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Beam Making with a Portable Mill

When you are the owner of a portable chain sawmill you have opportunities not just for cutting and making your own wood for projects, but also for making some kind of income from it. There are a number of ways you can do that and here is a look at making laminated and red gum wood beams.

Making laminated beams

Beams are items used in several ways in conventional construction, in churches and especially in the building of rustic houses such as log homes. Within these projects is a need for laminated beams. Using the portable mill you have you can make whatever size beam it can handle depending on the length capacity it has. Plane the bottoms and top of the boards and make sure the widths are larger than they need to be. Then use glue with a roller on those planed surfaces and press together. A good idea is to create a press using a metal frame and cylinders to press the glued pieces together. In 24 hours it will be dry and you will have a strong beam.

You can then set and cut the beam to the correct size and choose whether to stick with the rough sawn appearance or to continue on for a planed appearance. This can be achieved using a motor and planer head mounted onto the front of the portable chain sawmill. If you mount it on a pivot you can lower it as you need it or lock it out of the way when you do not. Planing the sides creates very attractive surfaces on all four sides. If the beam has any cracks or knotholes you can use an epoxy filler and fill them in. Mix some of your sanding dust in with the epoxy to change it so it matches the colour of the wood. To match darker knots if you have it black brick dust is a good addition.

Making red gum beams

Red gum wood is a great wood to use for beams because of its strength. It is very very hard to break or even splinter. If you have not already found out, you cannot even split it with a wedge or axe. As the tree grows the fibers weave together creating a wood that is very heavy and dense. The problem with it as lumbar is it tends to twist as it dries. So it is important to make your beam oversized when using this wood so as it dries it does not become too small.

When the wood is dry and twisted you can then put it back on your portable mill and wedge so you can then cut the beam to the size you want. When you are done you have a very attractive and strong beam, maybe 5 times stronger than something like pine. The trees grow quickly and they grow big too.


Both of the above beams are desirable and can be sold for a good profit.


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