Worcestershire County Council’s Countryside Service recount their experiences with on-site conversion
One of the many factors stacked against the small woodland owner is that of the economics of scale. The two, or three trees felled annually just do not warrant the cost of a mobile mill, or having them carted off to one of the few remaining saw mills.
One such solution is a chainsaw mill, cheaper, easier to use and more mobile than many trailer borne mills. This set up, using a large Stihl chainsaw and a purpose made fence, allows wood to be planked at the spot where it was felled. A ladder is used to provide a flat surface for the first cut after which the depth gauge on the fence is adjusted to the appropriate level and by running the saw down the length of the tree, planks are simply fenced off at the set thickness.
This is a dirty dusty job and every plank cut, wastes the thickness of the bar to dust, however as a small scale set up, that can be purchased for a little under £1000, it allows all sorts of small scale woodworkers and woodland owners to harvest and convert their own timber
At Worcester Woods Country Park we have around
|The guide fence ensures a clean parallel cut|
However in a busy Country Park (approx 225,000
|The end product home milled oak boards can be made into on-site features, such as this Oak Bench used in the country park|
As a tool the mill has its limitations, but if kept sharp and well maintained it can be a highly useful and innovative piece of equipment that allows the utilisation of an otherwise low grade resource into a much ‘value added’ product.
Wade Muggleton, Rob Stevenson and Tanya Feasey,
Worcestershire Countryside Service