Bandsaw Milling and Wood Type

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Sanding2day posted 09-12-2013 05:52 AM 2061 views 1 time favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sanding2day's profile


1014 posts in 2087 days

09-12-2013 05:52 AM

Topic tags/keywords: milling bandsaw lumber

Evening LJs… Tonight was an entertaining evening for me as it was the first time attempting to mill my own lumber. I have to apologize for any and all milling sins committed and remind those experienced with this that it was predominately conducted as an experiment…

A few weeks ago I passed by a sizable pile of firewood and inquired about attaining a piece. As not yet able to identify species by their bark I picked up the largest piece that I felt I could handle with my 14” bandsaw. About a week ago I received my Timberwolf 1/2” 3TPI blade and tonight I had the chance to put it to the test :)

I had fully intended to build a sled Had the pieces for it cut and laid out but as it was getting late and I was feeling lazy about removing the current BS table etc. figured I may as well just run it through… Worked out alright although will no doubt result in some loss of usable wood and more work attaining squared lumber.

I did go through a number of nails luckily small ones and ended up with some really cool looking spalted ? Elm Bringing me to my questions…

1. Is this White Elm as currently believed? What are the red lines running through the pieces?

2. If this is White Elm, and predominately heart wood anyone have guidance as to its usability or advice as to how long to wait/steps to take before making it into a box or who knows… Current thinking is that it has been down for quite some time and a few weeks should be sufficient Really need a moisture reader

3. As I know very little about milling I would certainly welcome any and all tidbits of info as I’m thinking once I learn to ID more effectively this could be a much more cost effective method of attaining material!!! Hard to beat free…

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and although the pictures really do not do it justice I hope you like them…

Log resting on BS taunting me to make some cuts…

Took a freehand slice down one side as the log was to large to make it down the center

I would be upset it I bought this as “rough cut” but am absolutely thrilled with the results given the cost/effort

So? Any confirmation on wood type?? Thanks again…

-- Dan

29 replies so far

View Sanding2day's profile


1014 posts in 2087 days

#1 posted 09-12-2013 06:36 AM

Well, found the answer to the second part of question 1… In case anyone else was curious the red lines are called zone lines… Below is the explanation from Wikipedia…

Dark dotting, winding lines and thin streaks of red, brown and black are known as zone lines. This type of spalting does not occur due to any specific type of fungus, but is instead an interaction zone in which different fungi have erected barriers to protect their resources.[7] They can also be caused by a single fungus delineating itself. The lines are often clumps of hard, dark mycelium, referred to as pseudosclerotial plate formation.[11]
Zone lines themselves do not damage the wood. However, the fungi responsible for creating them often do.

-- Dan

View Loco's profile


210 posts in 1990 days

#2 posted 09-12-2013 08:29 AM

I see a future bandsaw addict. Cool stuff. Ya just can’t beat a bandsaw.

-- What day is it ? No matter. Ummmm What month is it ? No moron. I paid for a 2 x 6. That means Two inches by six inches. I want the rest of my wood.

View firefighterontheside's profile


19631 posts in 2097 days

#3 posted 09-12-2013 11:48 AM

Maybe you need a metal detector along with your moisture meter. I got one from amazon that was only about $30 I think. It is supposed to detect ferrous metals 6 in. deep and non-ferrous to a lesser extent. It works very well. That wood looks neat with the red streaks.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View hydro's profile


208 posts in 1992 days

#4 posted 09-12-2013 12:23 PM

Nice looking material you have there! That wood is box elder, not elm, and the red streaks are what gives it away. It dries fairly well and is nice to work with once dry. Your pieces will take 4-6 months to dry out enough to make into projects, depending on the thickness and where you put them to dry. Nice spalting patterns as well.

You mentioned nails. That’s the gremlin in sawing your own lumber and they are always a possibility. Be prepared to go through a blade now and then when doing this. Once you hit metal, watch carefully for bowed cuts and blade drift. If you see that its time for a new blade.

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5319 posts in 1961 days

#5 posted 09-12-2013 12:39 PM

I too have found cutting would be firewood into board to be a lot of fun, if at times a little less than perfectly accurate! Here in northern Ohio there are plenty of places to get ash for free, but trying to cut anything on the bandsaw 14” in diameter and 3’ long can get be pretty tough. I’ve since been looking at a portable bandmill, but they make an expensive bandsaw seem like a bargain.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Joe Romero's profile

Joe Romero

13 posts in 2013 days

#6 posted 09-12-2013 12:42 PM

Its cool.. but what type of wood is this, never seen this pre-designed woods ?

-- Window Replacement Orange County

View ITnerd's profile


263 posts in 2840 days

#7 posted 09-12-2013 01:08 PM

+1 to hydro’s assessment of the wood, box elder – from the wood database.

Sanding2day is also correct, the red coloration in Box Elder comes from a fungus that commonly effects these trees.

It will dry to slightly less vibrant colors, but is still a very nice wood. A local hobbyist sawyer I met at a lumber yard in North Georgia offered to sell me any of his lumber – except for his stash of figured box elder flitches. :)

-- Chris @ Atlanta - JGM - Occam's razor tells us that when you hear hoofs, think horses not zebras.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19050 posts in 2808 days

#8 posted 09-12-2013 01:26 PM

Nails and bullets!

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Post_Oakie's profile


84 posts in 2394 days

#9 posted 09-12-2013 01:57 PM

... and bolts! I hit this when cutting walnut on my band saw mil.

I’d go along with boxelder, but I’ve see sycamore and elm with red coloration due to fungus. The only way to tell for sure is to cut off some of the end grain with a sharp blade and look at the ring & cell structure. No matter the species, it will look nice. If it is soft, you may want to stabilize it with epoxy.

Welcome to the world of sawmilling!

-- Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

View Sanding2day's profile


1014 posts in 2087 days

#10 posted 09-12-2013 02:26 PM

Little doubt there Loco… Will certainly be on the look out for more free lumber, could see the need to reorganize the shop/attain more storage space to satisfy the 4+ month waiting periods before working the material. I work on a 2600 acre National Guard Training Area and I’ll be happy to assist in clearing downed trees. :)

I should have thought of using a metal detector Bill, looked clean from the outside but suppose that is difficult to determine visually. I do have a Zircon i520 Stud Finder which picks up metal but not sure that would accomplish the task unless running across nails/bullets like Don shows above very cool find although likely quite frustrating if missed!! Will absolutely add a a good metal detector to the list of must haves.

Looks like Box Elder is the answer Joe… Thanks for the ID and info Hydro/Chris some really nice examples provided as pen blanks etc. here

Good luck with attaining the bandmill BBY Could absolutely see that being used further down the line but this will no doubt keep me going for the time being… Look forward to filling up the shelves evil giggles as pinkee moves to edge of mouth

-- Dan

View Sanding2day's profile


1014 posts in 2087 days

#11 posted 09-12-2013 02:36 PM

Doh Have to wonder about how/when bolts etc. ended up in the center of such woods. Thanks Post Oakie, will need to do some research on how to best stabilize lumber or perhaps it makes a good excuse to run down to Doug’s for guidance, just wish I had $ to spend… Dangerous place…

-- Dan

View Don W's profile

Don W

19050 posts in 2808 days

#12 posted 09-12-2013 03:12 PM

I found a bottle once. I wish I’d taken a picture. I have heard of pistols being found in the crotch.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2728 days

#13 posted 09-12-2013 03:13 PM

To me it looks like some Cedar Elm I have, but it is probably as the others say, Box Elder.

Dan, nails, bolts, bullets, bricks, and a lot of other things get buried in tree’s over the years… Somewhere on this site is a bicycle buried in a tree.

2 years ago I was slabbing up a nice white oak with my chainsaw mill. I ran into a railroad spike, ruined the chain in almost ZERO seconds.
I replaced the chain, cut six more inches, hit another railroad spike, ruined the chain.
Replaced the chain, cut 6 more inches, hit another spike. Ruined the chain.
3 chains @ $25/ea., a half hour downtime for each chain swap, the only bright spot was to practice my four letter words.
None of these spikes was closer than 8” from the bark. They had been hammered in, it seems, during the original railroad layout around 1860. possibly for layout of a yard or because someone needed to tie up a mule!

I bought a White brand metal detector for $400, used. It will tell me quickly if there is anything I should know about in a log.
I’ve found a lot of nails and stuff so far, but better yet, I have found almost $34 in coins around the laundry room at our RV park! That will buy my beer for almost two weeks!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Don W's profile

Don W

19050 posts in 2808 days

#14 posted 09-12-2013 03:23 PM

I wonder… many more spikes before you’d have stopped :-)

Can’t help but think in a couple hundred years the sawmill guys will be swearing at the tree standers who left the climbing spikes.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Sanding2day's profile


1014 posts in 2087 days

#15 posted 09-12-2013 05:40 PM

Very cool stuff… Treasure hunting from within trees who would of thunk it…

Like the story of a boy leaving for WWI and chaining up the bike better but either way pretty neat…

Certain the the four letter word practice was extensive that day! Hope you got some great oak projects out of the deal…

-- Dan

showing 1 through 15 of 29 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics