Turning a dead oak tree into a mountain bike jump with a cheap mill

Turning a dead oak tree into a mountain bike jump with a cheap mill


Way back in the summer we cleared this dead
tree to build woodpecker trail. Who knows how long the actual tree was laying
there, but the timber we cut from it certainly was solid, and strangely full of perfectly
usable wood. Well as it turns out, Berm Peak is a goldmine
of white oak, which according to Wikipedia is naturally rot resistant. Now I’m not sure how rot resistant it actually
is but wherever we find this stuff it seems to be more or less intact. With the discovery of this plentiful resource
right under our noses, I wanted to find a way to use it for more than just caging landings. So today we’re going to actually build something
out of that very first piece we cleared from woodpecker trail. But first, we need to move it down to the
gravel road. You can barely fit a hand truck down this
singletrack, let alone a UTV. So, it took a little creativity and a whole
lot of struggling to get this chunk of dead tree back to the gravel road. This winch I’m using gets its power from
any cordless drill. On the surface it seems almost too useful,
but its actually pretty limited. This winch has a built in torque limiter which
keeps you from pulling anything bigger than this. With a hard 500lb limit, you cannot rely on
this drill winch for vehicle recovery or pulling larger chunks of timber like we did with the
git’r. But for shifting things around or positioning
heavy logs for trail building, this thing could prove useful. After a long and bumpy ride on the struggle bus,
I finally got that chunk of timber down to the gravel road. And now you might be wondering why I didn’t
simply cut this up where I found it, and you know what? That’s a really good point. But our milling operation is going to require
a level surface, as well as shore power. Because in addition to that drill winch there’s
something else we need to test out today. I found this chainsaw mill on Wranglerstar’s
YouTube channel, and bought it for under $30 on Amazon. It attaches to any chainsaw bar with set screws,
and uses a 2×6 as a guide rail. By tacking it down with a couple screws, you
can square up timber and turn it into dimensional lumber. To actually cut this waterlogged oak, I’m
using a plug in electric saw that was under $100. Seems like an odd choice, but a gas saw that
can run continuously without overheating is actually pretty expensive. There’s also the noise factor of running
a two stroke saw continuously for hours on end. Not very neighborly. But my electric milling operation was far
from perfect. First of all, I kept blowing the breaker and
needed to use a different circuit with higher amperage. Then the extension cords themselves started
giving me problems, which isn’t a surprise given the current this thing draws. This saw also comes with a self sharpening
chain. It’s a pretty interesting concept, but I
suspect it’s how they make their money back on this thing. Replacement self sharpening chains cost $30
which is double a normal chain. I’ll pass on that and install a normal ripping
chain when this wears out. Another limitation is the 18” bar. Planks like we’re cutting are fine, but
you’re not gonna start slabbing with this. But once I got the bugs worked out, this $130
electric mill was totally usable. In fact, I was able to get 2×12 planks out
of this thing. And after a little cleaning up on the table
saw, I had more than enough usable wood to actually make something. It may come as no surprise that we’re building
a kicker ramp. It’s my favorite thing to build so, what
better to test our first batch of lumber from the Berm Peak Sawmill? I’ve never been one to waste lumber, or
so I thought. But the truth is, two by stock from the store
is just so cheap that an extra piece here and there doesn’t mean much. This project forced me to use materials more
wisely. Because I feared running out of wood and having
to mill more of it, I found myself maximizing the wood I had, and even altering the project
itself to use less material. I ripped off-cuts into smaller planks, and
spaced those planks considerably further apart than normal. Hardwood is—heavy, especially when it’s
not fully dried out. But our rough cut hardwood has quite a bit
of character. This thing looks like a medieval bike ramp,
as if it were designed to perform beheadings on. Because the wood is rough cut, it actually
provides more traction for bike tires. And because I plan on leaving this outside,
we’ll get to see just how durable this wood actually is. And since this ramp stands on its own, we
can experiment with it. When I’m about to try something really stupid,
I need someone to egg me on. So I got on videochat with Porter. You can’t hear the sound but it went something
like, “don’t worry Seth, you got this”. “Alright I’m gonna try”. “Crap, did you see my front wheel hit that
tree?” “Yeah, I was gonna say something about that. Why don’t you try lowering your rear wheel”
“alright, here goes”. It’ll make more sense later why I wanted
to do a 360 right here. But I guess it’s pretty tight. If you grew up around saw mills this was probably
not very interesting but to me it’s witchcraft. I always thought lumber came from the store,
but now I know it’s a relatively simple process to get it from dead trees. And as a result, we have a sweet looking kicker
that was actually born on Berm Peak. I plan to install this kicker at the start
of a much bigger feature, which we’ll begin building once the weather becomes more predictable. Until then, I’m gonna run the Berm Peak
sawmill until we have enough planks to do it. And when all is said and done, we’ll have
the craziest feature we’ve built yet. Thanks for riding with me today and I’ll
see you next time.