Thursday, July 2, 2009

preselective logging . . .

So what we are doing is not really selective logging, since the pine beetles have already decided what trees are to be selected. We have to concentrate on doing the least amount of damage to the forest floor and the new growth

Conventional logging practices make no provision for existing second growth. The picture above is our logging from five years ago, and the picture below is of the adjacent area also logged five years ago by a modern operation.

while it has been replanted (to pine) it is at the expense of all other species
Removing a large tree without running over the second growth is fairly easy but doing it without damaging the ecology on the forest floor is a bit more daunting. A conventional skidder is out of the question both for cost and it's heavy footprint. A tractor becomes the solution to forward the trees to a landing where they are limbed and cut to length.

This area has been logged on both sides of the road, leaving the second growth that has escaped the pine beetle. The rational of the industry is that they would all die so cut them all, but that is obviously not true. These second growth pines stood through the major infestation that took all the larger trees.
and this hillside would be barren if cut by conventional thinking but is instead a flourishing young forest despite the removal of several hundred standing dead pine last month. another view from below (from our back door)
Below is a picture of the new hill completed to usable stage. It's a bit steep but it has dried up and firmed up into a pretty good access road . . .
The logs pile up in the landings and are hauled to the mill.
We are using a 3 ton truck as it will haul 20 or so logs and we are not going far. When we get to the yard we dump them in a pile till we've accumulated enough to make it worthwhile to sort and deck them.

It has now turned hot and dry so the forest is off limits to our machines. A track machine like the 175C will light a series of fires behind it in these dry conditions due to the sparks that the tracks make when they hit rock or even the adjacent steel track pad . Hot exhausts from saws and machinery can also easily cause a fire so we find something to do that is less dangerous. We turn our attention to the mill buildings where we need to finish closing in the planer by building and installing the big sliding door that will close in the rough lumber receiving deck.
Then we needed to deck the floor with the 1 & 1/2 inch tongue and groove pine to cover the rough sawn 1 inch pine planking we used for a subfloor.

The blue stain is very apparent in these photos. It amazes me that the stain could so thoroughly penetrate the board in such a short time. (note the darker board on the shot of the end grain)

We have decided to buy a new mill to better utilize our materials. We have ordered a double cut swing saw from D&L. A bandsaw mill is fairly limited in what it does and is quite expensive to operate both in time and materials. With the swing cut the maintenance is much less and although the kerf is larger, the shavings it produces are a saleable product. . We ordered it last Sunday and it should be ready in about 5 weeks. exciting stuff . . .Here's a link to a similar mill operated by the builder of our new mill.

1 comment:

Hildred and Charles said...

What an excellent job you are doing. Very proud of you!!!