How should I go about using these cherry logs?

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Forum topic by Brett_M posted 09-24-2010 05:49 AM 3111 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 2801 days

09-24-2010 05:49 AM

Topic tags/keywords: cherry logs raw preparation single piece drying box question milling

So I happened to come into ownership of these cherry logs (or so I’m told) from a tree that had been cut down not too long ago. They had been sitting out without their ends sealed so there are cracks on the ends (see pictures).

I don’t have a whole lot of experience in woodworking (I don’t even know if what I have is any good). I would like to keep the logs intact so that I can carve out a small box, shaving brush holder, dish, or whatever I want to make out of single block of wood.

I’ve seen a lot of instruction for milling the wood then air drying it or kiln drying it that way, but very little information on preparing and working with wood in its intact log state.

All the research I’ve done has seemed to create more questions than it has answered. I’m looking for some advice on anything that I may need to know. I don’t even really know where to start. Should l coat the ends with a sealer (latex paint) to prevent further cracking? Or is it too late for that? Should I let these air dry for a while? Or kiln dry? Or just work with ‘green’ wood?

Right now I’m just stuck on preparation, but if you have anything to add as far as project ideas or project advice, I’d really like to hear that as well.

Many pictures

6 replies so far

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18271 posts in 3675 days

#1 posted 09-24-2010 08:00 AM

What tools do you have to work with?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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#2 posted 09-24-2010 05:12 PM

My father has done quite a bit of woodworking in the past so I have access to quite a number of tools. The biggest problem I foresee is that he got rid of his bandsaw recently. There’s plenty of hand tools, circular saws, cordless drills, dremel, routers, , jigsaw cutter, table saw, drill press… I know that there’s many I’m forgetting. He also has a ‘Shop Smith.’

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5 posts in 2801 days

#3 posted 09-28-2010 03:30 AM

I’ve painted the ends of the logs with a latex paint to seal up what’s left of them. Although, technically, I should leave these things for a decade or so, I’m much too impatient so I’ll probably wait a month then cut into them. I might try to find a kiln (does a clay kiln work?) to treat the wood and kill any bugs there may be. I’m also interested in the microwave possibility and may try that one out.

As far as I’ve been able to identify the specific type of cherry, it seems from the small berry-like cherries that it is a very similar to black cherry. But the leaves are not serrated on the margins (edges) so it seems that it’s not black cherry.

View 76winger's profile


151 posts in 3116 days

#4 posted 09-28-2010 11:28 PM

Do you have a chainsaw you could could split them up with? If you know about what size box you’d like to make (I personally see some good turning stock in them! =D ) you could shave off either side to square them up, and that would let them dry easier with the ends sealed. A general rule of thumb for Air drying that I’ve heard is a year for each inch of thickness. I don’t know how accurate that is, it’s just what I heard some place and roughly what I go by. To me, it looks like you could shave off the sides of the bigger pieces and still cut them in a good pair of 3-4” slabs. the smaller ones, a little harder to tell. Also, as knotty as they look, the may have some interesting grain patterns going on inside of them.

-- Dave, See some of my creations at:

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199 posts in 2954 days

#5 posted 09-29-2010 02:46 AM

Well, they look like interesting pieces of wood.

If you want to carve the stuff, the tools that you will likely be using are a chainsaw, a power carver or one of the little power carving attachements for an angle grinder, and then various hand tools … axe, adz, gouges, chisels, and rasps. You will probably want to treat your pieces like turners do … meaning rough the piece out, and then wrap it to slow down drying. If you are lucky, you’ll minimize checking that way.

If you want to do joinery, you’ll have to make boards out of the logs. Find yourself a small sawyer near you (craigslist is a great tool) to saw them up for you. If you go this route, I would just air dry the wood. Forget about it for a year, and it’ll be ready for you.

As to drying methods, a clay/pottery kiln is a much different thing than a lumber kiln. If you try to use one to dry your lumber, you will be very successful in getting it dry, but it will be all ash when it comes out. Of course, if you stick it in a pottery kiln, you won’t have to worry about painting the ends or checking.

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5 posts in 2801 days

#6 posted 09-30-2010 03:34 AM

I do not have a chainsaw, but I do have a multitude of handsaws to cut it up with. I’ll probably look into cutting into the wood very soon with that. Unfortunately, I do not have a lathe, so turning the wood is unlikely. But yes, I agree, 76winger, there might be some very interesting stuff going on inside them.

The wood turning was a good lead, Uffitze. I found out that for making bowls out of green wood they are often wrapped in three paper bags and left to dry. The pith of the wood is often cut out to prevent much of the checking. Too bad that this wood will likely have many different piths from all the knots. I do enjoy the curved grains around the piths though.

Yeah, I imagined a pottery kiln would be at least a little different. I hardly know anything about kilns though.

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