Our Full Vigor Forestry management now focuses on restoring the degraded stands of timber to a naturally diverse forest of vigorous trees - that become more productive with time. Our annual growth is now quadruple the average in this region.
Today we do just the opposite of a typical commercial timber harvest, let the good trees grow and remove all the low value trees. In the past we would get a government grant to do Timber Stand Improvement and spent hundreds of dollars per acre to kill the undesirable trees. Now we actually make many hundreds of dollars per acre by taking the worst trees first and producing our character grade mixed species flooring.
To make our forest restoration work profitable and hence sustainable over time, we use three machines to process our logs into lumber. We have a Wood-Mizer LT40 sawmill, a two saw circular edger, and a Go Fast band resaw. Most of the logs we saw are commercially almost worthless - small diameter logs 6 to 10 inch dib, curved logs, and hollow logs. Once in a while I get the chance to cut a good quality red oak that has died of oak wilt, or a large tree that has blown down in the wind. Then I have a fun time!
We spent a lot of time this past few months upgrading our sawmill facility. The well used 1988 Wood-Mizer LT40 Gas was sold to a friend, and a 2000 Electric LT40 with laser, debarker, super hydraulics, and setworks was installed on a new concrete floor. The first thing I did to the sawmill was take off the wheels and trailer hitch and bolt it down!! I used to take the sawmill on the road for custom cutting jobs, but now I love my shed with a roof, edger saw, resaw, sawdust collectors, air compressor, raised log deck, and plenty of roller tables - all right next to the lumber drying kilns. I'll never move my sawmill again - people can bring the logs to me if they want them sawed.
The Willow Creek Manufacturing "Rippit" edger saw does double duty here. Half the time it is used to rip the bark off the fresh sawn flitches from the sawmill. Other days we use this two saw machine to precisely rip our kiln dried lumber into flooring blanks. I chose this model for the long rubber feed bed, the infinitely adjustable blade positioning, the handy adjustable rip fence that often lets me make two blanks at a time, and an adjustable feed rate. We added a sawdust collector to reduce the waste accumulation.
The Go Fast band resaw has many uses and saves a lot of time. The main reason I have one is that every real big sawmill has a resaw, so I should have one too! The real advantages of a resaw are: they are very inexpensive compared to the headsaw, the amount of training needed to run a resaw is very small, they saw with near 100% efficiency, and the quality of the cut is very high.
We use the resaw frequently for quartersawing oak. Our white oak trees have a lot of stress in the logs, and the logs are usually changing shape as you saw - curving toward the bark. There is a photo feature on quartersawing at www.timbergreenforestry.com with the details. Our method produces 4 reasonably sized, though often curved cants. Milling curved pieces on a headsaw is difficult to impossible as you are cutting each board off the top of the cant. You end up with lumber that is different thickness along the length of the board. A resaw takes the board off the bottom of a cant, and can even pass a curved cant through the machine - producing a board of even thickness. We also use the resaw to save time when sawmilling small diameter logs.