The J Team

Portable sawmill and wood products
Located in South Deerfield, MA

 
 
 
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  • Jay Clarke

Kickin' Ash

I sure was in for a surprise when I started this job. The butt log of this ash measures 60" across and would have made some nice slabs if it wasn't partially rotted from being a standing dead tree for so long. I ended up sawing just two logs and yielded 1100 bdft of nice wide ash boards.


The hardest part was maneuvering the logs to the mill. I bucked the main 30" diameter trunk into a 16' and 9' log, and set up the mill in the flattest spot alongside the 16' log. Unfortunately, by flattest, I mean the hitch end of the mill was 3' higher than the far end. The mill looks pitched up in the pictures, but that's actually level. I couldn't even reach the controls for the opening cuts, so I walked along the mill rail like a balance beam.


The logs were in a bit of a dip, but it was nothing my trusty farm jacks couldn't handle, along with plenty of blocking in case one slipped. I always say the most dangerous part of the job is the logs, and so I made sure to take things slow and careful.


It was a good day milling ash, but it sure did kick mine. The narrowest boards I made were still 12" wide, with plenty of 20" boards as I whittled the log down. As small as my mill is, it sure can handle some monsters. My brother's LT70 would have breezed through the milling, but getting up to the job is a whole other story. Our different capabilities makes us a good team, and with him back in MA, we're going at it full tilt.




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