Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sawmill Day on the property - over 1000 feet of lumber from our hickory trees!

Today we had a portable sawmill on the property to turn logs into lumber.  We had a stack of about 18 hickory logs and 2 red maple.  Two of us worked the pile of logs, rolling them onto the forks, taking away the slab cuts for later use in BBQ, and the lumber was cut into 17' lengths that were 1 1/4 inches thick.  This allows us to get 3/4" after stickering (stacking to dry with spacers between all the boards to allow good airflow.

The first log - and that stack to the right is the pile.  We got to all but 5 of them.  A good, tiring day at "work" but the rewards will be huge for years to come!

That stack of logs you see to the left is our work for the day.  We spent about 10 hours and managed to get 15 logs turned into lumber.

One of the boards with nice heartwood - most of the boards  looked like this.  
The start of the stack.

What the stack looked like after 10 hours - with thunderstorms looming we shut down for the day - heavy rains started about 2 miles down the road.


For those wondering about the biggest log - we didn't get to it today because we ran out or time and it was at the back of the pile.  The below picture shows a standard 1/2 liter water bottle standing aside the end.  It measures about 22" across.  That will face the sawmill in the near future - we will probably be turning it into at least one slab that we can use for the "bar top" on the kitchen island.
  Our first thought is to line the ceiling in the family room with it - but there's too much for that and not enough to floor the whole house.  We'll have to see how much we have after stickering for 6 months and milling down to usable boards.  This is great stuff!

The going rate for one of these portable sawmills here is between $40 and $45 per hour.  Today we cut over 1000 board feet (and the smallest was 1 1/4 x 10 x 17' with only a few cut at 8' to maximize the usable wood).  $400 for all this hickory that we'll be able to use in the house seems like a very good investment.  That doesn't include kiln finishing or milling down but even at that, where can you get this kind of wood for that price?  We're stoked!

Artwork courtesy of the local Sapsuckers - the dark spots and bulge are due to their ring of  holes and the healing process by the tree.  TI'm told they go for the bugs attracted to the sap, not the sap itself.  Either way, it's really neat character for the wood.  

  Below are pictures of the sawdust and slabs - remnants of a day's work.  Sawdust was probably washed into the soil as he rains came through. The slabs will season and be used in a smoker or BBQ.
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