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Author Topic: Chasing perfection?  (Read 1639 times)

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Offline Den-Den

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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2017, 10:39:11 am »
There are three things that come together to produce accurate & consistent lumber, more accurately these things each add variations to the lumber.
The mill; when set up right and maintained, the mill adds less error than either of the other two.
The operator; a good operator can partially compensate for mill & log issues.
The log; crooked logs make crooked lumber.  Knots may cause the blade to wander and the wood around them will distort while drying, resulting in poor quality material.
You may think that you can or may think you can't; either way, you are right.

Offline JRWoodchuck

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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2017, 01:45:57 pm »
Primarily cutting Western Larch (Larix occidentalis) that is mostly clear and quite straight so knots and grain aren't typically an issue. Iam not very experienced with mills in general. The only mill I have ever touched is the mill I built. So their is very good chance it is caused my the operator. But it being a homebuilt mill there is probably even more chance that it is the mill and or a combination of the two! But from what I have gathered inconsistencies in the lumber thickness are preventable. So I will continue modifying my mill so that those inconsistencies are fewer and further between. Thanks again for the responses.
Home built bandsaw mill still trying find the owners manual!

Offline johnjbc

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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2017, 03:22:46 pm »
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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2017, 06:20:57 pm »
I think Den-Den has the right of it.

Equipment choices can make a huge difference. Wide bands are stiffer then  thin bands so less inclinded to wander in the cut around variations in timber density. Circles are stiffer again - though tuning and setup on a circle saw is very important as to whether it cuts a clean finish or a rough one, some of the worst boards I've ever seen were cut with out of tune and/or misaligned circular saws.
The machine design is also important. A saw with a linebar is more consistent then one without. We run a circle rack which is more accurate then that again. Sash gangs are super accurate. It's all about the interaction between sizing mechanism and wood... some saws cut straight lines regardless of what the log does and some cut a consistent space between log and sizing mechanism that means the board is consistent regardless what the log does, though it also means you can cut a curve into the board you produce.

A lot is operator. How sharp the saw is, how dialed in the equipment is, how much variation the operator accepts as normal before they start looking for a fix. We've gone over this before in other topics but I can sit all day on 17/16" to get a board that finishes at 7/8" for the cabinetry trade, while most here would sit on 5/4 or more. The reason I can do that is because my equipment choices mean I can cut to a closer tolerance because I get less sawing inconsistency then most equipment does. From my point of view that accuracy helps offset the kerf loss we wear cutting to that degree of accuracy.

And a lot is log but its more "experience with" logs. I've grown up cutting springy eucalypt. My cut patterns often tend to be quite different to that used by most here because I'm used to dealing with so much log tension. I accept a far lower recovery rate as normal to most here also, because I know I have to trade fibre for accuracy and straightness in a springy log. When I shift the cut patterns that allow me to do that across to wood thats more in the average range for tension I'm almost lost... I get all happy watching things happen when I dont have to fight the log for every last bit of wood, like a stray dog getting tossed a rump steak.
You never learn to deal with bad logs by cutting good ones thats for sure.

And I think a lot is mindset. Some are happy with average, some want to be better then average. Most of our framing hardwood is sold rough sawn - thats normal here. My thing has always been that i'm a little mill, but that means I'm producing a better product then the big guys, as opposed to using that for an excuse for mediocrity. Nothing wrong with being average BTW, average is usually cost effective which is why its the average. But my way of competing in that market has been to be better then average, and take it to them on quality because I sure as hell cant take it to the big guys on cost of production.
That mindset about how close to perfect you wish to be often determines just how much effort you put in and how much playing around you're prepared to do to produce a product. I'm a perfectionist, and I look at my product with a critical eye which means I strive for greater precision then most.


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Offline Darrel

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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2017, 07:12:07 pm »
I can consistently cut accurately, board after board. If I have a log with internal stress, it takes longer to saw because I have to turn the cant more often, occasionally after every cut. And no, I don't have accuset but that doesn't keep me from being just as accurate as the mill that does. After you do it for a while, you can drop and stop exactly where you want nearly every time. And if you miss, just tri again.

So in answer to the original question, my accuracy is within 1/64.
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Online Cedarman

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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2017, 07:58:10 am »
If you are off and saw the board 1/32 thick, then the next board will be 1/32 thin. This makes a 1/16 difference between the two boards so you are + or -  1/16 ".  If you miss by 1/16", then you are plus or minus 1/8" when comparing board thickness.  But you are + or -  1/16" from wanted thickness.
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Offline JRWoodchuck

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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #26 on: March 21, 2017, 02:02:37 pm »
The reason I posted this question is I am a bit of a perfectionist. I only saw for myself at the moment, maybe someday I will saw for others. I don't feel comfortable with the quality of my boards to saw for others yet. I have read multiple times on different threads don't expect perfection it's a bandsaw mill. But you all have answered my question that it is possible (I would consider being within 1/64th pretty stinking close to perfection) so I will keep chasing it trying to dial my mill and my skills in better. Thanks again for everyones input.
Home built bandsaw mill still trying find the owners manual!

Offline Deese

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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #27 on: March 21, 2017, 03:44:00 pm »
I can saw with accuracy of 0.0000000000000001", but only if I perform the ritual EZ Monkey Dance before each cut.  :D 8)
Sawed 4 years with EZ Boardwalk Jr 13hp. 2004 LT40 Super 51HP, 1975 Case Tractor, Cooks Cat Claw Sharpener, Cooks Single Tooth Setter, Stihl MS 440, Stihl MS 250, 60" Logrite

Offline pinefeller

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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2017, 05:02:31 pm »
life's too short to be perfect...strive for perfection, but be happy with industry standards. i know theres specs for rough lumber but i havnt had luck finding it. the NELMA stuff ive dug up so far is all for surfaced lumber....i know its somewhere in my pile...... :P
we the willing, led by the unknowing,are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. we have done so much for so long with so little, we are now capable of doing anything with nothing.

Offline Ianab

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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2017, 05:44:45 pm »
Quote
life's too short to be perfect...strive for perfection, but be happy with industry standards

This ^

When they start growing perfect trees, maybe I'll worry more about extreme accuracy. Doesn't matter how good your saw is, if you take a board off a cant, and the whole cant bows by 1/16", at some point you have that inaccuracy. Sure you can flip the log and reduce that, and have things go 1/16" in the other direction. And a good sawyer will do this or other tricks to maximise their accuracy.

But that wont change the fact that the boards vary by 1/16", and this is why it's considered acceptable. If you want more accurate, then you need to get the wood dry, stable and plane it to final size.

Heck you are going to get that much variation in size as it dries, depending on radial or tangential grain, and then throw in a few knots (that don't shrink in length)

Now working to minimize inaccuracies is a good thing, but getting hung up over any minor imperfections is going to drive you nuts, because they will happen, no matter how good your mill is. 


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Offline JRWoodchuck

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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2017, 06:25:28 pm »
The minor imperfection I am trying to remove are variations in the thickness of individual boards. Not caused by knots or bad logs. Where my blade climbs or dips through the length of the cut. Just mainly wasn't sure if that was "normal".
Home built bandsaw mill still trying find the owners manual!

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2017, 06:44:59 pm »
Yours is a worthy goal which if always kept in mind will improve the consistency of your lumber and the quality impression people have of your work.  smiley_thumbsup

It can also drive you nuts sometimes.  :-\
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Offline lyle niemi

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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2017, 06:57:45 pm »
what are people building where the rough lumber has to be that perfect ???

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2017, 07:03:34 pm »
Caring about whether they're  1" or 1-1/16" is the key to making sure some of them aren't 1-1/4", when it matters.
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Re: Chasing perfection?
« Reply #34 on: March 21, 2017, 11:36:57 pm »
Green sawn accuracy is very important if you're building with green timber because if you've got timber thats reasonably straight - or at least bowed but not sprung (bow you can easily pull out with a clamp, spring makes for a battle)- and evenly sized it makes for faster building. You've also got to factor in shrinkage variation: if you've got say 3/16" variation in green sawn size and then pick up another 3/16" through variable shrinkage .... all of a sudden that dead straight roof line has dips and curves that are noticable.

My equipment is very accurate - I literally expect sub mm precision which equates to 1/25 of an inch more or less. And it delivers time after time. So I dont have to worry so much about the thick and thin stuff... each board is forced to the fence by the hob and the saw sits in the middle. But my gear will cut a precisely accurate thickness board with a curve like a banana in it quite happily if thats what the wood wants to do so we still have to face (shim) cut back to a straight line as required.
If you're using gear like a band or a swingmill then you start running into the thick and thin issues, and as pointed out if one board is scant you can mostly expect the next one to be oversize and vice versa. And the solution is really simple... if you cut one board and its thick or thin... face cut. Dont compound the error and make it one skinny board one fat one.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.