Well, we survived our very loud and powerful windstorm a couple of nights ago. We could hear trees falling in the distance and lots of branches landing on our roof. We walked the property today and found one very large cedar had toppled.
I had been watching this tree as it had been damaged many years ago and it had multiple trunks coming
off the main trunk. It was quite unbalanced and a split was developing up the trunk so it was
destined to fall sooner rather than later.
As with many red cedar, this tree suffered carpenter ant or termite damage in its heartwood. This weakens the tree.
Unfortunately there won’t be much wood for me to salvage for milling but lots of kindling!
A favourite tree of mine on the acreage. I admire it’s tenacity to survive despite being damaged by fire many years ago.
I thought I’d try my hand at making a small table this past week. I used red cedar that I had milled two years ago, joining two 1″ x 13″ x 40″ to make a 26″ wide table top. The legs and rails were mortised and tenoned and then pegged. I’m quite pleased with the results – Mocha seems indifferent.
It all started with a dead cedar tree and a need for a 42 foot long privacy fence.
I cut down a cedar tree that had recently died and cut it into eight foot long logs. I used the tractor to move the logs to the mill.
I cut eight 8 foot long 4 x 4 posts, fourteen 6 foot long 2 x 4’s, fourteen 5 foot long spacers and two hundred and seventeen 6 foot long 1.5 x 2 laths.
One of the logs about to be milled
Cut 2 x 4’s
Cutting the lath
Some of the finished lath
For finishing and preserving the posts, 2 x 4 cross pieces and 1 x 1 spacers I decided to try a Japanese woodworking technique called shou sugi ban. I used a torch to scorch the outer surface of the wood – just enough that the wood developed an alligator skin like texture.
The charred wood is wire brushed and then treated the wood with boiled linseed oil.
As the fence is for privacy I decided to go with a lighter build and make the fence with a ‘woven’ lath design. I made seven sections just over 6 feet in length.
The finished fence
On a previous post from February 2016 I showed some lumber I had milled with my new bandsaw mill. Just after that post I milled a larger tree that produced boards that were 8 feet long (2.4 m), 18 inches (45.5 cm) wide and 2 inches (5 cm) thick. The lumber has air dried so I made a door from 2 pieces joined together making a 6.5′ (1.98 m) x 36″ (91 cm) x 2 inch (5 cm) red cedar door. It is treated with tung oil that brings out it’s beautiful colour and grain.
Well, I finished building my sawhorses and I am quite pleased. I learned a lot from the exercise – I think more about what not to do next time rather than what to do. The sawhorses are held together with tapered mortises, tenons and wedges – no glue, nails or screws. Very strong.
There is method in my madness – the horses are so big I may have to expand my workshop just to store them!
The darker wood is red cedar, the lighter spruce
Mortise and Tenon
Teak wedges expand the tenon inside the tapered mortise to hold everything tight
Well, the storage shed is finished. It was an interesting first project using my own milled lumber – a bit of a learning process I must say. Like any homemade project it is hard to put a price on it. The money I put out for the plywood roof and floor along with the metal roofing came to about $500. A pretty good price for an 8′ x 12′ building. Adding the time factor of milling the lumber adds to the equation and if a dollar value is put on my time then perhaps not quite the bargain. However, time is what I have and it was extremely satisfying using our own windfall trees (brought down in windstorms) and turning out a pretty fine looking building.