Redwood Slab Resaw?

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Forum topic by Wannabe WoodWorkers posted 09-23-2015 09:37 PM 943 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Wannabe WoodWorkers

18 posts in 398 days

09-23-2015 09:37 PM

Topic tags/keywords: slab bookmatch

Long time reader first time poster. After a year of drooling over slabs online I had to pick these up when I saw them on Craigslist. They are around 2.5” thick and around 30 – 40” I could easily build something with them as is but see a couple of edges that I think would make great spots to do a bookmatch on both. Since these are my first slabs I don’t want to jump right in and start making sawdust w/o doing some research first.

So obviously you can make a table out of the thinnest wood imaginable as long as you have a solid base to glue it to. What I’m wondering is if resawing is actually a good idea. Other than a lot of elbow grease and the expense of a new long ass handsaw are there any reasons not to resaw? They’ve had 45 years to dry so hopefully very stable.

More out of curiosity, do you guys think I got a good deal at $180 apiece? They were cut off of a stump that got beached on a river in Oregon back in 1970. Was a bit dismayed to see some curly redwood slabs on ebay for $180 that were awfully close in size, just a few inches smaller.

Got a bunch of wormy maple too, unfortunately they were used for furniture pallets and have a pair of screw holes every 18” or so. Bonus question: What would you do with these? Plug the screw holes with black epoxy? Plug them with a plug cut from the same board? Drill more holes so that the screw holes look more randomly placed? Cover them with a walnut inlay strip going across the grain?

TIA :)

-- A Wannabe WoodWorker from

6 replies so far

View bobasaurus's profile


2587 posts in 2605 days

#1 posted 09-23-2015 09:59 PM

Resawing something like that without serious chainsaw skills would be a huge chore, and you would lose a ton of wood to the kerf and later flattening.

-- Allen, Colorado

View Texcaster's profile


1103 posts in 1095 days

#2 posted 09-23-2015 10:04 PM

I would break them down to electric guitar ” drop tops ” .

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

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Wannabe WoodWorkers

18 posts in 398 days

#3 posted 09-23-2015 10:31 PM

Thanks for the replies so far guys. While my Dad does have some serious chainsaw skills I would never consider using one for something like this unless I can find some sort of magical narrow kerf blade :) Even then I would rig up a jig to guide it though.

Lot of work I know but I was thinking about using a frame saw. Can find a brand new 36” blade for around $50 and would build my own frame – if I can’t find a good deal on a used one that is. Bookmatched either one of these slabs would make an average sized dinner table so that’s kinda what I’m shooting for.

While doing a little sanding today I hit the lighter colored ring of bark on the top one and it instantly broke down in a cloud of dust. I was going to use that side for my jointed edge and cut it off anyways but am wondering if there are any other options to preserve the length, like soaking it with epoxy or wipe-on polyurethane.

Drop tops are not something I would be interested in because

a) while they did cleanup real nice and show some great grain with a little sanding I did this afternoon the slabs aren’t curly or birdseye patterned so I doubt I would get top dollar for them. In fact I’d probably be losing money. I do most woodworking for fun but these are supposed to be an investment, only way I could justify buying them.

b) Cutting up already dried perfectly ready to go non-cracked slabs is sacrilegious :D

-- A Wannabe WoodWorker from

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Wannabe WoodWorkers

18 posts in 398 days

#4 posted 09-24-2015 08:33 PM

I’m sorry Texcaster, I didn’t look close enough at your suggestion. I see now that drop tops are basically a thick veneer. So rough estimate I could make 5 or 6 out of each slab, depending on saw kerf width of course. The market looks pretty saturated with beautifully figured redwood already though. Is there really that much demand for them? I think of the giant slab lumber yards – yeah they have hundreds if not thousands of slabs that range from the low hundreds up into the tens of thousands of dollars. They’re an asset worth millions for the company, but if no one is buying them they’re pretty worthless. Same could be said about slab furniture but at least then you only have to sell it once :)

-- A Wannabe WoodWorker from

View bondogaposis's profile


3969 posts in 1772 days

#5 posted 09-24-2015 09:29 PM

I wouldn’t re-saw them, I would just make small tables out out them as is. You can buy redwood burl veneers that you can book match for a lot less than you paid for the slabs. I think people like the thickness of a live edge table anyway and you will probably lose some thickness in processing it for a table top anyway.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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Wannabe WoodWorkers

18 posts in 398 days

#6 posted 09-24-2015 11:13 PM

Thanks, that’s a good point, I’ve never looked into doing my own veneers before. I used some maple plywood for a desk and walnut plywood for a record cabinet and I was pretty annoyed with the whole process, having to be careful not to sand through the veneer (they had both veneer plywood and solid hardwood) so I basically said never again. Putting veneer on after construction or at least after cutting pieces sounds like it would avoid some of those problems I had. And for myself I care a lot more about the look than how much the wood costs so I’ll probably look into that for some tabletops for myself and family.

Something like this looks very good on the price/value scale ($17 for 24 sheets of approx 15”x7”). Other than quad/butterfly matching is there any other way to get some more matched length out of them though, without it looking like a bunch of little pieces of wood slapped together?

About the thickness of slabs – I assumed that was for stability more than looks per say. Granted if you have a 14 foot long slab tabletop it would look weird if it were too thin but I’m not sure that applies to these slabs. I would think mine would be close to 1.25” after resawing and flattening, which is still pretty thick for a modest dining room table. My slabs are super dry too so I’m assuming they don’t need that thickness for stability.

-- A Wannabe WoodWorker from

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