Lumber Making #1: A "Mini" Series - up to present

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Blog entry by Dorje posted 06-26-2007 07:10 AM 9290 reads 4 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I’m posting these pictures as a means to get bloggin’…and, because I’m interested in milling and drying lumber (on a scale that I can accommodate – in the backyard). I’m also brand new at it, so it’s just fun to share! I would have liked to have photos or video of this ‘small time’ sawing in the backyard, but wasn’t quite there yet!

Inspired by Bob’s forum topic post the other day on the craigslist cherry crotchwood, I took some pics of some crotchwood I cut in April…

A couple pictures of Madrone crotchwood with some scrappy spalted birch on top:

Ash crotchwood (bottom) with some cherry boards on top:

The small Alaskan mill that bolts on to my 20” Husqvarna saw:

And, finally – here’s the next crotchwood to be cut:

A major limb from this Cherry fell onto the house in a windstorm this past winter, so we’ve taken it down to what you see above. I should get to it sometime this summer!
I was really surprised with what the small milling attachment could do. Though it says you can cut up to 17” or so with a 20” saw, I found that you could practically double that figure by turning the corner at the end of the log, wedging your kerf, and coming up the other side! The Madrone crotch was approx. 28” wide.

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

19 comments so far

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4818 days

#1 posted 06-26-2007 12:15 PM

Hi Dorje;
—-well now you have my attention, nice spot of wood you have here!

I’m also interested on any information you have to add about the Alaskan mill and what type of chainsaw you are using….’ripping chain’ and such….

Glad to see you taking to a blog story and I’ll be reading, also great pictures!
Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4609 days

#2 posted 06-26-2007 04:54 PM

Frank – I’m just using a little Husvarna 51, which is a 50cc saw or so. It’s a little on the small side, but worked well. That is, it’s not a V8 or a Harley! Also, I ground a crosscut chain (from 25-30 degrees) to rip (about 5 degrees) which did help speed up the cut, and just kept it sharp as needed. The ripping chain that you can buy, I believe has less cutters and therefore clears faster, but I didn’t want to pay for that. Quite satisfied with the chain “conversion.” And, a good way to get the most out of your chains!

The Alaskan mill was really easy to use. I didn’t do anything more elaborate than screw a 2×4 to the logs to guide and get my first cut. Then smooth sailing from there. Anything that you were interested in particular with the mill attachment?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1809 posts in 4698 days

#3 posted 06-26-2007 04:59 PM

This is something I really want to do. I need to get a mill.

LJ is starting to drive me crazy. I keep seeing everyone doing interesting stuff, beautiful work, etc.. But there isn’t enough time in the day. I need to pick a direction to go in.

-- Bob

View mot's profile


4926 posts in 4648 days

#4 posted 06-26-2007 05:50 PM

Wow! Great story and great link! Thanks Dorje! I always wondered how you indexed the first cut with one of those.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View BlueStingrayBoots's profile


864 posts in 4614 days

#5 posted 06-26-2007 06:17 PM

Awesome Dorje, that should make for a valuable project. So how does that tool work, can you post a pic?Milling is great, I love it. Another great feeling is when you choose a milled board(natural edge) and place it on a tablesaw and mill it to size. Every wood crafter should experience that.

Check out these mill manufacturers websites Bob. You wont be disapointed at all if you invest in a mill, at present time they pay for themselves. You can basicly get the grains you want with a little experience.
One master crafter said “if the front or face of your project isnt beautiful the whole thing is crap”.
So you see, if you master the milling part you’ll have the midas touch.

Norwood Sawmill, Timber Harvester Bandmill, Baker Sawmill, Enercraft, Mighty Mite, Quality, Turner, Timberking, Cook’s, Kasco, J.C. Saws, T.A.Schmid, TimberWolf, Log Master, Boardmaster, Clarke, Morgan, Povlsen, Thomas, Cutting Edge, Meadows, Jonsered, Better Built and many others. Also, Woodmizer offers a re-sharp program for all manufactures
of portable sawmills. These blades will increase performance. Call Woodmizer today!

Also: concider blade kerf and maintenance time, if you decide to buy.

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4739 days

#6 posted 06-26-2007 06:33 PM

Hi dorje:

I’m getting ready to drop a wild black cherry tree on my property.
I’ll haul the logs to a local artisan mill.
They charge $40 per hour for sawing and will even slice the branches and crotches.
I estimate that will cost me about 10 cents / bf.
I’ll debark and dry the lumber in my solar kiln.

-- 温故知新

View David's profile


1969 posts in 4751 days

#7 posted 06-29-2007 08:13 AM

Dorje -

I agree with Bob – this is something I would love to do. I have a Stihl 032 with a 20” bar. After reading this I am wondering . . .

Very noce spot of wood. I am looking forward to see what your end up doing with all of that great looking timber!


View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4609 days

#8 posted 06-29-2007 08:21 AM

Wonder no longer! – for the low, low price of… you too can…blah blah blah…

Thanks for your interest! I think it’s a great thing to do for those of use without the space/time/money needed to mill really large logs. And then, even if you do have the space/time/money, it’s still a great thing to do. My little venture in April was one of the most exciting days this spring. Opening up that crotchwood and checking out the figure while the log was still wet was amazing!

Not sure what this stock will become; perhaps small figured door panels, little cases, boxes, ? It also depends on how the wood dries. Not sure how it all will turn out. For example, the madrone has warped a lot already, mostly the board/s with and closest to the pith…

Any suggestions?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4609 days

#9 posted 06-29-2007 04:53 PM

Let me clarify: Any suggestions on what to make? And actually, any suggestions on keeping boards from warping? I probably should have weighted the top down. Anything else?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4923 days

#10 posted 06-30-2007 01:19 AM

Dorje, I saw a city truck hauling a three huge sections of tree trunk to the dump this evening and was drooling. My wife even asked me if I wanted her to catch up with him to see if I could get them, but I declinded because the heat and humidity here is so gut wrenching. How thick did you cut your wood and I noticed that you didn’t take the trouble of painting or sealing the ends, at least you didn’t say you did. Are you afraid of loosing a lot of it to checking because of this?

Also, thanks for the info on the angle of the chain teeth grind. I’ve been wondering how that would work on my saw. I’ll have to try it. ;^)

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4609 days

#11 posted 06-30-2007 05:57 AM

Hey oscorner – I cut them all at 5/4” thick

I had already brushed the ends of the logs with a wax emulsion end sealer…so, not too worried about checking on the ends, but am worried about overall warp and cracking due to internal stresses, etc.

On Wednesday I saw the city arborists hauling off two truck loads of ash logs (12-15 logs a truck!) from a street near my house where they had to take down a bunch of mature trees due to safety concerns after a major windstorm last winter. Same ash as I cut but much much more! But – where would I put it, and I don’t even like ash all that much!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View BlueStingrayBoots's profile


864 posts in 4614 days

#12 posted 07-03-2007 06:02 AM

warping issues…...I try to let logs dry outside for a while. I have a theory, harvest tree after fall and mill log in spring sell through summer and snore all winter.

Good luck!

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4609 days

#13 posted 07-03-2007 06:42 AM

Stingray – thanks for the feedback – I got these logs in winter, cut them in April, and they’re drying outside this summer! Must be on the right track?

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View woodspar's profile


710 posts in 4711 days

#14 posted 07-03-2007 05:16 PM

Hi Dorje,

Come on over to my back yard in Massachusetts. I have some oak trees I need to get down and I would like them quartersawn, please…

-- John

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4609 days

#15 posted 07-04-2007 05:22 AM

Sure, whenever…

Don’t we wish we could cruise on over and mill some wood!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

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