Backstory and first stab at converting tree to lumber

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Blog entry by PflugervilleSteve posted 03-22-2010 08:22 AM 2847 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A neighbor has a nice big Bradford pear that lost a major fork during the winter of 2006. Turns out some fungus had gotten down into the crotch-wood and during a big storm, CRASH!!! a good third of the tree came down. They chopped and lopped and mulched galore, but there were a couple nice size logs left out in front of their house for “firewood, or whatever”.

I nabbed them knowing nothing about the properties of pear tree wood, but under the assumption that if Cherry and Apple wood were pretty, Pear probably would be nice too. I threw the logs into a corner of my garage and let them sit. And sit. And sit. Still have lots to learn, but at the time I thought I was supposed to let the logs season and dry for a year an inch. (Note – if you haven’t ever read up on pear wood, you should. It’s pretty cool stuff.)

I was reading more about the tree → lumber process last year and decided the logs had seasoned long enough and that I should go ahead and mill some planks. So not owning a frow, I set about splitting log number 1. I built a little sled for my bandsaw and away I went. I managed about a foot before I figured out that even with a 5/8” 3 TPI Hook Tooth blade on my band saw, I was NOT going to be able to split the entire log.

So, after removing said log from the band saw, and staring at it for a couple minutes, I decided to try some wedges. Little four inch jobbies did nothing for me, and then my eyes fell upon some off cuts from a tapered leg cut from pressure treated pine 6×6. At about 30 inches long, with a 7 degree angle… Yeah! I pounded that beast in from the end into the cut from the band saw and 5 minutes later I had it split wide open.



I was surprised that it split in a wavy pattern which you can see here:



I rough cut a square edge to the face to give myself a flat surface to mill from. I also cleaned up the rough split surface with a combination of band saw, hand plane, and jointer. (Partially milled log and some random poplar)


I ran the log through the band saw again using my fence to and ended up with some beautiful planks.



A friend of mine later told me that this super curvy grain is called fiddleback. Any which way you look at it, I’ve got some material that will make some cool special projects.

If you see an interesting chunk of wood, grab it! It might turn out to be a real beauty.

Next entry on this will probably be a while coming, but I’ve got plans to make a jewelry box for my daughter from some of this wood.

3 comments so far

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3963 days

#1 posted 03-22-2010 05:07 PM

wow, you really did stumble onto something pretty. thanks for the pics. I love em’.

View Jason's profile


659 posts in 3743 days

#2 posted 03-23-2010 12:24 AM

I had a decent size branch break off of an ash tree in the back yard during an ice storm last fall. I am hoping to be as fortunate as you when I get around to cutting it.

-- Jason - Colorado Springs

View mantwi's profile


312 posts in 2131 days

#3 posted 04-22-2014 02:54 PM

I just picked up several large pieces of Bradford pear crotch and a log that’s about 20” across and 5’ long. Now I’m scratching my head about how to dry it, can you post a link to the information you found? I’d appreciate that very much. God bless.

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