Milling Lumber

Milling Up Spruce For Lumber

The other day Jim told me he talks to the trees!! It might be time to make him an appointment 😉 Probably only a concern if he thinks they answer. Before we could start milling the hemlock and pine logs we got a few weeks ago, we had to mill the spruce we got earlier in the year.

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Spruce logs

And before we could start milling the spruce logs, the yard needed a good spring cleaning. Jim spent a few hours moving things around and clearing out slabs. I say a few hours, because apparently when he went to move one pallet of lumber the forks hooked onto a second pallet which he couldn’t see from the skidsteer. Lets just say he spent some of that few hours re-stacking one pallet of lumber by hand. Who’s talking to the trees now?

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All cleaned up

We needed to build a couple of pallets to stack our soon-to-be freshly milled lumber on.

sawmill,lumber,spruce logs
Building pallets

Now we were ready to start. Oh yeah, forgot, we need gas.

sawmill,lumber,spruce logs
The tree whisperer

Now we were ready. We ended up making three pallets, one for 2 x 4s, one for 2 x 6s, and one for everything else.

sawmill,lumber,spruce logs
Stacking 2 x 6s

This log started out big enough to get several 2 x 6.

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Testing out his laser level

This is as far as we got on the first 1/2 day, since most of our time was spent setting everything up.  We added concrete weights to each pile to help prevent warping until we could get back to it.

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The next time we got a free afternoon, before we got started milling we had to bring over more logs to the crib.

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Picking up logs

And also move the slabs out to make room for more slabs. We are drowning in slabs people. We used to leave the forks in place and pile the slabs on the forks, but we found it is easier to leave the grapple on the skidsteer and just grab bunches of slabs. Less chance to loose some along the way, and more control of where they land.

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Another clean-up

So at the end of the second 1/2 day here was our progress.

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Pallets of spruce lumber

On the third afternoon, there was more of the same. We also had to change the blade on the sawmill.

milling,sawmill,spruce logs
Changing the blade

When the blade is getting dull, the blade tends to wander, and the result is the wood isn’t cut evenly. Also you start to see this…

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Not a smooth cut

We managed to get all these logs…

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Spruce logs

…turned into this lumber…

rough sawn lumber, sawmilling, Antigonish, Nova Scotia
2 x 4s…2 x 6s…and 1 x

… in just three afternoons. Thankfully it was very windy all three days, that helped with the blackflies.

On one occasion we had to bring logs over to the mill and I wanted to give it a go. How hard could it be. Jim makes it look so easy!

milling,sawmill,spruce logs
My turn

It was fun, and I can see how with LOTS of practice I could get faster at it. I kept forgetting to use the peddle. I would push down on one of the hand controls which makes the machine go forward, forgetting to give it gas. So many things to do at once. I managed to make two trips over with the remaining logs though. And no…the video is not in slow motion, that is the speed I was going.

So,our goal was to get this spruce log pile milled this week and we did it. There is a sense of accomplishment but also a sense that now we have to start on the much larger pile waiting for us up the driveway.

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Not gonna be done in a week

Have a great weekend,


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

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