Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Theres Gold in Them Hills

Gold! if you love wood as much as these guys who own and use these band-mill saw mills do it might as well be gold. As a woodworker it is more precious than gold, I mean what lumber store can a woodworker walk in to and get a piece of stag-horn sumac, yes thats what I said stag-horn sumac, or redbud, gold brother, pure gold.
I first met Randy at a guild show where he was selling frames that he makes from some of the wood that he saws, he picks out some of the best looking cuts and then makes them into a frame and places a picture of the tree from the specie of wood that frame is made of. It is a very nice piece of art both wood and photograph. After talking his frames for a couple of moments and he started telling me about his saw mill which got my attention, because like all woodworker I am always looking for a good source of wood and from Randy's frames I could see he would be a great source for lumber. He said he cuts a lot of quarter sawn and burls which is two things I am always looking for. I ask Randy were he gets is logs and he told me that he manages his own small forest on his farm where he cuts logs, plus he will harvest logs from neighbors farms, firewood, and what loggers leave behind after they cut a stand of timber. He said some of his best and prettiest wood comes from what the logging companies leave on the ground to rot. The logging companies are looking for the straightest highest graded lumber they can get and anything with a deformity, twist, or big burls get left my most logging companies and he can get them at a nominal price or some time even free.

 Later I attended a class he gave on saw mills, where he explained how he saws for the best results, he showed how he loads logs on the mill and set them up cutting the different cut like: flat sawn, riff sawn, and quarter sawn. how to calculate board feet in a log, and he touched on drying and sticking his lumber, but said that was really another class. One of the best things about the class is I got to meet a couple more local owners of saw mills and one is not far from my house, and he has a solar kiln.

Lately I have gotten interested in making stringed instruments and I have found in that community that there is a need for high quality wood, so I am thinking about selling wood for instruments and have talked to the one mill owner about doing some special sawing for me, then I plan on doing the drying and milling of parts and then offering the wood and parts for sale online. I know I won't get rich doing it but hey in these times you have to think outside the box.