25 October 2018 at 8:41 pm #552830
Hi Folks, First time posting here
We recently moved to another Province within Canada. this is a property that also came with a Sawmill, I haven’t started it up yet but the neighbors all say it is functioning, and all being users of wood they are eager to see me get up and running with it.
My wife has animals so I’ve gotten back into woodworking (with machines) to make stuff for her farm. but in that, I’ve gotten the idea I’d like to make more refined stuff and discovered Pauls sites then discovered how famous he is heh, he has a following here. Also in watching his videos, he has the same manner of teaching as my shop teacher in high school which is really helping me remember things id forgotten and learning new stuff at the same time.
I found my old planes which were stored away and discovered they were water damaged so I got the ones worth saving back into working order. and have picked up used versions of tools I’ve lost over . probably 30 years. Almost ready to go on that count.
My background is in industrial machinery so I’m excited to get the sawmill running but I don’t have enough experience with wood species. In particular, there was a large stock of offcuts and some production from the mill in the barn here all stickered and stacked to dry (at least 5 years). It was quite a mess with stacks of junk on top and offcuts from bought lumber as well, the wood is well dry 8-10% moisture and there is a mixture of different woods but it includes a lot of Birch and Red oak. there are some other species that I’m having a hard time with, could be popular some hemlock. maybe white oak. boards range from 6″ wide and lengths up to 12 feet and there is one birch board 20″ wide and 16′ long that I think they were saving for something special.
My question is, is there a way to tell the difference between pine, spruce, hemlock, and fir? and how should I organize it all? I’ve separated it into 4 stacks of obviously hard, obviously soft and mixed barn sheathing, 2x(4’s 6’s and 8’s) and offcuts of that bought kind of lumber. there a lot of it and this is what I want to use for making furniture kinds of things. The problem I see is the thicknesses are all a little different and some bards are thicker on one end than on the other could be these were mistakes from the mill they wanted to keep instead of waste. Also, can I mix soft and hardwoods in projects? I mean I know I can but there must be some things you shouldn’t do like in a lamination for example.
Also how useful is this sawmill. looks like it’ll take 3′ (maybe 42″) diameter logs, 16′ long with a circular saw blade. The thing was made before there were lawyers. there always been a water-powered sawmill here (it’s gone now) this one uses a truck engine. There is a separate partition in the building with a belt drive thickness plane (I have a tractor and gearbox I can use to run it) the date of manufacture is 1920 or 1928 (hard to read it) from Quebec. Neighbors say they were very productive with it but I don’t know how that business was to run if it was all custom work or anything, I get the feeling the neighbors got a lot of free wood from the owners in past days. Ash borer has arrived so I might be able to get a steady supply of ash here for the next few years and there will always be a lot of softwoods, Oak, Poplar, Birch, and Maple. anyway, this is a long enough rant and any and all comments are welcome.25 October 2018 at 10:12 pm #552831
Reading about your “new” sawmill, I can’t help thinking of Snidely Whiplash and Nell. (Shudder!)
EDIT: For those outside of North America, that was a reference to the old cartoon series, “Dudley Doright of the Mounties”.
25 October 2018 at 10:25 pm #552833
- This reply was modified 9 months, 3 weeks ago by Dave Ring.
I’ve no idea about running a mill and have hard time telling white pine from spruce or fir. But if you are anywhere in Southern Ontario please let me know. I’ll drop by for some “non-free” wood when the mill is up. LOL. Here struggling with $$$ and warped home-depot oak and maple boards.
selva25 October 2018 at 10:35 pm #552834
Haven’t seen Snidley around but we have lots of mounties 🙂25 October 2018 at 10:37 pm #552835
sorry no. NS, but we moved from Ontario, I do know people who could hook you up with a local mill there, depending on where you are, the trouble is drying time.25 October 2018 at 10:47 pm #552836
Dave28 October 2018 at 5:13 pm #552869
I have felled trees for work, bought timber directly from the mill, and have a friend who runs a mill where he dries the timber and produces laminated and nailed products. There are also mobile mills where I used to live that pay the tree owners in a portion of raw lumber.
Milling is dangerous heavy work, so you need the lifting equipment, tools, and an expert eye to get quality results safely. Also note that airbourne sawdust is explosive.
If I was in your position I would see if there is anyone with the necessary skills within the community who is prepared to work with you on a product split basis on your machinery. That way you will be gaining local knowledge and expertise at the expense of a good portion of timber. A good written agreement with a timelimit may be all that it takes to get you going. Alternatively there might be previous staff who can assist.
These might be extreme ideas, but your sawmill is a community assest, and they should help you get it going if they expect to benefit from it.
ReUser28 October 2018 at 7:55 pm #552871
Thanks for the input. Those are good suggestions. I’ve already spoken to the former owners and also there are 3 or 4 mills of different types all nearby. They are all willing to help and I’ve just bought some lumber from one of them. He also has a 4 sided plane to sell that used to be part of this mill. Further processing is something to think about. Might make a good business. I have lots of equipment around to move heavy loads.. will see how it goes.
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