Three sided house logs - with swing blade

How can these be milled? March 4, 2002

I would like to cut 8" 3-sided house logs with my Lucas swing blade mill. The blade will only cut 6 1/4" deep. I know that by rolling the log I can easily cut two of the three sides, but haven't figured out how to accurately make the third cut square and accurate. Anybody have experience with this?

Forum Responses
From contributor P:
It seems practical to consider a simple wooden jig, for your short-term need. Needed: two horizontal bunks, leveled with each other and leveled with the cross-carriage of the Lucas. On the left side surface on each bunk, place a plate-type dog. If Lucas doesn't sell them, imitate the ones Peterson makes. Each dog plate should be placed on each bunk in such a way as to be sure that the log will be parallel to the side rails of the Lucas main frame. By using a pair of simple, stepped chocks to go under one of the bunks and thereby adjusting that one bunk's height, while keeping it parallel with the other bunk, you would have a way to box on a heart-center basis. You would be able to raise one end of the log on fixed increments. (Stole the kernel of this idea from Peterson video.)

Make one horizontal cut and back one vertical. Roll the log to the right two 1/4 turns onto flat top you just cut (which is now on the bottom). Provide yourself a vertical positive stop on the right of each bunk to push the flat side against. In the vertical stop, provide holes for a couple of drive pins or lags, or even 10 ga. hardened Phillips head screws to hold for the second pair of cuts. If you are picky about staining, you could use the vertical positive stops in conjunction with plate dogs adjacent to these stops, but the dogs might not let you get as square a result, if the wood sunk more deeply onto the teeth of the dog plate somewhere. Note: You would want to have the bunks tacked to the ground with stakes. The lifting bunk (taper) would need to be able to slide up and down on its stakes. Just bore big holes through the bunks and drive a short pipe to stabilize their position. (Also, dogs can stain and bite! You may want to use stainless steel.)

From the original questioner:
I have the Peterson video, but don't remember seeing any kind of dogging system. Just wedges and chalks. I'll watch it again.

From contributor P:
Watch closely on the Log Locust section and you will see them use a stepped jig to lower the mill main frame members at each of the four support posts. On the Locust, this is how you set the saw for deeper cuts. They don't show what I described, but the small jigs gave me the idea for the stepped wedges to use for tapering adjustment on the bunk idea.

From contributor P:
Oops. The dogs are just shown in passing. They almost look like a chunk of an old two-man cross cut saw blade bolted to the side of a bunk with the teeth sticking up high enough to bite the long lying on top of them. Not much to them.

From contributor S:
If you have a good sized log available, get it set and wedged so that it won't move and mill it to about the half way point. As you're milling leave a standing section of the log on the right side. Now you have a "table" and a "fence" which are aligned horizontally and vertically with the saw. You can now turn your lags on this table to produce parallel and square cuts.

From contributor P:
The trick mentioned above is shown clearly on the Lucas web site under "Cutting Options". They show it as a way to cut a cant into boards. I was trying to think of a way that would save you the work of lifting the small logs up onto a precut log setup like that. With 4/4 bunks, you could just roll your log and go to it. You probably could adapt the above idea to do that too, but you have that 16 to 20 inches to overcome for each log you cut.

From the original questioner:
Contributor S, I think your method will work fine for what I have to do as I do have some 25-36" trees that I can use for this.

You're trying to squeeze blood out of a stone with your 6" mill. Any 8" Peterson or Lucas will do the job fairly easily. With the Peterson "Winch Frame" mill it is easiest because the log skids are always parallel with the horizontal cut datum. Simply flat the top of the log and roll it flat side down. Then either flat the top again to the desired depth, say 8" or 10" (10" mill), and then square one side. Or, flat the top and simply square the two sides to suit.