More lumber milling

Saturday was our latest date with the portable sawmill. We’ve generated another nice collection of good cedar logs, and still had some left over from past work. In addition, I’m getting ready to start building our next structure, a 16′ x 16′ prep shed next to the garden for use in washing and packing produce, as well as storage. So another batch of milling was in order to generate the necessary lumber.

Above, you see the various piles of logs ready to go. We haul these in with the tractor from wherever we’re cutting, and pile them along the driveway where the mill can easily set up and work efficiently. As noted in the past, these are the larger logs that we don’t use for fence posts or permanent bed liners.

Here’s the mill in operation. We hire a couple from Hallsville who do an excellent job; they’ve been running this mill for years (having built their own house with it) and are efficient and skilled at the job. We’re happy to give them our business. Portable bandsaw mills are just fantastic little devices, generating piles of lumber quickly with less kerf waste and more safety than a bladed mill.

Above you see the finished product after a full day’s milling. The far stack is all 2x4s, the central two are planks for siding, and the foreground stack is long structural beams (up to 2″x8″x20′) and some very long planks. It’s enough for our shed, which will be built in the background of this photo along the faintly visible fence line. I purposely framed this shot between the two foreground trees so I can revisit it as construction continues.

One thing I’ve really learned from the past few years of cutting and milling our own lumber is to appreciate the work and resources it takes to generate lumber. Clean lumber like the piles above also generates a lot of waste, which we do our best to re-use, but it’s still a lot of excess. And we’re being far more efficient and sustainable about it than a large-scale operation. I can’t drive by any building under construction, or a wooden fence, without mentally calculated how many trees of what size had to be cut down to make that wood, and how much waste product resulted. Like most DIY projects, you learn far more about how things actually work and the hidden costs behind the convenient one-stop products we’re used to. Same goes for things like butchering or even gardening. The more you do for yourself, the more you respect the processes and costs involved. It’s one of the great benefits to seeking independance.

One thought on “More lumber milling

  1. Well I think you must have worked very hard in milling all the wood. I think your shed is going to some just fine. Your blog about farming and agricultural issues was very useful for me. Thanks for posting.