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Author Topic: Sawing in cold freezing weather  (Read 2493 times)

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Offline adirondacker

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Sawing in cold freezing weather
« on: November 07, 2019, 07:46:23 AM »
This is a question for all of you in cold climates. Those of you who saw lumber with portable band saw mills.....how do you handle the water lube system in cold weather? And I'm talking minus 32F. I assume an antifreeze mix would be harmful to blades and everything else including band wheels. One 'ole boy here claims they don't use any water at all???
Would like to hear feedback on that. Thanks

Offline Magicman

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2019, 07:55:01 AM »
Not cold climate here but I do still saw when the temps drop below freezing.  Windshield washer fluid is the accepted/recommended antifreeze and of course the fluid's rated temperature would determine your mixing formula.  I can only get 0 here so I have to add 2-3 gallons to the tank to keep it from freezing down to our "normal" lowest temps of ~20.  If you normally see temps below 0, then I would use 100% WW fluid. 

RV fluid is also used but it is normally higher priced.
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Offline millwright

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2019, 07:57:50 AM »
I saw as long as it is above zero, winter time I stay stationary . For blade lube I usually use windshield washer fluid, but use it very sparingly as it tends to freeze my dust blower at times. Saw works good when cold  once the hydraulics warm up aliitle. 

Offline Southside

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2019, 09:11:27 AM »
There is no profit potential to sawing in -32 weather. Band lube will be the least of your worries, broken hydraulics, frozen bearings, cracks in steel will keep you busy enough. When it got that cold we would leave equipment running 24/7 all weekend long with a hydraulic function such as a rotary bucket turning the entire time just to be able to get back to work when temps got back to zero. 
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2019, 09:37:32 AM »
With temps below freezing or 0, you may not saw in it, but you need to take the steps to prevent freezing. I always purge the system with straight WW fluid to protect the pump, etc.
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Offline blderman

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2019, 10:45:18 AM »
I briefly did some sawing in negative temps last year.  The biggest issue I had is the washer fluid would stain the wood I was cutting.  I ended up have to cut everything an inch bigger than what was needed and then mill it down in my woodshop to get rid of the stains.  It was a royal pain and I wouldn't want to do it again.  If I HAD to saw in negative temps I would figure out a way to get some kind enclosure and heat with a fresh air source. 


Offline mart

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2019, 11:03:53 AM »
I regularly saw in below freezing weather. I'll admit if it gets below zero I stay inside and do woodworking or reloading or house projects. I don't have to make a living at the sawmill so I have the flexibility to stay inside when it's that cold. I will say I like sawing in the winter and don't mind it down to 0-10 above.

I've use a lot of WW fluid and have never seen the staining to which you refer. I mix mine. I'll start with a 1 to 4 mix and if that starts to slush up, change to a 2 to 3 mix or even 50/50. At zero or above that always seems to keep flowing. Of course up here the WW fluid is all the -20 stuff.
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2019, 12:40:44 PM »
I've been using RV antifreeze mixed to keep it from slushing. Buy it for less than $1.90/gal by the case, works well. As soon as it gets below 0, I too shut it down and move in to the shop (got to get that sawmill shed built next year). 
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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2019, 12:48:04 PM »
I just stoped milling today because of rain.
I'm running straight -20 windshield washer fluid and mill dry as a bone ash today with no staining. 
I will mill in the winter but not below zero .
I will pick the days
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2019, 12:52:07 PM »
   I saw very little when it is below freezing. I sometimes add some windshield washer fluid to my lube. Lots of wood I saw, such as tulip poplar, do not need lube anyway. I remove the tank at the end of sawing session and put it in my well house where it cannot freeze and I blow out the line so it can't ice up. I make sure to lift the hydraulic arms up to the travel position so the arms don't freeze to the ground and damage any hoses.
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2019, 12:56:27 PM »
For the most part, you likely won't need lube in the sub freezing temps.
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Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2019, 02:59:02 PM »
I will saw down to about -10C or 15F. 
I buy pure methonal and mix my lube to the temp I need. When done I purge with air and add enough pure methanol to the lines/pump/valves to ensure no freezing issues arise. 
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2019, 04:37:51 PM »
We are forecast to see a possible 25 edit: 19 next week....


 
So I purged the Lube-Mizer with pure 0 WW fluid today.

I also cleaned the ashes from the fireplace insert and loaded it with wood.  fire_smiley
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Offline blderman

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2019, 09:15:11 PM »
I regularly saw in below freezing weather. I'll admit if it gets below zero I stay inside and do woodworking or reloading or house projects. I don't have to make a living at the sawmill so I have the flexibility to stay inside when it's that cold. I will say I like sawing in the winter and don't mind it down to 0-10 above.

I've use a lot of WW fluid and have never seen the staining to which you refer. I mix mine. I'll start with a 1 to 4 mix and if that starts to slush up, change to a 2 to 3 mix or even 50/50. At zero or above that always seems to keep flowing. Of course up here the WW fluid is all the -20 stuff.
What kind of WW fluid do you use.  I live in a small town in NE Oregon and the only off the shelf is blue and it definitely stains the wood.  I had to re-cut a Juniper mantle last winter as there was blue splotches all over it and wouldn't come off. 

Offline Woodpecker52

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2019, 10:19:27 PM »
I run diesel when it is freezing no problems.  Just added a separate tank and drip line. And yes Robert Duvall (Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore)  I Love the smell of Diesel in the morning!
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2019, 08:31:16 PM »
I have a drip system on the Timber Harvester, which uses the main 3x6" tubular steel cross member as the drip tank. This member is directly in front of the engine cooler air path, and so gets heated up to engine air temperature. That warmth, and a little bit of soap in the drip water would keep the lube dripping until it hit about 0 outside air temp. 

But the truth is that you don't need it. Just saw dry when it's below freezing. 
Lube is there to save fuel, and it's not a big enough savings in $ cost to worry about mixing this and that and etc.

Southside has it right -- you'll be worrying about a whole lot of other things besides lube when its cold out. Everything shrinks in the cold, and expands when it warms up. Cold things are brittle, and break. Rubber, plastic, wet sawdust.... anything pliable at 70 will turn into so much concrete at -10. Lube will be the least of your worries.

btw.... Antifreeze is not harmful to metal to your saw blades nor any ordinary materials that sawmills are made of. Antifreeze contains anti-corrosive elements. It is meant to be in contact with metal engine parts, and also rubber hoses. it's totally compatible with your sawmill and you could certainly run it as lubricant mixed with water. it breaks down in the environment fairly readily, and in dilute quantities hasn't harmed any lumber I've ever cut when using it. 

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Offline DbltreeBelgians

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2019, 10:43:51 AM »
Nah, aint happening. And I even use diesel and used hydraulic oil for lube. Calling for a low of 7 tonight. Got the Heatmor cranking out the BTUs
Jake out running  smiley_horserider  in the pasture and dont seem to mind though




Offline DWyatt

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2019, 11:01:26 AM »
Nah, aint happening. And I even use diesel and used hydraulic oil for lube. Calling for a low of 7 tonight. Got the Heatmor cranking out the BTUs
Jake out running  smiley_horserider  in the pasture and dont seem to mind though


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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2019, 11:10:17 AM »
I remember doing trick or treat (as a kid) in Ohio with snow on the ground. Up hill both ways.😆

Offline mart

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2019, 01:24:17 PM »
I remember doing trick or treat (as a kid) in Ohio with snow on the ground. Up hill both ways.😆


 
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2019, 01:33:26 PM »
I have a "one log" Walnut job to saw tomorrow.  The forecast is for 22, so I'm not looking forward to sawing even one log.  :-X
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2019, 01:43:28 PM »
I almost never use lube for hardwoods.  I havent sawed a lot in the bitter cold, because I dont need to.  I imagine that I would continue with the no lube for hardwoods and just not saw pine or cedar when its that cold.

When I have sawed in temps well below freezing, I noticed cut quality going down.  I got wavy cuts, which I assume is because Im cutting ice.  Maybe that would be a good time to have a carbide blade.
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Offline captain_crunch

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2019, 01:26:22 AM »
Dont know about band mills but they make frozen wood shanks for circle ⭕️ mills assume would be same with a band 
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2019, 10:46:09 AM »
I have discovered that cutting frozen logs, your lube tank needs a lube mixture that is good to at least -10 Below the outside ambient temp. 

Winter sawing is much less about cooling the blade and more about lubrication that doesn't slush up when it gets inside the cut.

The blade needs to exit the cut visibly wet enough that your glove till show a damp spot if you touch the stationary blade immediately after completing a cut.  
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2019, 08:26:05 PM »
My rule of thumb for sawing in cold weather. I step outside with a cup of coffee. If the coffee freezes so fast the ice is still warm, then it's too cold to saw:snowman:. I'll go back in and take a nap with an English Setter for a blanket.
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #25 on: November 13, 2019, 10:39:24 PM »
Mart, That is too funny!!  Doubt many on the board have seen a cup of boiling hot liquid thrown in the air vaporize before it hits the ground.

I've taken to using the -100 RV antifreeze mixed with water when I'm sawing in below freezing weather. I always purge my lines at the end of each sawing day and take the lube tank into the shop until the next time I saw.  Have not seen any indication of staining using the RV stuff.
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #26 on: November 14, 2019, 05:08:35 AM »
I work in the winter cutting logs . At -32 F cutting logs is not a problem . I would never consider sawing at that temp unless the mill was in a shed preheated . Staring up engines and Hyd at that temp takes special setups . If your not prepared for that then your going to have no end of trouble

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #27 on: November 14, 2019, 06:21:19 AM »
I have a "one log" Walnut job to saw tomorrow.  The forecast is for 22, so I'm not looking forward to sawing even one log.  :-X
at least 8) it is Walnut, 
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #28 on: November 14, 2019, 09:22:28 AM »
I had to glow the engine three times before it popped off, but other than that everything went smoothly.  I had purged the LubeMizer so it was not frozen but I sawed dry anyway. 

My "new" Kubota tractor does not have glow plugs, but it still started on the second try.  We were probably in the 50's when we finished.

With the knee surgery the only freezing weather "sawing" that I will be doing will be... smiley_sleeping
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #29 on: November 14, 2019, 11:22:54 AM »


 Spent a few hours sawing 6x7 beams down to 2x6 studs for a good friend.
He came to the mill from 2 1/2 hours drive away; we chose the date a week earlier.
Bad timing.
Minus 24C with a strong NW wind.
😵
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Offline Andries

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #30 on: November 14, 2019, 11:39:04 AM »



The ww fluid rated for -40, was definitely  needed.
The pine pitch would build up and cause the band to thump, a trickle of fluid cleaned it up quickly.
Bands by Kasco, 4 and rotated the dull ones off as soon as the frozen wood had beat them up too badly.
The hydraulics did not want to play in the snow. Shoulda known better than to try.
I've got no working hydraulics after using the clamp to hold the beams. Worked for two cuts, then quit.
Got 75 studs cut by hand holding and slow feed with sharp bands.
I'll check for popped fuses this weekend when we're forecast for plus temps to 4.
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #31 on: November 14, 2019, 11:45:38 AM »
Good luck with the surgery @Magicman.
With all the copious quantities of firewood that you've got stashed away - you'll have a warm recovery period. 🔥
Best wishes!
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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #32 on: November 14, 2019, 01:22:32 PM »
Andries, what species of trees/logs are you sawing?

 I have never seen such white sawdust before!!  :o
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Offline Andries

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #33 on: November 14, 2019, 02:56:14 PM »
Good eye Mr. @Magicman, sir.
That'd be Arctic Willow, Salix arctica, the Northern most woody plant in the world. 
@WDH will back me up on this . . . .
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Its a bit of work, but we manage.
;)
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #34 on: November 14, 2019, 03:09:06 PM »
Good eye Mr. @Magicman, sir.
That'd be Arctic Willow, Salix arctica, the Northern most woody plant in the world.
@WDH will back me up on this . . . .
Reknowned for extremely white sawdust, which scatters about in most of this country.
Mostly used in glue-lams, where it takes approximately 27,000 trees to make one standard wall stud.
Its a bit of work, but we manage.
;)
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #35 on: November 14, 2019, 03:26:20 PM »
Wow, so I naturally thought that you were pulling my leg so Google was my friend:  Arctic Willow.  So now that you have identified the origin of the "white sawdust", and the 27,000 figure is believable, but I am now left to wonder about the harvest method.  Seems like a skidder's tires would sink into the tundra??  Gotta take a lot of them little logs to make that huge amount of that white sawdust?  Also what blades are you using?
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Offline Andries

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2019, 03:58:19 PM »
. . .  I am now left to wonder about the harvest method.  Seems like a skidder's tires would sink into the tundra??  Gotta take a lot of them little logs to make that huge amount of that white sawdust?  Also what blades are you using?
Sinking tires? Tundra is frozen solid, my friend.
27,000 logs per stud. Very low un-employment stats up here.
And now we get into the trade secrets . . .
Y'know all those ltle bookshelf sawmills that WM sells? We 'activate' them and use metric bands on them.
 Ėlon Musk was involved.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2019, 05:52:20 PM »
Shoulda knowed dat it all boiled down to dat crazy 'rithmatic called metrics.  :P

Now I wants ta know where dat white goes when all of dat sawdust melts??  smiley_headscratch
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Offline frazman

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #38 on: November 14, 2019, 06:39:08 PM »
I kinda chuckle at this cold weather thread. What is cold to one is warm to another... ;D

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #39 on: November 14, 2019, 07:29:50 PM »
I kinda chuckle at this cold weather thread. What is cold to one is warm to another... ;D
Everything is relative  ;D. I know this happens almost every year. My problem this year is it was nearly 60 one weekend and then then 18 the following weekend and stayed that way since then. Too much too fast. I always need a few weeks to make the adjustment.
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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: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #40 on: November 14, 2019, 08:28:55 PM »
The ice grips the North and the glaciers groan.  I have heard that people get hungry and have to cut holes in the ice to fish. 
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Offline jmouton

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #41 on: November 14, 2019, 09:50:33 PM »
i heard there were no holes in the ice to be had down there, wdh
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #42 on: November 15, 2019, 07:22:07 AM »
Than they cut holes and bring food to eat in thier little shacks. ;D
Yes on the temps. Somewheres around 32 seem cold this time of year. February feels like a heatwave. ;D
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Offline WDH

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #43 on: November 15, 2019, 08:15:05 AM »
No sir.  No ice.  No holes. No glaciation. No snow load.  No frozen wood.  Mill cranks and sawmill hydraulics always work.  Things are peachy until summer comes in April :).
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Offline Andries

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #44 on: November 15, 2019, 09:30:09 AM »
Well, yeah.
After April, when the heat brings out rattlers in the lumber pile. 'Blue Jean' pine and ambrosia are clever marketing for decayed wood products. We've all seen pictures of MM in the sandbox, working hard at avoiding another bout of heatstroke. Heck, your ac bills are probably higher than my heating bills. I can dead stack birch lumber for two months in the winter and it'll still be as bright as the day it was milled.
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All horsing around aside, like old greenhorn says, it's those crazy temp swings that make things tough. Going from 60 to15 in one day would make any reasonable work a challenge.
As the old Finlander said:
"Be cool, stay warm!"


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Offline mart

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #45 on: November 15, 2019, 12:46:33 PM »
I kinda chuckle at this cold weather thread. What is cold to one is warm to another... ;D
We get folks from corporate in Texas visiting here on the north slope sometimes in the winter. They always are shocked at just how cold it can get. I always tell them, "yeah but it's a dry cold." Kind of pay back for when I took basic in El Paso in the summer. I got so sick of hearing, "yeah, but it's a dry heat."
I was young and dumb once. I got over being young a long time ago.

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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #46 on: November 15, 2019, 12:53:41 PM »
I was out in Breckenridge, CO in December. It was about 5 below and I walked into the store after walking 8 blocks and shivered off the cold as the door closed behind me. "MAN, it's cold" I said to no one in particular. The guy behind the counter had his feet up on the counter and was reading the paper so I couldn't see his face. "Yeah, but it's a dry cold" he said, real dead pan. I laughed and asked "what the heck does that mean anyway?" he said "I dunno, I've lived here 50 years and everybody says it, but I don't get it either."
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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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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #47 on: November 15, 2019, 05:32:21 PM »
Skipped over a lot of this thread, but anyone sawing at -32F is a fool IMO
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Offline frazman

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #48 on: November 15, 2019, 07:49:16 PM »
I remember once we had travelled to Florida for a ship cruise and when we were walking around in short in December, locals were looking at us probably thinking those must be crazy Canuck. Weather was much better then what we had at home and had to appreciate it.

As for cutting in cold weather, hoping to find out soon as I'm getting my manual sawmill next week as long as the snow isn't to bad for setup...  

Offline WDH

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #49 on: November 15, 2019, 11:29:08 PM »
Andries knows both extremes.  That brings about cattywhompousness. 
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline kantuckid

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #50 on: November 23, 2019, 08:45:56 AM »
I kinda chuckle at this cold weather thread. What is cold to one is warm to another... ;D
We get folks from corporate in Texas visiting here on the north slope sometimes in the winter. They always are shocked at just how cold it can get. I always tell them, "yeah but it's a dry cold." Kind of pay back for when I took basic in El Paso in the summer. I got so sick of hearing, "yeah, but it's a dry heat."
It is actually a very dry cold in some areas. If my memory's correct Denali NP gets low enough moisture to be designated as a desert were it in another latitude.
I posted yesterday on mix dilution question for -100 RV antifreeze I bought from Walmart @ $2.58 gallon. It's light pink tint. IMO not enough color to mess up sawed wood.  I figured it's cheaper than the blue WW -20 version was $1.78.
Tell me if my dilution math question I asked about in the nearby older thread is correct or not?
Kan=Kansas;tuck=Kentucky;kid=what I'm not

Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #51 on: November 30, 2019, 01:11:56 PM »
Power feed froze up on me this morning
I had 14 with a nice wind chill
Sitting in the truck warming up my hands while my helper Pone goes out back to get more pine logs
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Offline Southside

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Re: Sawing in cold freezing weather
« Reply #52 on: November 30, 2019, 02:03:27 PM »
I posted yesterday on mix dilution question for -100 RV antifreeze I bought from Walmart @ $2.58 gallon. It's light pink tint. IMO not enough color to mess up sawed wood.  I figured it's cheaper than the blue WW -20 version was $1.78. Tell me if my dilution math question I asked about in the nearby older thread is correct or not?


A bit late with my reply but I mix mine 1 gallon of RV to 4 gallons of water all year long.  Have not had any adverse reaction with lumber stain.  
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