JoelsBuicks

Finishing my Buick Shop

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Before Buicks came wood.  As a teenager, my best friend's uncle had a sawmill in Arkansas.  He actually ran his mill off of an old Buick engine, but I wasn't paying much attention back then.  I was fascinated by his ability to reduce a log into just about any dimension and the beauty of that wood was amazing.  I decided then that I'd like to have a mill someday.

 

Nearly 25 years ago I found myself on a special assignment to rural southwest Missouri.  The company had a big problem and I was sent there to manage the TV and newsprint media (it's a long story).  I met gentleman who was moderately crippled when he sawed a tree and it fell on him.  He owned a sawmill but couldn't run it with his disability.  I bought the mill and moved it to Oklahoma.  It's about an early 20's mill and I replaced all of the wood structure with steel I-Beam and channel.  I built it back with a concrete footing and then built an open building above it.  I've been operating it as a hobby for over twenty years. 

 

The mill is powered by a 1950 6-cylinder International combine engine.  The saw is 48-inch diameter and inserted tooth.  The carriage is a three headblock design. 

 

Long ago I sawed up and kiln dried enough wood to last me a dozen lifetimes.  It's all in that barn shown in the background.

 

       

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This posting brings us up to date with the progress of my shop.  With the exception of a few door headers to weld up, my work on the I-Beam steel is finished. 

 

Growing up rural, Dad went to many auctions and when it came to structural steel, very few really good bargains got away.  Over the years he ended up with a few hundred feet of I-Beam, 6", 7", 8" and 10".  Both wide flange and narrow flange; long and short pieces, a few with crap welded to them.  Same thing with pipe, especially 2" and 4".  I am now grateful that he did this and with his strong encouragement, I designed this building to use much of what he accumulated.  Again, this is certainly low cost but high labor.  My job for a couple months was to clean these beams up and weld them together in preparation for use.  I am sick of welding I-Beams!

 

The last structural beam is a 10" beam about 38 feet long.  I sawed boards to fit in the web and on top of one edge.  This beam will span the two internal rooms and allow for 2x8 joists to be used to support an upper level that will be decked with plywood and used for storage.  The beam was set this past Friday, just before the weather got nasty.

 

Joel

    

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This building will have 4 overhead doors.  Three will be 16 x 7 and one will be 12x12.  Each of the 16's will have an 8-inch I-Beam header and the 12 footer will have a 10-inch I-Beam (I won't explain other than to say it's a local supply and demand limitation).

 

I have to stretch two of those 8" pieces to make the correct length.  Ugh, don't put up the welder just yet.

 

The old building in the background was first built by my Dad in 1952.  It is 24 x 48.  About 18 years ago, Dad and I completely rebuilt this building and used only the walls.  We added a concrete floor, roof and trusses, and insulation.  For years, it was Dad's woodshop.  Then, 4 years ago, I added another shop area behind this building - tieing into it.  The addition is 30 x 54 and is where I rewood my cars.

 

I'll try to post regularly.  Thanks again for watching and have a great Christmas Holiday.

Joel

 

(Sorry, the pics are out of order)

 

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Edited by JoelsBuicks (see edit history)
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you make me tired thinking about the work. great job,  i look forward to your post.

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Joel,

My grandfather ran a sawmill his whole life in Gerard's Fort, Pa. 

I remember going to his old house and marveling in his floor choices. He had different wood in every room. Cherry, walnut and oak for sure.

Love the garage, buddy.

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I've been told that 75 years ago there were many of these sawmills around and that is how people got lumber to build barns, fences, and chicken houses.  I think they have gone the way of the blacksmith.  In recent years we've seen a resurgence of these portable bandsaw mills for the furniture hobbiests.  

 

There's nothing like opening up a straight walnut log and revealing the faces and colors of finest wood in this country.  

 

I'll never regret this part of my past.

 

Thank You,

Joel

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I really enjoyed reading your post and looking at the progress of your garage. You have to tell us what type of Buicks you own.  I will be following you.  I will do my best to pick up and learn anything I can.  

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To get the most out of a good snow or ice storm, one only needs to have a few brush piles to burn.  Any other time, around here you've got a grass fire that will burn half way to Kansas.

 

A sawmill makes lumber but in doing so, it makes slabs and sawdust and both build up to remarkable amounts.  With about 95% of my lumber now sawed and the right weather conditions, we call the local fire dept. and then let the burning begin.

 

By the way, the sawdust pile doesn't get lit unless you have a week to watch it.  It's just left to rot.

 

Shop progress is slow but not stopped.  Take care, Joel.

 

P.S.  I'll list my Buicks in a forthcoming post.  I have 19 of them from '31 to '74.  Four or five of them have little hope of getting back on the road.

 

 

 

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looks like a lot of good long boards in the burning pile.

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Hey Gary, 

 

Long boards in the pile but not much good at all.  The outer couple inches and sometimes much more than that are full of cracks and gouges.  You're only seeing one face.

 

All that being said, I think I've wasted some boards for the sake of time.  Not too many I'm sure but sometimes you cut a slab a little fat so that you have plenty of flat side to turn down on the carriage.  

 

Another problem is that with 20ft logs, you get at least 2 inches change in diameter.  Ultimately, you're aiming for a rectangular cant and that means you waste more on the fat end.

 

The nice thing about this wood is that once you saw a board, it stays straight as an arrow.

 

Thanks again,

Joel

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I came up short on 8" I-beam for my door headers and so I improvised.  I turned some 6" I-beam into 8" I-beam and will soon act like a Ronco toaster oven and  set it and forget it.  

 

I've got four overhead doors planned for the shop.  Three 16' and one 12'.  This is the last of the steel and it didn't come any too soon.  I'm using about 360 feet of beam in this building and the scrap I have left over would fit in a wheelbarrow.  The welding is over.

 

Thanks,

Joel

 

edit to add disclaimer:  the method illustrated to "stretch" I-beams idoes not provide equivalent structural strength.  This and any other examples of Ozark Engineering presented by the author should not be misconstrued as acceptable for any intents and purposes.

 

 

 

 

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Edited by JoelsBuicks (see edit history)
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The I-beams that make up the door headers need to have wood bolted on three sides to allow for finishing out the door opening and eapecially to attach the overhead door track and for anchoring the lifting spring.  

 

Affixing the wood to the beams has been one of those little projects that I don't like to do but I really don't want to pay a contractor a small fortune to do it either.  At these moments, Dad used to tell me, "Boy, just grit your teeth and do it."

 

So I did and I'm off to the next thing.

 

Take care,

Jo

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Just now, JoelsBuicks said:

The I-beams that make up the door headers need to have wood bolted on three sides to allow for finishing out the door opening and eapecially to attach the overhead door track and for anchoring the lifting spring.  

 

Affixing the wood to the beams has been one of those little projects that I don't like to do but I really don't want to pay a contractor a small fortune to do it either.  At these moments, Dad used to tell me, "Boy, just grit your teeth and do it."

 

So I did and I'm off to the next thing.

 

Take care,

Jo

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Tha's a lot of drilling! What did you use to drill and how? They look awesome! I never have a problem doing mundane work when it is going to show and look good, it's the stuff that gets covered up like insulation and wiring that I despise. 

They look great man!  Those old power pole beams are awesome!

 

 

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Thanks Lamar.  I used the oxy/acetylene torch to make the bolt holes in the beams.  Then I just held the wood in place and drilled through the holes and through the wood.  I know, it sound simple but I've struggled with these things for a few weeks now.  I think it has more to do with my shortage of available time recently.

 

This may be a discussion better left for the sawmill forum but there is a reason that rough sawn boards are further processed through planing and edging to final dimension.  At best a 1920's mill like mine will saw repeatedly within about 1/16 inch of desired dimension.  But, if you are in a hurry and you have a poorly sharpened saw, about all you can count on is accuracy within 1/8".  These power poles (about 1990 vintage) do make great wood that stays straight and once all nailed up, will not show its dimensional flaws.

 

I'm losing precious Buick time on this project and I'm eager to get it to a point where a good framer can manage it. 

 

Thanks again,

Joel      

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Stuck here in the Houston Airport waiting the first of four hours delay because of a broken plane!  Oh well, it's a good time for a shop update.

 

Before I get into that, a life changing event has abruptly snuck up on me.  I will retire at the end of this month and the timing is due to an attractive calculus for my pension which would have seriously changed for the worst if I waited til August which was my original date.  I don't much like surprises.

 

So, I decided that with more time, I can do a little more work on the shop myself and save some labor costs.  With the lumber sawing now complete, I've decided to build the trusses.  There will be twenty five trusses spaced on 4' and they span 28'.  They are 4-12 pitch and use 2x6 for the top and bottom chords and 2x4 braces.  The gussets are 3/4 plywood, no flakeboard for these.

 

I start first by drawing out the truss on the concrete floor and lay the lumber on those marks; add the gussets and braces and nail with an air nailer.  It helps to have all parts pre-cut.  I build one truss and leave it on the floor.  The successive trusses are then built and flipped over to gusset the other side.  

 

The trusses will span the space between the I beams in the pic.  Two down and 23 to go!  But first, Los Angeles for a week - one last time.  Now, I'm just 2 -1/2 hours from boarding.

 

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Awesome Joel! ( why do I think I am going to be saying that a lot throughout this thread?) maybe I missed it but is that still power pole lumber you're using for the trusses? 3/4", those are some serious gussets.  I think you mentioned it before, but considering that is rough-cut lumber, what is the actual dimensions of those 2x's? 

 Your building design is the same as an old lumber company building I helped demolish for the lumber about 25 years ago. It was built totally out of old growth fir back in the 30's and the bottom chords were unspliced 28 footers.  I built the old barn and a pole barn out of all of it, I loved working with the fir! 

 I considered building my own trusses for my current garage project, but after looking at the prices of lumber, gussets and nails for them and them being 40 footers and working by myself I decided  to have them fabbed and delivered. 

 

Congrats on the early retirement!!!  Look forward to following your build! Dude, just be careful on that roof work!

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Not sure of the laws in OK, but when I build my barn in New Jersey, the trusses had to be signed off by an engineer.  Plus that had to be made by a certified company, could not build them myself.  Be safe installing. Without a crane they can be a bear to install with out the right help.

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In Oklahoma we haven't quite evolved that far.  There are building codes for residences but not for barns.  Having said that, I did consult with a free and rudimentary truss design software and I also consulted the lumber loading charts - several of which are online.  All of these said that I could use all 2x4's but that felt weak to me so I used 2x6's.  Although I am an engineer, I have not signed off on them.  They will hold up a snow load that Oklahoma will only see if we cut too much CO2 and start global freezing!

 

All kidding aside, this rural area is full of sagging barns and shacks but freedom includes the ability to do dumb things.  Buyer beware!

 

Thanks,

Joel

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All of the lumber for the shop was sawed from the power poles.  They are not creosote but would have had a green tint when they were new.  There were two of these poles that an aluminum tag (sort of like a Buick firewall tag) that listed several coniferous wood species.  A hole was punched next to Douglas Fir.  I believe they were all the same species. 

 

I strive to saw dimensional lumber at a minimum.  A sawmill, especially this old circle saw mill, is only good for about +/- 1/16".  So, most of my 2x6's will end up about 1-9/16" x 5-5/8".

 

The wood I'm getting is very nice looking stuff - looks as good as you'd buy and with no twists, wane, bow or cups. 

 

When you design your own building, you know exactly the length of 95% of all your boards and so I cut them to length so that The framing is fast.  It does require some marking for the framers to follow when nailing.  Below are piles of wood staged for the building.

 

Thanks again for the nice comments.

 

Joel

 

 

 

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Oops, sorry for the duplicate post, maybe our gracious moderator will fix it.  I think I did this when two pics failed the upload.  I should quit doing this from my iPhone.

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The trusses are done; twenty five of them to be spaced 48".  I used every scrap of 3/4" plywood we had for gussets and had to buy 2 sheets.  My old nail gun hung in there, shooting just over 8000 nails for these trusses.

 

Just over a week left before retirement.  More time is on the way.

 

Thanks,

Joel

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Awesome! i see a miter saw set up, did you you have it set up with a jig or? The angle on the bottom cut of the top truss was too long for the saw though wasn't it? 

 

 

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