it frozen as the sap is not such a big problem. I usually slow the feed speed down a little.

Offline ladylake

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Re: milling frozen white spruce
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2016, 01:35:07 PM »
Spruce might saw better frozen, that way the wood is the same hardness as the knots. Spruce is known for being difficult due to the differential in hardness between the knots and the rest of the tree.

  That's what I think too, I have the best results with 3/4 pitch  4 blades with plenty of set.  Steve
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Offline bkaimwood

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Re: milling frozen white spruce
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2016, 07:46:59 PM »
Sharp blades, and an additional  10-20% more blade tension works for me...don't worry about waves till you have it skinned... 4 sides open, no bark...bark makes it worse... Then make shim cuts to straighten the cant...its a worst case scenario, but works... A less than new blade works good for the skinning a few cants, then switch for sawing to final product...
bk

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: milling frozen white spruce
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2016, 09:15:58 PM »
Sharp blades, and an additional  10-20% more blade tension works for me...don't worry about waves till you have it skinned... 4 sides open, no bark...bark makes it worse... Then make shim cuts to straighten the cant...its a worst case scenario, but works... A less than new blade works good for the skinning a few cants, then switch for sawing to final product...
.....skin it out and then put on a fresh blade.....the gentleman is exactly right..... smiley_thumbsup
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Offline paddler

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Re: milling frozen white spruce
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2016, 10:03:32 AM »
hey i appreciate it! thanks, thats good advice. i was hoping to get to some of my spruce pile yesterday but i couldnt quite get finished with the balsam i got in front of the mill right now. i think i got about half a  doz. balsam logs to finish and then ill be into the spruce. hopefully this weekend.

Offline hacknchop

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Re: milling frozen white spruce
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2016, 10:24:41 AM »
My experience with white spruce is it saws out better in winter once you adjust your methods to winter sawing, for one thing the sawdust produced in the summer expands faster than the gullet on most blades can handle causing all kinds of problems but frozen sawdust does not expand as quickly increasing the blade ability to cut friction free.That been my experience and its worth what you paid for it. :) :)
Often wrong never indoubt

Offline LittleJohn

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Re: milling frozen white spruce
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2016, 09:04:05 AM »
...not to hijack the thread, just a story I love to tell

You are worried about frozen spruce, the other year I was helping my dad with a milling job (down by North Branch) it was the year it was like -20f for a week.  We show up and what does the guy have to saw, 18' White Oaks  :o  ...all frozen of course, cause we wanted new dividers between the horse stall.  So here we are full winter gear, sawign frozen Oak, into 6/4 -> 3000bf later we learned alot about cold weather milling.

...btw half mask respirators are nice to keep your face warm, but below 0 they like to freeze up do to excess condensation from breathing hard when moving slab, 2x etc.

Offline Magicman

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Re: milling frozen white spruce
« Reply #11 on: January 22, 2016, 09:23:08 AM »
I would suggest using the mask with an exhalation valve.  Purse your lips and blow out through the valve.  LINK
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