Reply by Doss

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Posted on huge red oak coming down

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779 posts in 2260 days

#1 posted 06-28-2012 08:20 PM

As a guy who cuts 50” wide slabs from red oak, I’m going to go ahead and say that most landscape/tree cutters aren’t going to want to do that. For one, they can’t. A 4’ diameter cut is going to require they have a huge saw (like my Stihl MS880 and a huge bar (I have a 66” bar)... neither of these are what anyone would call “cheap” or “affordable” and definitely not “practical”). They are also not common for even log companies to have. They are specialty saws, bars, and chains. Most people have, at the most, of the “smaller” big saws MS660 or MS440, but even they are few and far between. Second, most guys are going to say milling is saw abuse… and it definitely can be if they’re not set up properly. You’re running a saw wide open for long periods of time. Most guys only do that for a couple of minutes to cut down a tree. To mill a log, that can be a half hour or longer.

On chains, I run ripping chains and they actually cut slower than a chisel or house chain, but much smoother. Normally, I’ll switch to a chisel chain if my ripping chain dulls. Another thing, asking them to buy ripping chain is probably not an option. Most stores don’t carry it and it’s expensive. Also, be prepared to pay for new chain when they end up hitting a piece of metal. City trees have lots of it normally.

To cut a 40”+ wide log about 10’ long, it’ll take a mill jig (like an Alaskan-type) to make a reasonably flat, level slab and 30-45 minutes of time per cut. Slabs = 2 cuts to start, then 1 cut for each additional slab. Do the math.

You also need to know how to cut a log. You can just flat saw it, but good luck on the top and bottom pieces drying flat. Quarter sawing on site probably isn’t going to be possible.

These slabs are going to be heavy. I cut mine from 1.5-5” thick depending on what I’m using it for. At 2” thick and 6’ long x 40” wide, I can lift and load a slab by myself (I’m 6’ tall x 200 lbs and still somewhat of an athlete). Any bigger and they start getting cumbersome and heavy. Any larger and you’re going to need some extra hands or power equipment.

Air drying can take years. Keep that in mind.

Just dropping some information in for you. Feel free to ask me any questions you want.

For a scale reference, the ones that are “above” me are 51-54” in diameter.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

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