We purchased a ‘small’ portable band-saw mill with an extra long track. In fact Hubby over-did it in my opinion. He ordered it with a 60 foot track. We never did use all that length. His reasoning was that he might want to do this kind of thing in the future to make more homes. He kept some of that intention from me. I wasn’t impressed that I had to go through this on our own with no experience in the first place. Hubby is a big thinker. I’m not. I’m frugal and careful. Remember – opposites attract.
We had experience with milling timber into logs, but had never built a house on our own…and never a log house. Over the winter we had brought in all the logs we could possibly need. My man in very good at judging a tree. By looking down the length of it he can tell if it will be straight enough to make a 6″ X 8″ square, 30 or 40 feet towards its top end. A bend will limit the width of the cut. As the tree narrows toward its top the sizes also diminishes. Sometimes the tree bends one way and then another. It’s not a simple estimation.
I helped him measure out the logs that we needed and set them aside. He used the tractor to move the tree to the band-mill and proceeded to cut one log at a time. He’d cut the first side and then the second (but might leave it a little large). The third cut might get sawed ok, but sometimes would let the new log ‘bend’. The reason for this is that some trees are ‘timber-bound’ (because of the way it grew, it stressed in a certain direction) and others have growth rings that aren’t in a truly straight line. When you take the stress off the one side of a log it will want to bow in towards the side of the cut. When you cut the other side it might straighten the log out, but not always – and that is why he cuts the opposite side a little large…so he can recut it again to make it straight. Does that make sense?
We brought the newly formed log to the house. It sometimes looked pretty scary coming across the yard barely balancing on the teeth of the tractor’s loader. Nothing was a scary, though, as the measuring and cutting that took place before we could put it in place on the outer edges of the sub-floor. One mistake meant a lost tree and half a day of sawing effort. By the time we were down hewing and hacking at a log the day was almost down.
At one log per day, time was getting to be a big concern. We didn’t think it would take that long. Every day that went by meant Hubby couldn’t be out making a living in the world-of-work.