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Discussion Starter #1
I'm an old guy with a new saw coming. I ordered a Harbor freight band mill that should be here in a month. I know it is not one of the best mills on the market. But it is the best mill I can afford. Being a retired tool maker with tools to fix and make modifications as needed. The mills shortcomings does not concern me.
My wife and I live on a small farm in Southern Indiana with 40 acres of woods mostly poplar, with just about everything in there. 3 years in a row the poplar scales were bad and killed most of the poplar. The Ash borer has moved in to our area, and the forester advised us to cut the poplar and ash or lose them.
I am going to use the mill to cut some of the small logs that were left by the logging company. I cut 12 logs this afternoon 8 to 10 ft. long from 10 to 16 inches in diameter. There are a lot of logs from 10 to 30 inch to saw up. It is not clear logs but will work in my barn and out buildings.
Now for the good part. I know nothing about running a sawmill, or setting one up. I could use a lot of help from you guys that have already done this. Anything anyone can tell me will be of help. I am starting from scratch, but can learn. So point me in the right direction. The mill is do in to Harbor Freight Dec. 6th.
Think of this as a thread to teach a kid everything about sawing from the very basics on.
Sorry for the long post,
Jimmy
 

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jimmy mc said:
I'm an old guy with a new saw coming. I ordered a Harbor freight band mill that should be here in a month. I know it is not one of the best mills on the market. But it is the best mill I can afford. Being a retired tool maker with tools to fix and make modifications as needed. The mills shortcomings does not concern me.
My wife and I live on a small farm in Southern Indiana with 40 acres of woods mostly poplar, with just about everything in there. 3 years in a row the poplar scales were bad and killed most of the poplar. The Ash borer has moved in to our area, and the forester advised us to cut the poplar and ash or lose them.
I am going to use the mill to cut some of the small logs that were left by the logging company. I cut 12 logs this afternoon 8 to 10 ft. long from 10 to 16 inches in diameter. There are a lot of logs from 10 to 30 inch to saw up. It is not clear logs but will work in my barn and out buildings.
Now for the good part. I know nothing about running a sawmill, or setting one up. I could use a lot of help from you guys that have already done this. Anything anyone can tell me will be of help. I am starting from scratch, but can learn. So point me in the right direction. The mill is do in to Harbor Freight Dec. 6th.
Think of this as a thread to teach a kid everything about sawing from the very basics on.
Sorry for the long post,
Jimmy
The USDA Forest Service, at their Forest Products Lab site has some good books, and articles on operating small sawmills, and drying kilns available for free downloads.
 

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#1 rule for good lumber is proper blade tension and a sharp blade. If your blade starts getting dull, your lumber will be junk. Make sure you keep your logs clean, mud will dull your blades faster than anything......well except for hardware! Lol.
 

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where's my table saw?
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A few things I learned

Living on a farm, you probably have a tractor... put the forks on the front loader to move the logs around. OR put chain hooks on either side of the bucket to hook 2 shorter chains wrapped around the log on each end. The logs are heavy and can be rolled with a "cant hook" if you don't have one, get one.
http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200317105_200317105
Coat/seal the ends of freshly cut logs right after cutting them to prevent checking/cracking. A cheap heavy bodied latex paint will work. 2 coats is best.
Get extra blades, not from Harbor Freight. :no:
If the trees were in an area where fencing or "no hunting" signs may have been posted, there might be nails in them which will ruin a blade.
Keep the logs up out of the dirt and pressure wash or brush them off before milling.
Make 1" square stickers to separate each board after milling. You must allow air to move in between them. Make a solar drying kiln for Daren's plans here. Air drying takes about 1 year for each inch of thickness.
There is not much need for 12' long lumber in my experience. which would be making furniture. I like 8 footers since they are easier to store vertically and lighter to move around. I have mine sawed to 1" or 2" thick, not much need for thicker unless you are building barns and other large structures.
I don't own a mill, but have good friends who do. We have milled many feet of Oak here on the property. It's great fun and rewarding to see the newly milled wood. :yes:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Wow this is great. This is the kind of thing that helps a newbe out. I never thought of painting the ends of the logs. But will do it in the morning. It is raining now. I have a tractor with a frontloader on it. The bucket will not come off, will use the chain idea to move the logs.
Sawing stickers and blocks, I had to look them up. didn't know what they were. I said I was new.
Keep the information coming. I hope other beginers find this post.

Jimmy
 

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Watch the jointer.
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If a side of the log is muddy, and you can't easily wash it off, position the log so you don't cut through the mud if possible.

Best case scenario is to put the muddy side straight up, and just cut the muddy part off without going through the mud. If that doesn't work with the log geometry, try to put the muddy part on the lee side of the blade, so the blade doesn't drag mud through your entire cut.

Keep your blades razor sharp, and set the blade teeth carefully. If the cuts start to get wavy, and you're not going too fast with your head travel speed, CHANGE THE BLADE. You're just ruining both lumber and blade at that point.
 

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Jimmy,

I tried to PM you, I got a message that said either you don't want to receive PM's or aren't allowed to yet. I wanted to send you info on another forum that has a lot of good info. I don't feel that it's right to link to another forum on the main boards here. If you want the address PM me.

Bob
 

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Jimmy,

I tried to PM you, I got a message that said either you don't want to receive PM's or aren't allowed to yet. I wanted to send you info on another forum that has a lot of good info. I don't feel that it's right to link to another forum on the main boards here. If you want the address PM me.

Bob
Bob, I tried to PM you and was not able to. I will try and find out what I need to do to fix the problem. I may be to new.
 

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where's my table saw?
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Bob, I tried to PM you and was not able to. I will try and find out what I need to do to fix the problem. I may be to new.
This prevents spammers and scammers from pestering members. You can post a Vistor Message. IF you don't mind all the forum seeing it. As far as posting a link to another forum, that should not be an issue in my experience. No one is losing or making any money here, it's about helping folks out.
 

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This prevents spammers and scammers from pestering members. You can post a Vistor Message. IF you don't mind all the forum seeing it. As far as posting a link to another forum, that should not be an issue in my experience. No one is losing or making any money here, it's about helping folks out.
Maybe someone has posted it before, but this is the site. I've learned a lot from this site and if you search the forums you can generally find any info you want concerning milling. The only thing I noticed is the members get a little testy if you start posting about buying anything not sold by one of the boards sponsors. Some of them think the HF mill is a knockoff of one of their sponsors mills. YMMV


http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php?board=7.0
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Maybe someone has posted it before, but this is the site. I've learned a lot from this site and if you search the forums you can generally find any info you want concerning milling. The only thing I noticed is the members get a little testy if you start posting about buying anything not sold by one of the boards sponsors. Some of them think the HF mill is a knockoff of one of their sponsors mills. YMMV


http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php?board=7.0

I signed up on that forum also. I read what some of them had to say about the HF mill. I also got the feeling that anyone that bought one was going to get a thrashing. It was very obvious to me that off brand saws are not welcome. Here on this forum I felt like no one gives a hoot what you are sawing with, They seem glad to have you join in, and willing to help you learn how to saw lumber safely, learn how to set up and run the mill in a way that takes the least amount of labor, and make improvements to it to make it last longer and work better.
 

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Jimmy, congratulations on the new mill. The advice given so far is spot on.:thumbsup: A couple of other comments. Watch the tracking (where the blade rides on the bandwheel), and keep the blade guides aligned to the specs. Try to remember to keep the clamps lower than the blade, and don't be too hard on yourself when you accidentally saw into a clamp. We've just about all done that, some us (well, me, at least) multiple times. Start out cutting blocking and stickers from low quality logs so you'll have some experience when you saw up a nice piece of walnut, and you'll have a way to dry it. Take your time, learn as you go, and when things don't happen the way you think they should, stop and figure out why. I keep 30 band saw blades so that I always have some to use while others are sent out for sharpening. Have fun, be safe, and keep us posted on how its going.
 

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I signed up on that forum also. I read what some of them had to say about the HF mill. I also got the feeling that anyone that bought one was going to get a thrashing. It was very obvious to me that off brand saws are not welcome. Here on this forum I felt like no one gives a hoot what you are sawing with, They seem glad to have you join in, and willing to help you learn how to saw lumber safely, learn how to set up and run the mill in a way that takes the least amount of labor, and make improvements to it to make it last longer and work better.
Welcome to the forum....we enjoy sawing and seeing what others are sawing. MMMMM yeah we may get a little rambunkchous about other mills but it's mostly cause we like the one we're using at the time LOL. You will see more slash towards the HF mills because most of the time they're a introductory/cheaper model to meet that price range market BUT in the beginning were made by a more reputable companies but have gotten fairly troublesome/cheaply/lighterwieght made from what I've read. Hud-Son made one approx 4-5 years ago and just painted HF colors, it was the Oscar 328...THAT is one of the best Hud-Son intro mills made.

Sorry I didn't mean to get sidetracked, but your 1st post let me know you knew you'd be working and tweaking on it....PLEASE SAW and ENJOY ...That's all that matters!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I was back in the woods today cutting some of the logs out, and noticed several pine that where cut to make room to get the other timber out. Around here you can't even give pine to the loggers. They said it isn't worth cutting. These are nice long logs that will make at least 3 10ft. logs each. with the smallest 12 inches on the little end. Is there a reason that I should not cut them and make lumber for my projects? I know if I go to town and buy lumber it will be pine. With the ones down and the ones that need to come down, there are at least 20 trees that will be lost.
 

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Jimmy, how knotty is the pine? I wish I had access to some of the timber you other guys have. I'm still trying to get things organized before I do much cutting, sucks having disabilities. Some days are good, some not so good. Anyway, pics are always nice.

Bob
 

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Jimmy, how knotty is the pine? I wish I had access to some of the timber you other guys have. I'm still trying to get things organized before I do much cutting, sucks having disabilities. Some days are good, some not so good. Anyway, pics are always nice.

Bob
I don't have any idea how to tell how knotty it is. There are small limbs about 1 to 2 inches all the way to the ground. Will let you know when I saw some.
I am very glad I had the foresight to buy my farm when I was so young. It has been more fun than anything.
Having disabilities sucks for sure. I spent 2 years getting over a heart attack, than 5 years fighting cancer. Now my doc. is telling me my back pain is arthritis that there is no cure for.
I will work on the pictures. My wife bought me a digital camera when I was sick and I still don't know how to use it.
 
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