Saw-Milling In The City
Bonnie Wayne McGuire
 (November 24, 2002)
It's  the kind of beautiful  Autumn afternoon that you want to be outside leisurely soaking up sunshine. Instead, we're in Sacramento setting up our sawmill  to mill lumber from a  large Deodar Cedar that  used to grace Glenn and Lan's yard. It became top-heavy and dangerous, so the city required  the owner's to cut it down. They're remodeling their home, and thought it might make nice lumber to use inside. The thought of using home made lumber is  unique. Equally so, is the idea of sawing it on the city street. Most of the neighbors seemed to agree that it was a fascinating event. Some took pictures, while others just stopped to watch.
Glenn and Lan are  enthusiastic about their project, and are tireless workers. Below is the home they redesigned and are rebuilding. Neighbors feel they're doing a much better job than most professional architects did with other neighborhood homes.

After parking the sawmill in the most convenient spot, Mel gets it perfectly level.

Since he doesn't have his loader, Mel must use the hook and cable wench to roll the log to the sawmill...
...But getting it up onto the mill's  loading forks takes some extra winching by Glenn.
Their teamwork pays off and the log's almost ready to lift onto the sawmill bed.
Here Mel has trimmed the outside bark off into a square cant. The boards on the forks will be edged and cut to size later.
Running out of daylight on the first day...Glenn rigs up a light so that he, Lan and Mel can see what they're doing. It's just about quitting time, because Mel can't see the numbers on his gauge. Tomorrow's another day to tackle the bigger log that looks like it may have to be altered into workable dimensions.
Deodar Cedars are indigenous from northern India, into Afghanistan and east to Nepal. They grow to 60 feet tall in about 50 years. With age, the lowest limbs develop into upward growing branches that can make the plant wider than it is tall. Deodar Cedar was introduced into cultivation in England in 1831, probably arriving in the United States by 1850 during the new plant frenzy of that era. Many were planted throughout Sacramento.
The next day Mel cuts the log in two sections; then rolls the smallest end towards the mill. This log proves to be a challenge. Not only is it large, it's malformed and lumpy, requiring some effort to get it to fit.
Lots of extra sawing ...and turning to whittle it down to fit the width of the saw blade.
The third afternoon is spent wrestling with the last and largest log. Mel has to move the sawmill so that he can roll the log to it. Then he climbs on top and saws the entire length to split it.
Mel's really smoking!
It's split and loading...
...And the process begins all over again...
...Until the final half log is finished and they're down to the last two boards.
What's left is a stack of beautiful lumber. Glenn and Lan will now move it to the back yard where they'll sticker it to air dry. Milling lumber in the city has been an interesting experience. Meeting and working with Glenn and Lan has been a pleasure we'll never forget.