Twenty years ago when Tony Chaplik sold us our sawmill he told of an amazing phenomena he observed when milling wood. He said that when you start off with a pile of logs and cut all the useful timber out of it, somehow you end up with a pile of slab as big as the pile of logs you started with. Our experience with the mill has proven his observation to be correct. Moreover, we’ve found that it takes as much work to deal with the slab as it does to mill the wood.
So as the creek and yard have been filling up with 4 ½" futtock, deck beam, and station stock, the drying sheds have been filling with 2 ½” stringers and 2” planking stock, and the heavy timbers for the centerline structure have piled up on the marsh, the area around the mill has been filling up with slab. To combat this, we have been very busy processing firewood. We already have all of next winter’s firewood stored in the sheds and drying. We have also been sending wood off with our many friends who have been helping out on the Beal, filling their sheds and yards.
Sometimes, more than just firewood comes out of a log when you are sawing heavy stock for grade. When working at a log trying to get 2-2 ½” or 4 ½” flitch, sometimes making a 1” or 1 ½” cut will allow for the best use of the logs for the larger pieces. While the boards from these are too thin for much of what we are doing with the Beal, they are exactly what is needed for smaller projects. And so it is that we have given traded and sold a good deal of this stock to Tom Jarvis for the ribs and planking for Resolute, Cyrus Ebinger for ribs and planking for Voyager II, to the Essex Shipbuilding Museum, and Lowell’s Boat Shop for their projects, and to Red’s Pond Boat Shop and to Dan Noyes for his dories.
The end result of all this is close to 100% efficiency as far as processing our logs are concerned and this is important to us. We consider wood to be sacred. Trees must die for wood to exist. Using wood well, honors that sacrifice, and it is an honor to build a wooden boat.