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Hello, I recently brought a Timberking 1220 sawmill. I used it a little bit, but now my 1st. job is sawing 16' trailer floor boards from a 17.5' long x 31" wide on the fat end. My saw can only mill up to 28.5" wide logs. I guess the best way to go about it is to cut off the fat end at 16.4" or so and then try to shave the log down with a chainsaw till it fits? I don't want to tell him that I can't do it, 1st Customer !
I wouldn't cut anything off the length if you can avoid doing so. You might need the full log length to get good board length.
The problem with wide diameter logs is that as you saw into them, your carriage and blade can get stuck. So load the bigger end close to where the saw enters the wood. That way, if you get it stuck, you only have to back out a foot or two, rather than the whole length of log.
When you say "cut" 28.5" I'm guessing your posts will clear the log on both sides to allow the blade to pass through. That is, your blade guides are 28.5" apart, but the posts are wider.
If so, then you can load up the log and make a pass over it, and you won't have to cut the full 28.5" on the first cut. You can cut in about 4" down or so, to remove a chunk from the swelled end. Then turn the log and you will find that you can get through a little more of it, since the width of the log has been reduced.
Do this 4 times and you'll have the log down to a manageable size and will be able to get through it.
Try to cut the decking from around the outside of the log (don't cut right through the middle of the log where the Pith is, or you'll end up with cracked boards).
Where are you located, btw?
One other thing... when you get to cutting big logs, you might get into a rhythm and just cut, step it down, cut again... step it down...
Check your posts and your dogs on EVERY cut. Get used to doing it, because the one time you don't you'll probably cut through one of them.
Thanks for the good advice Eric, Yes, the way it is the head rails well clear the log so I will check out cutting & turning to get the size down. Would it be best to cut the length of the log the thickness of the decking needed & then cut the width or cut the log the width of the decking & then cut for thickness. If you reply thanks! I'm from Silex, Mo.
So... Good question.
It depends. (The answer to all good questions, btw is "it depends" :-).
It depends on the trailer and how many boards are needed, and what width those will be.
I've sawed for trailers that need consistent width - 8" for every board.
Let's assume for a moment your customer wants 8" width boards for the trailer decking.
When you saw off the bark, and square up the log you'll end up removing some material that might make a good board from the outside of the log. These are called "slabs". If you were trying to get everything you could from the log, you'd try to cut the slabs as thin as possible, and leave the minimum acceptable board width so that on your next cut you'd get a relatively narrow board.
The edges of that board will have bark on both sides, and will need to be trimmed twice (once per side), to make a square edged board. This is called "edging" the board.
Depending on how deep you cut in on the first pass, you can probably take another pass and cut a board from the side of the log. It depends on how thick your customer wants his decking. 8/4 is typical for trailer decking that people ask me to cut around here in Pittsburgh PA.
If you look at the end of the log and imagine (or even just draw it with a marker or crayon right on the log end) you can probably look down the log and see how the board might look after you edge it. If you can get a board from this, you can take it. Then, when you turn the log, you can do the same on the other side.
(When I turn my logs after the first cut, I usually turn them 180 degrees, so that I'm cutting on the opposite face of the log. Many people say this is safer and I agree.)
You can cut down the slab on the other side the same way, and you may get a board on this side too that is the width and thickness your customer needs. You might even get 2 of them (and lets say you do).
Assuming your log is reasonably straight, and your slabs are thin, at this point you have removed at least 6" of thickness from the 31" diameter, and maybe another 4-6" of slab width. So 12" total let's say. You've got 31" - 12" left, so 19" of width on your log.
These boards will have to be edged, since they will have bark on them. So put them aside for a moment (I use my log loader to stack them and lower to the ground).
At this point you can turn it again, and saw off the 3rd slab. This will be a nicer operation as you remove the slab, then cut deeper. As you step down, you'll get into wood with clean / cut edges. As you do this, keep the final width of the boards you need in mind, and don't be afraid to go up and measure the remaining width and height with a tape measure to be sure. Don't saw too deep, just a board or two here, maybe 3. But, as you saw away boards, the log might flex and bow. You can avoid some of this by turning the log again, and sawing off the other side before you take any more boards.
At this point, your height might be 19" - (6-7") or about 12" if we assume the slab was thick. So turn the log 180 again, to put the last face up, and saw off the remaining slab. Then take your next board. As you do, keep the width of the decking in mind, and don't saw down further than this width. You might flip the log one more time, and get a board or two from the other side.
If you had 11" left, and sawed 1 more board, you'd have 9" left. If you took a board now, you'd leave 7" which is less than your 8" width so don't do that. Instead cut out a piece so that you get down to 8" of width exactly.
Then, you're almost done... flip 90" this time, and saw 2 or 3 exact 8" width boards. These can go right onto the "done" pile.
Now flip it again, 180 and you'll have 2 or 3 boards here, that you can also cut out and put right on the done pile.
As you cut these boards, look at both sides and see if you are getting near to the "pith" or center of the tree. If you are, flip 180 to the other side again. You don't want to have the pith exposed, because the boards will crack right down the middle of the pith as they dry, and they will surely split one day.
Rather, try to saw the rest of the boards so that the pith is right in the middle of the last board (height-wise). This is called "boxing" the heart, and it helps make the board more useable.
Is that easy enough to follow? I know it's wordy but I tried to describe each step, so that when you're out there doing it, you can know what you're going to do next.
The last thing is to "edge" the boards with the bark (we call these "flitches") and what I do is stand several of them up on edge (takes some muscle with thick, green boards) and clamp them good and tight. Then I run the saw down the length of the boards in several passes to cut off the bark. Usually I step down 1" at a time when I do this because I will get 1" thickness "sticks" that are 2" wide in this case. I use these for stacking lumber that I will dry myself later, so put those off to the side and trim them to about 48" lengths.
As you edge these boards some of them will "finish" and get a square edge before others. So unclamp those, and flip them over to cut off the other side of the bark.
I keep running the saw down, 1" again, and flip when I need to until I get down to the actual width that I need, which would be 8" in this case.
If you don't need sticks, or you dont' want to tkae the time to step, you can just cut down to your final width in 2 cuts. Just make sure to account for the other side.
And again, check your clamps and posts on every cut. It's very embarrassing to cut a post off your mill, when you're working with the customer. I haven't done that in a while...
Thanks again for the good advice, I needed all the help I could get on this log. Well we did it, turning the log was hard but the sawing went good. Used 3 blades maybe 300 bf, have not added up all the boards yet. I posted some pictures, heck of a 1st job!
3 blades @ 300 bd ft....NOT good!!!! #1 damager to blades....DIRTY wood/bark full of mud and tiny rock from skidding...I've been guilty myself BUT then I started brushing and scraping the grooves in the bark to remove trash. IF possible wash them out and it also softens the bark for the blades.
I didn't chime in on the cutting as most was good advice and everyone has a litlle different twist to get the same results and too much info on a beginner at once is a bit to digest.
Better yet.....WHAT did you LEARN???? What not to do again??? What to do better or make easier??
3 blades??? IF not dirty logs, was there cutting issues as dipping or rising down the log. A log that size is SLOW cutting in hardwood....most companies advertise and demo cutting pine because it looks fast.
Check out my website and if there's saw questions I'll see if I can help. Timberking makes a great saw from what I can see and view.... Tim Cook @ Cooks sawmills has a fantastic article on tweaking for ALL sawmills that deals with fine tuning the blade alignments to bed...I highly recommend reading for any sawmill owner!!
Enjoy your cutting AND DON'T forget to post pics!!! We enjoy seeing cut wood!!!
Thanks again for the info. very useful. I didn't saw through any dogs or stops! The turning of the log was hard because the sweet John Deere drove away after sitting the log on the mill. Luckily we had 5 guys there to help. Log had very little dirt on it but was very hard being dead for 1.5 years. I cut with the blade too I felt it needed to be changed due to force it took to push it through. No dipping or rising, lumber turn out nice. Eric still reviewing your post on milling the log good stuff I am trying to understand.
looks like you cut through a couple nails that will kill a blade instantly we all do it you have to watch the blue stains a tell tale sign of metal I the log
Not sure about the nails, didn't see any but it was old tree. On a different subject, how much does Sawyers charge per board foot sawing hardwoods like Oak, Walnut etc. ?
Great job.... and thanks for the pictures. Bet it was satisfying and fun for you. I also have the 1220. I'm a one man show, but mostly for personal use. The hardest part is loading the log then turning it on the mill as you probably know. I prefer to mill at my place so I built a cover and have a overhead I-beam for turning.
Donald and Harry, I like your saws. The band saw has gap enough to cut deep in the log. The blade can cut at, or below, the center of a big log. That is good if you want to quarter cut a big log.
I see the nails that John found now, in the second set of pictures. In the lower right corner of the bottom picture. Those blue stains showing on the upper face are typical of metal in wood, especially acidic oaks.
If they are small, you might not notice, as a good sharp blade will saw through one or two of them. But as they do, the metal bits adhere to the edge of the teeth, and will prevent them from cutting the wood properly.
A large piece of metal will almost certainly destroy the blade, though -- bust teeth, etc. And if that happens, you're saw will scream, then slow down as the blade dips or rises in the cut and goes haywire!
IF this happens, it's helpful to have chainsaw nearby so you can cut the log and get to the blade. Or a pair of tin snips, so you can cut the blade out of the log.
I know you mentioned going through 3 blades, which seemed odd since this log is 200 bf or so, and you should get at least 500 bf out of a good sharp blade. But now that the metal is showing, the problem with blade life is obvious.
This wasn't enough metal to totally destroy the blade, and if you sharpen those blades you'll probably get more life out of them.
While sawing, I can usually recognize a small nail or metal in the log by sound. Even through ear plugs or muffs, a high pitched 'zzzzziiiiipppp' can be heard when you are moving through one. If you hear that, shut the mill down, pull the blade out of the cut, and inspect the blade closely. You'll probably find some metal fragments from the nails on a number of the leading edges of the teeth. If you use a screwdriver or flat metal file, you can scrape these off and remove them, by running it up from the gullet of the tooth, past the edge. This is a way to save a blade to saw with a little longer if you don't have extra blades.
Fortunately, you had some extra blades with you, which was a real good thing to have. Good thinking!
The person who gets this wood will want to plane it at some point, so do them a favor and tell them about those nails, and to remove them before they go through the planer / jointer. That will save them some time and aggravation which I'd bet they will appreciate.
Wow good stuff, Nails I didn't see them but they are inside the tree so how would you. Yes, I heard some different sounds while cutting, its making sense now. I was thinking that the seasoned oak was just that hard. I guess that's having nails in the log happens a lot? I have a lot to learn! Thanks