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Saw Milling

sawmill1b.jpgI love my truck when it's full of wood. Look at all that walnut lumber. I had just about as soon have my truck full of walnut lumber as to have it full of hundred dollar bills. Look at that stuff!! sawmill2a.jpg

Let me tell you about this little adventure. Some friends down the road who know I enjoy wood working offered me two walnut trees off the family farm. The trees were out by the barn and blacksmith shop and had some electrical wires through one of them, so I knew taking them down was beyond me. I hired a professional tree service fellow to take them down and haul the good parts over to a friend who has a portable sawmill. Tree guy came out last week with his bucket truck and his small tractor and trimmed them up and then put the trunks on the ground. The grapple hook on the front of his tractor made short work of loading the tree trunks and they were soon at the sawmill.

Now understand the problem with walnut trees and particularly trees close to a house or a barn and in this case, a blacksmith shop, is metal. People hang horseshoes on limbs (that's good luck for most people--just not for sawyers), drive nails in tree trunks, and nail fences to them. The sawmill guy is willing to saw them for me, but he knows about metal and before he starts, he wants me to stand good for the blades at about $30 each.

sawmill3.jpgWe struck a deal and he started sawing while I was still there. I walked around the mill a good bit trying to figure the safest place to be when the saw blade found the metal I thought was in there. I had visions of metal chips and blade chunks flying everywhere, but thank goodness I was wrong. When the blade hit the first piece of metal, it sounded like a bug zapper. Just a little short "bzzt" and it was through. After several more hits, that blade was done and he reloaded a new blade. There was some beautiful lumber in these trees and after a couple of slabs off the top, we started getting 12 to 16 inch wide boards at an inch and an eighth thick. We sawed one trunk right down the middle of the pith to make bowl blanks. Those bowl blank boards are so heavy, I will have to use the chain saw to cut blanks off the end of the board while it is still on the truck. Otherwise I will not be able to get it off the truck.

When I count up to see if this whole deal was worthwhile, I think it was. I spent about $600 and I have 23 boards which average 12 inches wide and 6 feet long. That computes to around 138 board feet. Plus I have enough for about 20 bowl blanks four to five inches deep. Even allowing for waste, I think you could not buy this lumber for $600. Maybe I can sell some of that dern metal and recoup part of my cost.

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