What's inside that log?

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Project by Von posted 11-04-2016 01:57 AM 1665 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is “technically” a project because I had only set out to mill the wood. It’s not a “blog” because I haven’t planned on anything beyond milling out the boards you see. ...and I didn’t take enough pictures to give you all a play-by-play as it was cut up. Besides, the big idea was to see what this old oak had inside.

What was inside?

-3 iron nails, about 20p in size. Dead center of the tree about 3 feet up from the ground, back when the tree was about only 15 or 20 years old. At that time the tree was only about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. When I cut the tree down I counted out just over 120 rings of growth. Pretty neat to see what nature can do to a nail over the span of 50+ years! ( I was able to mill out the full cant, right down the center at 6”x6” where the 3 nails were hiding. It did cost me one blade in the end, but I think it’s a win for the unique lumber I got out of that blade -and I still have 7 or so new blades in a box yet)

-the stain from each nail expands to about a foot wide and appears as a deep midnight blue. The ray-fleck pattern you find in oak also develops a blue and black spotted freckle pattern when the boards are exposed to a little moisture and sunlight. My camera didn’t pick up those freckles in these shots, but it’ pretty cool.

The book matched boards are 1 pair of 3 sets I milled out from just that one cant. I still have 2 cants to mill up, plus the stump/bell of the tree which has a decent amount of blue stain already visible in the end gran alone. The little HF mill is earning it’s keep for sure!

6 comments so far

View ralbuck's profile


5524 posts in 2501 days

#1 posted 11-04-2016 03:16 AM

Nice slabs!

Will be interesting to see what you do with it!

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


5824 posts in 2644 days

#2 posted 11-04-2016 03:17 AM

Interesting!!! I remember driving nails ina tree in my grandparents backyard. Bet it had alot more nails in it when they cut it down though.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View bushmaster's profile


3418 posts in 2518 days

#3 posted 11-04-2016 03:36 AM

Lucky you to have oak tree to cut up. I tried to cut through a center punch that had been driven into a pine tree, It would have destroyed a bandsaw blade completely, as it was it tore a number of teeth and inserts out with the teeth and bent the edge of the blade over. Lucky with a hammer and a few spare parts was back in business.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View robscastle's profile


5629 posts in 2439 days

#4 posted 11-04-2016 04:54 AM

Log this one on the GPS coordinates as I will not be around when it gets cut down!

I pity the sucker who cuts this without running a metal detector over it

Just about all the trees around my house have ferns growing on them and they have been supported by huge bridge dog metal spikes.

Some visible some not.

The grey ebonising is a dead giveaway, however you need to be able to recognise the sawdust before engaging them.

Nails, rocks, bricks, pipes, fencing wire and all sorts of other foreign objects could be encountered, all having a possibility to cause a machine failure and up to and including possible injuries and sadly fatal results.

Similar to trenching through Gas pipes and power cables in the ground.

I think thats why trees in domestic areas are chipped on site as well.

The timber iyou milled is possibly worth a blade loss, but take care there are some passive killers living amoungst us!

It that a Lucas Mill I see your assistant standing by?

-- Regards Rob

View Von's profile


238 posts in 2448 days

#5 posted 11-04-2016 12:20 PM

I hear ya on the hidden monsters that are waiting to get ya. I actually have a metal detector I run over each cant. I knew when I dropped this tree that there had to be something metallic inside when I saw the stains on the end grain. I took my sweet time when it came to milling this one out. I only took a chance with it because I could see that the debris inside was pretty much consolidated to the near-center of the tree. I wouldn’t touch that spiked behemoth you linked with anything but a blow torch -from a distance to be sure!
The assistant is my tattoo , er, daughter, and the little mill is my Harbor Freight unit I posted a review on a while back. Next summer it’s getting at least a 20’ deck instead of the short 10’ it’s on right now. I have a need, and plans, that call for some pretty long beams in the future.

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12764 posts in 3392 days

#6 posted 11-05-2016 12:01 AM

very nice, thanks for posting – wish I had a wood mill – that is my favorite part of woodworking which is to see the magic in the grains for the first time.

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

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