The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Sawmills and Milling => Topic started by: Sarah Duval on March 16, 2012, 11:41:56 PM

Title: Learning
Post by: Sarah Duval on March 16, 2012, 11:41:56 PM
Hello all, my wife and I have started a small business with my father making and selling grade stakes and trailer decking. I am a heavy diesel tech by trade so i am not familiar with cutting lumber. I am looking for some help finding good books and possibly a tech school that i could do part time to learn. My father loves finish woodworking and has been doing it for years but we never milled our own lumber. We live in southern NH. We bought the mill originally as a hobby for my dad but he knows so many people in the construction industry here that we started making the grade stakes. Now i want to take it further and make a bussiness out of it. Any help would be greatly appreciated thanks Robert.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Cutting Edge on March 16, 2012, 11:48:25 PM
Welcome to the Forum!!!  I cannot offer any advice on books or tech schooling, but there is an abundance of information located here.  The "search" box can be your best freind.  Hours of enjoyable and educational reading.  I know, I have been doing it.  Best of luck in your endeavor w/ your business goals...You've come to the right place!!!  Great Folks Here!!
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Sarah Duval on March 17, 2012, 12:11:12 AM
Thank you I have been checking out the forums for about 2 weeks now and was a little hesitant about posting, I didn't want to sound like a total newbie but that's what I am. I have found a ton of info here already and I am absolutely amazed with the fourmus here.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: beenthere on March 17, 2012, 12:12:32 AM
Welcome to the forum Sarah Robert.

Pull up a stump.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Sarah Duval on March 17, 2012, 12:17:06 AM
wait no need to cross out my name i am here too....... :-*  LOL
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: tcsmpsi on March 17, 2012, 06:53:22 AM
Everyone is, or has been, a newbie.   ;)

Quite a few ol' grandfathers hanging around here and have tendency to shine when able to share. 

Welcome, to you both!   :D
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: eastberkshirecustoms on March 17, 2012, 07:07:51 AM
Welcome Sarah and Robert! What kind of mill do you have?
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Chuck White on March 17, 2012, 07:59:40 AM
Welcome to the Forestry Forum Sarah.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: WDH on March 17, 2012, 08:01:07 AM
Sounds like there are two of you, but I am just checking  :).  Welcome to the Forum.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: bandmiller2 on March 17, 2012, 08:03:48 AM
Welcome Rob,I assume you have a small bandmill.Milling is one of those things you learn by doing, like riding a bicycle.Put some logs on the mill and have at it.Some of the manuf. have instructions and all bandmills are about the same as to sawing.There are probibly some FF members close to you mayby you could work with them a day or so thats all it takes. Do you sharpen your own bands.?? Frank C.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Magicman on March 17, 2012, 08:17:39 AM
Welcome to the Forestry Forum Robert/Sarah Duvall.   smiley_divide   :)
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Meadows Miller on March 17, 2012, 10:09:42 AM

And Welcome to The Forum Robert & Sarah  :) ;) ;D ;D ;D 8) 8) I dont know about courses in the States but I personally think nothing beats getting time in on your mill and I am pretty sure we will help you as much as we can here  ;) ;D ;D 8) 8)

Regards Chris
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Jim_Rogers on March 17, 2012, 12:21:20 PM
Where abouts in southern NH are you?

I may not live/work far from you and I could come over and show you a few things.

Jim Rogers
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: POSTON WIDEHEAD on March 17, 2012, 03:07:23 PM
Welcome Robert and Sarah Duval to the Forum.

Robert, you were great in "OPEN RANGE". I love westerns!  smiley_thumbsup
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: KyTreeFarmer on March 17, 2012, 06:33:35 PM
Welcome Duvals!!  Sounds like an interesting undertaking, I know a guy that makes surveying stakes partime for spending money. Did OK with it.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Sarah Duval on March 17, 2012, 10:02:19 PM
Thank you everyone. We bought a band mill from hud-son forestry equipment it's an Oscar 328. Not a big or high tech mill but it does the job for now. We are located in Brookline NH and would be very excited to have anyone from the forum come visit us. WDH I fragged one computer and now I'm labeled for life LOL the wife won't let me near the computer with out her around, Can't blame her though. We are sending our blades out to wood-mizer right now but that may change down the road. Time is thin for us right now because my father and I work full time and run the mill on the side.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Sarah Duval on March 17, 2012, 10:15:35 PM
Oh yeah Sarah said Hi to everyone too.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: WDH on March 17, 2012, 10:23:21 PM
Is it Sarah/Robert or Robert/Sarah? ;D.  I can see that you have a split personality  :D. 

Take some pics of the sawmill for us (Robert, if Sarah is the computer guru, she might have to help you with this, but it is not hard to do.  There is a tutorial on how to post pics.)
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Ga Mtn Man on March 17, 2012, 10:57:13 PM
Sarah and Robert, welcome to the newbie class of 2012!  Lots of knowledge and other "stuff" ::) to be found here on the FF.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Magicman on March 18, 2012, 10:15:28 AM
Looking at your picture, you are a very nice looking couple and I do not see a "split".   smiley_love    smiley_thumbsup
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Kansas on March 18, 2012, 10:33:30 AM
Welcome. I think trying to make a living out of cutting grade stakes would be tough. We cut some for one company, haven't really had much demand beyond that. The stakes they pound in through small square bales or erosion netting is different. There is a lot of those used. Only problem is, you will have to find a way to put a point on them.

Trailer decking is something else. If you can cut to width and thickness, along with some length, thats a good business to get into. Sideboards, outriggers, a whole lot of products that construction companies use. i will suggest this though. When someone calls, ask questions. When they say the want 2 inch, about 70 percent of the time they really want 1 1/2 inch thick. Ask where the break points are on a longer bed trailer if they have to splice. If they start asking for a whole bunch of odd sizes, just ask them what size of space they have to fill in.A lot of times over the years boards have been cobbled together as boards broke, and its easier and better just to cut to fill the space. Its also necessary as a general rule to have logs on hand to cut. Construction companies generally have no patience. On the plus side, they rarely are concerned about the price. You can charge good money.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: customsawyer on March 18, 2012, 12:45:20 PM
Welcome to the forum.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Okrafarmer on March 18, 2012, 03:11:20 PM
My cousin cuts a lot of grade sakes up in Maine. He does a lot of other things too. Don't limit yourself to only one or two things-- start with one or two things and find other markets too. You can make a full-time endeavor out of milling, over time, if you work at it. It doesn't happen over night.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: on March 18, 2012, 04:39:43 PM
Welcome to the forum Duvals. How are you putting the points on your stakes?
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Sarah Duval on March 18, 2012, 11:36:21 PM
We plan to expand into other things as we progress, the biggest thing right now is to learn how to cut the products correctly. As a heavy diesel tech I have done alot of trailer work so I am some what familiar with what is needed to do trailers but I want to make sure I'm cutting the lumber correctly. We keep a good 5 to 10 cords worth of logs on hand, my father works for a property management company so we get a decent amount of lumber there. That is also how we have gained so many contacts in the construction and landscaping fields. I figure it will be at least 3 years before we can even think about doing this full time for a living right now we all work full time so every dime we make from the mill is going right back into the business. Right now we are pointing are grade stakes on a small unit we bought from the dealer we bought the mill from. We got a package deal, mill with an extra section of track, 5 extra blades for it, the pointer with an extra set of blades and an extended warranty. That whole thing cost us 5600 and it was all new. Last month I built another section of track so now we can cut out to 21'6'' is there much call for cutting anything longer than that? Well thanks again for the info and Sarah says thank you for the compliment on the picture.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Sarah Duval on March 18, 2012, 11:52:09 PM




Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Okrafarmer on March 18, 2012, 11:58:07 PM
Nice pictures. To answer your question, usually it is hard to find logs more than about 20' long that are worthy of milling, unless they are also very large diameter. There are some applications where the long boards or beams are used, but I would not worry about going longer than your 21' right now, as I would say, in the US, at least, that would be less than 1% of the lumber milled is over 16'. I can only do about 16-17' and any time I get a 16' log on the mill I am already wishing it was a hydraulic mill.  :-\
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: eastberkshirecustoms on March 19, 2012, 02:56:03 AM
Nice pic.'s. I see that you have the typical NH rocks boulders jutting out of the ground.  ;)
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: dgdrls on March 19, 2012, 07:33:59 AM
Pile in Duval clan!!

I'm as new to this as you are, everyone on the board is great!
Use the search function and keep reading here.

see if this helps

Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Sarah Duval on March 19, 2012, 10:39:29 PM
If I use the search bar one more time my wife is going to shoot me. LOL I have spent alot of time here lately but it has been well worth it. We put that one 28 inch log on there and it was only 8 feet long but it made me wish I didn't till we were looking at the boards we got out of it. As for the rocks I'm about to loose my mind, we can't dig anywhere with out hitting a dozen of them. I am really excited tonight I got a call for an order to redeck a trailer, going to look at it tommorow afternoon.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: POSTON WIDEHEAD on March 19, 2012, 11:01:28 PM
I am really excited tonight I got a call for an order to redeck a trailer, going to look at it tommorow afternoon.

This is how it all starts Robert. 1 week 2 calls....etc. and before you know'll be  8) 8)
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Ron Wenrich on March 19, 2012, 11:24:35 PM
We had a guy that used to make stakes and hubs for a living.  He used to stop buy and pick up 10' pallet boards, then cut and ripped them into stakes.  Other times he would take pallet cants and cut them down into stock. 

Its a lot cheaper, and you don't have to saw up good logs into a relatively low grade product.  Clear boards are worth a whole lot more than stakes, and you don't have to cut them up.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Okrafarmer on March 19, 2012, 11:31:58 PM
My cousin buys pallet logs and mills grade stakes among other things. Even pallet logs will get you some decent boards now and again. Any good boards he gets out he uses or sells separately.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Holmes on March 20, 2012, 12:05:06 AM
  Welcome to the Forestry Forum..  I hope your new adventure goes well..   Holmes
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Bogue Chitto on March 20, 2012, 01:50:33 PM
Welcome you two.  ;D
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Jim_Rogers on March 20, 2012, 06:39:56 PM
In your first post you asked about learning more about making lumber.
You said you made grade stakes and trailer decking.

I make both trailer decking and grade stakes, too.

Why don't you tell us how you make grade stakes and we can see if there are any tips we can pass on to you to make it easier.

The first thing that I did see was that you're using the plastic wrap for your bundles. I think you'll find it you leave that out in the sun, the bundles all wrapped up, you find the plastic wrap will break down and you'll loose the strength of it.

I started out with that was well and soon learned it doesn't stand up well.

I went to narrow black plastic strap with a buckle to hold it. I have used that for many years now and I am very happy with it.

I don't have any pictures of it in my computer but I could take one and show you what it looks like.
I used to get it (the strapping) in small boxes where a roll was about 300 ft or so. The last time I tried to get some, I couldn't get the small box anymore. So I got a big box. I think it's 3000 ft, but I'd have to go outside and look at the box to see.

I think the small box came with 300 buckles in it. I get a 1000 buckles at a time when I order them. It has been a while since I ordered any and the last box I got I haven't even opened yet.

With the construction business being down I haven't sold a lot over the last two years.

Jim Rogers
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Sarah Duval on March 20, 2012, 09:14:17 PM
We are concerned about the same thing Jim, we figured it wouldn't hold up so well either but my father has about 40 rolls of it that he got for nothing. We just got a quote for the banding and buckles last week. Thank you for the heads up about the pallet boards that is a great idea seeing as my father gets tons of those for free. The way we are cutting the grade stakes now works ok, I cut the logs into boards then we cut them at 4 feet. Next we move the boards to the tablesaw and cut them into the blank stakes then we sharpen them and bundle them. We put out about 2500 a week on average. We started cutting the stakes on the tablesaw to cut down on the amount of board footage we are putting through the mill.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Okrafarmer on March 21, 2012, 01:12:41 AM
See, you already have a resaw. You're ahead of me.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: captain_crunch on March 21, 2012, 01:48:22 AM
need to see stake could not it be done with P/s before milling?
Best money around is selling whole log that gives cabnit makers qt sawn riff and flat sawn and facebook boards at 150 per thousand you cant saw common lumber out west Spectialty lumber is only click  got fellow who buys all qtr sawn white oak i can saw but that is only 1.00 per ft
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Sarah Duval on March 23, 2012, 06:47:45 PM
The stakes are just common grade stakes captain so I'm not sure what your asking. They are 1'' by 1'' by 4 foot long, the one thing we have gotten a good response on are the 6 foot long ones for gardening.
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Buck on March 23, 2012, 11:33:20 PM
Welcome Duvals! round here we call those 6 ft ones "mater stakes" ;)
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Jim_Rogers on March 24, 2012, 10:04:59 AM
When I first started sawing lumber back in '4 we sawed oak the same as pine, that is 4/4 as on the WM scale.
I met the buyer from a large hardwood lumber company and asked him if he'd buy some oak lumber from me in small lots.
He asked me what thickness was my lumber, and I told him 4/4 as the scale on the woodmizer put out boards that were roughly 1 1/16" thick.
He told me that these boards were too thin and that the industry standard was 1 1/8" thick for hardwood lumber and that he won't buy any of my lumber this thickness.
I therefore changed my milling thickness and made my hardwood lumber 1 1/8" thick.

What I do is set aside board I cut as I'm making trailer planks and other hardwood lumber products and use these extra boards to make up my grade stakes.

When I had a regular helper, who came over after his regular job as a carpenters helper, he would take the lumber and cut them to 3' and 4' lengths, stacking them onto skid/pallets that I would move with my backhoe mounted fork lift to the "stake" area. There he would rip them on a table saw so that I could keep milling other lumber for customers and not be tying up the mill.

As he was ripping the blanks he'd push the pieces off the table saw into a bin, a pallet with sides up and strips over the top to hold the sides from spreading out.
The bin sat on blocks next to the pointer, behind the contractor table saw.
I got one of those pencil type pointers from Hud-Son in NY, after seeing them at the logging equipment show in Bangor Maine. It will point stakes up to 2" square.

Now adays, I don't use the table saw any more. I mill them on the sawmill. But what I do is I gang up a stack of 5 or 6 boards and stand them up on edge and clamp them up. As you rip down you make 5 or 6 stakes at a time. And you can grab up three in each hand as you scoop them up off the mill after each pass and toss them into a nearby bin without walking away from the mill. On the other side of the mill within tossing reach I have another bin that I can toss all the rejected ones into to but cut up for stove kindling.
After the bin is full or has enough to fill the order, I move it over to the stake pointing area and point the stakes. I have setup two racks to hold 25 stakes each so that I can point 50 then shut off the pointer and bind them up with my straps and buckles.
I use two straps and two buckles on each bundle one at each end about 6 to 8" back from the end.
I then carry them off and stack these bundles up on another pallet or right onto my trailer for delivery. When I stack onto a pallet, I switch ends where the points are so that you can just look at the row and see how many bundles are in each row, which I usually do 5 per row. And you can easily count up how many bundles you have on the pallet.

I hold out 4' stakes from milling or pointing that can be cut back to make 3' stakes and trim them off and re-point them.

I don't have any pictures of doing this. Sorry about that.

I also make a tree stake for a local nursery supply house and landscaping company. They are 1 1/2" square, and 8' long; to be use to secure newly planted trees, so that they don't blow over in the wind until they take root. Sometimes they use two per tree sometimes three.

They usually order 100 at a time but have in the past ordered as many as 300 or 500 at a time, when times were good. I did a batch for them last fall and delivered them right to there site which was half way between them and me. They came out nice and they were happy with that delivery service. It saved them an extra trip with their truck.
I don't bundle the tree stakes I deliver them loose.

I hope this has helped you some.

Jim Rogers
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Woodchuck53 on March 24, 2012, 10:01:28 PM
Welcome guys and gals ya'll like it here. I see from your pictures you started off right and have a good foundation of iron under your Hudson. Nice set up. keep your ears open and do good work and soon you'll have all you and her can handle. Good luck and remember to stay safe. These toys are fun but are still machinery in motion. A clean mill is a safe mill. Chuck
Title: Re: Learning
Post by: Sarah Duval on March 25, 2012, 11:27:06 PM
Jim all the info you have given us so far has made a major difference and so has all the other ideas that everyone has kicked in. Thank you all very much. I have 2 landscaping companies that have called for the heavier stakes you are talking about Jim, I will be cutting those this week. Woodchuck that is my major concern and reason for being here, I want to make sure we are cutting the best products possible. I have yet to see a forum with even a quarter of the knowledge or willingness of it's members to be so helpfull to one another. Thank you everyone and some day I hope to be able to return the favors by being able to answer questions for you. Robert