As previously mentioned, my day job is changing; from sign painter to sawmill operator. There’s a definite learning curve, so most other things have been put on hold. If you’re in the East Tennessee area, and need lumber, give me a call. I’m Jim at (865) 360-4351.
Lumber for sale Seymour TN, Knoxville TN, Sevierville TN, Kodak TN.
For decades I wanted to run a small newspaper; That’s what gave rise to the Quill & Blade. Lately I’ve been trying to change my day work from painting things to running a sawmill. It involves setting up equipment and of course, a learning curve to produce lumber from logs.
It’s rewarding work, but also physically demanding. The physical exhaustion leads to mental exhaustion, so the paper has regrettably been put on hold. that’s not permanent. below are pictures of lumber I’ve been making.
You know what they say, “one thing leads to another”. I was making a soap box for the 4th of July celebrations, to give speeches on. I like the graphics, and decided to see if I could find a wholesale soap company. I did, and ordered samples, which have arrived. they’re terrific, and I’ll be adding several kinds to our inventory soon.
The box is actually a stand made of pressure treated wood, with thin plywood faces. The front is made according to golden mean proportions, which in this case is 20 inches high by 32 3/8ths wide. I might add metal reinforcements to the corners, with square head bolts. I had to knock this out right away, so this is good enough for now.
Short version: I joined a couple of made in USA groups on social media. It’s part of my political activism. I’m also making pages here to record information Made In USABoycott Page.The federal government is incompetent and disconnected with the people of this country. As time goes by, states will assert their own rights more, and we will need our own areas to be strengthened. I was in a few stores talking to them about made in USA products; when I realized that this was a perfect way for anyone tointroduce themself. They know that I’m posting their store information online in a positive way, so it’s a great way to break the ice. Not only that, but it helps local businesses grow, and develops community cohesion.
So be a reporter, it’s easy! You don’t even need to have a website or be employed by a news agency. Just say that you’re a member of a group on a site, or a member of the site; and that you’re looking for products made in the USA, or products made locally. Then post it! See? You’re a reporter.
Longer version: I started this paper last year, with the intention of making a regular print edition. Since so many businesses are closed, it would hinder distribution of the paper copy, so I haven’t pursued it diligently.. However, recent events have made me realize the potential of an online version.
These events are in sequence, as follows: The stolen election and wretched deeds of the Federal government. An observation of states making important decisions that are distinct from other states. The realization that as the incompetence grows at the federal level, we will need to strengthen local communities. A desire to boycott goods made in China, and promote goods made in the U.S.
I joined a couple of Made In USA groups at different social media sites. While I was at a local paint store, I learned that they make their own paint as well as have their own stores.
A few days later, I needed to return to the same area, and thought I would stop by a store across the street to see if they had any made in USA products. They do, in fact it appeared the entire inventory is made in USA. They make and sell rustic furniture for cabins.
Last year, I made this video about finding news. I give examples, and they’re not all local or benign. News leads are around us, see the video for proof. News Lead Video.
So be a reporter, it’s easy! You don’t even need to have a website or be employed by a news agency. Just say that you’re a member of a group on a site, or a member of the site; and that you’re looking for products made in the USA, or products made locally. News and helpful information is all around us, and easy to find. Be a reporter, and post what you found!
A man nearby calls me when he has firewood he wants to get rid of. Usually, it’s smaller stuff, already cut to length. Last year, he called and said a tree fell down in his yard. I went and looked, it was a Poplar tree. What’s interesting in the first picture is that the tree fell over because it’s roots are on the bank of a small stream, so the ground was wet and soft. A strong wind pushed the heavy tree down, but after I cut much of the trunk apart, the bottom of the tree stood back up.
A friend had recently offered me the use of his sawmill. I decided to cut the tree into 8.5 foot long sections, and take it to the mill. For years, I’ve wanted a sawmill, so this was a special occasion. I cut part of the wood into different dimensions, and brought it home on a trailer.
I carefully stacked the wood on RR ties in the yard, where I knew wood dried quickly. There are many small spacer pieces in the stack. I bought a moisture gauge from the hardware store.
Wanting a sawmill for so long, you’d think this was the most amazing part of the process. Maybe being careful about not damaging the machine was my primary concern. The logs were also very heavy, so the process was a lot of work.
Some of the boards are quite thin, which helped them dry faster. I waited till this year before pulling some out of the stack. THAT is when it felt amazing. rather than going to the hardware store, or wood specialty place, I was pulling them out of a stack in my own yard. There were a lot of them, and I could take as many as I needed. They’re very flat and of a superb quality. Very unusual to be pulling something like that out of my own front yard.
I have a couple jointer tools, but they’re not assembled. (A jointer makes the edges of a board very flat, so that it can be joined to the edge of another board, like a butcher block arrangement) I would need to get the right motor and pulley size, then install new knives. For the time being, I’ve been using a table saw with a very long fence to guide the wood.
Since the position of the saw blade isn’t adjustable, the fence had to be moved instead, in order to adjust the width of the material. This can be done in three steps, but being 20 feet long, it’s still time consuming.
One day I thought that I might be able to use the 1950’s radial Arm Saw I rebuilt to do this job. So I made an elevated walkway along the table in order to stand at a more comfortable height along that side of the long bench. Then I turned the saw so that the blade was parallel with the fence. I tried it on a board about 4 feet long and it worked very well.
Below is a diagram to show what the process does. The shape of the board is exaggerated. If I ran the board through with edge A against the fence, it would wobble as it made the cut, and the cut wouldn’t be straight. By running it through with edge B against the fence, it won’t wobble, and I make cut 1 first. Then I turn it around with the new edge 1 against the fence, and make cut 2. Both sides are straight and parallel.
Below is a picture showing the two edges trimmed off the test board. One is thick in the middle tapering out to thin on the ends. The other piece is the opposite.
We usually put sunflower seeds out for
the birds to eat. The whole thing has been other peoples’ project. My
daughter rebuilt the bird feeder, my oldest son buys the seed, and my
youngest son fills the feeder.
n My oldest son has been very busy lately, and has overlooked buying the seed. So I bought a small bag the other day. It was labeled “Songbird Feed”. That part is true, it also attracts a variety of birds. The yard is quite busy and the sounds are great, while the feed lasts. I’ve been using a 20 ounce coffee cup as a measure, and that only lasts a few hours. I took these pictures of the feeder, there have also been a pair of doves, and a woodpecker landed on the tree nearby.