Lumber Scores! #3: Log to Lumber - Milling small Ash logs

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Blog entry by SalvageCraft posted 03-12-2012 12:20 AM 2722 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Massive oak posts and planks from the Coney Island Boardwalk! (Wood gloat!) Part 3 of Lumber Scores! series no next part

Last year I got a pile of Ash logs from the city when they were taking down beetle infested trees in my neighborhood.
I’ve been using bits of it here and there for small projects and barbecues.
I’m doing a small table for my lady and have taken photos of my process for milling firewood sized chunks into thin slats for a rustic tabletop.

Here be the log:

I use the jointer to square two sides. All I need is two flat and square reference surfaces to register against the fence and table while I rip down the really barky stuff:

I knock off the corners while guiding the log with my push plank. I started building a regular old push stick one day, and after fitting the handle I decided I like the extra length and weight on the front to really help guide the whole length of stock I’m feeding through:

A lot of these trees are being taken down to slow the spread of the Emerald Ash Beetle. This tree was very likely to die on it’s own pretty soon:

Now it’s starting to look like proper lumber:

I use the push plank to rip thin slats, or whatever size material I’ll be needing.

Here we have the slats stickered up to dry. At about 1/4” thick, and with Ash naturally having a pretty low moisture content, these should be ready to use in a day or two:

I like to use thin slats like this for shelves, tabletops, box bottoms, and anywhere else I can think of:

Thanks for looking!

-- Jesse --

14 comments so far

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2867 days

#1 posted 03-12-2012 12:47 AM

Man that is one good use of firewood. Great job. I can say I have never seen someone run a log across a joiner. But then there is Jesse, he lives life on the wild side….. I like to see people doing exactly what you are doing.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View SalvageCraft's profile


274 posts in 2553 days

#2 posted 03-12-2012 12:49 AM

Thanks SuperDave!

-- Jesse --

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2594 days

#3 posted 03-12-2012 01:00 AM

I’ve often taken perfectly good lumber and inadvertently made firewood. Its good to see the process reversed.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1106 posts in 3000 days

#4 posted 03-12-2012 01:05 AM

Not to feed anyone’s addiction to tools, but this process is even more fun with a bandsaw

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View SalvageCraft's profile


274 posts in 2553 days

#5 posted 03-12-2012 01:09 AM

@DonW – I never thought of it that way!

@twokidsnosleep – I should have added “this is what I do to mill lumber since I have the crappiest bandsaw ever”!

-- Jesse --

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4079 days

#6 posted 03-12-2012 01:21 AM

Jesse… COOL!

Yes, I use a band saw too… I screw the log onto a flat board (about 1×6) along the side away from blade… with the part I want to cut off hanging off the opposite side of screws… always with enough to ride against the fence.

I make the one cut… then, I screw the Flat side (just cut) onto the carrier board, and make another cut.

Then, it’s the bandsaw from there out… with a flat side down & to the fence… Works slick… and not as wasteful as the TS kerf.

COOL way you use’em for a table top!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View SalvageCraft's profile


274 posts in 2553 days

#7 posted 03-12-2012 01:35 AM

@Joe Lyddon – Yep. I gotta get me one of them new fangled bandsaws what cuts straight lines and all.
I shouldn’t really complain though, since I’m the one responsible for upgrading to a better machine. But until I do, I’ll be cursing mine out every chance I get!
Maybe I’ll do a video about it before I replace it, just for the memories :)

-- Jesse --

View ShaneA's profile


6956 posts in 2625 days

#8 posted 03-12-2012 01:49 AM

Nice write up Jesse. Like mentioned, with a bandsaw, you could be cranking em out quicker, and bigger. It is always something more to get. It never ends.

View SalvageCraft's profile


274 posts in 2553 days

#9 posted 03-12-2012 01:54 AM

@ShaneA – Thanks Shane. I’ve been prowling for at least a 14”. Hope to have that upgrade later this year!

-- Jesse --

View SalvageCraft's profile


274 posts in 2553 days

#10 posted 03-12-2012 02:00 AM

There’s also a plan in the works for a furnace blower powered dust collection system. Muahaahaaaa!

-- Jesse --

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2831 days

#11 posted 03-12-2012 11:45 AM

I agree with superd about the jointer.. wow. kinda insane, but, hey, twas a gr8 box in that piece o firewood

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View clieb91's profile


3520 posts in 3962 days

#12 posted 03-12-2012 12:42 PM

Jesse, Great post and save on the wood. I use my jointer as well to flatten out to edges and then run it though my bandsaw. Have mostly been making pen blanks this way, a great way to use wood from free sources. I will have to try some projects with milled boards or slats.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View SalvageCraft's profile


274 posts in 2553 days

#13 posted 03-12-2012 12:54 PM

Thanks! The box I showed is actually sheathing and lath from left over from a window I put in last year. I just used it to illustrate how to make a panel from loose slats.

-- Jesse --

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3700 days

#14 posted 03-12-2012 03:37 PM

Nice box!

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