Metal objects in the wood, An incident that happened to me. One chainsaw and two blades destroyed

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Forum topic by Blackie_ posted 12-23-2011 03:44 AM 4618 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4883 posts in 2541 days

12-23-2011 03:44 AM

Well this topic is a split between Safety & Shop, Wood & Lumber and Power tools as it involves them all.

I’ve been out for the past few months using my dads gas chain saw clearing out old rotted Hackberry trees from a family cemetery and using the spalted wood for my boxes cutting logs and bringing them home, well one day a few weeks back I was prepping the large logs by slicing off a small portion and creating a flat spot so they would fit my 14” bandsaw for resawing. I was using my electric 16” poulan chain saw when it hit something very hard, I had no idea that the tree had wrapped around a bobwire fence, the wire was actually inside of the tree out of sight and it actually broke the saw so that it would no longer turn the chain, still unknowing what caused it, I held off a few days knowing that I would someday need a gas power chain saw I went and bought one and finished the cutting on all logs including the one that broke my electric, lucky I must have cut the wire enough that the other saw went through.

It was just yesterday I was running those very same logs through my bandsaw doing the lumber mill thing using a 3/4” blade I remember hearing something of a different pitch in noise but again thought nothing of it and pushed on well after that part of the log was sliced I saw the metal in one of the boards and it all came to light that was what killed my chain saw and destroyed that 3/4” blade to boot, I had no idea there was still more metal in the other part of that log so I changed out the 3/4 and put a resaw 1/2” in this time I heard the loud screech and stopped immediately but once again to late the damage was done anther blade destroyed, I got on line and did a search for metal detectors and found the little wizard II at my local woodcraft store and high tailed it out there and bought it, so now I wand all of my wood before cutting so let me tell you a metal detector is a must have if you are doing the same kind of cutting I’m doing.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

24 replies so far

View Viking's profile


880 posts in 3223 days

#1 posted 12-23-2011 03:51 AM



Metal detectors are cheap insurance and with the low cost these days I would not be without one if cutting uknown lumber, logs, etc. Think most bandsaw or chainsaw blades cost way more that the low cost metal detectors available now. Buy the best one you can afford.

I found this the hard way when my chain saw found an old steel eye that probably once held a swing.

Good Luck

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2721 days

#2 posted 12-23-2011 04:45 AM

I don’t know if I told this story here before or not but to make the short version of it , my dad widened a door for me by adding a strip along the hinge side with glue and lag bolts. I told him to MAKE SURE the bolts would be deep enough so that I could cut the door to proper width. Well all was going well untill the last bolt then I heard this hurendious screaching sound but I figured I only had about 6” to go so why stop the blade had had it now. So I finished and boy was I pissed at my dad for leaving a bolt not deep enough. Well not the case when I looked there was this round thing filling the hole. Upon further investigation I found that it was a 1/4” drive 7/16” socket! I had cut it in half!!! It had gotten stuck in the hole and dad didn’t notice it. Now believe it or not the carbide tipped blade survived, I had it sharpened and I still use it now and then. True story guys I swear.
I have also found a hook bolt burried deep inside a log with my chain saw, the blade did not survive, ripped the teeth right off. And in some hemlock lumber I got from the guys logging my property I found buck shot deep inside near the center of the tree. Counting the rings out from there and figuring the years that buck shot could have come from my grandfather’s shot gun when he owned the property and was hunting it. Amazing what a tree will grow around.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2541 days

#3 posted 12-23-2011 04:55 AM

You are right Mike, I learned the hard and expensive way. I know what you are talking about Viking when it comes to a good detector, I read the reviews on that wizard II and there was just as many bad as there were good, so far during my test it’s worked fine, I’m wondering if those that gave it bad reports didn’t have it adjusted right.


-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3508 days

#4 posted 12-23-2011 05:05 AM

Good advice Randy. I hit a bullet one time with my planer, but fortunately it was soft lead and it didnt damage anything but it did make a racket when the knives hit it.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View jumbojack's profile


1677 posts in 2652 days

#5 posted 12-23-2011 05:19 AM

Here is a chainsaw wrecker being produced.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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1748 posts in 2504 days

#6 posted 12-23-2011 08:23 AM

This is interesting. Having a sawmill, metal in logs is a huge issue. I got a call from a guy two days ago wanting to sell me 4 walnut trees from his yard. I would have to drive 80 miles, fell the trees which I am sure are hanging over his house, load the logs with the tractor that I brought with me on the trailer, clean up and remove all limbs, debris, etc., drive 80 miles home with the logs, drive back to get the tractor, put the logs on the sawmill, hit nails, old clothesline pulleys, lag bolts, fence wire, etc. Ruin several band saw blades at $25 a pop, get a bad attitude, and end up burning most of the wood in the woodstove.

And, he wanted to know how much I would pay HIM. I am sure that he called me to sell his “highly valuable” black walnut trees after the Tree Service told him that it would cost him $3,000 to get them removed. Yard trees are bad bad news. They almost all have metal in them because yard trees attract metal. Landowners think that every black walnut yard tree is worth $10,000 when in fact they are not worth anything and will cost money to have them removed.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View Viking's profile


880 posts in 3223 days

#7 posted 12-23-2011 08:26 AM

Well said!

-- Rick Gustafson - Lost Creek Ranch - Colorado County, Texas

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile


932 posts in 2383 days

#8 posted 12-23-2011 08:35 AM

What no bullet stories yet?

I’ve found quite a few bullets with planers. Usually burried deep in wood from a lumberyard, with no warning signs around them, and even if I had used a metal detector, I’m nut sure they would pick up 64 caliber lead bullets :/

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View Jim K's profile

Jim K

94 posts in 3165 days

#9 posted 12-23-2011 08:50 AM

A friend of mine had a bigger chain saw then my dad or i had. We asked him to fall a hickory in my side yard. Half way into the first he hit something ruining the chain. We ended up just pushing this rotten hickory over with a tractor and found that the former owner had poured concrete in the tree. It started at ground level and went up the first limb. The tree had a hollow core say 4 inch dia. by 12 feet of concrete in it. Lots of work to keep an old tree Don’t you think?

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 3265 days

#10 posted 12-23-2011 12:18 PM

The only reliable metal detector is a saw blade. I took a log section with a 10p nail with me to test metal detectors at every store around and most of them could find it on the surface, expensive ones could find it several inches deep and none of them could find it without turning the log and searching all around it. Plus if it’s on the log deck of my sawmill, the massive metal deck keeps any handheld detector from finding anything. I saw a lot of walnut, maple and cherry logs that come from yards, but I know some percentage of them will cost me at least $25 for a new blade. I still saw them, but I won’t pay a home owner anything for them. Like WDHLT15 said, the expense of the blades, plus the trouble and expense of hauling them is all I’m willing to pay. I’ll remove the owners trees if they are already down, or if they can’t hit anything when I fell them…

The strangest thing I’ve found is a gate hinge inside a 48” red oak log. It had to have been nailed on when the tree was just 4 or 5” in diameter.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2721 days

#11 posted 12-23-2011 01:26 PM

I’ve seen that concrete trick before too. People used to do it to save the tree. Seems it works finding it burried so deep. Lately you can find LOTS of fence posts (pipes) and tons of chain link.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View Mark's profile


34 posts in 2403 days

#12 posted 12-23-2011 01:34 PM

As long as this thread is about metal objects in wood, I thought I wood share this photo. It was taken at the Pratt Farm Conservation Area in Middleboro MA.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2541 days

#13 posted 12-23-2011 03:07 PM

Interesting stories and pictures, I’m enjoying reading them .

@WDHLT15 speaking of this very same thing Walnut, I have a tree arborist that will be cutting down a black walnut from a near by location, (house) since I am using my 14” bandsaw he is going to cut them up into 14” – 18” sections for me and is going to charge me $50 for doing it, a cord’s worth so I’m going to jump on it, only a 4 mile drive. I’ll have wand in hand and ready before I do any cutting on them. :)


-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View GNiessen's profile


13 posts in 2390 days

#14 posted 12-23-2011 05:03 PM

I was being very careful and checking some reclaimed poplar for nails and I missed one. It went through my planer several times. An the reason I didn’t notice it was it was on the under side of the board. And it being a very old board, it was a cut nail. Cut nails are much harder then normal nails. And much harder then cast iron. I have a badly scored planer bed that took hours to re flatten and partially repair. I now check and double check.

But logs are a bigger issue as the metal can be buried below the surface where your metal detector does not catch it. Make sure to set the sensitivity as high as possible. And scan from several angles.

Carbide teeth can often cut through a normal nail. It will dull it very fast, but not as bad as plain hardened steel. Prevention is a much better option, but carbide is good insurance.

-- Ah, the smell of fresh cut wood.

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2986 days

#15 posted 12-23-2011 06:18 PM

Yep, that’s the way a lot of us learned. I got a detector too, lol. Bit it didn’t help me with that one huge maple crotch I was a-slicin’ and there was a roch down in the center. Ruined that blade too. It’s just part of the game. On yard trees I really cover the bottom well with the detector but usually base my effort on getting the tree on the wood that starts higher than the typical homeowner can reach.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

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