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Big J

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About Big J

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    Senior Member, Raffle Sponsor 2014

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  • Location
    near Edinburgh
  1. larch cladding from small(ish) logs

    Cutting cladding with a chainsaw mill just isn't economically viable. It's too time consuming and too wasteful (both in terms of wood and fuel used). You'd get a far better recovery rate and actually save money (assuming you have a reasonable amount to do) if you hired in a mobile band mill. You have to remember that even the narrowest saw chains will have a 7mm kerf. A bandmill has 2mm, which means that for every 4 boards you cut with a chainsaw, you'd have 5 from the bandmill. Regarding stability, slower grown is usually better, but also you have to consider site stresses (poor soil, prevailing wind and exposure to that wind). I just hate larch!
  2. larch cladding from small(ish) logs

    25mm larch will dry in about 6 weeks in a windy location. No need to worry about cutting it yet. What you will struggle with (assuming you are cutting it with a bandmill) is getting accurate boards. Small larch logs are riddled with tension and the log with squirm and wiggle as you take boards off, resulting in inaccuracies. I hate larch quite passionately, but if I have to cut it into cladding I am lucky to have a frame saw which cuts the whole log on one pass, meaning all tension is simultaneously released.
  3. No ones posting.

    It might be an idea. Naturally, most people are going to be resistant to change. I don't doubt that there has been an enormous amount of work and thought that's gone into the new format, but I honestly had no issues with anything previously except for the aforementioned PM limit. Viewing on a mobile platform could be fiddly at times, but I rarely ever did. Much prefer a laptop.
  4. No ones posting.

    I'm not enjoying the experience of the new site at all. With the exception of inadequate PM storage, I'm not sure what was wrong with the old format.
  5. As I'm sure that some of you work with on the rail network, I was wondering if much consideration is given to people living close to railway lines? I was out on the banks of a local lake fishing at 0400 this morning and there is a mainline running along one bank. There are three houses about 40 yards behind the line. There was a squad of perhaps 8-10 guys with three MEWPs working on one of the pylons for the overhead wires from when I arrived to around 0630. They couldn't have made more noise if they'd set off fireworks. Constantly whacking the metal with hammers, various angle grinders/Stihl saws, noisy MEWP engines, banter and shouting. 40 yards from someones front door at 4 am on Sunday (and I don't know what time they started work). Come 0630 they headed off up the line (out of my earshot) but presumably continued work as the first train did not pass until 0905. These are the only three houses directly on the line for a couple of miles in either direction? Surely that one pylon could have been started after 0600 to minimise disruption to residents? The workers seemed quite unaware of how little sleep the people in the houses must be getting. I feel like popping over to one of the houses and offering my statement should they wish to complain.
  6. Jokes???

    I've just landed a new job at the chess set factory. They've given me the Knight shift...
  7. Walnut

    Bit of a waste that. Lovely timber and walnut has no business being cut bloody 4 inches thick (or to be used as floorboards!). Life would be so much simpler without customers!
  8. Used Trak Met Sawmill wanted

    Not likely. It's usefully versatile, allowing us to cut 4ft diameter hardwood but also plough through smaller softwood with ease. We had 15 tonnes of western red cedar through it in 5 hours this morning. The linkage for the back stops needed to be welded, one of the backstops got bent by a 5 tonne beech log (cut off, rewelded) and the log deck loading arm has been braced with additional welding.
  9. Used Trak Met Sawmill wanted

    They are good solid sawmills, but I'd advise buying new. They are cheaper than the competition, and you don't know how the previous owner has treated it. I've looked after mine well (TTS-800 Standard, but with many, many extras) but with 550 hours on the clock, it's still needed welding at other repairs at times.
  10. Whats the weather like near you?

    Absolutely awful weather here. Steady, heavy rain. Cancelled work, and we've had over 30mm already today. Nearly 30mm yesterday too, as well as a lot of thunderstorms.
  11. Firewood processing charges

    I have the electric PLD450 semi auto. I like it, though I don't work it very hard. The ram will at times get stuck on an 8 way (and sometimes even a 4 way) split on some tougher hardwoods. London plane was brutal. It takes us about 35 to 40 minutes to do a cube of hardwood, but I hate hardwood with a passion for firewood. Quickest was processing some surplus to requirement larch saw logs. 30-40cm diameter, split slightly oversized (35-40cm, 8 way split, odd bit resplit) and 3.7m lengths. It consistently took 4 minutes per cube (which was me splitting it alone). So, regarding rate, I've no idea. Production rates vary so wildly, all I can suggest is go for an hourly rate.
  12. Double head milling

    I don't often deal with the kind of trees that warrant them now. Used to do back garden elms, and inaccessible trees in woodlands and the chainsaw mill was awesome for that. However, everything just comes to the yard now and with a throat of 46 inches on the band mill, if it won't fit through that, I won't bother with it. Also, the sawdust issue bothers me. I tend to try to sell as cheaply as possible, and on a 4ft diameter log cut to 2", you lose 3 complete boards to sawdust (which if it were something like elm, would cost you about £225 on a 10ft length, assuming £15 a cube green value). Anyway, I'm not wanting to denigrate the merits of chainsaw milling. It's a useful tool to have in the armoury and for someone starting out milling, it's ideal. It's just not a sustainable solution long term due to the wastefulness, cost (2 stroke fuel and oil cost a sodding fortune - the bandmill uses about 50 pence of diesel per tonne of timber processed) and physical strain on the operator. I didn't try the winch system. I was more or less finished with it by the time you released it. I'm curious to see what else you guys come up with in the future to make the system easier to use.
  13. Double head milling

    Well fair enough. It's just brutally hard work and having done more chainsaw milling than most, if I ever have to use one again, it will be about 1000 years too soon. It's not to say that they don't have their place, but I did my time and I'm now free!
  14. Double head milling

    I haven't tried with two different power heads, but I feel that it would be a recipe for premature wear on both machines. With two different power outputs, two different maximum RPMs and two different chain speeds, it's going to stress both machines excessively. Just my opinion. I found that on bars over 50" bar flex was an ever present issue. The clamps on the chainsaw mill itself simply aren't powerful enough to hold the bar firmly. You might get one or two good cuts but then you have to slack the clamps off and reset. There's no guarantee it won't all go tits up mid cut either. When the bar bends, it quickly wears the chain, stressing the drive links and resulting in snapped chains. The premature wear on the chain wears the drive sprocket quickly too. And all the extra effort of pushing a bar that won't stay flat through the wood doesn't do the powerhead any good. I really go reckon that 50" is the best compromise length for chainsaw milling. You can use two powerheads and it's very quick. The bar won't bend and you still end up with 42" wide boards. Any logs large than that you can just mill a few boards off and then roll the log with a forklift or winch. Either way, it's all much easier with a bandmill!
  15. Double head milling

    I wouldn't use two different powerheads on a double ended mill. Double ended milling is extremely stressful on all the mechanical components (and the users!) and any mismatch will likely result in early failure. Double ended milling works very well on shorter bars, and is an extremely rapid way of producing a decent volume of sawn timber (and sawdust). However, the bar flex on bars over 60" is unacceptable, and again strains the chain, drive sprocket, bearings and everything else. Here is the largest log we ever did with the double ended mill: I'm 6ft 8", for reference.


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