How do you charge for sawing?
I believe the fairest way to charge is by the board foot and prefer this method. For small logs and unusual requests I charge by the hour.
How much lumber will my log produce?
Measure the inside bark diameter of the log on the small end. Plug this value along with the
length into one of the online International Log Scale Calculators and you will get an estimate of
volume. If the logs are straight without bends they will saw out close to what the calculator estimates. If they are crooked
I will saw less.
What is the maximum size log you can handle?
20 feet long by 36” diameter. Sometimes I can do bigger with judicious chainsaw trimming.
What is the maximum width you can saw?
32” wide. To achieve this width the log must be straight. If the log is wider I may be able to trim it with the chainsaw while it is on the bed of the sawmill.
What is the minimum size log you can handle?
6 feet long by 9” small end diameter. I may be able to handle some logs that are smaller. All small log sawing is completed on my hourly rate because production is very slow.
How do logs need to be prepared for sawing?
Branches need to be trimmed flush with the log so it will roll. Logs should be kept as clean as possible or pressure washed if they have extreme mud and embedded gravel. Logs should be delivered asap after cutting to prevent loss from end checking. Log ends should be cut square with no overhanging wood. When bucking logs from the tree consideration should be given to adding a little extra length to allow for checking, or planer snipe while processing later.
What if you hit metal in my log?
I charge $25 to replace the damaged blade which is my cost. I hate hitting metal as production comes to a stop and it may take excess time removing the damaged blade from the log. You may want to get logs inspected with a metal detector if metal is suspected.
Can you unload my logs?
How long before I can use my lumber?
The rule of thumb is lumber will dry down to an air dry condition at the rate of 1” per year. This is not particularity accurate as it depends on weather, time of year, and species. Pine and cedar dry fast and can be ready to use in 6 weeks. Black cherry also drys relatively fast. The end use also plays a factor in how dry the wood should be.
How long does it take to get my logs sawed?
Normally a week or less.
How do I dry my lumber?
You need to have a place to stack your lumber before I saw your logs. This should be level and can be either outside or inside. If outside a top cap to keep the rain out is advisable. The lumber should be stacked with drying sticks between each layer. Drying sticks can be made from lath sold at places like Lowes. The lumber should have some air circulation. Maple needs lots of air while oak does not need much.
Do I need to bring my logs to you or can you bring your mill to saw on my site?
You would need to bring your logs to my home location as I am not a mobile sawyer.
Do you quarter saw?
I do quarter saw and really enjoy the process. To effectively quarter saw, the logs should be a minimum of 20" on the small end and no bigger than 36" on the big end. The logs should be fairly straight. The quarter sawn boards will not be as wide as a log that was plain sawn. Some boards will show rift figure. The yield on a quarter sawn log will be less than a plain sawn log and it will take more time, so I charge a few cents more per board foot.
White oak logs normally have the best figure followed by red oak. A species that is under appreciated is sycamore. Sycamore can show spectacular figure when quarter sawed.
Should I seal the end of my logs to prevent checking?
Using a commercial log end sealer such as Anchorseal will stop end checks from developing. It should be applied within two days of bucking the logs for maximum effectiveness. The secret is sealing before a check ever gets started. I've read on the internet that latex paint is a good sealer. In my opinion that practice is a waste of time and money.
If a log does not get end sealer the checks normally will stop at the first sticker during the drying process. Yes, you will loose a few inches on each end of the log due to checks.
Update.....I just discovered a good source of commercial end sealer in small quantities. Klingspor's Woodworking Shop sells Green Wood Sealer for $16.95 per gallon. They have a flat rate shipping charge of $7.99. I ordered 3 gallons to give it a try. I'll add test results to this FAQ in the future.
How thick should I saw my slabs?
The bigger the slab the thicker it should be sawn. A slab 32" wide and 12' long could warp enough during drying that one inch of wood may have to be removed to get it flat. In general, I recommend slabs no wider than 20" and no longer than 8' be sawn at 2-1/4" thick. Bigger slabs, and slabs with a lot of crotch wood should be sawed up to 3" thick. As always their are trade offs. Thicker wood takes longer to dry and sometimes checks more.
What is proper moisture content in wood? What moisture content is considered too high or too low?
There is no right answer for this question. As a rule, different woods and their uses determine the moisture content. For instance, if the wood is to be used in construction as a stud for building, the moisture-content requirement could be 19% or less. If the wood is to be glued and finished, too high or low of moisture content could cause problems. Ideally, moisture content of wood to be used for indoor furniture is between 6% and 8%.