FARM BLOG ~ Making Custom Lumber Out Of Storm Blow Down
One of the greatest gifts of being a farmer is having land where you can utilize debris such as fallen trees from storms to make lumber. Moving through this area over the last week were severe wind storms that dropped a sizeable tree across our drive. Fortunately, my husband loves logging and milling. So, I will take you through a quick walk through of what he does to convert a fallen tree into our new lumber for the rest of our grape trellises.
First, Mike cuts up the trees into about ten foot lengths and then drags them to our portable logging mill with the tractor. We have an aparatus on the back that can drag a log but right now the brush hog is on the tractor. So, he’s welded a hook on the front bucket that can support a heavy logging chain and he can also move the logs that way.
Next Mike will hand crank each log up on the side legs that roll the log directly onto the length of the mill bed. He will then proceed to run the blade down the length of the top of the log, then turn the log on each side and do the same. This makes a square beam. Then he will slice boards of whatever dimension he wants from there.
In this photo you can see the blade right above the yellow and black tape. The blade is circular and cuts back and forth. Directly to Mike’s left you see an orange handle that juts out from the side of the mill. Once you lay the log the length of the mill, you stand behind the mill, gripping that handle, and you push the top unit down the length of the log cutting it.
Here you see the 4X4s that have been cut for our grape trellises we are building this week. The board laying perpendicular at the end of the mill is not laying the way you lay the log. The log runs the length like the 4X4s are. Mike simply laid that end scrap piece there later as he is cleaning up.
Here you can see close up the boards that have been cut off of one log. I believe one ten foot 4×4 is about 10 dollars at the store. So, Mike cut three 10 foot lengths. This pictures shows the amount of lumber generated from just one 10 foot length. So, if he’d have gone to Home Depot, he’d have spent $60 dollars for the 6 clean 4x4s, half that for the two odd shaped wood lengths (totalling $70). With three lengths to cut in total, he saved about $210 dollars in lumber by simply cutting up that one dead tree.
Additionally, with the scrap cuts we can use them to side structures, make boxes and other cool decorations, frame in planters, etc. But basically, we save the scrap cuts and use them for something. We let our imagination work creatively for the scraps.
Bottom line: we love our mill. I can not tell you how many thousands of dollars we have saved by making all our own lumber. We do our own fences, stalls, flooring, counter tops, boxes, gifts, coppola, woodshed with all the wood from our trees…..everything. We make all the lumber ourselves for whatever project we have in store at the farm. Another great thing about our mill is that it is portable. We can attach it to the back of one of our trucks and take it to a neighbor’s house to clear their storm fallen trees and use the lumber. It’s a great trade and everyone is happy.
Milling is an amazing capability to have on your farm. It literally saves thousands of dollars and a great deal of time. Today, Mike cut all the lumber you see in less time than it would have taken him to go to our Home Depot ten miles away and buy the same materials.
God Bless! And enjoy the woods! L. Davis