Matt and I have made a start on our underfloor beams today, its a bit of a challenge and quite a tricky job. The timber came from the nearby Devils Punch Bowl, it was felled in the appropriately named Sawpit Field as part of a project aimed at creating a habitat link for butterflies and other heathland wildlife between the Punchbowl and Highcombe Edge.
This is the timber being loaded for the journey back to Swan Barn farm. As you can see they are not exactly small logs. At over seven metres they are at the limit of what our timber trailer can cope with.
In fact they are too heavy for the crane to lift in one go and had to be lifted off end over end. We brought four of these back to the farm, they are to provide four beams which will support the floor of the Speckled Wood building. They are also over a metre to long to fit on our sawmill (we new that before we bought it, a longer mill was prohibitively expensive and all the other sawn timbers in the build are much smaller) meaning a little bit of inginuity was required to saw the beams.
The plan was to cut the beam out of one end of the log, then move it down the mill and saw out the remainder of the beam. If that sounds simple I can assure you it wasn’t!
After the log was positioned on the mill we made measurements and cut up the length of the mill to the right point.
We then had to knock in wedges to release the trapped blade so it could be backed out of the cut.
Once the sawmill blade was backed out of the cut we had to use a chainsaw to remove the piece of timber we were milling away from the beam.
Once this had been done all around the beam we ended up with the worlds biggest lolipop.
This lollipop was slid back along the mill on rollers so the saw could be brought back in to finish off the far end.
It was a bit nervy milling off the end bits, hoping that all the cuts were going to line up properly and we weren’t going to end up with a wonky beam. But things seemed to be coming together well.
You can see above the point where we just had one final cut to make, by now sighs of relief were starting to be drawn, I definitely fealt like this was quite a big challenge, and was chuffed to bits when the last cut went through and the finished beam came off the bed of the mill.
We have three more of these to make this week, along with the challenge of getting all of the long timbers back to the build site. All in all quite a tricky week. Wish us luck!