Thursday, July 15, 2010

Man vs. Log

Edit: later I built a better log sled here

With the riser block installed and the bandsaw's height capacity increased to 12", I did what I probably shouldn't: actually use the full capacity. I wanted to take a log and turn it into usable lumber. So I went down to the local log dump and took (stole?) a maple log that was about 3' long and 11" diameter. After I took it home I realized that it was way too heavy to maneuver onto my bandsaw. So I had to cut it in half. The only problem is that since it was too heavy for the bandsaw, I was going to saw it by hand. Did I mention that it is 11" and maple? To add to that, the only saw that was coarse enough is a 12" long saw we use to cut down our Christmas tree with. So after getting shirtless and flexing my muscles for the neighbors, I began to cut. It took a really long time. Eventually I got to a point where all was cut except for a 4" diameter core section. So I bashed it with a rock and broke the core section. Before I started milling I painted the ends with latex paint to reduce moisture loss through the end grain.

To begin milling lumber, there must be one flat face. This can be achieved by a number of ways. I chose to make a jig that rides in the miter slot and is screwed into the log. Once the log is split in half, a high resaw fence can be used to make the slabbing cuts. Make sure your fence is correctly adjusted for drift. My resaw fence is part of my log sled. The blade I used is Highland Woodworking's Woodtrner's Bandsaw Blade, which is specially designed for cutting green lumber.

After the lumber is cut I weigh it and write the date and weight on the end. Every couple of months I will weigh them again. When the weight stops dropping I will move them inside where I will continue to weigh them. One they stop losing weight inside they can be used for some projects. Right now they are stacked and stickered under my porch with a cinder block on top to try to resist warping. This was not a total victory over the log however. Even though the log was reduced to slabs, it got in some good hits. While slabbing the second half one of the bearings in the middle pulley (the bottom one in this photo) seized up. After ordering some replacements from McMaster, the saw was up and running again. Here are some of the boards I cut:


Torch02 said...

Nice! I bought a riser block for my bandsaw originally thinking I would be resawing thick stock with it. The more time passes, the more I think it will get more use sawing logs into lumber. At least, I hope.

Monarch Hill said...

Gorgeous wood! Cross cutting a piece like that makes one think about getting a nice chainsaw. I milled over 3,000 board feet of sugar pine, ponderosa pine and incense cedar with a Granberg Alaskan mill attached to the bar of a Husky 385. I look back at that now as a lot of hard work, but I put the lumber to good use. I am sure using a bandsaw to mill lumber is just as hard!

Gye Greene said...

Hi! (Someone from the OldTool list mentioned your blog.)

The pruning saw approach works OK -- but in the end, it's all about having the right tool for the job. If you're into WW for the long haul, you should consider picking up a ripsaw (or a crosscut saw, and re-filing it for rip). **Waaay** nicer to use.

My de-facto hobby appears to be sawing through logs, by hand, with regular handsaws. Like this -- -- and most recently, this --

As long as the saw is sharp, with a decent set, and pretty coarse teeth (mine are 2-1/2 TPI), it's not all that bad.

(TIP: rip saws work pretty o.k. for crosscutting -- but you can't use crosscut saws for ripping.) ;)


thewoodshopbug said...

I definitely agree that a good coarse saw would have done the job nicely and with less effort. I'm going to keep an eye out for one on the cheap.

Gye Greene said...

You might consider joining the OldTools e-mail list (Google for the contact/joining info). :)

Several members on the list sell off their "user" extras (some as a hobby, some as a business). Depending on where you're located, some might even be "in town" (i.e., within an hour's drive).


thewoodshopbug said...

I think that I will, thanks Gye.