Monday, January 12, 2009

Milling Black Locust in Nicasio Valley







This Saturday we went on a field trip to learn and observe how to 'Mill your own Wood' with relatively simple and inexpensive equipment.


The idea was to drop the tree with a chainsaw and guide it's fall into the creek bed where we would do the milling. Bob cut an 18 foot 'Black Locust' tree which fell perfectly into the creek.



Oscar weilds the Peavey
The log is rolled into optimal cutting position with a neat looking tool called a "Peavey".






Bob flattens the top of the fallen tree with an Adze - so that the plank can be nailed to it. Wooden wedges are used to stabilize the plank so that the mill can operate smoothly. Plank was slightly cupped, so that side is placed upwards.





Julie mills - by pulling on a simple handle with two long cords attached to the chainsaw mill. The rpm are supposed to be high in order to preserve the engine and prevent a stall in the middle of a cut, one pushes in with a choke style throttle.






At the end of the day we had cut two 9' x 3.5" x 12" black locust board, with a slight curve in them, they were priceless, and even if the yard had curves it would have been a few hundred dollars worth.

The mill is basically a modified large chainsaw engine, attached to a custom chainsaw blade, which is framed and has rollers to allow the equipment to smoothly roll over the plank, while sawing. This could be achieved by holding the mill direclty and with a helper on the other end, but that would be too dangerous, as the chain could break. By pulling with the ropes you are ten feet away, so it is relatively safe to use.

Great outing and will definately add a mill to list of things I want for Christmas.






Bod Darr Wooden boat magazine 1980 I found the pdf of this article from thiry years ago - the equipment is the same, however the engines do burn out, he's replaced the engine every ten years - Nice Stihl engines 090AV. The mill is called an alaskan mill and more info about the mill is availible here

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