Thursday, February 26, 2009

Riving Shakes

On average I end up cutting around 1.5'-3' off of the bottoms of logs to remove doty pith. These cut-offs become bolts, which are then riven(rived? rove?) with a froe and mallet to become shakes for roofing or siding. In the old days, they would have went through one more process of being smoothed and shaved to thickness and and possibly tapered with a draw-knife on a shaving-horse. Ideally all the shakes would be vertically grained, although all of mine are not. I purchased my froe for $8 at an antique store, and replaced pine handle with a persimmon sapling. I plan to make a bigger froe from an old leaf-spring sometime. Curved froes were used in the past to make staves for casks (barrels and such). It is a very primitive and effective tool, until you hit a knot. I am on my 4th mallet. The first being made of hickory, next was cherry, then persimmon, all of limbs or saplings. I am now using a piece of what I think is acacia (thorn tree), which has been the longest lasting. The pictures somewhat show the process of making shakes. I first split the bolt with a wedge (not shown), then knocked off the sapwood with the froe. The bolt is oriented upside down (tree top towards ground) for the whole process, as it splits easier for juniper in this manner. After spacing the froe from the edge it is hammer down flue with wood. The handle is then levered against the bolt to seperate the shake from bolt, and worked down and levered again, until the shake plops off. The shake can then be squared up if desired by using the froe again to slice through wood.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Toolbox for Moulding Planes

I made a new toolbox for my Japanese moulding planes tonight. I still have to build a couple more toolboxes, luckily I have no shortage of lumber. I used juniper for the sides and bottom, and a couple of scraps of black walnut for the lid. It was built to match the length and width dimensions of my saw box. Dimensions are 36"L x 10.25"W x 4.75 and is finished with linseed oil.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Workshop Beginnings in SketchUp

This is my first attempt to draw 3D with SketchUp. It is not complete nor accurate at this point. I need to add rafters, extend the beams for barge rafters, and adjust my dimensions. I want when completed a shop around 16'x32'. Being a hillbilly, I have no choice but dirt floor (concrete is roughly $100yd here now). I will either set the post on poured concrete piers or flat out sink them in the ground. The walls will be wrapped in board and batten siding from the 1x's I have been pulling while milling posts.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Logs

I cut 5 junipers and 1 persimmon tree (Diospyros virginiana) down today, working right at 5 hours. The tree on the far right (2 logs) was the first persimmon I have cut. From all the stories I have heard about how hard the wood is, I was expecting a real challenge. Yet it is was much easier than cutting pecan. I cut an 18' and a 14' section and there is at least another ~16' left to bring in, putting this tree nearly at its maximum height range of 60'. From my understanding, this tree was a male, out of the 7 persimmon trees the property, only one is female and bears fruit. I am still unsure about what to cut out of this white ebony, but I am leaning towards flooring planks, and maybe some cutting boards for my wife.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Logging on Valentines Day

After a rainy morning it turned pleasant around noon, so I commenced to logging again. I finished cutting juniper off the old fence line I have been working the last month, and moved into the woods today. After clearing out a narrow trail around 300 yards long I was able to get to this tree:

I am grateful to have such a tiny tractor in such situations. I needed to buck it into two 20' sections to get it out of the woods. The first limb was right at the 20' mark. The bottom picture shows the other smaller logs I cut today.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Weekend Milling

The weather was beautiful this weekend, but I did not get a whole lot done. Kept getting sap on my arms/wrists and once on my eyelid, was too warm for longsleeves. Goo-Gone will remove tree sap, but I seem to be allergic to both. I milled four logs over the weekend and produced 3-7"x7"x17' posts, and 1-6"x6"x12', plus some random 1x lumber and stickers from the flitches. I loaded up the firewood from the summer's slabs (scrap wood with bark on it) which was mostly pecan. This is my 3rd trailer of firewood from my mill, and I have at least another trailer full in a pile to be cut up. I heat our workshop at work with the scraps and limbs/branches. On another note I started learning google SketchUp last friday. This seems to be a very user friendly program. I was inspired to try it after seeing Bob Le's toolbox done in it a few weeks ago.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Proposed Building Site

This is the area I hope to build on. It is located on my father's land. The section I have picked adjoins property where there was once a limestone quarry (the big blue/black area on the maps). I will either build on the cleared hill, or clear out a spot in the woods directly north. The ground here is solid red dirt, with a limestone rock bottom 15ft under the dirt. A stream flows from west to east across the property along the property line. If the ground perks, and I can get a well dug (for secondary water source) this will most likely be the spot for our future home. Special thanks to google earth for the old satellite images. The top photograph was take from SE facing NW corner. Yellow circle on the sat. image marks planned site.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Junipers

I am going to take a moment here to share some trees while they are still standing. Most of the Eastern Red Juniper (also known as Easter Red Cedar or simply Cedar locally) that I see are in fields or along fence rows. Free standing trees such as these are heavily limbed from top to bottom, have no true trunk and are extremely knotty when milled. Forest trees are much more desirable for wood, as they usually have true trunks. I only know of a few standing groves of pure juniper, as they are usually found mixed among deciduous forests. If trees grow in barren rocky conditions they will have almost pure red heartwood, with just a tiny band of sapwood. Those trees grow very slowly and produce excellent rot resistant timber/posts. What I am currently cutting is in upper lowland, these trees can grow to tremendous size for their species, up to 36 inches. But they are somewhat cursed by containing more sapwood, sapwood mixed with heartwood, ingrown bark, and other defects. The top left photo shows an average fence tree, bottom left is an old fence tree with almost perfect form yet half doty, bottom right shows a true trunk on a ~24" juniper. The very bottom picture shows a couple of lowland forest junipers .

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Saturday's Harvest

I snuffed 4 trees on Saturday, a couple which were forked at the stump. This yeilded 7-17' timbers, 4-12' timbers, and a large diameter 8' trunk. A couple of the trees were doty in the bottom 6-8', this was caused by limbs decaying and funneling water into the trunk. The doty sections were cut into ~20" bolts to be split later and rived into roofing shakes with a froe. On Sunday the timbers were bucked to 17' lengths (my mill's maximum for now) , the remainders were cut into 12' and leftovers became fence posts.

Farmall A

I spent a couple of the wet weeks in January repairing and painting my 1944 International Harvester Farmall A tractor. My grandfather traded a pair of stout trained mules for a Farmall B sometime in the 40's, after which he said "I'd rather have my damn mules back". I think I prefer the A over smelling mule farts, but I don't log in the same conditions that he did (mountain sides), nor farm near as many acres. I replaced a front wheel bearing, filed the flywheel teeth, rebuilt the starter, replaced brake bands, changed lots of seals, full rewiring, stripped and cleaned the radiator, and repainted the entire tractor. I also built a custom seat to replace the springless aftermarket seat. My dad helped me throughout the entire process, making everything go much faster. I should have taken a before picture, but I always seem to forget that step.

Japanese Carpenter Toolboxes

These are some of the few things I have made out of my lumber. This was some of the wood I milled during the fall. I think this was actually the tree I got subcutaneous anthrax from(I am a statistic now).A lesson was learned there, don't log in short sleeves. Brier cuts and dirt sum up to nasty infections. I made these when it was too soggy to log and mill. These are nothing fancy, just something to get a little better organized. The big toolbox is for hand saws(nokogiri) and is based of Toshio Odate's drawings from his book and measures 36"Lx7.5"Hx10.25W outside dimensions. The chisel(nomi) box has dividers glued in it, it measures 24"Lx1.5"Hx10.25"w. They are fastened together with nails. Both are made from Eastern Red Juniper and finished with linseed oil. I plan to make another toolbox just for my planes (kanna).

There is no such thing as free bamboo.

I followed up on an ad on the craigslist for Free Bamboo a couple weeks ago. Was a lot more trouble than it was worth. The people wanted the place bulldozed with a shovel and landscaped for free, and not a leaf left behind. To top it off the bamboo ended up being on someone else's property. I cut for about 30 minutes and left after learning about the property lines. I planted my own grove 4 or 5 years ago, and it should be putting out some big shoots this year I hope.

Bambu Gratis...

Beberapa minggu yang lalu, saya menemukan iklan di tentang bambu, gratis! Tapi ternyata, dibandingkan dengan hasil yang saya dapat, perlu kerja keras..Pemiliknya menginginkan semua pohon-pohon bambu yang ada di halaman mereka ditebang hingga akarnya sekalian membersihkan halaman tersebut tanpa ada satupun daun bambu yang tersisa. Masalahnya, pohon-pohone itu ada di properti milik orang lain. Menyadari hal itu, saya menghabiskan 30 menit saja untuk menebang beberapa pohon bambu. 4 atau 5 tahun yang lalu saya menanam pohon ini, saya harap tahun ini mereka bakal tumbuh setinggi dan sebesar yang saya inginkan

Masalahnya, pohon-pohon bambu ini sekitar 40' tingginya sebelum dipotong menjadi dua bagian.
Ukuran rata-ratanya adalah 20'x1.5-2":

These were around 40' high before cutting in half.

Average Size is 20' x 1.5-2":

Monday, February 2, 2009

My First Post

Not literally my first post to cut, but one of many. This post will be part of the Minka farmhouse I am in the slow process of building for my wife and I. This project started as an idea a couple of years ago, and logging started in December 2007.

Bahasa Indonesia:

Posting Pertamaku ...

Sebenarnya bukan posting yang pertama, tetapi yang pertama untuk blog ini. Posting ini akan menjadi bagian dari proses pembangunan rumah 'Minka' untuk saya dan istri saya. Proyek ini dimulai sekitar dua tahun lalu, namun proses loggingnya baru dimulai bulan Desember 2007.

Eastern Red Juniper (Juniperus Virginiana)
2nd Cut (atypical sawing order):

Squared on 4th Side:

Turning Flitches into Dimensional Lumber:

1x's and 1x1 stickers