1 On my farm, next to my grove of Christmas trees is where felled trees are turned into usable construction materials.
2 Dominic enjoys lumbering and uses a portable sawmill to transform logs into boards, stakes, or other usable pieces.
3 This is Dominic's Wood-Mizer portable sawmill. It turns any log into usable lumber within minutes.
4 Some of these logs waiting to be milled were still from Hurricane Sandy. Others were trees lost during later storms, or purposely felled because of disease, etc.
5 Some of the trees are old, and very good quality - they should never be wasted.
6 The milling process is fascinating - Dominic started by positioning this ash tree log onto the machine's hydraulic loading platform. Ash trees are quite dense, so the stakes made were good quality pieces of lumber.
7 This is a sizable oak log - even heavier than the ash we cut on this day. If I can't save all the trees, it is nice to know I can reuse a lot of the wood left behind.
8 The log was placed within the arms of the Wood-Mizer LT35 sawmill. Dominic adjusted the log until he was satisfied with its position and then programmed the machine's hydraulic arms to hold it tightly. Most mills are designed to hold logs at least eight feet long, so shorter logs can be a bit more challenging. http://woodmizer.com/us/
9 The gas powered sawmill was completely controlled at this side of the machine. The powered head controls make sawing fast, accurate and nearly effortless.
10 A lot of sawdust was generated during the process, and it blew out through this attached tube.
11 On the left, the log was supported by the hydraulic loading arms and log turner, while on the right, the hydraulic clamp and two side supports kept it from rolling off the machine. The sawmill started to make the first cut into the log.
12 The hydraulic toeboards helped create level slabs. The saw worked its way down the entire length of the log. Dominic then stopped the machine to remove the cut piece.
13 The sawmill made another cut. Dominic chopped this log into four foot sections, so all the stakes would be the same size.
14 The log was repositioned, so another side could be sliced. In less than an hour, this log was cut into about 200 one-by-one inch stakes to support the new Japanese maple trees I bought to add to the Laura Plimpton Maple Woodland.
15 The sawmill's hydraulic system turned the log on its side, and secured it within the loading arms and clamps of the machine.
16 Dominic made another cut. Ash trees, Fraxinus, are mostly deciduous, dense hardwoods. They are very strong trees, but also quite elastic, and popular for making instrument parts, tool handles, and baseball bats.
17 Dominic watched the movement of the bandsaw very carefully to be sure everything worked properly.
18 In minutes, the log had three flat sides.
19 And, the cut pieces were level and perfectly measured.
20 Here, the sawmill was used to make one-inch cuts through the entire beam to create several slabs.
21 The machine was very accurate. Each of these cuts was measured exactly to one-inch with an eighth-of-an-inch extra to account for the width of the blade.
22 Dominic entered the size of all the cuts, and was able to make any additional adjustments, from his control station.
23 Dominic manually repositioned the planks, so the sawmill could make perpendicular one-inch cuts down the length of each piece.
24 Look how many pieces were made from each log. I am so glad to be able to use all this wood - there is no need to waste any of it.
25 The boards were held tightly by these mechanical supports.
26 And with the push of some buttons, the sawmill began again.
27 The cuts were straight and exact - there were dozens of usable stakes.
28 It's easy to see here, how the blade slid through the slab - cutting it very smoothly.
29 It is amazing to see how technology has allowed us to create these pieces so easily. The blade guide arm can also be moved manually to make any necessary changes.
30 The sawmill was pretty loud, but not unbearable. As a precaution, Dominic wears small ear plugs when using the sawmill. His glasses also have safety lenses.
31 Dominic also showed how some pieces of wood may be more challenging to cut - here was a log with a piece of barbed wire in it. When this wood was cut, it damaged the blade, and had to be replaced.
32 And here were the finished one-by-one inch, four foot long stakes.
33 I use stakes all around the property - these longer pieces are used as markers and guides along my carriage roads on the farm. Making the lumber ourselves allows us to repurpose the felled trees and save on milling expenses.
34 Thank you, Dominic - all the lumber looks great!