Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Lumbermill Tragedy

No, nobody was hurt, thank goodness. However, I find myself looking and a poorly sawn white pine log in my yard that is 34 inches at its widest!

I have started a relationship with a new sawyer in Pennsylvania in an attempt to get more white pine for my seats. He is a nice guy and has taken the time to listen to my needs and help find the right log and saw it. As this is the first time that he's sawn for me, we had a few conversations about how he might do it, looking at the log, I wish we'd had one more.
The way the the log was sawn and the low price (I buy the entire log figuring that the waste will still be absorbed in the savings) still make it a bargain compared to the premiums that seat blanks can fetch these days. But because of the sawing issue, I lost about 18 to 20 beautiful seats!

Here is a picture of the misaligned saw blade that cut half of the board too thin. There are about 4 of 13 planks with this mistake.

Here is one of two clear planks cut too near to the outside of the tree, one face is a lovely 19 inches wide and the other is 13!
It breaks my heart!

I normally give detailed instructions that include sawing to 8/4" and including the heart in a single board (so that it doesn't spoil two). Now I know a couple of other things to mention. Generally, the best and clearest wood is going to start a couple of planks from the center. This is because the young tree has branches that fall off and the later rings towards the outer part of the tree become more uniform.

After paying for the lumber and inspecting it, I spoke with someone at the mill about the problems. I made sure that they understood that I am still happy to have found someone willing to meet my requirements, but for future sake, we will need to communicate better.

The day was rescued when I went to my local sawyer and he had some gorgeous hard maple. The other day while driving down main street Jeffersonville, I saw Matt and shouted out the window about my need for some maple, he said he'd set aside a good one for me. We've been working together for 8 years now and he knows just what I need.
I hope that my new pine guy will become that same easy sort of connection.

For anyone still interested, I boiled down another gallon of syrup yesterday and the results of my new supercharged rig are fantastic. I shaved three hours of boiling time off, never lost my boil and used less wood. Victory. Now I am heading to a restaurant supply house that used to service the Catskill hotels to rummage through their barn of stainless pans to up the ante!

Here is a photo of the sap from the three different pans that I use. As you can see, it goes from looking like water to gaining that lovely amber hue. Soon I hope to use a flow through pan, but first I have some digging to do!

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