Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Recycle Reuse Reduce

A days milling at Dad's farm produced a full ute of sawn timber, Macrocarpa, Poplar and English Ash. I don't know if this is more reusing than recycling? I have been salvaging logs from Melbourne's parks and gardens and around the countryside for a few years now, most had been critically ill due to the drought and were being removed on a weekly basis. Had they not been collected they were earmarked for mulching. Which I guess is recycling in it's own right, but when it comes to logs like the 100 year old plus English Oak that came from the Treasury Gardens, then I think it deserves something better than being turned into mush! Reuse, check.

But back to the milled timber. Knowing how much is involved after the milling is finished, I was mindful that I had to find a place to stack and 'sticker' it. The other wood rack is full. For those who have not worked will freshly milled logs, the sawn timber must be carefully stacked flat with numerous thin sticks ( stickers ) in between each plank to allow for air flow and reduce the possibility of rot or mildew. Stacking carefully and flat also ensures that the dried timber remains as flat as when it was milled. Pretty important stuff then.
My previous results with air drying have been mixed. But I've learnt enough to know that a new approach was needed which maximised the pro's and minimised the downfalls. Here are a few of both.

Direct sunlight - Not good. Especially during our hot summers, especially with Elm, London Plane ( Sycamore ) etc.

Dry- a given.

Cool shade - good.

Cool air flow - good.

Flat and even base - essential.

Dry and even stickers - very important or the stack can't be flat or even and will warp.

Weight - Great if you can weight the top of an even timber stack.

I'd planned the day of milling but was running short on stickers. Dad had the answer. He had recently done a milling job for the Berwick District Woodworkers Club  ( find them here -   http://www.caseyconnect.net.au/woodworkers/ ) and they had been using off cuts from a local window factory. A wheel barrow full of off cuts was transformed into about 650 stickers with a mornings work on the bandsaw. Recycle, check.

Reduce? My last wood rack was large and although freestanding and essentially a temporary structure, it used a lot of materials to construct and took a fair while to build.  Time for something better and more effective.

A pile of steel that was earmarked for the tip from a demolished factory, two left over Dexion racking beams from a second hand lot I bought on the net, the re-milled stickers and the only new material, $30 worth of 3/8" all thread, some nuts and washers. Reduced.

The Dexion was levelled on the crushed rock. The steel was docked at 1200mm and laid evenly across the beams. The timber stacked with stickers evenly and accurately spaced.

                                 Another row of timber and a row of holes drilled in the steel.

The top of the stack levelled. The difference at one end made up with a stack of stickers. Then another row of pre-drilled steel offcuts on top, thread the rods through and tighten them up. A couple of old sheets of iron on top and some more around the sides to be added tomorrow.

Flat, shaded, good air flow, well stickered and instead of a heavy weight on top, clamped together! Best of all there is no room for the timber to warp and it can be tightened periodically as it begins to settle or to shrink in size. And all for a bit of elbow grease and thirty bucks. 

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