Have you ever wondered how trees were turned into timber?
Well we had a fantastic opportunity to find out this week. We were lucky enough to be able to spend a day learning how to use a “Lucas Mill” courtesy of Tom from Hogg Brothers earthworks. Thanks a lot to Dallas from Hogg Brothers as well for taking the time to train us up!
A Lucas Mill is basically a massive saw that can cut the entire length of a section of tree trunk. We were milling up a log of Cypress pine which had been recovered from a new development site when it was cleared of trees. Tom often salvages trees from such sites which would otherwise be burned or destroyed and turns them into useful timber.
The mill was pretty intimidating at first, the blade is over half a metre across and only ever a foot or so from your legs. But it was heaps of fun.
The process started with selecting a log, straighter is better. This makes reducing waste easier. To get the maximum amount of useful timber from a log and to minimise waste even further requires what Tom calls the “sawmiller’s eye” or a careful planning and estimation about what sized boards and in what arrangement can be most efficiently cut from the log.
It was great to end up with a whole bunch of useful boards from a discarded log.
We hope to be able to use timber we salvage and mill ourselves in our furniture one day. So stay tuned.