June 5, 2016

Longer Logs on the Sawmill

The chainsaw mill has been wonderful for making beams, but there were two reasons Dan wished he could use the sawmill for them instead: kerf and time. Kerf is the width of the cut. The chain on a chainsaw is roughly 0.25-thick with all of that wood being turned to sawdust. The bandsaw blades on the sawmill are 0.045 inch. Plus the sawmill is faster. The problem was that this particular sawmill (Central-Machinery sawmill from Harbor Freight Tools) was only made to accommodate 9-foot logs.

The sawmill as it is sold.

Some brands come with extensions, but this one did not, so Dan decided to extend it himself.

Basically, the sawmill unit sits on a track with grooved wheels. The log is secured to the track and the operator pushes the mill the length of the log to make the cut.


Dan said, well, if he replaced the original track with longer pieces of angle iron, it would give him the ability to make longer cuts. So that's what he did.


He welded three 3-inch, 6-foot lengths of angle iron together and bolted the same green log supports (or whatever they're called) onto the new track.

Bed rails serve as the ends

The entire track is bolted to 2x4s because it tends to shift due to the vibration of the saw.

Sawmill with new extended track.

Next came a trial run.


The saw head takes up quite a bit of the track length, so Dan decided to add two more 4-foot pieces of angle iron to be able to saw 16-foot logs if need be.

Sawmill with second extension added.

All it needs is to adjust the placement of green log supports (or whatever they're called), or add something for new ones.

Then he's ready for these:


34 comments:

  1. Well done, Dan. Here we call that " 'n boer maak 'n plan" 😀

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    1. Dani, I don't know what that means, but I like it!

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  2. Leigh - Dan is a master! jambaloney loved his last post and when he wakes up (we were up late yakking about all of our plans for the future -soooo much fun!) - i will show him this latest post of yours. it's so much fun to learn from others who are willing to share. he'll love this post!

    thanks to you both. and much love coming your way! your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber, that's the great thing about blogging. We can all learn from each other!

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  3. That's great that Dan can do that. i love that you are using your own wood.

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  4. Wow that's an incredible improvement. Your Dan is a marvel of fabrication:)

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  5. Are you sure Dan wasn't "MacGyver" in a previous life?

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    1. LOL. He never ceases to amaze me. :)

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  6. Ya the width of the chainsaw chains is rather a turn off not to mention the chains go dull so fast when cutting the logs like that. Being limited to just 9 foot on the other one does kinda put a crimp into things.

    Figure you are saving minimum of 20 bucks per post just looking at treated if you are counting the price of oak well.... I couldn't tell ya.

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    1. The dulling is definitely problem #2!

      We're looking into treating, mostly for termites, and for sure we're saving money. We're also getting better quality lumber!

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  7. Nice! I am excited to see how this works out for you guys.

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    1. Us too! Right now we're just hoping it works out like we see in our heads. :)

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  8. Necessity is the Mother of Invention(and Fabrication)...and a welder helps for sure.

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    1. Oh yes! His little welding machine has come in handy so many times. It's a must on a homestead, I think.

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  9. There's an old guy over on the other side of the county who has a saw mill set up in a big shed. He's the last one left, as far as I know. There were lots of them when I came here in 1986. But it's like so many things. There used to be bee keepers, people who plowed with mules, people who made soap... no more. Now it's pretty much retirees from Florida.

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    1. Harry, Dan calls them "Half Backs." They move to Florida from the north, don't like it, so move halfway back, mostly to the Appalachians where there are pleasant summers and fairly mild winters. They also drive up prices! It's a shame so many of the old ways are being lost. They're good prepper skills, really.

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  10. Hi! Your husband is so talented and smart! Nancy

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  11. almost time for a barn raising! :D

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    1. Well, we just had to order new saw blades, so that has put a crimp on momentum!

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  12. There are times I wish I had a Dan of my very own ;)

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  13. Nice job on extending the rails. That is going to make beam cutting sooooo much easier.

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    1. Mark, I think it's just as well Harbor Freight didn't offer extensions because then we probably would have gotten them. This was much more economical.

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  14. I can't wait for the frame up!

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    1. Me too! (Although that still seems an eon away).

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  15. Leigh,

    Dan is the man!!! He thought about what he needed and acted on it. A real MacGyver at hand!!!

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    1. Sandy, LOL. He'll get a kick out of that. :)

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  16. Impressive piece of work, good job Dan!

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    1. It's amazing what you can do if you need to. :)

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