Commercial sawmilling generally involves felled trees being taken by truck from forest plantations to large timber processing plants and from there to hangar sized kilns for drying then onward to your local DIY store or timber merchants. They process wood at incredible speed to produce a low cost, uniform product. They have no interest in small quantities of trees, unusual species or anything other than dead straight timber. As a result, the vast majority of trees felled for safety reasons, to facilitate development or for woodland management reasons are at worst sent for landfill or at best converted to fire wood irrespective of the treasures that may lay within.
But there is an alternative. We can mill trees in-situ. If we can walk to the felled tree, we can mill it. Consequently, we do not need heavy equipment to extract the milled timber either, we just carry it out. We can also mill parts of a tree that a more commercial mill is less interested in, crotches and large branch unions do not make great timber for normal use but can make fantastic slabs for tables and bar tops.
We use an Alaskan Mill, effectively a frame attached to some of the industry's largest chainsaws, to mill your timber. This allows us to produce either single slabs and boards of almost unlimited width, dimensional timber for construction and outdoor applications or to undertake more specialist processes such as quarter-sawing, to produce very high quality timber for applications such as cabinet making and luthiery.
Depending on the use it will be put to most milled wood needs at least some degree of drying prior to use. We can guide you though this process or undertake it for you. We recommend that all freshly milled wood goes through at least some period of air drying. In most instances this involves sealing the ends of the debarked timber and stacking it on spacers (known as stickers) to allow air to circulate, out of the direct sun and rain, though some species like a brief period of vertical drying first just to get rid of the free water before stacking. The duration required is dependent upon the species, the location and the thickness of the wood, it can be as little as a few months or as much as a few years. For indoor use, the wood then needs to be brought down to a lower moisture content than air drying alone can achieve. We can undertake this process for you too using our own kiln to gently bring the moisture content down and leave you with fine furniture grade timber.
What does all this cost. Well it is a bit of a piece of string. A basic milling operation will take a day for a single, decent sized, hardwood tree and cost around £450. This would include all costs (bar travel) and leave you with a pile of timber adjacent to the felled tree and ready for you to debark, seal, stack and dry yourself. If you would like us to take the timber away and dry it for you or prepare and stack it for you on your premises this would be at additional cost. If you do not need all of the timber derived from your tree, we may well be interested. So, the overall cost could come down quite considerably and don't forget that if you have not got the skills, equipment or time to make something from your tree, we can undertake that for you too.
Finally of course if you just want shot of the tree and would rather the timber went somewhere other than up a chimney, let us know. We are often happy to mill the timber and take it away for our own use and you can be happy knowing that it has gone to a good cause.
We are always happy to discuss your requirements and the different ways in which we can help. Just contact us for a chat.
If we can walk to your tree we can mill it. (If we can drive some of the way it does help though!)
Two sycamores, felled to facilitate development, await our attention...
...A brief period of highly controlled chaos...
...and the stacks of timber in the adjacent field start to grow...
...we even built them some temporary shelters to protect against sun, rain and prying eyes.
You don't need a huge tree to make milling worth while. This Cedar was less than eight feet high but will produce enough timber for a dining table top and bench.
This Lime would be of no interest to a commercial mill. It had far too many defects and too much metal in it for them. But as a result it is a much more interesting bit of timber than most Lime. You just have to know what to make out of it.
After a period of air drying the timber can finally be stacked in our kiln ready to be brought down to a moisture content suitable for furniture. Not long now...