easy (safe) way to split logs into usable halves or quarters for turning

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Forum topic by TDW posted 03-18-2011 03:21 AM 2799 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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29 posts in 2021 days

03-18-2011 03:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: preparing wood green wood turning

I am new to turning but have done a few projects I have been given some nice (green) logs of pecan that I would like to split up into halves for bowls and then smaller for other turnings. I am trying to figure out the safest way to attemp this. the logs vary from 6 inches to 10 inches in diameter. I know this is a newbe guestion but I’m a newbe

-- Tom, Ky.,

7 replies so far

View Barbara Gill's profile

Barbara Gill

153 posts in 1697 days

#1 posted 03-18-2011 03:32 AM

Build a rack to hold the logs and cut them with a chainsaw. Cut out the pith to help avoid having them split.

-- Barbara

View Roper's profile


1367 posts in 2749 days

#2 posted 03-18-2011 03:54 AM

At that size you could also build a cradle sled for the band saw and cut them in half that way and even cut off the corners at the same time.

-- Roper - Master of sawdust-

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 3164 days

#3 posted 03-18-2011 02:45 PM

Try Kentucky style splitting – wedges and a maul.
Very easy, besides riving reveals the grain direction.

-- 温故知新

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 1995 days

#4 posted 03-19-2011 01:32 AM

The 10” log will only allow you to turn a maximum size block of 10” (at the wide side), so take the chainsaw (or what you have) and cut the log into 10” lengths; then take your axe and whack it thru the pith to halve it, then halve the half-piece for a quarter if you like. Trim them as needed to fit your lathe and start making shavings! Same thing with the 6” log, but at 6” lengths instead. Have fun!

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Edziu's profile


150 posts in 2087 days

#5 posted 03-19-2011 04:38 AM

Another vote for wedges and a maul. It’s all I’ve ever used.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


16409 posts in 2712 days

#6 posted 03-19-2011 04:49 AM

I split maple logs that are over 2 feet in diameter and 10 feet long with a maul and 3 or 4 wedges. Those little guys should be easy. Watch the end grain, It will tell you where it wants to be halved. That is one of the reasons I start my logs that way. I don’t want to be cutting against the natural checks. I had one that made a full quarter twist in about 8 feet :-))

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

View John's profile


190 posts in 2620 days

#7 posted 03-19-2011 11:11 PM

8# splitting maul and an 8# sledge. I’ve split all types of hardwood as large as 30’ in diameter and locust posts up to about 12” diameter and 8’ long with a splitting maul.

-- John, Long Island, NY

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