Milling a Tree

Last Updated Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My friend Sandy owns 160 acres of land a couple hours drive from me, and we've managed to talk ourselves into believing we are lumberjacks. For years I've dreamed of making some furniture starting with the live tree, and now I'm another step closer to realizing it. If nothing else, it's great to spend some time moving around outdoors with someone fun to chat to. We always run out of time to talk about the things we're into.

Felling the tree

March 23, 2013

The top third of this tree broke off in a storm. It looked like good straight pine, so we decided to try turning it into lumber.

My trusty axe made short work of the limbs.

It was actually a bit of a struggle to drag the tree a kilometer out of the woods because the tractor kept slipping on the wet snow when we tried to go up hills or around tight corners. Yet with a bit of ingenuity and a lot of persistence we made it across the creek and up to the road.

Bucking to length to haul back home

The tree was long enough to cut into three eight foot sections. The tractor came in mighty handy for loading the trailer.

Unloading took some tricky manoeuvering in the tight space, but the logs went where we needed them to go.

Notice the guide rail we made out of 2x4s and angle irons. It took awhile, but we did a good job and it's very straight and true.

Milling into lumber

With the rails carefully screwed to the log and my new Alaskan MkIII chainsaw mill attached to the chainsaw, the first cut was made.

That was great until the guard came off the jig and fouled the chain. Luckily Sandy had another old chain, and we didn't ruin it until we hit a screw way at the other end of the log with half an inch left to cut. Perhaps shelling out for a carbide toothed chain might have been more cost effective, hmm?

Here's the final result after two days of effort:

I plan to return in a couple of weeks to finish the job. I know it looks like I'm sitting on a pretty nice campfire bench, but inside it is my new woodworking workbench. Sandy is going to pick up a proper ripping chain and a longer bar, and since the guide rails and logs are now ready to go, I expect to make short work of it. Mmmm, don't ya just love the smell of fresh cut pine?!