Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wood Mizer

Back in the spring of 2006 we had a tornado devistate our area. I watched in fear the funnel going across my front yard within a 100 yards of my front porch. The storm left many trees along the creeks down. These were good size trees with really straight trunks. The city was going to bulldoze them into piles to burn. This was the time I reallized maybe a sawmill might be a good investment. A few months after the storm I drove to Wood Mizer in Indiana to pick up an LT-40 sawmill. This is the biggest tool I have ever bought. I quickly cleaned up and cut lots of walnut and oak from along the creek banks. Since that time I have cut many logs and air dried lumber in my pole barn. My plan was to use the pole barn as my wood shop but it filled so fast with drying lumber that this was not an option. Later it dawned on me to build a timber frame using the mill which turned out much better than I ever thought. Another benefit having the mill is re-sawing wide boards for bookmatching panels for doors and matched panels for table tops.

This past week I cut some very nice , clear cherry and walnut. You can see the cherry below how straight the log was which around here can be rare.

Bill found this tree near his place. The tree lost its top and he was afraid it might start taking on water and rot prematurely. The walnut he found was very straight and had very little sap. These logs were fun to cut. It was good to get out of the shop a while and cut lumber next to the woods.

After cutting about 500 ft or so to fill my trailor I had to get it home to stack for drying. I use blocks leveled as a base. The stickers are spaced about every 2 feet and lined up in the pile. I still need to add weight (more blocks) on top to keep everything flat. This stack will air dry for about a year for the 4/4 stock and longer for the 5/4. I have a small fan in the wall to draw out moisture and keep the door open on the other end. I have found this pole barn to dry wood at a good rate with very little checking. If you dry too slow you can have mold and too fast could cause unwanted stress in the boards or surface checks. I was able to cut some 17''-19'' wide 5/4 cherry for table tops. I also like to quarter saw smaller logs. These two trees will provide some really nice material for next season.

I also cut out the crotch material where the tree forks. You can get some interesting grain patterns here where the tree tries to hold itself together. I'll use these for drawer fronts or even live edge benches. The bottom line is I can cut logs the way I want and not have to try to match boards from a large lumber yard or pay those high prices for boards full of sap wood. The mill has already paid for itself many times. Now if I can just convince my wife.

This weekend I'll be at the TACA craft fair in Nashville again showing chairs and dodging rain showers. Back to work!