The Value of a Board Edger
A straight cutting edger is as valuable as your sawmill. It can double your production and increase the value of your logs / lumber.
A good edger will save you 50% of your time. I suggest that you time yourself cutting a log into flitches and boards and then time yourself edging with your sawmill. You will find that it takes as long to edge as it does to saw the log. Because of this time consuming process of edging back on the sawmill it causes most sawyers to cut thicker slabs thus loosing lumber that could have been a 1 x 4 or a 1 x 6.
A very important thing the edger does for a sawyer is increase the value of the log / lumber. Many sawyers will square up a cant 12 inches and decide they want 2 x 6’s from this log. Then split the cant at 6 inches thus ruining about 50% of the lumber to bowing. Any time the heart wood is on the edge of a board it causes bowing of the board. I’ve seen boards bow 6 inches over 16 ft. and that is not good lumber.
The better option is to saw the lumber from the sides of the cant whether that be 2” or 1” thick so as to keep the heart of the cant centered while working it to an overall size of 6” wide x 12” tall. Then flip the cant up and saw the 2 x 6 from top to bottom and that lumber will be straight. Then use the edger to split the 2 x 12’s that were cut from the sides while bringing the cant to 6 inches wide; all of this lumber will be straight. This strategy can be used with any cant that is larger than the lumber intend to end up with.
It is sometimes surprising how much more lumber you can get from your logs as well as how much you can speed up the sawing process. Our time is the most valuable thing we have and we must make the most of it and this is an easy way to save yourself some time while also adding monetary value to your lumber.
An edger is a purchase to justify as it always pays for itself quickly. It is one of the best investments you can make as a sawyer.