Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Makin/ lumber

It has taken me 1,000 years to do this post. And all that is user error, because it was almost certainly my mistake. Google, are you listening? Please provide me with a simple "undo" function". Until you do I will have to work around you. Please do not continue to give me advanced features. I don't need them and neither do 99.5 percent of blogger users. A simple go-back-to-last saved post would have saved me half an hour's work. I am certain Google is not listening.

Anyway, we are trying to square off logs. We had built an advanced log holding feature, and were ready to hold the logs.

So next, we mount the log on the holder. Now I try to be really candid about mistakes, so what I did was to mark it out.t does not hurt to mark it out, and it doesen't take more than five minutes. But all you really need is one reference mark on the log. However, we didn't realize this at the time.
So, log is on the holder. The first thing I did was the marking out. Just as well because I hadn't learned the first thing about lumbermakers. But I will try to save you the trouble. You do, however, really need one reference mark, either plumb or level. Now you have to tack a guide board on top of the log. I used a gringo 2x4. This is a real example of a misnomer. Gringo boards are nowhere near 2x4. The "2" for example is 1 5/8" short. The manufacturers claim this is a "milling allowance.". Bosh. They can mill to 1 mm on an off day, so this is a way of cheating you. This warning, of course, applies only to the US and not to the rest of the world.

So now we have to tack a guide board to the top of the log and make a cut. Where should we tack the guide board? Well, a lot of variables, none too hard. Depends on the particular type of lumbermaker gadget that you have and the width of your guide board. But what I did was to put the center of the guide board on my marked-out log..
And away I sawed. Here there is a warning. Several, in fact. First, don't go too fast. How fast is fast depends on how big a chainsaw you have. I am using a Stihl 170. which Stihl regards as an "entry-level " chain saw. This is medium duty for any othe manufacter but Huskvarna. But still, (Stihl?) ripping is hard work for a chain sae. It is not made for that. So stop every half-meter or so and let the chain saw idle. for 30 seonds or a minute. If you are doing this you are not in a hurry. So at the end of the cut,we have...

Now we go to the other end of the log and do the same thing. These are 2.5 meter logs, or about 8 foot for the metrically challenged. It takes me about five minutes to do a cut with Parsifal, my Stihl MS 170. If I would just fire up Siegfried the Stihl 041, it would take less, but Siegfried is much heavier. Siegfried is used when Parsifal would be overloaded. This is bcause I don't like to heft very large weights unless I absolutely have to.

And YAM (yet another mistake). If you are doing guide board sawing, on a one-shot log, you don't need to mark out. You need one mark, either level or plumb. You do one mark with board level. Do two cuts. Flip the log. Leve is now plumb, or vice-versa. Two more cuts. Done.

Final remark. I have been rather vague on lumbermakers, for a good reason. I have but limited experience with them. One, sold by Lee Valley, is the classic "Haddon Lumbermaker" which has a fixed-width "2x4" beam but an adjustable cut. Mine has a variable-length board but a fixed distance from edge of board. Why no one does both is beyond me. However, my $15 lumbermaker is a champ. It so happens that I am milling 10x10cm posts so with a gringo 2x4 guide board it works exactly. Serendipity at last.

You can see the nails. Al teast one will bite into the log and keep it from rolling around. Now put the log on the anvil and mark it up. Well, that's what I did the first time. It was fortunate that I did, as it turns out. It is not necessary with this setup, but it certainly will not hurt. I like to document my mistakes. It may save someone else a lot of trouble. Dog it down. I know, I have the nails for that, but five seconds hammering is cheap insurance.
Behold the homemade log dog holding down the log. And then tack a board across the top. Where? You will see. I centered this log on my reference marks. The board is an ordinary USA "2x4" which measures, not 2x4 but 1 5/8"by something else. The manufacturers cheat, and claim this is "milling allowance." Bosh. This was my first try and I put a wedge into it, but it isn't necessary. Not on these logs.

The lumbermaker holds your saw so that it can go vertical. A chainsaw will cut in any attitude. So you cut away. You will soon learn to stand on the side of the chainsaw that is away from wherever it exhausts chips. I wear gloves, face protection, and ear protection. For this gig you do not need midaeval armor. It is as safe as anything you do with a chainsaw is. Just for educational purposes, the worst thing that can happen with a chainsaw is that the upper quadrant of the bar catches on something. No way that can happen here. But other things could, e.g. your bar was too loose and the chain skipped off the bar. The best protection is your brain. Keep it engaged. So anyway, you walk down the guide board until the cut is done.

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