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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:55 pm 
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I could use some help.
I have a very wealthy customer who has bought a lot of stuff from me.
In appreciation for my work, he told me he was sending me six premium, untreated oak railroad ties.

Delivery just came a while ago. There were 20 of them. 200 lbs. each. 4000 lbs. of white oak.
The driver and I just finished unloading them by hand. I am worn out!!!

I have no clue what to do with these things.
They are currently in my driveway.

They are 7" X 9" X 9' long.
I have no way to rip something that big so I probably will have to hire a portable sawmill to come to the house.

I have no place to keep these.
Tom, I will probably have to use some of your new out building. :shock:

I guess they will have to sit on cribbage on my concrete pool deck after being cut into boards.
I can cover them with a piece of plastic.

How is the best way to cut these things?
I figure to just have them slabbed out in 1", 2", and 3" X 9" boards.

Boards like that will cut right through the center of the heartwood.
Is that okay?

I don't know how dry they are and don't have a moisture meter.

This was extremely generous of my customer who shipped them across country to me.
But now I have an albatross around my neck. :-?

Any ideas about cutting heartwood?
Zulu


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:16 pm 
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They will all check at the ends as evidenced by the checks that are occurring already. If you hire a portable band saw, which I suspect is the best option, specify that the pith, the central core of the heartwood, be ripped out and donated to the wood stove. You can salvage some narrower boards from the sides of the central rip that contains the pith. Now having said that, I'm thinking in terms of turning blanks that are much shorter. Thus this may not be viable if the pith isn't parallel to the length of the RR tie. You're luck to get them before they were treated and/or used. I installed several retaining walls with used ones using a chain saw to cross cut them. Rocks and creosote are not best friends with chain saws.

Eager to see what you make of them all.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:43 pm 
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DennisS wrote:
They will all check at the ends as evidenced by the checks that are occurring already. If you hire a portable band saw, which I suspect is the best option, specify that the pith, the central core of the heartwood, be ripped out and donated to the wood stove. You can salvage some narrower boards from the sides of the central rip that contains the pith. Now having said that, I'm thinking in terms of turning blanks that are much shorter. Thus this may not be viable if the pith isn't parallel to the length of the RR tie. You're luck to get them before they were treated and/or used. I installed several retaining walls with used ones using a chain saw to cross cut them. Rocks and creosote are not best friends with chain saws.

Eager to see what you make of them all.


You could get some nice quarter sawn pieces out of those. Always a good thing for tables and other furniture, and keep in mind the retail price of QSWO these days if you decide to sell any. I did a kitchen island out of QSWO about 12 years ago. Looked really nice.

Also, I wouldn't use plastic sheeting to cover the stack. Instead use some cheap roofing tin, held in place with cinderblocks. You need the airflow for proper air drying, and plastic won't last more than a year or so. I'd cut off the ends that are already checked, and paint them for about 4" or so down the length with something to keep the checking under control while they dry. The worst thing you can do with oak is to hurry the drying process.

One other thing, since they'll be outside: Spray every board with Ortho Home Defense Max to keep the bugs from eating them.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:07 pm 
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Hey Zulu,

I agree with Dennis, that you should avoid the pith and the first two or three year's growth, and that a portable band mill will get you the best yield. You might be able to rent one.

I also agree with Gene that you need to allow for air circulation. I would start with stickering between the pieces right now.

Generally speaking rail ties are not the best material, they are about the same quality as pallets and stevedore decking, but free is free. :-D

Cheers,
Tom

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 2:06 am 
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[quote="tms"]
Generally speaking rail ties are not the best material, they are about the same quality as pallets and stevedore decking, but free is free. :-D

That said, I've made some attractive pieces out of pallet wood. (grin)

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:37 am 
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They are some nice chunks of wood. Ive made my best stuff out of old recycled wood beams like that , that were resawed on a huge band saw at the recycled yard.

In your case I would google or otherwise look for someone with a woodmizer portable mill. Pay them a few buck to cut the timber,

they can cut those beams into workable thicknesses.

Rough cut but thats ok cuz you'll have to let them sit after the are cut for a while. Some may twist etc but you get some nice timber outta them.

http://woodmizer.com/eng/Products/Portable-Sawmills


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 11:43 am 
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ZULU:While you make the decision on how to slab out the timbers, get the ends treated as soon as possible. Place stickers between them. Tent them with a roof that will offer some side protection also but don't wrap the stack with plastic. :D Stack them together across the front of your property and cut gunports for your cannon inventory :razz:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:51 pm 
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Location: Cypress, TX
Thanks to all for the replies.

I will get the wood stickered and the ends painted tomorrow.

I have figured out the cuts that I would like to make.
I believe that 35 cuts will net me the following.

nine 4" X 9" X 9' (for 3 of my concrete cannon carriages)
nine 3" X 9" X 9'
twelve 2" X 9" X 9'
ten 1 1/4" X 9" X 9'
four 6" X 9" X 9' (for mantles)
and one uncut whole timber

I have a really fun upcoming project on the U.S.S. Lexington aircraft carrier in Corpus Christi.
I will be making an 1830's Texas Navy ship board display.
I should be able to use a lot of the wood there. This stuff will be perfect for ship rails and bulkhead walls.

I actually did consider a ship rail in the front yard with multiple gun ports but my lovely wife nixed the idea. :-?

There are some portable sawmills around here for hire.
I haven't called any yet but here is my guess. It is only a guess.

Hourly rate - $80
one hour set up, one hour tear down.
six cuts an hour. (I really have no idea about this).
Hours for 35 cuts = 6

Total hours - 8 X $80 = $640
I hate to have to shell out the money but I don't know what else to do.

Then it all has to go to the back yard and be stacked on the pool deck. That sucks! :mad:

I simply don't have the room.
Land baron Tom has exactly what I need! :lol:

I don't make very much small stuff so I am not going to quarter saw anything.
Most of my lathe turning is less than 4" X 4" so I should be able to get a few ram rod heads and sponge heads out of the better pieces.

We will see how it works out.

Any further advice?
Do you think I'm close at $80 and hour? Six 9" X 9' cuts an hour?

Thanks,
Zulu

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:37 pm 
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I can't speak to the cost estimate, Zulu. I would mention, though, that it's been my experience that once the endgrain has checked, like most of your timbers seem to show, painting them with sealer is a waste of time. It won't prevent further checking down the length of the piece. However, once you've got them ripped into sizes you need, cut off the split ends and then apply the sealer.

Is that $80/hr for a portable unit to come to your place & do the work or are you planning on transporting the ties to them?

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:43 pm 
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DennisS wrote:
I can't speak to the cost estimate, Zulu. I would mention, though, that it's been my experience that once the endgrain has checked, like most of your timbers seem to show, painting them with sealer is a waste of time. It won't prevent further checking down the length of the piece. However, once you've got them ripped into sizes you need, cut off the split ends and then apply the sealer.

Is that $80/hr for a portable unit to come to your place & do the work or are you planning on transporting the ties to them?



Dennis,
That estimate, which is totally out of my imagination, is for the saw to come to me with someone who can use it.
I hope to get a firm price next week.
Zulu

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:51 am 
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Zulu wrote:
DennisS wrote:
I can't speak to the cost estimate, Zulu. I would mention, though, that it's been my experience that once the endgrain has checked, like most of your timbers seem to show, painting them with sealer is a waste of time. It won't prevent further checking down the length of the piece. However, once you've got them ripped into sizes you need, cut off the split ends and then apply the sealer.

Is that $80/hr for a portable unit to come to your place & do the work or are you planning on transporting the ties to them?



Dennis,
That estimate, which is totally out of my imagination, is for the saw to come to me with someone who can use it.
I hope to get a firm price next week.
Zulu


Price sounds about right, maybe a little high. I paid $50/hr here a few years ago, but I delivered the wood to the sawyer.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:01 am 
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Seems like I paid $65 here a few years back, but that was at his place.

Also, if there were nails in the wood, I was responsible for the blades, but as it turned out there were no nails.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:38 am 
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Here is a link to sawmills all over the country.

http://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/director ... =1&PAGE=14

You can only contact them by email through the web host.
You can also call someone if they give a number.

I have sent out 4 messages to local sawmills that are mobile.
No one has answered me yet.

I also contacted the place where I get the fir I use in my concrete cannon carriages. They said they could cut 35 cuts for me for $250. Sounds pretty reasonable to me.
But, I have to take it to them. 45 miles away.
I could only load 2000 lbs. of wood on my trailer at a time so it means more that one trip.

It also means loading and unloading 4000 lbs. of wood at my house.
And it has to be moved by hand to the back yard after it is cut.

I'm 64 years old and consider myself in pretty good shape.
But I'm not looking forward to this. :(

I will try to call some of these portable mills if I don't hear back from them today.

In the meantime, the wood is still covered in clear plastic in the driveway. It has rained hard everyday since I unloaded it. More rain coming tomorrow.
The clear plastic is gathering moisture on the underneath side and everything is wet. :mad:

I wish this hadn't happened to me. :cry:

I'm going to spend a lot of money and energy to end up with some questionable wood that is going to sit around for years.

Ain't life grand!
Zulu

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:35 am 
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Look on CL, there are usually people with protable mills on there...........at least in my area.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 12:05 pm 
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The guy I use charges by the BF, although I don't remember what the BF price was. I think you are way low on your number of cuts per hour though. My guy is getting paid by the BF, so the quicker he gets finished, the better for him. Seems to me he cut somewhere around 3,000 BF of cherry for me and cost around $700. He just cut everything flat sawn, so was quicker. Took him a half of a day or so and we were working with some very large logs that had to be squared up before he could start ripping them to thickness. He also ripped some old chestnut beams down to boards while he was there at the same price per BF. Unless they work real slow due to being paid by the hour, shouldn't be too expensive.

As everybody else said, be sure to sticker the boards and seal the ends.

Good luck.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:01 am 
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You'll be better off hiring a bandsaw-mill guy, but if you're looking for another physical challenge, for almost the same money you could buy an alaskan sawmill & decent chainsaw and cut timbers as you need them without guessing upfront what dimensions you need.

You could make an impressive workbench out of some of the beams.

Good luck.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 11:54 am 
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Zulu wrote:
....
I'm going to spend a lot of money and energy to end up with some questionable wood that is going to sit around for years.


Sorry but from my experience, RR ties aren't cut from the choicest part of the trees. You definitely have to get rid of that pith, though. You should get some decent timbers from the outside.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 6:23 pm 
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It hasn't quit raining. Since I unloaded the timbers, we have had about 7" of rain.
The wood is under clear plastic but it is sweating and still turning black. :mad:

60% chance of rain tomorrow.
I hope to get half of it loaded this weekend and take it Monday to the place that says around $250 for the cuts.
I talked to another place that is close today but their estimate was $125 an hour X 10 hours = $1250.
And I had to take it to them. $155 per hour if they came to me and an estimate of two days.
Won't be doing that.

Free stuff shouldn't be this much trouble.

The biggest problem remains what to do with it when I get it home. :-?
Zulu

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:33 am 
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Here is the latest progress.

I loaded half of the wood (2000 lbs.) on to my trailer with an engine hoist. I could lift two timbers at a time and roll it over my trailer. It was actually pretty easy.

Even though the wood had been covered with plastic during the rain, it still turned black.

I hauled the first load 45 miles to the saw mill where they were going to do all my cuts for $250.
Here is the first load.

Image


I went back with the second load and dropped it off when I picked up the first load of cut wood.
Here is the cut first load after I got the ends painted.

Image


This is the very first 1 1/8" board I unloaded.

Image

It took most of the day to unload the trailer by hand and move the wood to various places in the yard where I could get it under some type of roof.

Then it was back to the saw mill to pick up the second load of cut boards.
Here they are at the saw mill ready to go home.

Image

Got them home and got the ends painted last night.
Now I have to unload them and find somewhere to put them. :confused:

At this point the boards look pretty good. The cuts look accurate.
The wood is wet.
I have no idea how it's going to turn out. :-?
There are many, many cuts through the heart of the wood.

I'll post some more pictures when I get everything unloaded.

I have the following sizes of 9" wide X 9' long boards.
1 1/8" twenty-two
2" sixteen
3" two
4" Fifteen
5" three

Zulu

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 12:47 pm 
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Zulu wrote:
Here is the latest progress.

I loaded half of the wood (2000 lbs.) on to my trailer with an engine hoist. I could lift two timbers at a time and roll it over my trailer. It was actually pretty easy.

Even though the wood had been covered with plastic during the rain, it still turned black.

I hauled the first load 45 miles to the saw mill where they were going to do all my cuts for $250.
Here is the first load.

Image


I went back with the second load and dropped it off when I picked up the first load of cut wood.
Here is the cut first load after I got the ends painted.

Image


This is the very first 1 1/8" board I unloaded.

Image

It took most of the day to unload the trailer by hand and move the wood to various places in the yard where I could get it under some type of roof.

Then it was back to the saw mill to pick up the second load of cut boards.
Here they are at the saw mill ready to go home.

Image

Got them home and got the ends painted last night.
Now I have to unload them and find somewhere to put them. :confused:

At this point the boards look pretty good. The cuts look accurate.
The wood is wet.
I have no idea how it's going to turn out. :-?
There are many, many cuts through the heart of the wood.

I'll post some more pictures when I get everything unloaded.

I have the following sizes of 9" wide X 9' long boards.
1 1/8" twenty-two
2" sixteen
3" two
4" Fifteen
5" three

Zulu


I hope you're patient. Those big ones are going to take years to dry. Don't try to hurry them, or you'll get some serious honeycomb inside them. DAMHIK. :roll: :oops: :mad:

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