Milling Lumber

Sawmill jig for short logs

A beautiful afternoon it was to mill some blanks of wood on the sawmill. Things got off to a rough start.

small engine repairs,broken pull cords
Broken pull cord

I wanted to get milling so I opted not to fix it, and just put a battery on the saw mill, started up and got busy making sawdust. I’ve had a small pile of sugar maple and some ash ‘percolating’ out in the weather for over a year now. The goal is to get the wood to start spalting. In other words, to start to decay.

spalted maple wood, saw milling, wood processing
wood decaying on the ground

This is what I made for a jig to cut the short lengths of wood. Most of them are less than 3 ft long, and the bed of the mill can only accept 4 ft as the shortest piece, so this simple jig is what I use.

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saw mill jig for short lengths of wood

I use that jig mostly for slicing cookies, so for larger, round blocks of wood I need a board in behind to aid in holding the block of wood. Anything will do, like this short slab of pine.

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support the jig for larger pieces

with the block in place I first cut it in half to see what the centre is like.

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saw milling a short length of wood

Next, I handle one at a time by placing it face down and clamping in place.

saw milling,wood blanks
wood blank face down

Next is to take a small slice off to make the bottom of the wood blank. This will become a trencher bowl. Look it up online, lots of different styles. I’m looking to make a basic one, but what I am after are the features in the wood grain from the spalting.

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Cut to make the bottom

This is what a sugar maple looks like on the outside of the tree, just under the bark. I couldn’t wait to cut this open and see what it was like inside.

wood grain,sugar maple spalted
exterior of sugar maple

If you open up that image below in a new window you will see what lies beneath. Really nice grain.

spalted sugar maple,saw milling
inside spalted sugar maple

It was a productive afternoon! Now I just need to stack them on a pallet and let the dry a bit before processing them further.

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stacks of wood bowl blanks


A Newfoundland born Canadian with a life long interest in woodworking, baking and anything else that peaks my curiosity.

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