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  1. #1
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    Default Bandsawing a Spotted Gum

    There has been some comment that this section of the forum has been quiet of late so I am going to bore you out of your minds with a detailed thread about how I cut this log. You will have to indulge me a little as even in a big year I only get to saw timber once. This is because the mill is in NSW and I am nowadays in QLD.

    The purpose was to provide me with quartersawn timber for:

    A roubo style split top workbench.
    Door frames for seven (or maybe nine ) glass sliding doors.
    Material for two framed, ledged and braced doors for a shed.

    I decided on quartersawn material because of the stability compared to backsawn. However it does create some problems particularly with the bandsaw. The primary problem was the maximum depth of cut is about 180mm with my machine. No problem for styles, top rails of the doors and workbench as this was all 125mm deep. The rails for the bottom of the glass doors, the bottom and mid rails of the shed doors all should be 225 deep or possibly more.

    Reluctantly I had to concede I would only be able to backsaw these by cutting slabs and then trimming top and bottom. I cut around 280mm wide to allow lot of room to cut defects and the odd piece of sap.

    Here goes with the backsawn slabs taken from the largest section of the log but only 1500mm long.

    lathe 011.jpglathe 015.jpg

    The log cut to suit milling sections:

    lathe 018.jpglathe 020.jpglathe 021.jpglathe 022.jpglathe 024.jpglathe 025.jpg

    A two metre cant hook comes in very useful when you are by yourself, but not as useful as a tractor with forks on the back. As you can see it rolled off badly and I had to lift it onto the bearers.

    More to come.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

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  3. #2
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    I should have posted this first up but I ran out of picture space (I think). As the mill hadn't been used for eighteen months or more it was a bit overgrown so I had to do some mowing.

    lathe 004.jpg

    Couldn't work under those conditions:

    lathe 006.jpg

    That's a bit better. In fact I ended up extending the mowing even further to where I dragged the logs. More to come after I have had some tea .

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  4. #3
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    I am a big fan of spotted gum as I have mentioned elsewhere, but it can have a great deal of spring tension within the logs particularly if they are not large. This tree at 600mm to 700mm diametre is about as small as I like to go with this species.

    Normal practice for a bandsaw is to open up the log and mill down to two thirds the diametre. The log is rotated 90 degrees milled down another third and so on until you are left with a square baulk.

    For the first rotation when the log is unmanageable by hand I use a winch mounted on a removable stand on the side of the mill, but as soon as possible I dispense with this and use a cant hook. The reason for this is the winch is heavy I think it weighs about 38Kg by itself and I made up a heavy duty bracket so it will fit on the stand. I would estimate it now weighs close to 45Kgs. I only lug this around when I have to .

    After the second rotation of the log there is a flat side for the log to sit on and instantaneously life becomes much easier. After the slabs are cut they are put to one side and then returned to the mill to trim up for whatever size is being cut. In this case I was cutting for 280mm wide. Some slabs will have two natural edges whereas others will have a single sawn edge. They are much easier to handle. Several boards can be cut at the same time.

    Regards
    Paul
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    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  5. #4
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    i'm looking forward to seeing the milled timber. I've a spotted on my place picked out for a kitchen at home.

  6. #5
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    This will be an excellent thread for all woodworkers Paul - we'll be able to see why we get what we get (and why we sometimes can't). Good stuff!
    Regards, FenceFurniture

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  7. #6
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    Btw, for those who don't know - have a look at the Brand of the Bandsaw - there's a clue there.
    Regards, FenceFurniture

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  8. #7
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    Hmmm...brand name.....I thought he just wrote his name on it so it wouldn't get mixed up with all the other bandsaw mills.
    Great thread Paul. Looks like a lot of hard yakka by yourself.
    Those were the droids I was looking for.
    https://autoblastgates.com.au

  9. #8
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    Thanks gents for the comments.

    There is a lot more to come, but last night SWMBO needed to use the computer so I was relagated to second in line. I know all that stuff about sharing, but isn't there any fine print in the contract that allows timber work priority.

    More tonight as I have to use the daylight hours to sort out the drying stack.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  10. #9
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    Great one to watch.

  11. #10
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    As a complete dunce on this sort of operation, I've pulled up a chair to learn some...
    Thanks Paul for taking the time & effort with the photos & notes.
    Cheers, crowie

    PS - Well done on the sharing but if the sharing gets too difficult you could always just buy another laptop??!!

  12. #11
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    Thumbs up

    Great thread Paul!! Very clear indication of how you go about things!!!

    I too like Spotty.

  13. #12
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    Ok. I've snuck in and jumped on the computer to put the quartersawing aspects up.

    I should just stipulate that I have never quartersawn with the bandsaw before so it was a big learning curve. With a swing blade circular saw it is easy. The vertical cut is the deep cut. Simple as that and you can cut to the depth of your blade in either one or two passes if neccessary. In fact it is probably easier on the saw than backsawing

    The reason for this is it is easier for the blade to clear sawdust from the vertical cut. There is a tendency on the horizontal cut for the sawdust to remain on the log and that creates heat. Heat distorts the blade and generally makes life difficult. This is the reason a 200mm wide horizontal cut will be done in two passes of 100mm on those type of machines.

    Anyway, I digress: Back to the bandsaw. The process in principle is to cut large thick slabs which in my case were 125mm thick. My saw can cut up to 180mm thick before the timber fouls the back guard. Once the slabs are cut they are returned to the saw and placed on edge where the boards are sliced off to the required thickness.

    However, life is not quite as easy as that and at least one flat edge is required so the timber can be stood up and clamped for the resaw process. So I cut the top off the for the first cut (bark and sapwood), turned the log 90 degrees and cut the top of that and turned again 90 degrees. This time after cutting off the top off I took the first slab and then turned the log for the fourth cut.

    These slabs were plenty heavy enough even at 2.7m long. Roughly 150Kg to 180Kg for the larger pieces and I parked the old tractor with it's forks close by so I could spin the slab on the log and ease it onto the forks ready to return to the mill after all slabs were cut.

    Some planning of the cutting is needed to recover the most timber from the log. Also not all the timber will be quartersawn. The first cuts off the outer edges will be backsawn, the next boards in from the bark will be classified as quartersawn but in reality the grain is at 45 degrees to the long face. Only a few boards will be fully quartersawn with the grain at right angles to the short side.

    lathe 034.jpglathe 035.jpglathe 039.jpg

    I managed to miss pix for the second and third cuts. The right picture is waiting to be stood up.

    lathe 042.jpglathe 041.jpglathe 040.jpglathe 043.jpg

    A few pictures showing various ways of supporting the timber to be cut. On the far right two boards are cut at the same time.

    lathe 044.jpg

    Here a 50mm and 25mm board have been cut at the same time. The 25mm is a trimming cut probably with some sapwood in it. The next cut will produce two 50mm boards. You may have noticed there is a clamp missing from the far side. It wasn't really necessary as the bandsaw forces are primarily to the clamp side of the mill. I would never have dreamed of doing this when I had the circular saw, which probably would have had a good go at breaking my ankle by shooting the timber back towards me.

    At some stage the last piece of timber remaining on the saw bed will be a heart, which in hardwood is defective.

    More to come.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  14. #13
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    Excellent detail Paul. It seems that you don't have to worry about the cut slab weight jamming on the blade as you get further along with the cut (which I think the case with a chain saw mil???), and I presume that's because of the much thinner kerf. Is that the case?

    Also I am right in thinking that (as you pointed to) it doesn't matter whether you quarter or back saw, you will always have some of each, and all you are doing is altering the proportion of each by the chosen method?
    Regards, FenceFurniture

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  15. #14
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    I should apologise to the regular sawmillers reading this thread as for you this is teaching people to suck eggs, but I know a few non regular milling forumites will be reading this thread.

    I should also add that this method of quartersawing is not the best there is in terms of recovery, but it was the only practical way I had. To perform it the best way, I would have had to chainsaw the log into four sections vertically and then set the quartered pieces at an angle to saw them.

    Moving sections of timber around weighing a quarter of a ton by hand is asking for crushed fingers.and frankly my physical capabilities I regret to say are no longer up to such exertions. If I can't make it relatively easy, I don't do it. As it was I found muscles I had forgotten were there .
    After a while the blade needs to be sharpened on the profiler. This is how it is done.
    lathe 047.jpglathe 046.jpg

    I am not sure what hook angle the blades are supplied with (I must ask Henry Bros), but for spotted gum I have always used 16 degrees which is quite radical. Interestingly, I was having difficulty early on keeping a wave out of the cuts, but after sharpening (at 16 degrees, which I have set my profiler to) there was a dramatic improvement in cutting performance.

    And of course the end result or part of it because there is almost as much timber I left behind as it was too much for the vehicle springs. It was enough to induce unwelcome oversteer on the twisty sections. I will get the remaining timber when I go back in July.

    lathe 049.jpglathe 048.jpglathe 050.jpg

    The tapered piece is for a didgeridoo for my son, who makes them from solid timber, drilling a hole first and then opening up the big end with a selection of chisels.

    I did have a few problems with the mill. The timber is aligned by the use of foldaway stands, but two of them had been broken off. This meant I could only use those at one end. The rails had rusted and I cleaned them up as best I could with steel wool, but a flap disc on an angle grinder would have been better.

    lathe 008.jpg

    The last problem was the electric start worked only intermittently and I had to use the recoil, which I have never used before. Luckily it worked reasonably well.

    Well that's about it for now. Thanks for looking. Feel free to ask any questions, although I can't promise I'll have any answers .

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

    "Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power corrupts, absolutely!"

  16. #15
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    Ive got a dinosaw bandsaw and a chainsaw mill. A mate has a lucas so i've never got around to setting up the bandsaw as it needs some repairs. once i've got my shed worth of timber done (build a shed) i will probably set band saw up for small jobs on the fly as a permenant mill at my place. do you thing it's worth it with the other mills available yet need set up each time? Are they much faster than a chainsaw mill? Would you use quarter sawn for a kitchen bench top for tight grain feature and less spring/cupping etc? really enjoyed seeing and hearing about your bandsaw work and very nice work.

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