A Note About Your Logs
The amount and quality
of useful lumber you will recover starts with how the trees are cut. When cutting your
logs you may have specific requirements for what you need in length. That's fine. But if
you don't I suggest cutting your logs in increments of 2' (8, 10, 12' long) with a little
added for trimming the ends. Three to six inches is plenty. Remember, since most logs
taper, and many logs have at least a little sweep (curve) you will generally get more
useable wood from two 8' logs than you will from one 16' log.
While it is possible to mill
logs shorter than 6' long, it gets much more difficult the shorter they get. We cannot
mill logs like that for our usual rates. If you have logs shorter than that, we can
discuss a price. (You may not consider it a reasonable price.) If your logs are shorter
than 4', they're firewood. Logs should be a minimum of 8" diameter across the small
end of the log; more if the log is not straight. Otherwise... You guessed it; firewood.
It's best to saw logs as soon as
possible after they're felled. While we can saw logs that have been down for a long time,
the quality and amount of lumber you can expect begins to suffer.
If it's going to be any time
from when your trees are felled to when you want the logs sawn, they should be raised off
the ground a foot or so. Keep the grass around them well trimmed. This will help keep
insects from turning your future lumber into their present buffet.
Your logs are much like a big
bundle of straws. While the inner parts of the log will remain wet for a very long time,
the ends of them will dry very quickly. This causes the wood to shrink and crack.
Therefore we recommend sealing the ends of the logs as soon as possible after felling.
A product called "AnchorSeal" is pretty much the defacto standard
material for this. Similar products can be purchased from higher end woodworking stores.
Wax or even a heavy coat of paint is better than nothing. Please do not use roofing
tar! You will either have to saw the ends off the logs before we set up or find someone
else to mill them. With advance notice and if you prefer, we can paint the ends of your
logs with AnchorSeal during our site visit. If the ends of your logs were not treated, not
all is lost! It just means you'll lose a bit more to degrade than you would've lost
Foreign objects in your logs
Urban sourced logs are notorious for containing foreign objects, most notably metal.
"Why would there be something in my tree?" Clotheslines, signs, light fixtures,
fences, hammock supports, dog runs, kids practicing with a hammer, tree forts, ladders to
climb the tree, braces from when the tree was young, garden benches, shed supports,
bricks, concrete. That's just a partial list of what we've found in trees. Blades
for cutting wood do not handle foreign objects well and will be damaged or destroyed on
contact. We truly do not like to charge for that, but blades are not free. Obviously
we have to recoup that cost, so you as the owner of the wood are responsible for that.
Costs for damage depends on which sawmill is used and are listed on our "Price List" page.
That said, if you don't own a
metal detector we highly recommend you beg, borrow or rent one to check out your logs. It
won't guarantee no foreign objects, but will go a long way toward easing the issue.
Logs should also be cleaned as
well as practicable. In this area "dirt" really means "sand." Sand is
very hard on sharp blades. Would you let your kids take your favorite carving knife to dig
in your backyard? No, of course not! You'd get it back dull as a butter knife. Sand does
the same thing to sawmill blades.