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Manual Log Turner for Sawmill

Discussion in 'Milling & Saw Mills' started by TraditionalTool, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. TraditionalTool

    TraditionalTool Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I haven't been around here in a while as I haven't done any milling in a while.

    I am starting to mill some timber again and the one thing I'm continually reminded about is how difficult it is to move and turn logs on the sawmill. I have a rough terrain forklift which I use, but there's a lot of getting in/out of the lift when I need to turn a log...need to wrap straps and cinch down low, then get back in the lift to pull the forks up, etc...often it takes a couple times getting in/out of the lift for each cut, which makes for a long day.

    Obviously I don't have any hydraulics on my mill, and short of that, I've come up with an idea for manually turning logs that I think will work nicely.

    The concept is similar to what the guy who made the Swing-Set gear in the past. He seems to have gone out of business as his site no longer exists, but he had some sprockets wrapped with #80 chain which he used a floor jack to lift both ends of the logs to easily turn them. I was going to build something similar to that, but then a light came on in my head recently and I remembered a project I did to build machine skates to move my heavy machines around the shop, and I used ball bearings, which I still have a load of. I bought a big lot off ebay from Denso. I suspect they were used for alternators in cars.

    mini-pivot-skates-together.jpg

    What I am thinking about doing is something like this.

    manual-log-turner.png

    I am not sure how I will fabricate that arc, if I will cut some steel plate, or bend pipe and weld axles to, or bend tube, etc...but I will try to have a row of ball bearings on each side. Maybe 8 per side to cover a 36" arc, that would be about 4" between bearings.

    The idea is to be able to roll the log with a cant hook easily. Any comments?

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
  2. BobL

    BobL No longer addicted to AS

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    I wouldn't use any sort of a curved surface, big logs won't fit the curve and neither will smaller logs and the curve will just get in the way of mill
    If you just use flat "greased up' steel or HDPE lined say 2 x 4" RHS beans perpendicular to the long you should be able to rotate logs on these up against a stop with a decent cant hook
    That's all we have on the 35" BSM, we're cant hook rolling regularly shaped logs up to about 24" in diameter. Not so easy when there are branch unions or bulges in the way but its going to be the same with bearings.

    Loglock.jpg


    This show strive old and new log lockers
    crank2.jpg
     
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  3. TraditionalTool

    TraditionalTool Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I guess it doesn't need to be curved if you use a cant hook towards the dog, but the arch would allow both direction of free spin. I think that could be useful. I know I can only cut a 36" diameter log on my carriage, and I only have 32" of total width. I've cut a bigger log by using a chainsaw to get it to conform. This brings up an interesting point. Where I want to have the manual log turner is when I'm cutting a log into a cant, mostly, or better stated might be with live edge logs, opposed to cants that have been cut down. Once I have think into a cant, they are usually manageable with a cant hook on the bed. Getting them into a cant is easier said than done.

    Also, toe board are something I don't have and I originally had envisioned having interchangeable heads for a floor jack that I could swap out between toe boards and turning. I was talking with a friend today about what it would take to add hydraulics, cause that's what I really would like. The manual turner is a stop gap for me, but a fairly easy project that I think I can do in a day's time if I focus.

    24" seems about what I have, but some have been larger...the largest I've cut is a 40", I had to get it to conform with the chainsaw.

    Maybe, but one thing is certain about bearings. They can withstand a great deal of radial force! Spacing out the bearings would make an incredibly capable spin device.

    This is what I currently use for dogging, not ideal but not bad and I can use a clamp like you have in yours. The previous owner had these built and they use some of the parts from the original Norwood bed, which he replaced. I have another style like yours also which accept square tube and allow it to adjust up and down. I also have some interchangeable dogs for those as well, some are just a tube with a flat plate, and the plate holds the bottom of the cant so I can saw low. Others with pointed screws similar to what you have...

    new-edge-clamp-simple-solution.jpg
    Here it is in use, I normally use it for edging a number of boards. I use the other dogs for other securing.

    new-edge-clamp-in-use.jpg

    Hope your sweetgum has been sweet these days...:cheers:

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
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  4. TraditionalTool

    TraditionalTool Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I really need to make some posts like this with the crank, have been meaning to do that with some allthread for a while, and keep putting it off.

    Thank you for reminding me of that...I need to make a few...can't have too many clamps...:guitar:

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
  5. ChoppyChoppy

    ChoppyChoppy Addicted to ArboristSite

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    What kind of mill do you have?
     
  6. TraditionalTool

    TraditionalTool Addicted to ArboristSite

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    It's a Norwood LumberMate 2000, so it's an older mill, but it doesn't have the original bed. It has a custom 30' bed and can saw approx. 27' as-is. It has a 23HP B&S gas engine. Here's a pic of it:

    lm2k-30-foot-bed.jpg

    I haven't used it much in the past couple years, but just now getting a foundation for a home I'm building and want to mill some of my own timber.

    I purchased a dual head shaper in hopes I could t&g my own flooring. It needs some TLC, but just bearings and minor adjustments.

    For my property I'm building at, I will be getting a 320 amp service, and I've already bought a 20HP Phase Perfect (digital phase converter). I might think about converting my LM2000 over to use a 15HP or 20HP 3 phase electric motor.

    Short of that, I'm ok with how it is now, but would like to make some mods to make it easier to mill by myself.

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
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  7. Sawyer Rob

    Sawyer Rob Addicted to ArboristSite

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    You just don't need to build something like that. Just put together a winch set up with a GOOD winch, and it will do everything you need.

    [​IMG]

    In fact, I wouldn't want those rollers on MY mill, as it's too easy for the log to roll back when I'm trying to hold it in place...

    SR
     
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  8. TraditionalTool

    TraditionalTool Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I may try to add a winch, but I can use a cant hook on small logs like that on your mill. That's like an 8 footer. Let's talk 20+ feet and how that winch works.
     
  9. Sawyer Rob

    Sawyer Rob Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I didn't have any problems at all turning this 21' x 30"...

    [​IMG]

    Just buy a quality AMERICAN made winch, and you won't have any problems...

    Don't come back wining if you buy a china made cheapo winch, and it won't turn a big log though...

    SR
     
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  10. Franny K

    Franny K xyz

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    Is there room to leave the rough terrain forklift with the forks up kind of high so a come a long could be used to turn the log as it progresses into being a cant? The winch set up as pictured in post #7 will need some pretty strong stops. If the winch pulls straight up not so much.
     
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  11. TraditionalTool

    TraditionalTool Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Yes, I've tried that and it doesn't work very well, IMO. I really want to add hydraulics, it makes the most sense.
     
  12. Franny K

    Franny K xyz

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    It does not work real quick but the side effects like making the ground mush with wheel travel over it is minimized over what you mentioned as the present method. Putting the stuff that comes off the mill on the forks might be rendered not an option as well.

    There are claw type and the kind with a large chain and blocks of metal every six inches or so. Either way I think the mill will need more space underneath. I suspect a few of the manufacturers would sell you the parts needed for the turner itself.

    The manual way with only one person after the first face the log becomes unbalanced unlike it was when round and any device such as in post 1 will hit problems at some size log. Kind of easy to put massive spine compression that might not be good repeatedly.
     

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