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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Darwin
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    Default Milling Raintree questions

    Hi,

    The Darwin Men's Shed was offered a quantity of Raintree / Monkey Pod felled logs, (yes I had to look it up never heard of it). Pleased to say we are working in conjunction with Palmerston Men's Shed who has a mill - Norwood HD36. I have a feeling the person that used it is no longer around, hence why I'm asking the brains trust on here for some advise.

    1. I've looked over the booklet for the Milling machine and it says nothing about using a tungsten tip blade. We were going to buy a blade and use. Q, Can we use a tungsten tip blade, if so it set up the same as a standard blade. Personally I see no issue, and set up would be the same.

    2. I've have eye strain checking Utube to learn how to set up for your first cut. Some cut the top and roll until all for sides are square, I assume they do this to just cut planks no live edges. Then the ones that just cut from the top to the bottom and I assume this is keep the live edges.

    3. We are just looking at slabs so my plan to set the log up and just cut top to bottom once we work out which part of the log to start on. Of course then there is the thickness of the slabs, what are people thoughts on this. I assume the size of the log and heartwood will have a bearing on this. With the larger logs I was thinking 75mm and the smaller logs 35 - 50 mm

    4. Suffice to say we have a hell of a lot of milling to do (note the photos) and I'm sure the pile is getting bigger every time I look. We are also getting ready setting up a location at our shed to store the finished slabs off the ground, level and covered but not to restrict air flow.

    5. You will note in the photos we have a couple of damn big logs, one weighing 9 ton, so we are getting someone in with a portable mill to do these, as we are restricted to logs 750 wide.

    6. Not sure if this is the place to ask - what is a good moisture meter as I would like to get a reading when we cut so as to monitor over time.

    I'm sure there are heaps of other questions, as we get a start I will post some photos. If nothing else big learning curve on the way and long days.

    BrianIMG-0132.jpgIMG-0133.jpgIMG-0138.jpg
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    Last edited by Brian45; 11th June 2022 at 06:51 PM. Reason: Add a photo

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Millmerran,QLD
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    72
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    I was not familiar with Raintree, but from Bootle's "Wood in Australia," it is a hardwood that is native to central America. It weighs in at around 560kg/m so not very dense: Lighter than Silky Oak and Cypress Pine to give some comparison.

    Small logs that are cut from top to bottom will be subject to spring and may be unusable for slabs. You will have to give it a go to see how it behaves. The rule of thumb for cutting smaller logs is to cut down to one third of the diameter and then rotate 90. This does two things: It minimises the spring in the timber (that will produce bananas) and it allows the blade to enter clean wood. Again the log is cut down to two thirds before rotating again. This process is followed until a square baulk remains.

    If you are cutting a larger log for slabs and the tree had reached maturity the spring growth may have gone. However, as the cuts progress down the log the cuts that incorporate the heart will not be useable full width as the heart degrades. I am not familiar with the timber so cannot offer advice for slab thickness. Anything around 50mm to 75mm is typical for slab material. The log ends should be sealed (immediately) and stacked for drying carefully with stickers.

    Regards
    Paul
    Bushmiller;

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

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    bilpin
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    "Samanea Saman" also known as Monkey pod. You can treat it the same way as you would Australian Red Cedar. In other words, saw for figure (through and through) very stable, insect resistant and durable. Slabs will stay pretty flat even when back sawn. Easy to dry. I've cut a lot of it over the years and have never had a problem with it.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Location
    North Qld
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    59
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    You MUST treat the sapwood
    Borers love it!!
    Lovely timber well worth milling imo
    Log Dog

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perth
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    27,253

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian45 View Post
    what is a good moisture meter as I would like to get a reading when we cut so as to monitor over time.
    A good moisture meter is a pinless Wagner but you'll need to fork out over $500
    see Wagner Moisture Meters
    These will give you the closest to absolute moisture content (MC) but all MC meters nee to have their readings "fudged" to suit the specific type of timber being tested. Some have built inc corrections for common timber but I'll bet Money pod won't be on the list.

    However if you want to just know "approx" MC or "relative" (how different is the MC of this bit of [the same type of] wood to that one) then most of the pin type budget meters will do that. These meters are also less accurate at very higher and low MCs.

    Accuracy of MC measurement has often more to do with measurement technique than the type of meter. You cannot walk up to a pack or stack of timber and make one measurement to a piece of wood on the outside of the pack and assume the rest of the pack is the same. Multiple measurements are needed including from pieces inside the pack and even inside they pieces of woo wood open! A pinless will help avoid the need to cut pieces but you will still need to split the pack. Just a quick poke of the surface can be very misleading - I drill holes into (especially hard) woods so the pins can penetrate as far as possible into the wood.

    I bought cheap Digitech >20 years ago and I think it cost me about $60 and note that last year these were on sale everywhere for ~$20 an are no longer available or at least I can't see any for sale..
    Screen Shot 2022-06-12 at 6.05.08 am.jpg

    Digitech have replaced these with a new meter that costs around $40, they probably still use the same circuits inside them
    Pocket Moisture Level Meter for wood & Building materials 9319236235355 | eBay

    It looks like the original Digitech MCs are still being made under another name (CEM) and being flogged on ebay for $200!
    A● CEM DT-125 Mini Portable Digital Timber Wood Moisture Level Meter Tester | eBay
    Buyer beware!

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    Darwin
    Posts
    206

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rustynail View Post
    "Samanea Saman" also known as Monkey pod. You can treat it the same way as you would Australian Red Cedar. In other words, saw for figure (through and through) very stable, insect resistant and durable. Slabs will stay pretty flat even when back sawn. Easy to dry. I've cut a lot of it over the years and have never had a problem with it.
    Well the plan at this stage is to just cut the slabs and stack with spaces and weigh the stack down. Take a moisture reading at various sections along the slabs and monitor over time. The humidity up here will have a bearing as well.

    If nothing else will be interesting.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Log Dog View Post
    You MUST treat the sapwood
    Borers love it!!
    Lovely timber well worth milling imo
    Log Dog
    I just let the borers have the sapwood. Same with Red Cedar. I never put sapwood into furniture as it defeats the purpose of using a durable timber.

  9. #8
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    Apr 2021
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    North Qld
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustynail View Post
    I just let the borers have the sapwood. Same with Red Cedar. I never put sapwood into furniture as it defeats the purpose of using a durable timber.
    Each to their own!
    I never allow borers into my shed
    They will also attack the heartwood at times
    Anyway the contrast of sapwood against a dark timber can be quite appealing
    Particularly in bowls and fancy turnery
    Can look good in furniture too depending on the style
    Log Dog

  10. #9
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    Jun 2004
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    Mareeba Far Nth Qld
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    Raintree is a lovely timber, good to work with, however, it is a bit acrid on the nose when dry. As has been mentioned, the sapwood is susceptible to borers.

    Jim
    Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important...

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Wolvi
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    Don't know about the milling, but, having worked with it dry, my only advice is be very careful about the dust. This is by a country mile the most brutal dust I've ever come across, and by that I mean sticking your head into a room full of ammonia and sniffing up a pinch of ground pepper kinda brutal.

  12. #11
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    Aug 2011
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    bilpin
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    Yes, you need a respirator when sanding this timber.

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Log Dog View Post
    Each to their own!
    I never allow borers into my shed
    They will also attack the heartwood at times
    Anyway the contrast of sapwood against a dark timber can be quite appealing
    Particularly in bowls and fancy turnery
    Can look good in furniture too depending on the style
    Log Dog
    Yes, you guys have some nasty little critters up that way. We only have to contend with Lyctus and Termites. I should also mention I am very choosy about the species I am prepaired to put into storage.

  14. #13
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    Feb 2006
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    Perth
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustynail View Post
    Yes, you need a respirator when sanding this timber.
    If sanding is being done inside a shed then it sounds like some form of extraction would also be needed otherwise it's just going to contaminate the whole shed. If it affects breathing the PM2.5 is also going to get thru skin and eyes. Then there's the issue of getting all over clothes and carried around until clothing is removed.

  15. #14
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Perth WA
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    Just reading some of the comments on this post about health issues working with Raintree and thinking to myself that I don't recall having experienced them (42 years ago and in ancient conditions) or now and I'm 72 and healthy as.

    Back in about 1978 I made two conference tables (as per picture) from Raintree over about a 5 month period. At the time I worked for Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife at Berrimah Farm in Darwin. This was also the only government run joinery shop in the NT. It was also the time when the NT was changing to statehood. Directions and details came down from the powers that be to make a conference table for the new government's cabinet room. The top is as per the supplied details, but the two legged base is my design. In the original design the top was to sit on a four legged aluminium base which I thought was ridiculous and would not suit the top. I stated this to my boss to which he said give me a design to present to the powers that be... the result being in the attached photo. That was the first one. The second one was made after Malcom Frasier came to declare statehood seen the table and requested one for Tammy's Australiana project.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Experienced in removing the tree from the furniture

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by rod1949 View Post
    The second one was made after Malcom Frasier came to declare statehood seen the table and requested one for Tammy's Australiana project.
    It's a pity more individuals/corporations/businesses with power/money don't request this sort of thing. I also think of every news desk, morning/afternoon/sevening/current affairs show desks etc on TV etc. Instead of being made of crappy plastic they should all be made of natural materials like native Aussie timber.

    Where dust is concerned I'm wary of statements like "I worked with X all my like and I'm fit and healthy" as it reminds me of "I smoked all my life . . . . ."
    Like diets, dust affects people differently so I don't doubt that some people can work in very dusty conditions for very long periods and get away with but the healthy impact of ANY fine dust are compelling.

    As for being fit and healthy at 72 - Good luck to you about that but according to my GP that just means you haven't been probed long and hard enough

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