David Barmon

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since Feb 24, 2014
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Recent posts by David Barmon

Recently I came across a great TEDx talk by Damon Barron from Charlotte North Carolina that gave a great talk about Urban Lumber. It's awesome to see other people working towards the same goals!  

4 years ago
My family and I are avid chestnut fans! We harvest about 100 pounds a year of what I think are Chinese Chestnuts in the Willamette Valley South of Portland on a small, hobby farm. I have also done a lot of urban foraging of chestnuts in and around Portland which is fun but the yields are less because of competition from older Chinese ladies. Cooking and peeling the nuts is time consuming and I am wondering if anyone has any short cuts or techniques they use to shell them.

My son and I made this wacky video about how to harvest them. I put some additional instructions in the text as well.

5 years ago
I would just like to highlight that Gravy can be an important part of any dinner. In addition to being some pretty amazing comfort food in the evening gravy can also be enjoyed at breakfast and lunch! Not to mention the home defense applications!!! Here is a little video I made with my son Zach, talking all about gravy! I'm not sure where gravy would go in a zones/sectors permaculture plan but I'm pretty sure its in there somewhere.

5 years ago
5 years ago
Hello everyone, its been awhile since I checked in. I thought it would be interesting to talk a little bit about drying wood. Getting logs out of someone's yard and to the mill as well as milling the wood are important parts of the process but one of the most challenging and really important pieces of the urban lumber puzzle is the drying process, both air drying AND kiln drying. Especially with hardwoods like walnut and maple ect..

When lumber is air dried it needs to be stacked with stickers. Stickers are the wood spacers that go between each row of boards. They help with air flow and also evenly distribute weight. Its important to have stickers at least every two feet and to have them line up the entire height of the stack or the wood will have a lot of weight unevenly distributed which will cause boards to bend as they dry. It's also important to put down bunks (4x4) at the bottom of the stack to keep the wood off the ground. Ideally keeping the wood out of the elements is helpful but if not possible some plywood or metal roofing material can be placed over the top of the wood. Some woods like doug fir don't need much time to air dry while other species like oak might take a year or longer if they are 2" (8/4) thick. Air drying slabs takes a long time-possibly 2-3 years.

Investing in a good moisture meter is really important so you can monitor when it is time to put your boards in a kiln. It is totally possible to build with air dried lumber but it can move if it dries more once inside a house. Also, at the end of the kiln drying schedule, the kiln is heated up around 140-150 degrees for 24-48 hours to set the pitch and also kill any bugs such as powder post beetles. I recently heard about a high end kitchen remodel where 40,000 worth of work had to be redone when powder post beetles started eating their way out of myrtlewood used on the project.

There are several types of kilns but on the small scale, most people use solar dry kilns or dehumidifying kilns. Both set ups have their pros and cons. Solar kilns are great but only work at certain times of the year in temperate climates (not a problem in places like San Diego) when the temp. and weather are optimal. Dehumidifying kilns allow you to dry wood year around and have good control over the drying process but need a lot of electricity to run.

I am curious to hear about other people's thoughts/experiences with drying wood.
5 years ago
Hello everyone! I started an urban lumber facebook page: www.facebook.com/urbanlumbercommunity. I have been connecting with folks from New York, Tampa, California and Michigan all doing cool things. I have almost 4,000 followers so far. I am working on getting some more followers before I get the word out about permies.com. The focus on the page is to build the urban lumber movement and the response has been pretty positive so far.

Have a great fall!

6 years ago
Glad you like the plaque Paul! The wood came from a Deodar Cedar tree which was removed from a backyard on one of my landscaping projects in NE Portland. Deodar Cedar is native to India and means tree of the gods in Hindi. It is very fragrant and rot resistant as well. There are a lot them planted in Portland and they can grow to 8' in diameter in 100 years! This would have certainly been turned into firewood had I not saved it and had it milled. My next door neighbor Rob with Bullfrog Graphics was kind enough to do the laser engraving.

6 years ago

Julia Winter wrote:David, if you're still following this thread, the Side Yard farm has a new property and they took down some pretty massive trees getting it ready for veggie production. This is in Cully, north of Killingsworth and east of 42nd. Some of the wood was chopped into chunks but there are a couple of very impressive trunks that could maybe be converted into lumber. Sorry, I don't have the species right now but one could be walnut.

Julia, I stopped by the Side Yard farm site where the trees were cut down. There are several very nice cherry logs, really great black locust logs and a large cottonwood log. Yes this is good stuff. It looks like the farm is using it as a barrier for the edge of the property. I am going to contact them and see if I can save the wood from rotting away. Its sad to see well intentioned people making such poor land management decisions. I often wonder if clearing trees to grow vegetables is really as sustainable as we think. Especially when high quality lumber is going to waste.

Thanks for the heads up!
6 years ago
Here is some video of me moving a truly massive Cedar of Lebanon log with an excavator last week.

6 years ago
Enrique and CK, thanks for the kind words! It really means a lot to me to hear you are interested in promoting the same concepts in different parts of the country.

So there are a variety of portable saw mill manufactures. The most well know is Woodmizer which makes bandsaws. They are basically a trailer that can be moved around by truck. Bandsaws have a 1/8" kerf so you don't loose to much material. They are also very fast and efficient. The small mills start around 7k and there are models that go up to 40K.

We own a Lucas mill which has a dedicated slabbing attachment. Most people buy a Lucas mill which as circle blade which cuts dimensional lumber. Lucas mills cost 9-12k. They can also be broken down easily and taken into a back yard if needed which is something not possible with a woodmizer.

The simplest set up is an Alaskan Mill which is a frame that you put a chainsaw into. You need a large chainsaw like a Stihl 880 or Husky 3120xp to really have the power to make the cuts. Chainsaw mills are affordable but stinky have tiring to operate. They are also hard on the chainsaw. Logosol and Granberg are the two manufatures I know of.

Other companies are Timber King, Peterson, Norwood. I am probably leaving out several companies but this should be a start.

Besides a mill, you will need a lot of other things to haul logs and move the lumber around. If you are milling large diameter slabs then you will need equipment as the slabs are often too heavy to lift green without a lot of people. Also, having land to store logs. It's hard to find folks with a kiln to dry wood for others so owning a kiln is helpful. Its easy to spend 50k getting started. Don't quite your day job basically. I would recommend first getting a few logs and hiring someone else who already has a mill to mill lumber for you. That's what I did. You can take the lumber and air dry. Hardwoods need 1" per year to dry as a general rule so it takes a while to get the lumber to market.

6 years ago