I don’t very often use my Logosol chainsaw mill in its full configuration which can cope with logs upto 17feet in length – if you can shift them onto the mill! I normally convert it to a cut down version (known as the woodworkers mill) which has a 4 foot log bed and copes with logs upto 8ft in length. But for this job I wanted some 10ft fence posts as well as 8ft planks and boards.
The mill doesn’t come with it’s own tractor, you have to buy that separately. For large logs like these it does make things a lot simpler (and safer) than winching and rolling the logs up ramps onto the log bed.
The tree is a windblown scots pine. Not being valued for firewood all to often softwood trees like this are left to rot on the woodland floor. We prefer to ship our softwood halfway around the world instead. That’s a total waste of resource, and there really are only so many rotten trees needed as wildlife habitats, to leave more to rot while we import our timber is just a flagrant waste of resources.
To hire in a mobile sawmill is going to cost a lot of cash, maybe 300 or 400 pounds for the day depending upon who you know. It still makes sense if you are milling up oak for a greenwood frame but softwood is inherently less valuable and you’d need to make a lot of planks to justify hiring in a mobile mill?
That’s where the chainsaw mill does come into it’s own. It costs a lot less than a bandsaw mill and can be easily disassembled and stored in a corner when its not in use, so it’s less of a security and parking issue as well. It’s never going to be as quick and efficient as a bandsaw but it doesn’t need to be as it can be used for lots of small jobs in difficult to access areas with timber that otherwise will be wasted. The logosol mill is much more than a simple adaptor for a chain saw with an fully height adjustable log bed capable of taking logs upto 500kg. The quarter inch kerf on the chainsaw ripping chain produces a third less waste (and effort) than a normal saw making the conversion of a large log into posts, boards and planks a pleasure. Are you getting the message that I am converted yet?
On my earlier visit to lop off the top and prepare it for planking I seriously underestimated the size of the tree, thinking it around 2ft at the base, but in fact it’s closer to 30 inches in diameter at the butt.
At a rough estimate with a diameter of 25inches at breast height (dBH is the normal measure of timber) the tree has a volume of about 3.5 Cu M and will yield about 3 tonnes of wet timber, about 1.5tonnes when dried – all based upon assumptions of the volume, density and moisture content of the tree. I’m probably being conservative with these figures, but however you put it – that’s a lot of timber.
I estimate this 10ft log weighs in at around 400kg on its own and is destined to be turned into fence posts. I start by taking slices off the top of the log. These ‘waney edged’ boards are not waste and all get used used for cladding and weatherboarding. The rustic nature of the edges makes them more popular than squared off boards – and fewer cuts means less effort!
I’ve missed out a couple of photos in the sequence (I got a bit carried away) and to get to this stage, once the log has a straight top I rotate it through 90 degrees and repeat the process for another side until 3 or all 4 sides are squared up and the log becomes a beam. Taking care with measurements at this stage means that less of the timber will be wasted in offcuts. The beam is then sawn down in 4inch lumps (heavy!) of stock which sit on the rails awaiting resawing.
The final stage is to resaw the 4 inch stock again to produce the final 4×4 timbers. The same process if followed for 3inch, 2inch or 1inch stock, whatever dimensions of wood you need. Though it doesn’t make much sense to make smaller timber this way – it’s much easier to make 2inch stock and then resaw on a circular saw or bandsaw in the workshop.
This log made 9 4×4 timbers and several waney edged planks. Having been windblown for some months I was nervous that the timber might have started to rot 0r that I might meet my longhorn beetle friends again, but in the event the quality of the wood was superb.
The pile of waste from the day’s work is small, as much a testament to the quality of the tree that was going to waste as the competence of the sawyer.
Moving the Logosol mill to the wood is the easy bit. Moving the sawn timber is easier than moving enormous logs but the product from the day still weighs in at well over a tonne so you won’t be able to put it on the roof of your mini. It will weigh a lot less once it’s seasoned, but this timber is going to be used externally so seasoning isn’t part of the plan.
I have to admit that in the one day only just over half the tree was milled up. So hopefully I will be back for the rest before it becomes useless, but finding time is always a problem. Mind you it’s a full trailer load so the next batch will have to wait. There is one more job to do with the mill before I disassemble it again so it gets a ride to the next site, but that will be another day.
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