Wow, yesterday my schedule got a little mixed up at work, so I didn’t need to go to town until 2:30 PM which was even more screwed up after we got involved with setting up Jack’s Alaskan chain saw mill. But it was totally worth it and we got a lot accomplished. First we cut a nearby our house Ponderosa pine tree. This tree may have been one of the lagest trees I have felled here at the ranch. The 20 inch bar and chain on my Stihl chain saw wasn’t going to make it from one side of the tree to the other. In other words, the tree diameter was 24 inches. Yeah man she was a big tree. To help eaase the tree huggers among us, we believe the tree was dying. It has lived a good life as we counted many greater than average growth rings for the first 50 years of its life. I counted 95 rings, on the 24 inch diameter 500 foot tall tree.
After we felled the tree, we regrouped back at the shop. I mentioned yesterday that we had only one set of guide rails for making the first cut on the log. That set was 8 feet long, meaning that the Alaska Mill is capable of slabbing on the first cut only 8 feet of length. After the first cut the Alaska Mill follows the previous cut. Back at the shop we dug out of one of the few remaining salvage wood piles left over from building the shop, a couple of 2X4s. These were the last two boards left over from the foundation project, The boards were 16 foot long and one was amazingly straight. The second was nearly perfect too; with only one minor bow, which was almost unbelievable, considering that these boards sat outside all Winter. We quickly got to the task of tooling the boards so that they will work with the brackets off of the shorter guide rail system Jack built for the Alaska Mill many years ago.
Our goal was to modify the 8 foot guide rail system to work for a 12 foot log, as this was the length of the work bench we would be using the chainsaw mill for. Lenard and I set up a system to hold the 2X4s square with the de=rill press and cut several holes to match the shorter guide rails plus a couple holes for the added length. With several holes in the boards we can use the same guide rails to cut different length lumber including the original 8 foot length. The drill press made the project quick easy and best of all very accurate.
Let me get right to the picture part of this newsletter.
We spent considerable time discussing the lay out of the guide rail system on top of the log. Once we were all in agreement on the placement I had to bid the boys adieu. I needed to walk back to the house to get ready for my only WiFi installation at 3:00 PM.
Jackson Kevin and Lenard made the first cut while I scrambled to figure out what to do about the fact that I read the clock in Jack’s truck wrong and missed my appointment. Whoops. By the time I cleared up my mistake with the customer and drove the Isuzu Trooper back the sawyers had finished the first cut and were working on the third cut, shown below.
Above Kevin and Lenard operate the big saw together carefully pushing it down the log. First two cuts were 2 inches thick, with an average width of 18 inches.
Jackson keeps the cut open by placing wedges behind the saw in the space where the chain cut.
I don’t know what Jack was explaining in the image below, maybe he was getting instruction from Lenard. One thing is for sure, that big Husqvarna chainsaw was really going through the fuel.
Below, a shot looking down the board you can see one of the orange wedges in place.
While we waited for another fill up of gas and oil, we inspect the slabs.
I didn’t get any pictures of the saw cutting the workbench slabs. Those are 3 inches thick. and nearly 20 inches wide.
Getting the 3 inch thick slabs on to the trailer was no easy task. Green wood is extremely heavy. we got them home and they are drying on rail road ties nextr to our house under the shade of a big Pinion tree
For scale I placed my four inch long Buck Knife on one of the slabs. It is kind of difficult to see in these image but the two middle slabs are a perfect matched set right out of the center of the tree.