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Hi from me and help with timber milling

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Dusty

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Hi all wise and wonderful
I have mostly been a spectator here and not contributed anything of any value , My name is Sam and am from south Somerset , home of the nastiest cider and arrogant pub owners !!
I have been a chippy and builder ( term used loosely ) for 15 years and work for myself , I have been dabbling in the wonders off joinery for a few of them and slowly , very very slowly learning that there is more too it than three kg off two pack filler !!
I do hope to start contributing to this forum , not as advice , but to give you guys some thing to laugh at , very loudly .

I am more of a chunky ( but not rough ) furniture "creator " , slowly coming round to the finer side of the art like M & T's etc . I have a 12 x 18 workshop inc veranda / porch for air drying timber , no real big kit but what I do have is good quality kit as I use it for my trade as well .

I predominantly like working with oak as I find it has such a beautiful colour when fresh and when it weathers back to the silvery grey ( like my hair ) .

I was fortunate enough to be able to lay my hands on some Elm or with elm , unsure which as I was given the limbs before I could see the leaves etc . The sizes of it may make it less likely to be just Elm but it may have been lucky enough too escape the beetles . I have approx ten pieces 12" to 14" diameter and approx 3 foot long ( I did not cut it down , some powerline chap did ) . I have contacted every mill in a 50 mile radius and no one can handle anything less than 5 foot . Is there anyone here than can help me as I am willing to part with some ££££ and a pasty for their services . I am just looking for a selection of 1.5 and 2 inch boards . It has been stacked in a shaded area since last August and has not split yet so looking good . I know that it can all go to pop when it is milled but it cost me nothing . I am willing to travel to bring the timber to you and pay you . If I have no luck then it is destined for the log burner !!!!

Kind regards Sam
 

FraiseRaboteuse

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I think your logs will be too short. If you get no luck you could try trimming it by hand axe to get it squared off. Then eat a good breakfast and get a big saw out. The French country people joke that 'wood heats you twice.'

You'll find a video giving a few clues by typing 'sussex medieval woodwork' into Google. The site software here tells me my account is too new to allow me to post a link.

I have an adze but I'm the other end of the country so can't offer to loan it!
 

mtr1

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I have loads of small logs sitting in wet woods, impossible to get out with anything but a horse. So with that in mind I have been thinking of getting a chainsaw mill, could be an option for yourself? My tree surgeon neighbor lets me borrow his, but I don't want to take the pish anymore.
 

AndyT

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I think you need someone with a big bandsaw. The safe method is to fix the log onto a board (MDF / Ply / OSB) with screws. Add some wedges to keep it steady or flatten one side with a hatchet so that it does not rock. The board keeps everything stable so you can make the first cut, with the overhanging edge of the board running along the bandsaw fence. You then have a good flat face as a reference. Remove the log and refix it to the board with this flat face down. Take another cut in the same way. You now have a log with two flat faces at right angles which is safe to remove from the board and carry on cutting in the usual way.

Unfortunately I only have a tiny bandsaw but you might have a trade contact who has something bigger.
 

mickthetree

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There are some videos on guys on youtube using some wedges and a big hammer to split logs with great success. Some quite sizeable logs too.

Spilt into quarters it would then be much more manageable to move and much safer to pass through a bandsaw.

Always fancied having a go at this, but I dont have a woodland with logs lying around in. Not jealous, not jealous.

Worth a shot?
 

marcros

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i was looking online for info the other night about making roof shingles. Admitedly the logs were shorter, but using a frow and mallet seemed to be reasonably straightforward. These are "only" 3ft, so it might be worth looking at. They shouldnt be unmanageable. Although thinking further, isnt elm famously unsplitable?
 

Richard T

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Elm or Wych Elm is very difficult to split though not impossible.

Limb wood will have been under more tension than trunk wood so will be inclined to move more when cut.

I think I would chainsaw down the middle and leave to dry in halves. They will probably dome on the flat side and may crack along the pith line. When dry, plane the flat side flat again with heavy cambered plane and quarter with band saw.
I know this will greatly reduce the size of the finished boards but will give the most stable result.

You are very welcome to bring them here for a ride on the saw carriage but it might be quite a long round trip. :)
 

paulm

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Chainsaw mill would be perfect for the job, have a look at this thread for some more information and ideas chainsaw-mill-t59686.html

It's quite tiring work though and takes a fair bit of time, fuel and chains. Quite a lot of the wood gets lost as sawdust too given the wide kerf of the chainsaw, but very satisfying to get decent useable timber and especially if you find some nice figuring inside :)

Any pics of the logs would be interesting Sam :)

Might be able to lend a hand if J7 of the M3 isn't too far away for you ?

Cheers, Paul
 

Sgian Dubh

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Generally limbs or branches of trees are of little interest to furniture makers and joiners because they tend to be full of reaction wood. Reaction wood is either compression wood or tension wood. Coniferous trees (gymnosperms) with leaning trunks form compression wood mostly on the underside of the trunk; the underside of their branches similarly develop compression wood. Broad leaved trees (angiosperms) and their branches react differently to gymnosperms and produce tension wood predominantly on the upper half of the trunk or branch.

Reaction wood, whether it be compression wood or tension wood is frequently unsuitable for the woodworker, the dryer or kiln operator, and the sawmill. It produces unstable wood that, even at the planking stage, releases stresses causing it to bow, cup and twist. Compression wood tracheids (of gymnosperms) have thicker cell walls and less cellulose than normal wood and it is weaker and more brittle too. It’s typically denser and doesn’t polish up the same as normal wood. Also it shrinks and expands appreciably in the longitudinal direction, 10 to 20 times normal, whereas this movement in unstressed wood is usually insignificant, ie < 1/8” per 96” length or < 3 mm in 2.5metres.)

Tension wood of angiosperms, or deciduous trees, has its own problems. Unlike gymnosperms where reaction compression wood is concentrated on the underside of the stem, angiosperm reaction wood, although mostly concentrated on the upper side, spreads more evenly around the whole stem. Tension wood has more cellulose and is usually stronger than normal. Machining and cutting tension wood is difficult because it tends to be fuzzy and woolly and won’t work up to a fine surface. Stain, dye and polish uptake is uneven leading to blotchiness. As with compression wood, tension wood is unstable with longitudinal shrinkage factors much increased, along with a tendency to bow, cup, and generally distort.

With both forms of reaction wood there is a propensity for growth rings to be eccentric with the pith off-centre. This latter characteristic is typically more pronounced in softwoods than hardwoods.

Having said all that, I suggest your first task is to take a look at the end of the limb wood and see how off-centre the pith is. If it's centred and the growth rings are approximately circular then you may be okay as this indicates the branch is likely to have grown near enough vertically, and therefore have experienced less stress during its growth. If the pith is off-centre and the growth rings are teardrop shaped then it's likely the wood is significantly stressed and likely to warp if you try and cut it up into planks. Of, course you may still be able to use it, whatever the wood's state of stress; it will just depend on how you respond to what you find. Slainte.
 

Phil Pascoe

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They used to use elm for the hubs of wooden wheels because multiple mortices didn't cause it to split - don't even think to try to split it. Even log sizes for firewood are difficult enough.
 

Dusty

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Evening all , thank you for recommendations , I do have access to a Record BS400 bandsaw but dont really want to abuse some one else kit , I may get my chainsaw out and have a go at ripping it down the middle and then pushing it through the bandsaw .I did consider splitting it down to start with , but I broke my Sledge a few weeks ago and am not looking for a reason to do more hard graft :roll:

I am not to worried about board size as long as it ends up no less than 3" widths and thickness's of approx 1.5" so when dried and finished i hope I can get the boards out at approx 1" . I know I refered to it as "limbs" but I know that it is actually trunk as I looked at the branches/limbs but they were no use to me as I dont do much turning and they were rarely more than 4" .

I would upload a picture but unfortunately I dont have a photo bucket account or similar .

Paul M , that is very kind of you , I wish I had mentioned this sooner as I had spent nov to feb traveling up to Basingstoke hospital to work and drove past you daily , although I may in 6 weeks be heading to london to work for 3 weeks so may call on you if I become stuck .
Thanks Sgian Dubh , never knew that and I will certainly bare that in mind in future as I currently keeping an eye on an Oak tree that is soon to be felled !

Once again chaps , thanks for the great input

kind regards Sam
 
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