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Wood-Mizer LT40 Super Hydraulic: First Impressions

It’s a beast, that’s my first impression!  Here comes the “why” from the engine to the board return; what contributes to making the LT40 Super Hydraulic the production machine that it is.  The point of comparison is a 2015 LT40 Hydraulic, without the “Super.”  Some of the improvements are due to technological improvements, others are […]

The Making of Milling Memories

Portable Sawmill Service and Lumber-Making: What Does it Take?

I suppose it’s a combination of things: the milling itself must go well for starters.  I have written fairly extensively on the preparations necessary, and the further from home you are, the more important is that preparation. I have written about the customer’s part in “How to Find and Work With a Local Sawmill Service.”  I have written about my preparations, in “The Quarter-Sawing Process, and Problems, Oh No!,” and in “Portable Sawmill Service Load-Out.”  You might say those preparations are necessary, but not sufficient, in the creation of a truly memorable experience.  Which brings us to the complement to preparation, the thing that in combination with preparation is sufficient for creation of the truly memorable.  That thing is People. Read more

Wood-Mizer Rodent Infestation

Wood-Mizer Rodent Infestation: Background

Mice!  I’m sure they are necessary to the ecosystem, but damn can they do some damage.  I would venture a guess that most Wood-Mizer sawmills are stored outside; the LT40 is 26 feet long, so to get it under cover normally involves a pretty substantial structure of some sort.  There are fabric covers, and we bought them all.  Three can be in place when towing the Wood-Mizer; covers for the operator controls, the de-barker, and the engine.  Then, there is a large cover that will protect whole carriage, including the engine, de-barker, feed motor, movable blade guide including its motor and drive, drive and idle blade wheels, mast, and a few other bits that don’t come to mind at the moment.  The downside of the large cover is that it can only be used when the portable sawmill is stationary.  A problem with all of these covers, but especially the engine cover and the large cover, is that mice also love cover!  I have repaired numerous mouse holes in the engine and large covers.  Of course mice seem to love gnawing on wiring as well.  There is really no place for the mice to go under the operator controls cover, or the de-barker cover.  So then, what’s a guy to do? Read more

Portable Sawmill Service Load-Out

Preparing For Portable Sawmill Service Work

The key word here, is portable.  Which is to say, you are some distance from the usual support systems of a typical stationary sawmill.  You may not have access to your full suite of tools; on weekends technical support from the manufacturer of your portable sawmill may or may not be available.  And as the Sawyer time is not on your side.  Downtime is the enemy, and everything must be done to prevent it, and respond to it if Murphy shows up.  So, what exactly does that entail? Read more

Epic Day Milling Black Walnut

Portable Sawmill Service Challenges and Rewards

The Challenges | Portable Sawmill Service

Fortunately, the challenges at the start of this portable sawmill service work were surmountable, and were surmounted.  As well, these lows led to the resulting high of this great day in La Porte, Indiana, with the Janas family. Read more

Alaskan Chainsaw Mill Winch Test Run

Testing the Alaskan Chainsaw Mill Winch

Let me just say this about that!  The winch attachment to the Alaskan chainsaw mill works great; I don’t know how I have managed without it.  It eliminates much of the strenuous physical labor otherwise required.  The quality of the cuts is improved, as is productivity.

Lessons Learned – Alaskan Chainsaw Mill and Winch

  • Fifty ft of rope is probably more than needed 99% of the time, that is enough for a log close to 25 feet long; we took about 16 feet off during the test to make more room on the winch spool.
  • The rope is either routed over or under the handle of the Granberg, in the run between the pulley and the winch; under the handle seemed to work best, but this may be an opportunity for incremental improvement.
  • Nails are sufficient for anchoring the pulley to the end of the log.
  • The first 6 inches into the log, and the last 12 inches or so, are cut without the aid of the winch.
  • Keep the attachment points for the winch, and carabiner at the end of the rope, as low as possible on the Granberg MkIII Chainsaw Milling Attachment; “racking” the mill, which is to say, tipping the mill towards the far end of the log, can occur, causing the chain to cut deeper into the log.  In deeper cuts, where the “thickness rails” are far above the bar, pay particularly close attention to this possibility.
  • As the log narrows, and/or as mill closes on the pulley, the carabiner attachment point will likely need to be moved towards the center of the log, to maintain roughly equal tension on the ends of the bar nearest and furthest from the powerhead.
  • When Alaskan chainsaw milling, bring plenty of gas/oil mix, and plenty of bar and chain oil; in a 30 inch diamter, 8 foot log, both tanks on the powerhead were close to empty at the end of each cut.
  • And this is a lesson you do not want to learn the hard way; wear appropriate safety gear, including hearing and eye protection, gloves, and chainsaw chaps.

See the Alaskan Chainsaw Mill Winch Test

If you have not already, check out our post on adding the winch, Alaskan Chainsaw Mill Winch Attachment.  If you are thinking about engaging the services of a sawyer, check out our related post, How to Find and Work With a Local Sawmill Service. And don’t forget to check out our Sawyers page, for related blog posts and YouTube videos.

All the best, and kind regards,

John

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Alaskan Chainsaw Mill Winch Attachment

Installing a Alaskan Chainsaw Mill Winch: Step-by-Step

Why Install a Winch on Your Alaskan Chainsaw Mill?

Controlling and moving the chainsaw mill, in a 30-40 inch diameter log, over the course of several feet, takes effort, a lot of effort.  The powerhead is an 8.31 hp Husqvarna 3120xp; the largest and most powerful powerhead that Husqvarna makes, and one of the most powerful in the world.  In operation, it wants to pull the powerhead into the log, very forcefully.  The powerhead weighs in at 22.9 lbs.  Attached to that is the Cannon Sawmiller double-ended 56 inch bar, which itself is considerably hefty, probably a good deal heavier than the powerhead.  It takes manhandling to move this assembly through the log, not accounting for the weight of the Granberg MkIII 48 Inch Milling Attachment, Helper Handle with Roller, Chain Tensioner, and Auxiliary Oiler.  All of the manhandling necessary can negatively effect the quality of the cuts, and productivity.  Hence, we are adding a winch and other necessary components to the Alaskan chainsaw mill.  The winch will provide some much-needed, and frankly, much-appreciated, mechanical advantage applied to pulling the mill through the log.  Read on for the details. Read more

How to Find and Work With a Local Sawmill Service

Using a Local Sawmill Service: How-To

Finding and Contacting a Sawmill Service Provider

I ask every customer the simple question, “how did you find our sawmill service?”  A majority of the time, the customer has started with an on-line search.  Take your pick, Google, Bing, Yahoo!, etc.  Next up on the hit parade, referrals from past customers.  Reach out, either on-line, or to your friends and neighbors, or both.  There are industry websites that might also prove useful in your search; Wood-Mizer’s Find a Local Sawyer, and portablesawmill.info are two such sites. Read more

The Quarter-Sawing Process, and Problems, Oh No!

The best image found representing the process being documented. “Steps taken to quarter saw a log, a quarter sawn log and a quarter sawn board (clockwise from top left).” Image attribution: https://www.domain.com.au/news/diy-working-with-timber-at-home-20120322-1vllr/

The first step towards improving any process, is to understand the current state of the process, and in my opinion formally documenting that process in words and pictures is a solid foundation for improvement efforts.  It’s important to keep in mind that this process is not the “be all and end all” just because it is documented; it is though the process currently in use. Read more

Forest Products: Hard Maple Flooring

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American hophornbeam for fencing

I have posted on more than one occasion, regarding the felling of trees, bucking and splitting to produce wood fuel, and chipping to produce mulch.  There is also American hophornbeam (aka ironwood, see under “Trees” on the Plants & Animals page) growing on the homestead, which makes great fence posts; I have perhaps 15 to 20 such posts air drying now.  Hophornbeam can also be used to make long bows and re-curve bows, which I intend to attempt in the future.  Of course maple syrup is another  forest product, and one we intend to expand our production of in the spring of 2015.  And the list goes on.

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