Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Man and a Mill

A little while ago I was invited down to Spencer, IA to meet a man with a passion and a mill. Tuesday morning I made the 4 hour trip.
Spencer, I was informed is a bit of a railroad town denied the railroad. Charming yet strange. Brandon is the resident wood nut heh.
I have seen and participated in a bit of chainsaw milling and I have seen a little of a band saw mill in action but have never seen the whole process let alone operate one. Brandon showed me some of the ropes.
It was a great experience gaining new appreciation and having a good time.

I saw a log of Walnut among a few others behind the barn that looked promising to me. Brandon got it on the mill with a tractor and asked is I wanted to "drive" the mill. After getting the log oriented in the way we thought best suited it we went ahead with flitch cutting the log. Perhaps the easy way to mill but my preferred method.

This Walnut log was about 22" in diameter and 8.5 feet long. The mill was pretty easy to operate. Up and down, forward and back, and a speed control. Then again, a hand plane is pretty easy to operate in theory.
The belt drive decided to take a short smoke break as it was displeased with some of my effort. Brandon assured me all was fine.

Whoo Wee! You don't see logs/lumber like that every day! I don't anyway. Clean and  mostly straight with only one sizable knot to work around.

Don't get drool on your key board...

Staked and stickered. all 8/4 (cut green at about 9/4) with the pith plank being about 10/4.

Next I was wondering about a log of Bur Oak out back. Nice straight and long. This one fought though. After the first pass we hit a nail. Then another. The log was getting shorter due to cutting sections with metal off. You can see the start of some black staining due to the nail(s). Then hit some copper too!? Ugh. One thing lead to another with some tools and we had to retreat for the time being.

Beautiful color and grain in this section. I hope more can be salvaged!

Well sir thank you for the time and hospitality, I shall return for more wood. So watch out!


Matt Petersen said...

Yeah ... opening up a log with a bandsaw mill is almost like opening Chrsitmas presents as a kid. Have the luxury of being close to Wood-Mizer's corporate HQ. Just had a friend offer me 4 cherry trees ~30" in diameter and 10' tall before the first limbs. Hope to fell the trees in the next few weeks and mill them up shortly after. Also a persimmon log already down.

Nicholas Nelson said...

Ah Man! I was looking for Cherry! Don't get me excited ha.
I don't think I've ever seen any good examples of Persimmon. What is it like?

Nick Brygidyr said...

um ok nick i officially hate you, i wish you many splinters and kickbacks with that wood.

all joking aside i still hate you, my GOD THAT IS SOME AWESOME WOOD! I WANT IT NOW!

jbreau said...

so did you get to take any of it home? is your name on it?
lovely stuff.

Dan McCallum said...

Beautiful! Glad you finally located a 'nearby' supplier of decent wood.

Cut to 9/4, will take about 2 yrs to dry?? Did you buy some?

Matt Petersen said...

The few samples of persimmon I've seen look very similar to etimoe. Very hard/dense ... think is would be ideal for plane-making.

Nicholas Nelson said...

You better believe my name is on that beauty!
I also brought home a pile of AD Walnut!
I would still like some Cherry for a project in my sketchbook to get to using that little Apple plank I have.

Ha yeah four hours isn't exactly in the neighborhood but it's closer that either coast!
Yep about 2 years in the air