"The tree was felled in early march while the ground was soft, so as to try and get less shake in the wood, and then let lay for a while. It was a 120 ft ponderosa, 220 years old that died the same year as my dad. It and its sibling were growing right off the corner of the deck. The sibling still stands. In late may, the ground was firm enough to start to work. The tree was too heavy to move by hand and too big for mill. I should have bought a 36. Oops. I ended up cheeking the log with a chain saw.  Also too heavy for standard track. The tree had made its own ditch in the ground where it fell, so good enough, its not going to move at all, 1500 to 2000 lbs per section. So I put on the old thinking cap & decided a couple 20 ft 4 inch C channels would become our track. We found a pair of 6 inch C channels, even better, on craigs list just over an hour from here and got those. I made some gauge blocks to set the channels for the mill. We clamped them in place on some cross ties, leveled the whole mess and put dun-age where necessary to keep every thing flat and true, while the mill runs down the track. Within a couple of weeks I had the tree milled. I'd mill a section, and have to reposition the tracks for the next section. I am amazed how flat and consistent the mill cuts, and so ended up being really happy with the Oscar 328. 

    I stacked all the boards after cutting, without stickers, in hopes of letting the fresh cut wood stabilize, get used to its new tensions, for a while, about three weeks. Then I went back and oiled both sides of boards with linseed oil and re stacked them with 1/2" stickers, every 24"  in between each board. I cut a few 1/2" thick slabs full length and width and then cross cut to 1" with skill saw. The stickers thus had the grain running in the same direction as the boards. My hopes with all this was to control drying and avoid sticker stain, and to maintain a flat stable product. We let this sit for another two months.

    The at the end of monsoon season Late August early September, while its still a bit humid, but cooler, we started on the deck replacement. This took about three weeks, myself and a helper. We had to pull old deck in sections wide enough for one new plank, and ad that plank. This method gave us a surface to work from. We followed this routine until finished. 

     A couple of weeks later, I started cutting plugs for all the screw holes. The reasoning here was,  I milled all the planks a full and 2" as I want this puppy to last, there for I needed to countersink the deck screws a 1/2". I used a 3/8th s inch forstner bit to do this. Upon doing some research the screws tend to start rusting after a few years. So, I decided a drop of synthetic motor oil mixed with marvel mystery oil, in the bottom of each hole and on top of the screws would be prudent. Then I cut 450 3/8 walnut plugs to seal holes and be reason #2 decorative. A bit of wood glue around the rim of the hole as well. Note the oil was in the bottom, so no problem. Drove in the plugs and then flush cut with a very sharp paring chisel. 

    The following week, another coat of linseed and I'm DONE!  YEAH! Next spring a follow up coat of oil and so on once a year after that for three years and then once every three or four years after that. This thing should outlast me!  Next spring, Lord willing, I'll cut and mill material for new stair treads and beam ends. I'm going to use a smaller tree, so I can use the factory tracks and log dogs:) By the way, we milled posts and joists and beams out of the cheeks, for my neighbors coming green house. I'll burn the rest in wood stove next year. Nothing wasted here."

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