Processing Beach wood
I took a trip to the beach for wood yesterday and that I will share some lessons that I have learned throughout the years of harvesting off the beach.
Harvesting beach wood for turning or your wood project is a lot of work but you know how we are… Yah we are like kids in a candy store. We will beige, borrow or steal to get our candy. Well hopefully not steal. I like beach wood because it is more stable than green wood. It has been soaking and drying and soaking and drying for sometimes years.
There are places on the Oregon coast that you can take a chain saw and cut what you want without permits. Many cut for fire wood but there are a few of us who see more value in the beach wood. You can find burl, curly wood, fiddle back wood, flame figure and lots of spalted woods. The trick with the spalted woods is trying to figure out what kind of wood it is. I will have to right and article on identifying wood from the beach some time later. But for now I will stick with the subject.
Beach wood or drift wood comes with a lot of baggage. You know like your second cousin’s nephew but we won’t go there. Beach wood is covered in sand. That is a no brainer but how do you deal with the sand on the surface of the wood and in the deep cracks and splits. Sand for obvious reasons dull anything sharp tool that you put to it. It will tare up your chain saw chains not to mention your bar, tare up your band saw blades and your turning tools. So how to you get to the minimum dulling of your tools from the beach to your lathe?
(I am open to discussion on this) The first step getting it from the beach is cutting most of the surface wood off at the beach. This is where I get rid of most of the sand in my wood. I am very careful of where I cut. Here are some pointers that I keep in mind for your beach trip:
- • Make sure you have your hearing, eye and hand protection.
- • Make sure that you bring your tools and chain sharpener. ( I forgot my gas and oil so a little extra cost there)
- • Make sure that you use appropriate bar oil. You don’t to be skimping on the oil especially in sand.
- • I will never let my blade hit the sand that the log is laying on. Brush off any sand that you can see on the log.
- • I will only to 90 degree cuts to the log and with the grain cuts to the log.
- • Never cut down a crack (that is where sand works its way in. I will cut along side of the crack and then trim it off with my band saw when I get to the shop.
The reason for the 90 degree and along the grain cut is to get into the good wood. You will get past the surface sand quickly when you use just these to angles. I try and use these to cuts even off the beach. It is easier on your saw and less work for you.
This last trip I got off the beach about 3000 lbs by myself in about a half a day. I guess that is the old Alaska fishermen in me that just says “get it done” happened.
So when I get the wood home or to my shop I have for the most part clean wood or easily trimmable (is this a word. LOL!)blocks where I can avoid the sand. So Yesterday I only dulled one chain because I was first of all fortunate and second I was careful of where and what I cut.
Free of Sand! Yahoo!
Hope this helps
-- Greg, Southern Oregon, www.oregonburls.com What can I say but God Is Good!