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Author Topic: I need a plan  (Read 1032 times)

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Offline Old Greenhorn

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I need a plan
« on: September 17, 2019, 10:02:20 PM »
Well, I had plans for my first summer with the mill and life got in the way. I spent most of my time doing things for other folks or demands dictated to me and things I offered up. No complaints, it was fun. However, the weather is changing and I am realizing that I never even started the first project I had planned back in the spring. My gear is down for now and I have a wedding to attend this weekend, so I expect it will be yet another week before I can get down on the mill. Now I am trying to figure out how to salvage something of the season before that white stuff begins.
 I have learned that I enjoy making some things with the wood I produce and that it doesn't look too bad either. Folks seem to like it and I enjoy the work.
 So I have a handful, perhaps 6 or so good logs queued up at or around the mill. I would like to get these cut so they can start air drying through the winter so I can do something with them. But I don't know what sizes to mill for undetermined projects.
 I was thinking that if I milled plain slabs around 10/4 I could get them drying with the live edge and then re-saw for specific projects after they were air dried. But I am wondering if this will go all wrong and I might waste the wood because of twisting and splitting because they are too thick. I am thinking I might like to make some tables, coffee tables, benches(from the first slabs), and other stuff like that to see if they would sell. 
 One of the things I have learned here is that there are no dumb questions. You throw out a thought and some stuff, ok a LOT of stuff, comes back that you had not considered which changes your direction either a little or a lot. So what do you guys think? Should I just plain mill it all and leave the live edges until I pick out what I will do with each piece, or should I wait until I have something specific in mind before I open a log?
 If I had a plan, and queued all the logs up, I could probably get a volunteer or two to pitch in and help me get it done in a day or so. I have folks that keep asking to come and help. I just don't want to waste a winter of drying time. I don't have too many more winters to waste. ;D Maybe y'all have other thoughts?
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Offline Southside

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2019, 10:45:40 PM »
Well, if I was in your shoes I would do along the lines of what you suggest.  10/4 lets you make 2" or 1" lumber without much waste. Sounds like a better plan than trying to saw something out during the middle of a blizzard.  As far as the thing about not getting projects done - tell me about it.  There is a hole in my front yard where a pool was supposed to go by mothers day.....ugg....
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Offline Banjo picker

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2019, 06:58:24 AM »
@Southside fill that hole up while you still have a chance.   ;)  That hole in my backyard is my #1 money pit....horses are a very close 2nd.  

Old Greenhorn if you can stand the humidity, move south and get away from that white stuff.  Banjo
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2019, 07:09:10 AM »
So SS, you are telling me I am not the only one that let things slip away? Maybe that makes me feel better because I know I didn't spend much time sitting around. Up here your hole would eventually fill with snow. But with your tractor broke I am sure that doesn't help the project timeline. >:( Maybe your neighbor would come down and lend a hand? Probably not.
 I like the idea of 10/4 allowing me to plane the dried slabs to just over 2" or making smaller material later. I don't like the idea of re-sawing slabs so much but I have to make a choice to get this stuff opened up.
 Banjo, the humidity we get up here all year is really bad with a few exceptions, but the stuff down south would kill a man like me. I just can't work in those conditions fighting for every breath and sweating buckets. I'll take the white stuff and be happy with it. It provides an excuse for shop work and repairs. Snow removal can keep you from getting fat, if it doesn't break your back. ;D
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here. OK, maybe I am the woodcutter now.
I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker

Offline WDH

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2019, 07:12:10 AM »
I would saw a plethora of sizes.  Some 4/4, some 6/4, and some 9/4.  I have not had good luck with re-sawing thicker slabs.  If they have air dried some, and if there is stress, the resulting boards will not be flat and it is nigh near impossible to make them dry flat after that. 
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2019, 07:20:32 AM »
Yeah WDH, this is what I am thinking about. It comes down to the simple question we ask all the new folks here "what are you doing and what do you really need to get it done?". I can't answer this clearly enough but what I am thinking is that I will focus on tables and stools with this wood. Maybe some dimensional stuff (2x?) which is not too bad to re-saw, and very little thin stuff. SO I am kind of leaning with this plan. But I have an open mind because the folks here are a lot smarter than me. ;D
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here. OK, maybe I am the woodcutter now.
I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker

Offline Don P

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2019, 07:38:50 AM »
I have slabs that will probably still be there for the big auction. I use 4/4 and 8/4 just about every day. Timbers fall somewhere in between. Kind of all depends on whatcha intend to do. I'm sort of hoping to get to last years winter projects this winter :D.
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Offline Nebraska

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2019, 07:43:29 AM »
I like the 10/4 slab idea,  you can saw it down later. The only thing about 10/4 is they get heavy fast so help would be good, I guess the mule will get healthy soon though so you can haul them easier, and If you don't want live edge you can zip it off in the warm shop with a skill saw and a straight edge or set it back on the mill later. You won't run out of logs where you are.
  I did that last night with some elm, it's  going to sit in the shed for a while then become matching benches for a fire pit, and some red elm step stools for the office ladies Christmas, bark was off and it was well seasoned. I got called out and finished the last cuts with headlights shining  on the mill but it's there now.  It's an optimistic plan. 
I have two weddings this weekend, one is a neighbor kid who played sports and road bus with our kids, the other is a young lady veterinarian in our office, yep big chunk of this weekend off is shot for me too.
I'd tell you to move west but as the humidity drops so do the number and types of trees and we get some serious cold.. 

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2019, 08:13:43 AM »
The problem with sawing thick is the defect rate.  So it depends on the final grade of wood you want to produce.  Generally, the thinner the board, the higher the grade that can be produceded.

I use the rule of thumb that every time the thickness of a board is doubles, the defect rate squares.  So a two inch thick board will have 4 times the defects of a 1 inch thick board.  For example, if a defect can be dodged in a 4/4 board (knot, stress, crack, pith, etc) it will probably be included in an 8/4 board.  So instead of having one clean 4/4 board, and also one lower grade 4/4 board, they will get combined in a single lower grade 8/4.  Thicker boards also react to stress more, cupping and bowing more, which results in requiring more wood removed to clean up later.  So it it needs to be sawn thicker, and the cycle feeds on itself.  

Also, thicker boards will have much more drying defects, simply due to the differential stresses in the piece.  Add all that together and 4X the defects when dry and planed.  

Softwood is much more tolerant than hardwood, and I can do things with pine, poplar, basswood, etc thats I can't do with other wood, but I still get a lot of folks who want them to cut real thick (5 or 6 inches) and I tell them that the more the board begins to approach the look and thickness of a crosstie, the more it will dry out and look like a crosstie.  If they walk down a hundred miles of railroad track, they won't find a single crosstie that isn't cracked and I cant resaw a high grade board from a cracked crosstie.

Anyway, I mill targeted sizes based on best guess, and also what the log will provide.  Many times I have a plan to saw a log and once I get into it, I mill it differently.

My advice would be to stay flexible and get the best pieces from the log, whatever sizes they are.
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Offline Crusarius

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2019, 08:50:16 AM »
I would saw a plethora of sizes.  Some 4/4, some 6/4, and some 9/4.  I have not had good luck with re-sawing thicker slabs.  If they have air dried some, and if there is stress, the resulting boards will not be flat and it is nigh near impossible to make them dry flat after that.  
I agree with this. I just decided to cut one of my 2" thick walnut slabs in half. It had a very minor twist in it but the stress that was in it I ruined half the board. If it was thicker it may work better but I learned.


I like yelowhammers post, as usual :)

I am thinking I will cut the stuff I think will make nice slabs into 8/4" and the rest will be 4/4" And then some random 3" for legs.

I like to make 3 sided cants. I find I can salvage more usable boards by doing that. I also then have 1 straight edge for running through the table saw and 1 live edge if that is what I / customer wants.


Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2019, 11:00:06 AM »
Well see there? That is why I asked the question. YH just threw me in another direction and Crusarius confirmed it. So I must consider that.
 To be sure, the log will have a lot to say about what comes out of it, as is always the case when not sawing to order
 Last year I finished off the logs I could by milling for maximum output. With my limited storage capabilities this made for a bit of a mess to stack and sticker all the different shapes, and of course wound up with stuff I have yet to use. Hence I was thinking uniform thickness for stacking and drying. Mostly what I have this time around is maple, 1 or 2 red oak, and an ash log that may open up in poor condition. If I open the log and find something special that speaks to me, certainly I will cut for that, and I won't let the opportunity for some nice 3-4-5/4 slip by either. The 10/4 may be too big, perhaps 8/4 is better? But I really have not developed a use for the 4/4 stuff as of yet. I just have one need for some 3/4 x 24x6 for a project that I will do a special clamped drying setup for and hope for the best. That delivery is 10 months out.
 I know that no matter what I do, I will wish I had done something different. ;D But I want to be clear that I really appreciate all the different points of view. It's why I asked and how I learn. Maybe by next season I will have a better plan and I figure out my true needs, but I still have yet to decide what I want to be when I grow up, so.....
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

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I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker

Offline Crusarius

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2019, 11:19:13 AM »
its not that hard to add an edge to get a thicker appearance. I find most of the boards I need are 3/4"

Offline Dana Stanley

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2019, 06:34:49 PM »
Would 8x12s be a good way to go. seems like you could get a variety of 1,2,3,4,5,or 6x later
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Offline Southside

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2019, 08:47:37 PM »
But with your tractor broke I am sure that doesn't help the project timeline


I am going to try that excuse with my wife and see how it goes...will let you know...:D
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2019, 04:35:06 AM »
But with your tractor broke I am sure that doesn't help the project timeline


I am going to try that excuse with my wife and see how it goes...will let you know...:D
sure  if you are able.  good luck.  @Southside 
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Offline WDH

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2019, 07:59:34 AM »
Southside - "Honey, that huge hole in the yard is still there because my tractor broke."

Wife - "Fine".

(Female to Male translation....It is NOT fine :)).
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Offline Nebraska

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2019, 08:06:56 AM »
Ooh yeah I got one of those last night. 

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2019, 08:30:51 AM »
I always get "FINE, Whatever" Sends a shiver down my spine every time.
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here. OK, maybe I am the woodcutter now.
I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker

Offline moodnacreek

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2019, 01:49:25 PM »
Sawing live edge stuff in w. pine should be started now to march from only fresh cut logs. If you have old warm weather logs they should sawn into regular lumber as  to grade out the discolored .

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: I need a plan
« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2019, 02:48:36 PM »
I have no softwoods. Just maple, ash, and oak. All logs cut last 2 years, some long dead.
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here. OK, maybe I am the woodcutter now.
I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker


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