We started milling our own lumber about 2 years ago. The whole process still fascinates me.
My most recent experiences.
One morning while having my morning coffee and getting ready to head to the shop. I thought I would check Craigslist to see if there were any logs posted for sale. Boom the first post that came up. "I have a walnut logs that is laying in my yard." After talking to the gentleman, he told me that this tree came down in the past storm. He said he would have hated to cut it up into firewood. It was about 35 feet long up to the first branch! We agreed on a price and now the fun begins. We went ahead and cut the log straight in half giving us two logs about 17' 6" long by 22" in diameter making them a little more manageable to move and load up on a trailer. But, before loading onto the trailer, I sealed the ends to try and prevent more checking or splitting as the wood drys.
After loading the logs on the trailer, I delivered them to the mill.
Once at the mill, my friend, using his Bobcat moved them off the trailer and into position to be milled.
Once we have the log in position and secured with the hydraulic arm we can start cutting. I had one log cut up into 4/4 thickness or 1 inch and the other log cut to 8/4 or 2 inches thick.
In the picture above we are milling the 8/4 inch thick slabs. I like to leave them as slabs because I think it makes it easier to stack and store for drying. Once we get half way through the log we will flip it over and re grip it with the arm.
After the slab was cut we would pull it off and walk it back to the trailer.
When we were finished milling the lumber we headed back to the shop to stack them up and let them air dry.
Above is a picture of the two logs stacked. You have to put sticker (wood separator) in between every piece to prevent mold and to help with the drying process. Once I have them all stacked I like to add ratchet straps around the logs to keep pressure on them and try and keep them from warping. Now we wait, a rule of thumb is 1 year per 1 inch of thickness for drying time. I will have to wait at least a year before I can use the 1 inch material and 2 year before I can use the 2 inch material.