LUMBER WITH A UNIQUE STORY
Clover Construction offers the unique service of on-site log milling with their Woodmizer LT35 portable hydraulic band saw mill. This allows them to mill logs up to 32” in diameter into usable lumber. The mill is mobile, allowing simple setup on site. Clover Construction can also mill at their business location, if preferred.
As a residential General Contractor, many customers must have, or have had, timber cleared from their property during the initial stages of their project. Many of Clover Construction’s Clients choose to mill their logs into usable lumber.
There are some fantastic benefits to milling your own logs: Rough-sawn lumber milled from your own trees is a conversation piece! Our clients have the pleasure of sharing the story of the wood’s origin with their family and friends, which adds to the overall value & enjoyment of their building experience. The “rough-sawn” lumber look is timeless and classic. And lastly, lumber is valuable! Don’t just turn it into firewood, incorporate it in your next project!
This image features a Black Walnut Slab that was “Book- Matched” for a furniture maker to turn into a kitchen table. Book matching is the practice of matching two wood surfaces, so that adjoining surfaces mirror each other, giving the impression of an open book.
CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE MILLING
Storing lumber for drying & future use must be done properly to avoid degrading your lumber. Specifically, you will need a completely flat surface upon which to stack your freshly milled lumber. A concrete slab is ideal. If a concrete slab is not available to you, you can create a flat surface with a shovel, and handful of boards and a bit of elbow grease. We would be happy to talk more about this with you if you are interested in learning more.
Freshly milled lumber must be treated differently depending on its intended use. For example; if you plan to create a finished product, such as flooring or furniture, the wood must first be allowed to dry to a moisture content of approximately 10%. This is because lumber is unstable during the drying process. If you will be air drying your lumber, plan on one year of drying time per each inch of thickness.
If you have Douglas Fir logs and intend to use the lumber as framing material, it can be used immediately after cutting in some cases. Specifically, the larger the size of the lumber, the more stable it is while drying. Douglas Fir is known to be a very dimensionally stable material meaning Douglas Fir lumber does not twist or warp to the same degree that many other species will. This allows us to build with “green” lumber (lumber that has not been dried) that we can let “season in service” (dry in place.)
The term “checking” refers to cracking at the surface. Lumber “checks” as it dries. The question is how to best minimize these “checks.” There are several things that can help in this effort. First, sealing the end of your logs as soon as they are cut will go a long way in reducing checking. Clover Construction recommends a product called Anchorseal for this purpose. The product is a liquid wax that hardens after application and prevents 90% of checking.
Second, you will need to keep your freshly milled lumber out of direct sunlight. A completely shaded area is best. It will also require protection from rain and snow, as well. Placing spacers between successive courses of lumber will allow the air to circulate between the layers and dry all of the wood faces evenly. When taken, these simple steps will significantly decrease your checking in freshly milled lumber which will increase your yield of usable material.
One popular technique is called “Canting.” A cant is the term used to describe a log that has been edged (squared) on all four sides. Canting logs provides several benefits: the material is easier to store due to being square vs round (this also allows more materials to be stored in a smaller area), it allows the wood to dry more evenly, and it is a good way to store lumber that you plan on using but just haven’t decided what you want to do with it yet.