Now what?!?

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Forum topic by DannyBoy posted 12-13-2007 04:04 PM 1313 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View DannyBoy's profile


521 posts in 4009 days

12-13-2007 04:04 PM

Topic tags/keywords: maple milling

This last week has been hell on the tree population if you live here in the mid-west. I kept thinking that I was going to get luck and one of the catalpa trees in my front yard would go down and I’d get all the hard wood to build with. Well, no such luck there, but the maple tree down the street (at least I’m pretty sure it’s maple) went down yesterday.

After speaking with the owner, he said the guy who cut it was coming back to make fire wood but if I wanted I could grab a couple logs. Now, I know I’m not a genius at this so I probably didn’t get the best logs available to me and I know that some of them are too short to do much with but I need some advice.

First, take a look at the findings:

Okay, now what?!? I want to cut the boards to some usable dimension. I realize that the logs are not long and that doesn’t bother me. (There was a longer piece but I had enough trouble toting the one 3ft section into my garage.) Obviously, I need to dry them and saw them but I don’t have the slightest idea what I am doing here… But I am strangely excited about that.

~Danny Boy

-- He said wood...

13 replies so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18616 posts in 4305 days

#1 posted 12-13-2007 04:27 PM

now what? Just sit and stare at the wood and smile! :)
I’ll leave the wood experts to give you some tips.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 4019 days

#2 posted 12-13-2007 04:47 PM

I envy you! You might start by building Bob #2's saw sled. I get the impression that when you cut into a log, it’s always a bit of a surprise. Have fun!

-- -- --

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4027 posts in 4208 days

#3 posted 12-13-2007 05:46 PM

Time to get a lathe! Bowls are a gas to make. You should tell Santa to get you a mini-lathe to start with…

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 4550 days

#4 posted 12-13-2007 06:28 PM

for poor guys like me, I just stand the stump up and eye ball a cut line and use a chainsaw to hack out slab sections of wood about 2” thick. Then, I paint the end grain with left over latex paint, and sticker it to dry. This type of wood slabbed into sections like this will take 2-3 years to dry, but would be good for a lot of projects. I have made bench seats, chair seats, walking canes, and all kinds of things from wood salvaged like this. In fact, I look every piece of firewood over well before deciding it is best used for heat.

An Alaskan chains saw mill would be great for work like this, but I don’t have one.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View grumpa's profile


35 posts in 3966 days

#5 posted 12-14-2007 02:25 AM

Wel Danny boy I can’t tell where you are from, but if you were in Michigan you might find an Amish community that has a saw mill and see if they will cut your log. better yet you might buy some lumber already cut. I have bought some pretty good hard wood from them. True you have to stack and sticker it and let it dry but you can get some fine wood that way.

-- grumpa,Michigan

View Karson's profile


35134 posts in 4545 days

#6 posted 12-14-2007 06:18 AM

Most sawmills can’t handle short logs. The machinery is made for longer wood.

Good luck.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View grumpa's profile


35 posts in 3966 days

#7 posted 12-14-2007 03:17 PM

Karson you are right, the key word though is most, the older type with the big saw blades would not be able to saw a short log. However the newer band saw type mills do an excellent job of it. I had a small (4’) red cedar log that the mill made 1/2” boards for me,makes very pretty boxes and other items.

-- grumpa,Michigan

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4050 days

#8 posted 12-14-2007 04:17 PM

Looks like it is time to break out the hand tools

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4050 days

#9 posted 12-14-2007 04:29 PM

Or buy one of these,2228.htm . I have my own sawmill . I have several huge expensive chainsaws too…the little cheapy I linked I also have and use alot. I will drag a piece out of a burn pile somewhere or something and slab it up freehand with that little electric chainsaw in the wood shop.

Cut it thick, let it dry and plane the short boards.

View DannyBoy's profile


521 posts in 4009 days

#10 posted 12-14-2007 04:59 PM

I’m torn… I’d like to try the riving but I’m not sure of the results since its maple and not the oak that is in that article. However, I would also like the excuse to put a chainsaw. Damn the choices!!!

-- He said wood...

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4134 days

#11 posted 12-14-2007 05:08 PM

Daren hit the nail on the head with that Greenwoodworking weblink. Our forefathers didn’t have the luxury of the machine in most cases, or transportation in others. I’ve burnt a lot of firewood while camping last season that I’ve felt would’ve made a nice box or bowl. So some of the items on my Christmas list are a Froe and Draw Knife. Unfortunately, it means there might not be any campfires next season! Just remember to split it a little at a time and take it in sections. That wet wood eats wedges and mauls and will wear you out. Try a woodsplitter first to get the main sections apart. OH…I had a cord of Catalpa cut and split into half log chunks. Shoulda had it split into eighths as it was a real bear to split with hand tools. I will shy away from that if it comes available again. It was like trying to split a wet sponge!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4050 days

#12 posted 12-14-2007 05:08 PM

Alot of woods rive well. Cherry, walnut, mulberry, osage, apple, cypress…are a few I have done just that. But I can see a big knot on the side of your “loggette”, it will not split well. There is your excuse to buy a chainsaw :)

View TreeBones's profile


1827 posts in 4167 days

#13 posted 12-17-2007 07:28 PM

Everyone has great ideas. I came across some firewood cutters that had cut down a four foot diameter western big leaf maple and could see the fiddle back figure in there split wood and almost cried. I lost it, scolded them (to put it lightly) for cutting it down and the three big guys just stood back as I puled up to there pile of 18” rounds and loaded my truck until it was full. They knew I was a nut. I made 5/4 X 18” flitch cut boards that went to a violin maker, there blanks are 1-1/8” X 3” X 15” and they sold for $50.00 each for the fiddle back blanks. You can find some real nice wood in salvage logs. So theres no question the short material can be used for more than firewood. It takes a little more time for me to clamp and set the round for cutting but it was well worth it. You can contact Wood Mizer and they can fix you up with a sawyer near you.

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

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