A Day at the Sawmill

Some of you who follow this blog may recall that I delivered a couple of large alligator juniper logs to the local sawmill the other day. Yesterday I milled them, with a little help from my friends. Here are some photos from the process of log-to-table as I build a dining room table from the wood, cut for that purpose.

The rough cut was 1 3/4″ per plank and plained down, that will be about 1 1/2″ thickness per plank that will go into the finished table.

I have two friends who own sawmills up near the White Wolf Mine, which means that I can impose on more than one person when milling wood. People here mill wood for their own homes. The County won’t let that go into the structure of a home per se, but it goes into flooring, paneling, furniture, and building sheds, barns, etc. Being able to mill wood for your own use or the use of neighbors means that you don’t have to pay exorbitant retail prices for lumber.

The table will be 9′ long and 44″ wide with two, 18″ leaves. The planks in the table will be 9″ wide…for the most part. I will post more photos as this project comes together. Right now, the wood is curing. It was cut from a dead tree, so there wasn’t much moisture in the wood, but to be on the safe side, it’s being left to dry for a couple of weeks before it’s worked further.


Riddle Me This

Does “Liz” actually stand for “lizard”, which is to ask if she is a space alien wearing a skin suit?


Another Rice Bowl that Pres. Trump Broke

Trump broke this merry-go-round and it angered the Washington Swamp — “doesn’t the President know that this is how we make money?” He knew and both parties hated him for it.


Arms & Armor Representations

It’s a good representation of a crossbowman of the second half 15th century.

Looking at the picture, the soldier could be someone who is mounted (though not currently wearing spurs). He could fall ‘Reisige’ though German use of brigandines was limited and ‘reisige’ normally refers to more heavily equipped men (men-at-arms), there was a large variation and this could be at the bottom end of that.

Brigandines were common in the low countries, France, Iberia, etc. In. that time the low countries belonged to both ‘Germany’ and ‘Burgundy’ in this period.

Especially in German armies (like Fredrick-the-Victorious’) almost any soldier could be issued with a crossbow, including the men at arms.

He could also be a levee soldier, a townsman in a towns’ contingent, a man accompanying the local knights’ contingent.

The couter* looks Maximilian and is probably 50 years later than the brig, but arms and armor were handed down, bought, and sold and were taken in battle and reused, so nailing down a particular time can be more difficult than one might think.

A mail bevor** would probably cover the mouth.

The sallet has a very large vision slit and is of a bit of a substandard shape, looks too much like a modern repro.

The waist is too low couter wings look made with a wheel, not shaped as they would be.

— — — — —

* The couter is defensive armor for the elbow in a piece of plate armor. Initially, just a curved piece of metal, as plate armor progressed the couter became an articulated joint.

** The bevor was a component of a medieval suit of armor, usually a single piece of plate protecting the chin and throat. Almost a gorget, not quite. It fills the gap between the helmet and breastplate.








  1. Books: one tongue-in-cheek description of Russian literature I got a smile out of – people with unpronounceable names do nothing for a couple hundred pages, then someone’s aunt dies.

  2. Dr. Zhivago: Cold…a frozen house…more cold.

    Always exciting to open up a log…stunning grain.

    • The grain on this one surprised me. A lot of red, of course, pink, blue, green all woven into the growth of the tree. Because it’s a juniper, not a pine, the trunk was twisty and that reflects in the grain as well.

      • Once finished the meals around it will be epic, and if anyone gets bored with the conversation they can stare at the grain. One thing I discovered, the build is half, finishing is the other…can ruin a project with a lousy finish. Thankfully there are a a lot of great products that help finishing go easier.

        BTW, I have sawmill envy, thankfully we have one just up the road in Wyoming after getting booted from their Colorado location due to the 20 year in the making reservoir.

        • I may inlay with turquoise here and there, though I haven’t thought that out fully. You can buy powdered turquoise. Put that in cracks and features and then epoxy over it.

  3. Love the Far Side. That cartoon reminds me of another. Scene is the castle ramparts with a squad of troops dressed in chain mail and tunics with the Knights Templar cross, conducting catapult drill. They are obviously being chewed a collective new one by the NCO. Catapult is in the fired position. In the far upper corner of the frame is a tiny Templar cross with arms and legs, still gaining altitude.

    Addendum to Don Quixote–hates mirrors.

  4. It’s great you can get lumber like that. It will be stunning when you are finished.

    God bless you all.

  5. One of the clearest, concise description of the classics. I have read all but Wurthering Heights and I still will not read it, scanned the Cliff notes and was not impressed. During the “Zombie Apocalypse” I will have to remember my breathing exercises…

    • It will take some time, Brig. I hope that I’m finished with it by the end of summer.

    • Tongue and groove, and I have to mill another log to make the legs. That’s in the future. I wanted to get the tabletop cured before getting to the legs, and forming those on a wood lathe.

      As to the leaves, I’m following a German design where they fold-down, into the table. Copying a good design that I’ve seen. It will be a couple hundred pounds. At least two hundred. There will have to be four legs and a heavy center pedestal to support the weight. Once it’s in place, I doubt that it will be moved before I die. The WWM hovel has double doors so I can get it through in that way, likely assemble the legs inside the house, pedestal first.

      I am thinking about claw feet for the legs? I’m not that far yet. Planing, joining, sanding, and then a heavy epoxy finish. There are a few wormholes in the wood, but not many. Those will have to be filled pre-epoxy. You’ll still see them, but there will be some fill down deep before the epoxy goes on. Once that’s on, it will be nearly bullet proof.

  6. Log – it’s better than bad, it’s good!

    Nice-looking piece of wood, there. You can tell how old I am because I never would have guessed the sawmill would be a bandsaw. Looks like a nice handy rig, not what I was imagining at all. I think the newest portable sawmill I can remember seeing before this was from the ’50s.


    • My experience with small mills is those old units, run by the Amish. It’s powered by a tractor and they use a BIG radial blade. The advantage of a bandsaw is that you can swap out the blades more inexpensively when they dull. The old Amish rigs required that you sharpen them by hand when they dulled, and it took some time.

      • They always have a demonstration area for “Olde Tyme” wood cutting at the Greeley Old Time Farm Show. The blade had to be 5 or 6 feet in diameter, but I can’t remember what powered it.

  7. Good analysis of the arms and armor.

    A lot of people just don’t get that armor was kept for a long time in useful condition. Munition’s grade, especially. Kept by armorers and then issued when needed.

    Kind of like the Papal Swiss Guard’s armory. Full of lots of goodness from the Renaissance to modern times. So it’s quite possible for a Level III vest system to be under that Maximillian-style armor.

  8. The table will be stunning, I’m sure. There’s a big market for “Beetle Kill” wood here, but the damn greenies and USFS make it very difficult for people to go harvest the dead trees.

    It’s beautiful wood, full of colors and textures.

  9. what beautiful piece of wood. few problems can’t be solved with a day in the shop. or high explosives, whichever…

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