Friday, 26 April 2013

How to ... Slab Timber (by someone who doesn't have a clue)

Well before I start I have to admit (as you would tell from the title) that I am no expert, this is Mr Sparky's domain. I am just the humble slave right hand man, unless another is found to take my place like last weekend.

So first things first you have to set up the mill, well in this case you do as it is a portable one, and you have to make sure you put it in the right place.

So first step is to survey the area or in this case decide whether to set the mill up in this spot or move it to the back of the farm ... I guess this spot it was.

Then you get to work putting it together. Like one of those metal puzzles in giant form.

Sometimes you do running repairs, fixing crooked supports ... by bashing them with timber (not convinced on this one).

You then need to check everything over, make sure you have fuel, oil, all that.

Next you bring in the big guns and put the tractor to work towing in a log to cut up.

Once the log is under the centre of the mill make sure everything is all lined up.

Then start her up (after you put on safety gear like ear muffs and glasses) and start slabbing away.

Here is the portable Lucas Mill all set up and ready to go.

You push the cutting blade/ saw forward on the tracks using a bar mounted over the mill.

As you push forward the saw in this case cuts the desired amount of timber off the log in a long slab. When it gets stuck you just pull the mill back and try again.

Once one slab is done you wind the mill down to cut another.

That is after you have moved the slab out of the way.

Once you have slabbed as much of the log as you can without the mill being on the ground you move what remains out of the way and bring in another log. The rest of this one will be done by stacking it on top of the next partly slabbed log.

The mill creates lots of sawdust and sprays chips and dust everywhere hence the need for safety glasses or sunnies.

Sometimes log require parts being chopped off before cutting. The first cut on a log usually ends up in the 'burn' pile unless Mr Sparky takes a liking for it or knows someone who wants it. It is usually just the sap wood or outer timber on the tree.

A slab all done and ready to move.

Mr Sparky and I like seeing what patterns or markings are revealed. We also love the smell of freshly cut timber. I am certainly being introduced to the different smells of different timbers.

Mr Sparky has been working away at this project for the better part of last year, it is for our future, our home one day. Can't get much more romantic than that, well that's what I think.

Note: for anyone who hadn't worked it out Mr Sparky is in the hat ... the non hat wearer is a 'ringer in' who was giving milling a go, leaving me jobless.

Totally loving learning new things.


  1. I can imagine the smell. It's a familiar one, living around timber mills growing up. Amazing, and I think it is kinda romantic too ;)

  2. Love the smell of freshly cut timber.
    Thanks for linking in today.


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