I recently traded some cut firewood for a nice log or two for milling with my Alaskan Chainsaw lumber mill I built some time ago. I tried a more efficient approach towards milling lumber with the chainsaw mill on these logs. I cut large thick slabs (5″ thick in this case) with the chainsaw mill. I then used a table saw to rip them down to 5/4 rough cut boards. It takes two passes and flipping the “slab” to cut each board but it’s much faster and wastes less wood due to Kerf. With my 10″ saw I can cut 6″ wide slabs and will mill the slabs at this thickness in the future. The only drawback to this method is that the thick slab is very heavy. I managed by using carefully by using roller supports and lots of effort. As you take each board off it becomes easier and easier to move and feed the thick slab.
Using the chainsaw mill coupled with the quick efficiency of the circular saw blade on my table saw greatly sped up the lumber production. My old tired light weight craftsman table saw that I bought back in high school has been on top of my tools to replace list for a very very long time. I knew I wanted a full on cabinet saw with the capability to cut a full sheet in half. I periodicaly check craigslist for tools, and after milling these logs with the much faster and easier Alaskan saw mill and table saw combination I was once again looking for the right table saw.
As luck and fate would have it, I found exactly the saw I wanted listed at a ridiculously low price. I sent an email and when I got a call back I was shocked to find it was available. I ran up to check out the saw and it was perfect! Needless to say it came home with me.
My particular Delta Unisaw came with teh 52″ biesemeyer fence so I can cut a 8 foot sheet of plywood in half with it. The biggest challenge with my new saw is completely rearranging my shop area for the new tool. I knew it would be a problem but I didn’t realize how big of an issue finding a location for the large saw (it’s 7 ft wide with the fence installed) would prove to be. I may build myself a shorter 30″ fence for regular use and swap the fence for my occasional panel cutting needs
I still love turning logs into lumber. I wondered if it would get old eventually but it has not as of yet. It is excellent excercise and sure beats boring excercise at the gym. The above photo shows some of my dried wide pine boards. My planer only handles 13″ wide boards. The stacked boards supporting the upright rough ones has all been planed to slightly over 1″ thickness. I will be using this wood and my new table saw in the very near future to build myself some much needed country style bookshelves and a small table or two. Stay tuned for future posts on those projects.