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Within the confines of this blog, you will find bits and pieces of the life and times of myself, my family and friend dear and near., far and wide, few and far between. You will find bits and pieces of my world, tho small to some, but huge to me. You will find everything from 'soup to nuts',; recipes, hobbies,crafts, gardenings,loves of my life, GrandLoves-a-Plenty, and even my pets... Sooo, if you can handle family life, enjoy the tour of my 'Stuffings'.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Late last fall, we had a blowdown.  
Unfortunately, it took with it, many of our mature trees,  to the ground.  Rather than let nature rot them, we put them to good use.  This first tree, a basically healthy Hemlock, was 137 yrs. young, still solid except at ground level, where it was beginning its natural decay.  This also led to its demise with the help of the strong winds.
 The butt end measured a bit over 37 inches.
 Another of the 42 we lost, ( just counting the ones we could count from the trails ) was 130 yrs. old.  You can count the rings on the saw end and it will tell you so much about the growth of the tree.  Not only it's age, but when the growing year was dry, wet, if there was a forest fire where it grew, insect damage, etc.
 But, on with what we did with some of logs.
What had not been cut into firewood, has been cut into lumber.
We are fortunate to have Bill's brother Pat just down the road a piece.  The boys built this sawmill themselves years ago, so if you'd find this interesting, come along for the tour.
The boys made lumber of only two 8 ft. logs this time.
First, the huge logs are loaded on a bunk like the one below with a jammer, also made by the boys. ( In the white hat is one of our sons, helping and learning the operation for the first time. )  Once the log is rolled onto the saw rack, a 2 man job,  
 adjustments are made to place the log just right for its first cut.
 Bit by bit, to waste as little of the useful wood as possible, one click at a time, until
 oops, still making changes...
 Imagine what it took to make this monstrosity.   The building must measure at least 40 ft. long,  just to hold the mill.
 The wall behind the working end, is full of charts and measures to make the right cuts for the right size board.
 Click, buzzzzzzzzzzz, careful, 
 finally ready for the first cut with that serious unguarded  blade.  ( Yes, another project in the making. )
 There are always kinks to work out, like this pinched blade on the very first pass of that monster log.
The blade measures 54 inches and as you can see, or not, the blade just barely is visible as it passes through the first slab.
 Phew, the first slab is off,
unloaded from the roller, and in the  scrap trailer.
 All heavy work, the log is rolled to it's first flat side awaiting the next side off.
 Two sides down, two to go.  This is by no means, an exact science as a home made mill, but it serves its purpose well enough for our needs.  It seems there is a lot of waste, but we do not want a terrible lot of bark on our lumber.  Leaving it on is just an open invitation for insect parties.  Besides, we waste nothing, as I'll explain later.
 Roll it boys, then bump it out to waste little as possible.
 Now, that is one beautiful 2x24" board.  You'd think we'd leave it that way.  We, however will be cutting this beauty way down.
 There is one major imperfection, a crack, so on to the next decision....
 As the brothers ponder,
 I'm still begging them to leave this board for me...
Bill tells me that there are lots more where this one came from...grrrrr., 
 so on with stacking several of them, 
measuring, marking, clamping, and.......
 bzzzzzzzzzzzzz, cutting 2x4's and 2x6's and 1x6's
 cut, load, cut, load, cut, load
 The scraps or Slab Wood, is loaded onto another trailer.  These pieces are used for kindling mostly, but I see Tree House Siding, don't you?
 As you can imagine, there are tons of sawdust from all the cutting going on.  The sawdust elevates up to
 another trailer where it empties.  From there it is used for cattle and chicken bedding, garden paths, compost and mulch.  Like I said, nothing goes to waste.
 This entire operation, from cutting to sawdust, is run off the hydrolics of Pat's tractor outside of the window.
 A whole lot of backbone goes into such work.  It's why men are made to handle the heavy-duty lifting, so I've been told.  
And now?    Loaded and going home.
So, now what's my man up to?..............to be continued.....
As I'm eternally grateful,
Thanks for making time in your busy day to stop by.


Darcie said...

A new shed in the making for the boat perhaps? That really is quite the operation Dad and Uncle Pat have going on. :)

Dicky Bird said...

Beautiful job with the old trees - such nice boards. I love the slab pieces too...

Sunny said...

Great post, Dar. Bringing back more memories...

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

What WILL you do with all that lovely lumber?
I adore the smell of cut wood. It's like perfume to me.

TexWisGirl said...

that's really awesome. dangerous work, but really great.

Helen said...

A lot of good lumber from one tree. Now you can build a hog pen from the slabs.

~mel said...

I know what the guys are making; but will leave it up to you to post on it:) You guys are so lucky to have Pat around with that sawmill and being able to cut your own lumber... which I'm sure you're aware of. We've paid lots of big bucks over the years to get ours done. I'm happy to see the next generation learning the way to use it!! A blade guard would be safer though... and I hope they do put one on.

Dar said...

Re: Mel: I know about the blade guard. When they are cutting, at least one of them is passing that blade for each cut...scary stuff!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Oh my! Those are huge trees and you sure got some fine looking lumber! I hope this subject will be continued! heehee!

A Primitive Homestead said...

Coming from a sawmill family this brings back old memories. Blessings!

jack69 said...

I'm sitting her beat, and Sherry says have you read DAR? (Are you crazy I haven't looked at the computer) You are gonna love this, Then she tells me about the saw mill.
I LOVE THE 2X24 wow you don't see something like that every day. I love the operation, I know a blade guard would be 'good to have' but to a miller, it is a pain and would eventually figure a way to disengage it. Yeah that is men for you. Good stuff and a great entry,

Love from cold and rainy NH

Judy said...

The only saw mill I have seen is the one at the pioneer village, and I do not think I have seen it in operation, so this post was very interesting!! And I bet it smells wonderful!!

Shug said...

I enjoyed this trip through the sawmill. Very interesting how a huge tree is made into lumber.
We (at the nursery) buy tons of sawdust every year. The sawdust is used to package our trees. There is a use for everything...nothing should go to waste!
Thanks girl for this knowledgeable post.

Fred Alton said...

What an interesting post, Dar! I have had cause to wish for a por5table saw mill here at our cabin. Huge trees have blown down there in the last month. My neighbor has been cutting beautiful oak and other hardwoods into firewood. I had a couple pines down and much less damage than the neighbor. Thanks for posting all the pictures.

Lucy said...

That was really interesting. You describe it so well. Looks like hard work.

Joe said...

Nice shots. I love old sawmills!