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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Making Lumber

 One of our last projects is to mill out enough lumber from our dead trees so we can use the winter to build our projects. Yesterday we milled out three logs from a tree that died last winter and is prime lumber. We have about 25% of the lumber I will need to build two stand up closets and a new front door and a pantry door. When the snow is deep and there is nothing to do outside I can make two closets that will help Carol and myself to organize our clothes. One thing an A-Frame lacks is storage space due to the angle of the roof. The above photo shows the lumber we milled out yesterday.
 This is the same lumber except it is stacked with stickers between each board. Stickers are just 1" thick pieces of scrap wood that are spaced about every 2 feet to keep the board level with each successive board adding weight to the one below it. It allows the air to circulate around the boards and they dry out uniformly until they reach equilibrium which is nothing more that allowing excess moisture in the wood to escape to where each board is equal in moisture to its surrounding environment. When you buy a board at the lumber yard it has been dried to a certain moisture content but when you bring it home if the ambient moisture in the air around it is higher it will absorb moisture until they are relatively equal. That is reaching equilibrium and if you are not in a hurry (I'm not) then you can put stickers between each board and let it dry slowly. Here it may take two or three weeks because we are in a semi arid environment.  
 This photo shows the stickers between the boards. I like to put the thicker boards on top of the stack because they weigh down the thinner boards below them. Just from sitting in the basement I can feel the moisture in the boards as I was stickering  them. Sticker is not a term you hear every day because it is mostly used by sawyers when they layer boards to air dry. Just as effective as drying in a kiln (1-2 days) as opposed to air drying 2-3 weeks or sometimes longer in the air. It depends on how soon you want to use the lumber. On some woods like aspen, it is also helpful to paint the boards on each end with paraffin paint so the boards will be forced to lose moisture on the long flat surfaces. Other wise the boards can warp or wind and lose any value other than firewood.

The above photo shows a log on the mill and we are ready to extract another 22-25 1" X 6" X 8' long boards. It about killed us getting that log on the carrier to mill it out. We had to use a 6' steel bar and car jack to get it up on the carrier. Dangerous and tricky but we finally got it in place and with only a bruised ankle on Carol and several muscle strains for me. That one log should provide us with enough lumber to finish one standing closet and start another one.


JennielynnfromMilton said...


I just wanted to send you and your wife a note to let you know how much I look forward to your posts and photos. I always enjoy them so much.

Thank you,
Jennie Storch

Bruce said...

We sincerely thank you for writing to tell us that Jennie. We recognize we have a different lifestyle than many and we love to share it through the blog. We are glad you enjoy our posts and photos. Thank you.