Custom Sawing Questions
- Question: How much can you cut in a day? When you do cut?
- I usually can cut around 1500 boardfoot/8hr day. The minimum charge is 2 hours. To get an estimate of how much wood you have and how much it will cost check out Sizing your job. This will help to give you a rough estimate of how much wood you'll get from your trees and how long it'll take to mill the logs to lumber.
- Question: How much will it cost me to have my log cut up?
- Having your logs sawn is very economical; you will get large volume of high quality lumber at a cost far below what you
would spend at a retail store. My pricing is available at Pricebook.
The time/cost to saw the logs depends mostly on the log's size and species. As a very rough estimate, a 12" diameter 8 foot long log will take around 25 minutes; an 18" diameter 8' long log will take around 40 minutes to saw; 24" diameter will be at least 1 hour. Again these are only rough estimates; every log is a little different.
- Question: What sized logs are good to cut? What is the minimum and maximum dimensions the mill can handle?
- In terms of diameter of logs, my mill can handle anything from 6" to 40". The mill is most efficient (you get the most wood for the least money) with
logs 15" to 25" in diameter. While I have done sawn many 100s of logs 32" and larger, the process is slow and labor intensive. There is a lot of wood in these logs but it takes
a lot of time to get this wood. For smaller diameter logs 6" to 10", I caution you that there is not a lot of wood in those logs.
I have cut small logs many times; economically the amount of wood gotten for these small logs may not justify the expense.
In terms of length of logs, my mill can handle anything from 4 to 21 feet in length. Most logs I saw are usually between 6 to 12 feet long. Unless you need very long lumber it usually best to cut a long log into 2 shorter ones before starting the milling process. Doing this will increase the total amount of wood you will receive, reduce the overall cost of milling because shorter logs are easier to work, and will decrease the waste pile.
- Question: What species of trees make good lumber?
- I specialize primarily in hardwood species. Species that I frequently cut are:
- Red and White Oak: Great for furniture, flooring, cabinets. If the first log (the one that was closest to the ground) is nicely shaped consider having the log quarter sawn.
- Black Walnut: Very pretty colors. Black walnut is not pure black; rather is it an amazing mix of colors: chocolates, dark reds, greens, browns -- all topped off with a pure white outside ring (called sap wood). Walnut is a fun wood to work with. Great for mantels.
- Hard Maple: A classic wood that is incredibly hard and bent/scratch resistant. Much of the maple that grows in Southern Minnesota will have a white colored outside of the logs and a brown colored center (sometimes called "heart stain".) During the summer months it is important to have maple sawn up as soon as possible after cutting it down.
- Ash: One of my favorite woods to cut. There are a tremendous amount of ash trees in our area. Ash wood is very strong while being lighter and easier to work with than oak. When stained ash looks very similar to white oak.
- Cherry: Another classic wood. Red-ish in color and medium in hardness, cherry is a great wood for furniture and cabinets. Use for inside applications.
- Red Elm: Some of the most interesting grain of any tree in the area. It is great for both inside and outside applications. The elms that died from Dutch Elm disease even 30 years ago are frequently still sawable.
- Hackberry: A relative of elm. Very interesting colors: whites, browns, yellows and sometimes green. Use for inside applications.
- Question: How you I dry the wood once it's cut?
- When thinking about cutting you should also consider how to dry the wood. In general there are 2 ways: air drying and kiln drying. If you have the space & time air drying works well. For 1" thick boards it will take 6 or 9 months to air dry the wood before it is usable. If you need the wood sooner than that or are thinking about thicker pieces, kiln drying the wood is something to consider. My kiln can handle up to 2000 boardfeet/load. The smallest run size is 250 boardfeet. In general loads through my kiln take about 1 week.