I’ve written here about the silvopasture project we have going on the farm. The project was stalled because of the terribly wet and cold winter we had. We only managed to get about 60 trees on the ground before we called it quits to wait for better weather and a better idea. Then came spring, an apple press, cows to move, spring calves, my real job, and we aren’t any closer to going back in the woods. Even worse, all that timber was sitting on the ground getting older and older. I knew I needed to buck the saw logs and get them to the mill so I finally made time to run down to Mann’s sawmill, where I’ve always had my logs sawn in the past.
As soon as I pulled on the yard, I knew I was in trouble. There was twice as much lumber on the ground as I’d every seen on their best day. I popped into the saw control shack and talked to Stephen Mann. Short story, they were too busy to do any custom sawing. I needed another place to take the logs.
I have a friend who had just purchased a Woodmizer portable saw mill. Of course it’s brand new, it’s too nice to let me use, and he’s barely had time to use it himself. He said he’d help me but I knew this was too much wood for him to cut. Now what to do. After multiple phone calls, I finally came across Roy Lynch. Roy worked me into his schedule and about a week later he was on my farm, on time, and ready to work. I was under the impression that I’d meet Roy, make sure he had what he needed, then leave he and Miguel to saw lumber for 1 day. Instead I quickly found that Miguel and I were not able to keep up with Roy. We didn’t really have our stacks stacked correctly to start with so we spent the first 30 mins stacking and then restacking our wood. I had to get Spork out of the house to help with the stacks so we quite literally had two grown men and a boy not keeping up with this saw. It got better and in the video below you see us standing around more than stacking. Don’t let that fool you. There are busy periods and slack periods. The only time I could take a breath and get video was during the slack periods.
We sawed from 7:30am to 4:45pm, then sawed again from 8am to noon the next day. I thought maybe I was getting a little girly, sweating and breathing hard a time or two. Then I looked over at Miguel and he had sweat pouring off of him and most tellingly for Miguel, wasn’t cracking jokes. If he was tired, then I didn’t feel so bad. Total cost for all the sawing, including coming to the farm, was less than $1000. For that we had this when we were done.
We sawed nearly all the pine into 2″ thick full dimension lumber. That means that a 2″x4″ is actually 2″x4″ instead of 1.5″x3.5″ like it is in the store. All the oak and poplar we sawed in 1.25″ thick by whatever width was possible. This way we can plane 1/8″ off of each side and end up with 1″ thick planks, cleaned and ready to use.
We are planning on building a solar kiln on the property, behind the chicken barn. We’ll build it out of some of the pine we sawed, then store the rest of the wood in the kiln to dry for a few months. After that it’ll move into the barn for long-term storage. This is the wood that will be the next barn, next soap box car, next apple press part, or whatever. It should last till Bok Bok is in college.