May 20, 2016

Homemade Beams for the Goat Barn

I've shown you how Dan is making posts for the goat barn, but beams presented a different challenge, because they need to be longer than the 9-foot logs our sawmill can handle. Here's how he's been making those.










Dan bought the mini-mill attachment for his chain saw back when we were working on the kitchen. He wanted to make his own posts and beam for a load bearing wall so we got it.


One thing we didn't do at the time, however, was to get the proper chain for it. Some folks say the regular across-the-grain cross-cut chain can simply be filed at a different angle to rip boards with the grain. That proved not to be as easy as promised. This time he bought a proper ripping chain for the job. The difference is in the angle of the cutting teeth. A regular chain is filed at a 35-degree angle, a ripping chain is filed to 10 degrees. This makes a huge difference in the ease of cutting, not to mention wear-and-tear on the saw.

Wedges in the cut keep the saw from binding.


One problem is that Dan only has a 20-inch saw, while the logs are wider than 20 inches. That has meant two cuts per side, flipping the log to get both cuts.




The guide that came with the mini-mill isn't long enough for our logs, so Dan has to stop and move the pieces to finish the cut.

First two done.

He says the ripping chain makes all the difference in the world, but also that it would be easier to do these on the sawmill like the posts. If only it were longer. Hmmmm...

32 comments:

Dawn McHugh said...

He has done a great job there, never come across an attachment like that, I wonder if they have them in the UK, we have some big trees to come down it would be great to cut beams out of them for the new alpaca house

DFW said...

That is a lot of work but what a fulfilling project!

Fiona said...

We are enjoying these progress reports and really look forward to following along as we need to build two smaller buildings. Being able to fabricate and adust is such a talent!

Mama Pea said...

Dan (and I'm sure you've been helping) is doing one heckuva lot of work with his new sawmill! Takes talent to produce lumber on a small mill as he is doing.

That was one BIG tree he took down! Those are the kind that I make me give a big sigh of relief and "thank you" when they are safely parallel on the ground. (And I'm sure you did, too!)

Sandy said...

Leigh,

Doing all the work to produce the wood needed on the farm for projects will give you complete gratification. Great job!!!!

Leigh said...

It is a wonderful tool. Search for them under "chainsaw mills." Hopefully you'll be able to find one. Very useful.

Leigh said...

It's a wonderful feeling to be doing our own lumber. :)

Leigh said...

It's also a learning curve but a very good one. :)

Leigh said...

I'm the photographer! Those are the kind of trees that have been falling randomly. This one had ants living in the base of the tree so that it was actually quite weak and would likely have gone over on it's own in the near future. It's worrisome to take them down ourselves, but worse to never know where one randomly might drop and on what!

Leigh said...

Thanks, Sandy! It is a very gratifying feeling indeed.

Ed said...

Awesome! I especially like the step with the goats. I wouldn't thought of doing that step!

I never knew there was such a thing as a ripping chain but I know from experience how hard it is to use a crosscut chain to rip. I was trying to cut some chunks of woods into plant stands and darn if I could cut in a straight line no matter how hard I tried.

All my trees that are easily accessible this year in the main part of our lawn leafed out so I'm going to have to wait another year for an excuse to buy a mini-mill for myself.

Farmer Barb said...

I don't want to show him the 100 foot tall white oaks in my rear pasture...

Go Dan!

Renee Nefe said...

Did the goats help any, or were they just snoopervising? I have to say that I am very impressed again with your hard work. :D Hope that it all continues to go well for you.

Renee Nefe said...

and how many posts will you be able to get from that tree? It looks as if you can get at least another set. Will you use the bark for siding or shingles?

kymber said...

sorry Leigh - i hit publish before proof-reading and there were a ton of errors. but anyway what i was going to say is that i can't wait to show this post to jambaloney as we have the chainsaw mill thingy but just haven't used it yet. jambaloney will be super impressed with lumberjack Dan's skills....as am i!

sending love to you both. your friend,
kymber

jewlz said...

So exciting to see that the answer to wanting a new barn was there all along! Does the wood need any dry time? Seems some folks do and some don't. Either way, awesome job, and you two make it look easy!

Leigh said...

Oh yes, the goats make things so much more interesting! And the ripping chain makes it so much easier. They aren't that expensive either, under $25.

Leigh said...

Oh my, he would love to do the barn in oak! Except we'd have no clue about how to move those logs!

Leigh said...

He got a 16' 6x10" beam, 14' 6x6", and 6, four-foot 4x4s.

And I have to say that the goats are just as nosy as cats! Always in your business!

Leigh said...

Kymber, it is such a useful tool! Do get a ripping chain, though. It does a much faster job of it. Soon Jam will be a lumberjack too, LOL

Leigh said...

Good question. Most of the drying will probably be after construction, unless we get delayed for some reason.

Kris said...

You both should be 'beaming' with pride on this one! Fab!

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

You guys are amazing with what you do. Like the picture of the goats too! Nancy

Rhonda from Baddeck said...

We built our cabin and shed (we were told it's not a 'barn' without livestock! :) ) with green lumber - the nails go in easily and once the wood dries, they're in there permanently. That was some excellent precision tree-felling that Dan did!

Leigh said...

LOL. I'll have to tell that one to Dan, he'll get a kick out of that!

Leigh said...

Thanks Nancy. Wait till you see today's post. :)

Tuesday said...

Mark has been milling his own lumber from our trees since right after we bought our land. He's built bee hives and all of our chicken coops. It's so rewarding!! And yes...the ripping chains are a must have!! (Our goats will strip the bark off the lines in an hour- no draw knife needed)

Tuesday said...

That should be pines...

aart said...

Huh! I would think building with green lumber might make for some 'twisted' buildings if the lumber twists, bows, and/or cups while drying. Maybe nailing it down keeps that from happening?

Leigh said...

Rhonda, thank you for sharing that!

aart, I asked Dan because he's been the one researching that very thing. He says there are a number of ways they deal with that: certain kinds of joints, bolts, carriage screws, even tightening the whole thing with a come-along before putting it together.

A very interesting book is Eric Sloane's a Reverence For Wood. In it he shows what part of the log that the lumber comes from, and how it effects it's shape when it shrinks. Also how to straighten a warped board. He also says that the reason these things happen is because of uneven drying.

Dan also said that when the logs are green, the pegs (tree nails) are made of seasoned wood. That way the post will shrink to the peg and form an extremely tight bond.

I admit I don't exactly understand all this. One of our homemade posts for our kitchen remodel twisted a bit after it dried, but he drilled another hole and added another peg so it's still doing it's job.

Leigh said...

I love that! Hopefully we'll be doing our own boards and planks soon too. And goats are great at clean-up, aren't they? :)

aart said...

Thanks! Will check out that book, and pass it along to a friend who just started milling with a WoodMizer.