Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Tutorial on Sawmilling

It is Valentine's Day, 2006, 8:30 AM, and 25 degrees. My 52- horsepower tractor is moaning and groaning as I turn the key to direct it to start. I've already walked four miles along the trail-loops at C. G. Hill Memorial Park as I exercise there most mornings. My schedule for walking is about two minutes behind the park gatekeeper who opens at 7:00 AM during the winter season. Now, however, I'm ready to move nine prime pine logs into position to begin sawmilling. These logs were delivered by dump truck yesterday by a new acquaintance who lives not far from here. I met him recently after he was referred to me by someone who thought I could mill his logs into lumber for use in re-flooring his home. After meeting and interviewing me, "he decided to give me a try", he said. The logs he and his dad delivered are the nicest pine logs I've seen in the Piedmont of North Carolina. These logs are 20" to 22" in diameter, 12' long, round and smooth, super straight, negligible taper, and no limbs. The son told me they came from only two trees that grew near the Yadkin River. I studied the growth rings and estimate the age between 80 and 100 years. So, 9 logs times 12 feet equals 108 feet divided by 2 trees equals an average of 54 feet and no limbs to that height. Wow! Old-timers have told me about pine trees like these and how common they were in the past. They are rare today.

The son instructs me to saw them into boards 6 inches wide and slightly over 1 inch thick. He said: "this is my wife's project; they will be used in flooring our home". I thought to myself, "Your wife has good taste to request a floor from this material". I know these logs will produce beautiful lumber and a floor from this wood will be outstanding. I've sawed a few thousand logs and can now predict lumber quality underneath the bark before I cut into them.

Tomorrow, I'll show you the beginning cuts.

Have a good day!



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