Spring Cleaning Around Your Sawmill

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sawyer and dog

What is it with spring cleaning? Why spend all that time tidying up during the muddiest season of the year? If it were just the wife and me (our children are grown and out on their own), it wouldn’t be a problem, but with the half-dozen stray dogs my wife has picked up over the years going in and out through the doggie door at will, it is an uphill battle. So when cleaning house comes up on the “honey-do” list, it doesn’t hurt my feelings to have to go out to my portable sawmill and saw up an order.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to clear the cobwebs out of the mill either. The sawdust goes into the compost area, though some of it is already showing advanced signs of decay. We still have slabs left over, even though we heat our house entirely with them, so the forks go on the front end loader to move the remainder back from the mill. The importance of keeping the area around the mill clear of debris was driven home to me a few years ago when a friend, who had run a circle mill all his life and was in his 60s at the time, showed me his right arm, which had recently been amputated when he tripped over a piece of edging. Even with a relatively safe bandsaw mill, it is critical to keep debris away from the walking area, before it becomes a hazard and causes a problem. That isn’t really a “spring cleaning” job, but it doesn’t hurt to move the logs you always have to drive around.

Spring is also a good time to finish up some odd jobs. Maybe there are some logs you just haven’t gotten around to yet or a pile of boards in need of edging. Somehow, they just get set aside in my mill yard and likely do in yours. With warmer weather and spring rains on the way, decay and moisture related defects will soon be a serious issue for any boards that aren’t properly stickered for air drying. Put that task off too long and they’ll just wind up on the slab pile…ask me how I know?

Finally, a little spring cleaning around your machinery won’t hurt. If you haven’t done it yet this spring, this is a good time to change oil, plugs and filters, as well as blowing sawdust out of the cooling fins and oil filter. . Do the same for your tractor, ATV and any other mill equipment, while you’re at it. How long has it been since you’ve changed out the hydraulic oil & filter and pumped a little grease in all the zerks? And, of course, with any portable bandsaw mill you always want to ensure your saw blade is sharp.

A little spring cleaning will make your sawmill a much more pleasant place to work, will create a better impression on anyone who comes to visit and will keep your equipment running longer and more efficiently. Just remember to wipe your feet before you go back in the house or you just might find yourself with a mop in your hands!

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