This gallery shows you how I complete the task of turning hardwood logs into high quality furniture-grade lumber. This process is not for the faint-of-heart since freshly cut logs weigh between 600-900 pounds!!
(Click any photo below for a close-up view)
16-18' long logs are brought in on a large trailer (left). They are cut into 8-9' lengths and transferred onto a small trailer that can be towed by my ATV to the sawmill (right).
At the sawmill, the logs are off-loaded onto heavy-duty ramps that lead to the sawmill (left). Each log is then rolled up onto the sawmill for cutting into lumber (right)
As you can see here, there are times when I have quite a collection of logs waiting to be sawn!! These piles include red oak, maple, cherry, walnut, and pine.
The sawmill utilizes a very large chainsaw, mounted horizontally in a carriage that rides on a long guide-rail (left). The log is raised into position and then the chainsaw "cuts a slice" from log. After cutting off the bark, the squared center section of the log is then cut into lumber of varying thickness (right). Each board is marked to indicate the log is was cut from and order in which it was cut. This extra effort allows lumber to be bookmatched when building high-end furniture.
After the boards have been cut, they are stacked in piles using spacers so that air can circulate through the stacks (left). Depending on lumber species and board thickness, air drying can take from 3 to 18 months!! However, air drying alone will not produce lumber suitable for furniture use, so it is then placed into a drying kiln (right). Shown with the front panel removed, the kiln uses a dehumidifier to extract the remaining moisture from the boards.
After removal from the kiln, the lumber is then transferred into a humidity-controlled storage rack. If merely stacked in an open-air rack, the lumber would reabsorb moisture from the air and have to be kiln-dried again. The photo on the left shows two storage bins filled with black walnut (top row) and two bins of cherry (second row). The photo on the right shows two storage bins filled with ambrosia maple (top row) and two bins filled with red oak and miscellaneous lumber (bottom row). You'll notice in the close-up photos that all boards have been marked to indicate which log they were cut from, which is important when grain-matching, bookmatching, and color-matching lumber for a furniture project.
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