Making Lumber from Logs – How To
Making lumber for yourself, a key piece of which is lumber milling, might be the solution you seek. Perhaps you have acquired some logs; the power company might have been clearing their lines, trees were toppled in the woods by high winds or a tree was threatening your home or other structure, the fruits or nuts were a problem, you are clearing property for a new home, or you are purposefully felling trees for a project. Regardless, the point is that you now have a potentially valuable commodity on your hands. What is to be done to realize that value? Lumber milling might be the answer, and that is the subject of this post. I’ll assume that you don’t have an Alaskan chainsaw mill tucked away in your garage, or a portable bandsaw mill out in the barn, though even if you do this post might be of service to you.
Lumber Milling Overview: Step by Step
Step 1: Log Preparation
Step 2: Stacking and Drying Rough Cut Green Lumber
Let me say at the outset that drying of lumber is a science unto itself. Having said that though, there are some “rules of thumb” that will provide a useful starting point for our efforts. Most customers will begin with air drying the green lumber, and this is beneficial for at least a couple of reasons: 1) air drying has the lowest capital costs, 2) air drying helps to conserve wood, and thereby the timber resource, by reducing loss of product from drying degrade in a kiln, and 3) it’s environmentally friendly in that it reduces the need to burn fuels for energy to dry lumber in a kiln, conserving those fuels and reducing environmental pollutants. Assuming time allows, it most often makes sense to air dry lumber exclusively if practical, depending on the future use of the lumber, or in preparation for final drying in a kiln. For our purposes we will look at the steps required to air dry either in preparation for kiln drying or as a standalone process.
Like I said, drying lumber is a science. If you want all of the gory details, check out the 66 page publication “Air Drying of Lumber” from the USDA Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory.
Step 3: Stay Safe and Get Help
To see how this all of the preparations mentioned unfold in reality, check out our Blog post The Making of Milling Memories, or go to the embedded YouTube video directly, Making Milling Memories – Portable Bandsaw Milling. To work with Primal Woods, please submit the form below and we will get right on it.