Putting Points on Survey Stakes

Machinery options for putting a pointed end on stakes in mass quantities. June 18, 2010

I would like to produce survey stakes by the truckload. We already have a gang rip line, optimizing upcut line, and a resaw. Will a double end tenon machine work well for pointing the ends? I noticed a lot of the double end tenoners have tilting heads. I was thinking that tilting two of the heads using saw blades would work fine for producing a pointed end. From my understanding, most survey stakes don't use a pencil point. What other machinery would work well for this application?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor C:
A tenoner will do the job. I have sold them for making picket fence slats. It is overkill unless you have another use for one. A dowel machine will point them and they are much more economical. I am speaking of the larger dowel machines like what you would find in a handle plant for shovel and similar wood handles.

From the original questioner:
I do have other uses for a double end tenon machine, but mainly for pet purposes. I'm curious as to how a dowel machine will point a stick, as I'm under the impression that a dowel machine is feed through. I just got rid of a Hawker 3000 dowel machine. We use a dowel moulder to make multiple dowels instead. I've noticed double end tenoners going cheap at the auctions. However, they do take up a lot of space. A tenoner seems more versatile, as it would be very easy to switch sizes and change from wedge point to a chisel point. The only thing I'm unsure about is the ability to place batches between the slats on a double end tenoner.

From contributor C:
There are two ways to do the job on a double end. The way a new machine manufacturer would sell it to you is with clamp up lugs. With clamp up lugs, which you can have made for an older machine, you have lugs that are higher than usual so the slats can be put on the chain on edge. It takes two lugs for each pack of slats - one facing the usual direction which I will call forward, and the other facing backwards.

The lug pairs are spaced from each other the distance that will be correct for the number of slats your operator can feed; for an example, say that is 6 slats. So he must pick up exactly 6 each time.

As the forward lug comes around the arc of the idle sprocket at the infeed of the machine, it is tilted slightly backwards, giving the operator a short period of time to put the slats between the forward and backward facing lugs. As the link on which the forward facing lug levels on the track, the space is reduced and the material is clamped. I have photos of these lugs at the office. I sold several Mereen-Johnson machines with this feature.

Of course, it is a little bit more complicated. First you must be certain any machine you purchase has the necessary clearances or can be modified to get the clearances under the chain beams, between the chain and the base rails as well as chain guards, etc. A much simpler way is to make a wood box. Put the material in the box.

Of course it is not really a box because it does not have ends on it, just a bottom and the front and back side. The problem is that you will need a dozen or more boxes and the tail boy has to get them out of the box and stack the material on one truck and the boxes on the other and return the box truck to the operator. The second method is a little bit awkward and requires more space around the machine for the extra trucks and traffic space, but it is certainly an economical way to do it. I have seen furniture manufacturers do this.

Specially designed machines for the millwork industry frequently have the clamp up lugs because they were designed for a specific product. As for the dowel machine, to be honest I have sold used equipment that I never saw run in its new home so I can't answer. I know we sold in years past dowel machines and gang rips to people that made stakes for the highway department, but how they set them up, I don't know. If you want a tenoner, by all means that is the right way to do it and produce them by the thousands.

From contributor S:
They make a stake machine - Google it.

From contributor V:
I have made survey stakes by tipping the Bord before resawing into laths for years now and it works well.