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Author Topic: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill  (Read 18220 times)

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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2013, 08:34:25 PM »
If we were dealing with perfect cylinders it would be easier but were not so each log is its own entity. If your cutting timbers its desirable to center the pith. Logs 8' and under you gain little using toe,longer logs it can be usefull.Myself I don't diddle with less than 6" boards,I plan my cut so the second cut gives me a 6" board then generally turn the log and repeat.I end up with a cant the dimention I'am looking for and side wood that needs edging. Frank C.
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Online GAB

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2013, 09:12:38 PM »
rasorbackQ:
For a perfectly round and straight log the largest square cant available is the diameter inside the bark times .70711 (square root of 2 divided by 2).  For a quick reference multiply the diameter x .7.  So a 15" log will yield a 10.61" cant for a max. number, the quick calculation is 10.5".
I try to position the log so that the center line of the log is parallel to the bed of the mill.  This hopefully will yield the fewest boards with pith in them.  If the log has a lot of butt flare then you need to ignore the flare end when positioning it on the mill. If the log is 16' or more I try and get some 8, 10 or 12 footers off of the sides.  Hope some of this helps.  Gerald
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Offline drobertson

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2013, 09:54:59 PM »
In any case, whether toe boards are used or not, a swelled but will yield premium short boards,  length of the logs is another factor as well,  trying to describe cutting techniques online is a challenge to say the least,  if it were me, I would take 1" boards to the desired cant size, reducing the stress in the log, (keeping the pith centered) then proceed in making your 2x's, watch for the reaction as cutting through the log while making 1", if the boards raise, this is your drop side, if they curl left or right this is your dimension,(6",8" or whatever) unless you desire a crowned 2x,  just my opinion,  david, hope this helps, I saw parallel to the sweep(curve) of the log for the 2" drops, only to reduce the crowning of 2x's, well 1x's as well, straight boards are the objective for me,
So is what you are saying is as I cut 1" boards off to get the cant size watch to see if the 1" board cups or raises.  If it raises this side goes down for the cant cutting?
this is how I do it. I have found it easier to line up a board and keep it straight for walls and joists, a crown is another matter all together.  Lots more force required to get them straight. It boils down (for me) more straight boards of useable length, and less short boards due to excessive crowning.  Time and experience will teach more than any other explanation in my opinion.  Some logs are just a pain, regardless of cutting technique.  david
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline dboyt

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2013, 10:30:13 AM »
This advice is for hardwoods.  For taper, I level the log with a jack so that the pith is nearly level to the mill.  When possible, try to keep the boards centered on the pith to avoid warping as it dries.  This means a lot of edging, though.  Hopefully most of your boards will come off straight and stress-free, but drobertson gives a good strategy for those that don't.  This is a typical sawing pattern for me.  The 1x6 and 2x8 lumber comes off first to make a cant as wide as the lumber width, then just slice it up.

 

 
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Offline Brucer

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #24 on: July 11, 2013, 12:29:36 AM »
I saw nearly all softwoods, and mostly timbers at that.

I generally set the log up the way MagicMan does. If it's a sweepy log, ears point to the loader side. I always put the log on the mill with the small end facing me.

When I'm boxing the heart I will use the saw head to measure the diameter of the log at the furthest bed rail -- just run the head down to that point and then lower it until the band just touches. The scale tells me what the diameter is and dividing by 2 tells me where the center will be. Then I move the head back to the front and raise the small end so it is centered at the same distance above the rails. The height where I made my first measurement won't change as I raise the small end of the log.

When I'm sawing FOHC or cutting the log into boards, I measure the height of the pith at the far end, then raise the small end to the same height. If the log is hanging way over the last supporting rail, I guestimate how much the far end will drop as I raise the small end and adjust accordingly.

I always picture the timber or cant centered on the log's centerline and saw down to that final dimension. Usually I'm taking 1" boards off the sides unless I have a specific order for 6/4 or 2" material.

If I'm trying to dodge a defect in the center, I will use the saw head to measure the diameter over the furthest bed rail, then raise the small end to the same height. This way I'm sawing parallel to the top surface.

You can use fancy math to figure out the perfect diameter for your intended cant but logs often have surface defects or minor sweep that messes up your calculations. If you want a wane-free cant, best to use the "half again" rule (thanks for that, Arky). For a square timber, add half the width to the original width to get your ideal top diameter (8x8 --> 8" + 8"/2 = 12").

If you want to saw a rectangular cant, average the two dimensions and apply the "half again" rule to the average. This works as long as the ratio of width to thickness is less than 2. Usually I'll add an extra half inch at the end when I'm doing rectangular calculations. For example ....
 8x10 --> average = (8+10)/2 = 9"  average dimension
 9" + 9"/2 = 13.5"    half-again rule
 13.5" + 0.5" = 14"    for safety

For a log with a little sweep, I usually add 1" to the top diameter.
Bruce    LT40HDG28 bandsaw with two 6' extensions.
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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #25 on: July 12, 2013, 09:39:56 AM »
I don't own a bandsaw mill but I figure my opening cut is going to be not much different (or I'm about to make total fool of myself again) so...

Log 12"SED flaring to 18" . I'm going to work out what I want in terms of working surface on the small end... so say I'm thinking a 4 x 1 backsawn board there then I want a  4 inch wide surface at that point. Then I'm going to eyeball down the log and figure what I'm going to lose above that cut in terms of saleable recovery. Saleable recovery means if it's not long enough to sell at a given dimension I don't want it. That might be 24" of inch at not less then 3" wide in a cabinet timber, or a pallet board, or a 36" 10x 2 stairtread maybe. Depends on the log. If I can see something I can recover and sell for more then it costs me in time to recover it above that opening cut I lift the desired thickness and make that my opener.

If it's a long log though I might split the difference and pull my first 4 x 1 out at a shorter length. Then think about a 5 "or 6" underneath him. 

Every log is always a compromise between:
What cut pattern would give me the highest $ value
What cut pattern would give me what I'm after in terms of filling orders or cutting sizes that sell quick.
What cut pattern the log wants to give me.

I've never had one yet where those three things were all the same. When I do I think I'll retire. :D
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Offline customsawyer

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2013, 06:58:18 PM »
All that I am going to add to what has been said is that the way I open up a log depends on what my target is. If I am going for hardwood grade I turn the log for the best face. If I am sawing timbers out of hardwood or softwood and the log has sweep in it I put the horns at a 45 angle up towards the loader arms. This lets me remove stress in two sides of the log instead of just one and it will give you a timber with less wane on it. If I am cutting framing lumber from softwood then I put the horns up like others.
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Offline hookdrvr

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2013, 10:20:43 AM »
I'm following this post, after cutting this weekend on cedar and feeling like I wasted some wood, this helps to answer some of my questions.
One thing I will ask, what are "horns" on a tree?
I've been trying to figure out the best way to turn a log to maximize my lumber I'm getting out of it.
I've been taking the difference in the measurement of the large end from the small end, dividing that and raising the small end of the log that distance from the bed of the mill. Is this the best way to get a better cut, especially for post? When I roll the log 180, Do I let it lay flat on the bed since I've already made the initial cut on less of an angle?
Thanks for any advice.
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Offline drobertson

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #28 on: July 15, 2013, 11:21:17 AM »
howdy hook, and to answer one of the questions, in my opinion, yes, once you have, as you stated, taken out the taper on one face, the opposite side should be cut parallel to that first cut, not to say you still won't end up with a few short boards getting to full length cut, only other option is to slab heavy, and this causes the waste you are talking about.  I saw the horns off first most of the time, these are the high ends of the logs that have a sweeping curve to them.  The main reason I do the horns first is because many times the log turner will get under center of the log making turning a pain for me, I like to get what I call the trouble out of the way first, I have in mind what direction I am going, but the next two cuts will ultimately determine how I get there.  I am quite sure some others will chime ,  david
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline hookdrvr

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #29 on: July 15, 2013, 11:26:24 AM »
David,
I understand now on the horns. I've had to cut a few off for the necessity for turning, like you say.
I got into a situation saturday on a long cedar where I wound up wasting more than I should have. A glass of sweet tea helped in calming the nerves and think a little clearer on how better to do it next time. Experience of others is always a great teacher though. 
Thanks
:P
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Offline drobertson

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #30 on: July 15, 2013, 09:37:46 PM »
I think the main trick is having a face with enough surface to get the 90 degree turn is critical. Otherwise one must have a good eye or square level. There are times I rotate 180 degrees, but not often. I like to take off each side evenly. Just my way, there are so many ways to accomplish the task, I just like to keep the head close to the same height for many reasons,  With the Accuset there are so many advantages that one can use to speed up the process.  Keep on cutting, glad to hear of dust and boards being made,  Lots of fun, and a lil cash to boot!  david
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline Deese

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2013, 11:50:34 PM »
Holy Moley! I wish I hadn't read thus discussion so soon! My mill won't be here for at least another week and I was all calm and collected until reading this. I am now a nervous wreck---now Im going to have nightmares about horns, piths, sweeps, and whatever else was mentioned. I've got a LOT of hardwoods to cut as building material for our house and now I'm unsure of where to start. Its unnerving to imagine that i wont realize ive made a bunch of mistakes until several months later as the  lumber dries and begins to twist and warp :-( Heck- I won't even remember what I did by that time! LOL!
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Online Magicman

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2013, 09:29:20 AM »
This indeed is a good thread, but remember that everything depends upon what and where your target is in the log.  When opening the first face, there is no "one size fits all". 

After you get your sawmill up and running, just grab a few logs and have a good time.  Experience is the best teacher.   :)
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Offline dboyt

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Re: What, how and where is your first cut with a bandsaw mill
« Reply #33 on: August 16, 2013, 10:01:59 AM »
A glass of sweet tea helped in calming the nerves and think a little clearer on how better to do it next time.

That's some of the best advice on this thread.  Just relax about things.  Accept the fact that you're going to lose some wood, especially at first.  When a board warps, you can reconstruct how you cut it by looking at the ends of the board and visualizing how it was cut relative to the center of the growth rings (pith).

Not to stress you more, but I'd estimate 10 times as much wood gets wasted by improper drying than from sawing technique.  Cut stickers & blocking before starting in on the lumber for the house, and cover your stacks.  There are lots of threads on the subject.
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