This topic contains 11 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  carl ny 4 years, 6 months ago.

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    Does’ Leap

    Has anyone used a bandsaw mill to saw out poles? Is there a straightforward jig that I can fabricate? When I worked as a cabinetmaker, we used to build a sled to make door thresholds that could be passed through the planer. I was thinking of something similar. How about the ideal taper (i.e fractions of an inch / foot)? Lastly, any species besides ash that work well? I have a lot of straight soft maple that I would like to use if suitable.




    George, from what I’ve heard, ash and hickory are the preferred woods to use because of their ability to flex and thereby absorb vibration/shock. That being said, “when is the best time to prune your orchard? When you are there.” We use the wood we have available. I’m not aware of any reason not to use red maple. Jay


    Carl Russell

    Soft maple is OK for some poles….4×6 at the base for example, but ash is much better for smaller dimension poles such as 2x or 3x stock.

    I have found many farm-cut poles will have some sweep or twist to them, so I usually saw them full dimension on the mill. For example my pole on my bob-sled is 2×8 at the base, then tapers to 2 1/2 or so, so I cut a full 2×8, cut it to length, the snap chalk lines to center the tip, and cut it out with my skill saw.

    Similarly I just fashioned shafts for my Barden cart, cutting 3x3s then snapping lines fro double taper down to 2x2s. This way the sweeps can be minimized.

    I usually come out about a few feet from the base before I start my taper, giving reinforced strength to the base.

    Because I have a mill, I make poles different for every piece of equipment I use. I customize them based on the demand placed on each. I have used soft maple poles many times as they tend to grow straight, and as a small sapling 4″ dia ish they can be strong, but rarely last more than a few years.




    hey George,
    if you aren’t to fussy about the looks, a six or eight inch straight hardwood sapling makes a pretty good pole. you don’t have to worry about sawing through the grain. natural taper. they are great. look for a fork in the tree about twelve or fourteen feet off the ground, cut it there after you fall it and that fork will hold your yoke ring, measure back ten or eleven feet for the evener strap and figure what extra youneed to fit your implement. strip the bark and smooth it out with your saw anywhere it needs and bang, instant pole.
    I have a pile if polestock, some large enough to saw out a 5″cant that I later saw into poles. the side ones always peel off and twist and the only straigfht one is the one in the heart stable enough to remain true. I still saw out poles for mowers and plows, but like the tree poles (?) because they usually stay pretty straight.
    you need a really straight pole for a two way plow because of constantly adjusting the pole. one side on a sweepy pole is a killer.
    elm works good if you can find a straight one. I think you could tie the tree in a knot before splitting it.



    I had a friend saw some tongues (poles!) out of ash. Adjusting the mill wasn’t too difficult. when we started a 5″ thickness on one end we lowered the other end 2 1/2 ” to make a tapered plank. Put the log up level and make another plank. Once we had I think three or four we set them on edge and did the same thing. Unfortunately most of them didn’t stay very straight. maybe better stickering would have helped. Most only bent in one direction so I could turn the curve down and still use them. I have quite a few small iron wood trees, and really like these for my quick round poles. Funny how some implements just need a quick round pole and other require chamfered edges and maybe a little paint. i can’t explain which is which! Donn


    Does’ Leap

    Thanks for the responses. I always thought ash was used because of its dimensional stability, but the flex makes a lot of sense (especially since I tend to brake my fare share of poles). Carl, I like your approach of sawing out cants and cutting them down later (ideally after a year or two of being stickered up). I use saplings where appropriate but with some of my equipment, a squared-up pole works best.




    don’t know About you guys, but now that you bring it up, it seems that all the poles that head for the woods are round and rough. sap sled, scoot, wood cart and so on. but any tool headed for the fields (mower, cultivator, plow, forecart spreader and on) is, like carl said, chamfered, planed, sanded, polished, embellished, has to look. curious that.


    Carl Russell

    Here is a pic of the ash 3×3 – 2×2 shafts I made for my barden cart.

    Not as easy to maneuver as ground driving, but takes less room than with the team, and I am safe with all tools within easy reach…


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    Brad Johnson

    I work in a woodlot in Grand Isle. Vt that has lots and lots of small to mid size hornbeam. That wood makes superior poles. I have made round poles with bark on as well as squared poles with taper cut in. It lasts better than ash or oak and has a good amount of flex. I have never cut it on a mill, but use a chainsaw and hand tools to shape the pole. I have used ash and oak in the past but I like the hornbeam best.


    Ed Thayer


    My neighbor who saws my lumber on a WM LT 40 cut the ash I brought to him out 4″ sq then propped one end up after snapping a line for the cut. It worked well. The finished dimensions were 3″5 at the base x 2.5 at the yolk end. One pole did bend slightly but the one I installed on my forecart stayed straight. I am guessing you could make a jig pretty easy if you had a lot to make. Then just set it aside for the future.



    Livewater Farm

    not knowing how to post a new subject on this new forum setup I am posting here

    the weather

    seems like Irene allover again here

    last night storm was so fierce and the lighting strikes so strong my farm is in shambles once again all barns pens and paddocks flooded sawdust being a commodity these days and hard to get makes clean up really hard

    last night was like you see in a western movie here
    I had what I can only call a stampede
    all stock cows ,horses and young stock stampeded with a direct lightening strike they hit the high tensile wires so hard trying to get back to the barns

    and in mass ripped three 6by 6 braced post out of the ground and torn down one side of a lane way with bar ways down about a 1/4 mile of fence

    still raining here

    on a positive note went to Guilford Fair yesterday and watched the ox pull called it right and missed the rain by about an hour was going to go today and watch horse pull
    back to mucking out


    carl ny

    To post a new subject click on the title you want(Horses,oxen,fabrication,or what ever).Then scroll down to below the topics and you will see where to post a new topic. HTH

    carl ny

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