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Forum topic by Craftsman on the lake posted 04-21-2009 09:57 PM 3852 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Craftsman on the lake

2842 posts in 3673 days

04-21-2009 09:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: resawing wood drying drying chainsaw

My sister has 8 acres of land. The other day I mentioned that I really like to build stuff but the wood was so expensive. She said, “if you cull it carefully you can have some of mine”. Well, that got me thinking.

So, the short story is that I’m going to build a sawing rig like I’ve seen online. I’m a welder so it should go okay. I’m not too worried by that. Fun stuff.

The question is for you people who have cut your own stuff. The trees will be oak. Mostly 16” or less in diameter. Is it better to cut the tree to length, and let it set for awhile to dry or is it better to cut it and then rough cut the boards and then stack it to dry? I ask so I can get a head start on this if it’s best to let them dry in tact.

Thanks in advance for your expertise.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

15 replies so far

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 3996 days

#1 posted 04-21-2009 10:49 PM


I don’t know what kind of resaw rig you are contemplating, but if it uses a chain saw, you might want to reconsider to finding someone with a Woodmizer, or Timber King. The bandsaw type sawmill blade has a 1/8” kerf, and frankly, I’m amazed at the amount of sawdust it creates, which of course has to be disposed of someway.

The kerf on a chainsaw would be much wider, probably creating twice as much or more sawdust, as well as wasting a heck of a lot of nice wood, oak in your case.

I cut logs into 100 inch lengths to allow for some splitting on the ends as the wood drys. I do not let the logs lay idle for very long before resawing, they won’t dry much as they are, and hungry insects may burrow under the bark.

The resawn boards should be stacked between stickers arranged vertically. Put the first layer on 4×4’s or a couple of old pallets. This base should be leveled as best as possible, allowing the first layer of resawn wood to be a few inches above the ground. I put a plastic tarp over the top of the completed stack to discourage rainwater, and let the sides remain open to the air. You can let the wood dry outside thru the Summer, and then it would be nice to have some type of inside facility where you can stack and sticker them for drying a year or more before using

I’ve got about 2000 board feet of Eastern White Pine drying in the loft of my “Workshop in the Woods”. When I get back U.P. there next week, I hope to salvage a nice Poplar tree in the National Forest and have it resawn.

Let us know how you make out. Post some pictures.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3963 days

#2 posted 04-21-2009 11:10 PM

i can’t add much from a technical perspective since I’ve never done it myself and 8iowa seems to have covered most everything, but I will say I tried to rip a cedar log into planks with a chainsaw freehand. The obvious lesson is that freehanding makes for some awful ugly cuts if you don’t know what you are doing, but the less obvious is that the cost of doing it right isn’t cheap:

1) your time to make a rig only to cut lumebr for yourself (how much would the rig be used)
2) the cost of a chainsaw with a bar long enough
3) the cost of a chainsaw with an engine powerful enough
4) the cost of a couple dedicated ripping chains (a crosscut blade isn’t even wirth trying to use IMO).

For all this, I’d have to assume you will be out about $500-1000 depending on the cost to build your rig.
For that, you could get a pro to get you better yield with a bandmill. I’d love to hear more thoughts on this from our more experienced members too though.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2842 posts in 3673 days

#3 posted 04-21-2009 11:10 PM

Thanks for the detailed reply iowa.

I’ve got two ideas. One is to use a chainsaw. The other is to take a second bandsaw I’ve had for years. It was purchased from harbor freight and darn if it doesn’t work but I have no problems sacrificing it. I was planning on rebuilding it a bit to widen the blade opening and mounting it properly on a trolly to cut wood. None of the trees are huge. Then of course rigging it with a proper blade for this type of sawing. I figure if I mount the log well in a cradle and have the bandsaw able to roll on rails. I can set up a short tower with a cable connected to the saw. A weight would steadily put moderate pressure on the saw trolly to keep the teeth biting into the wood. It might take awhile but that’s ok, I can wait. I know professional ones are much more powerful but properly wedging the wood this might work for my meager needs.

My questions about the trying were well addressed thanks.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 3996 days

#4 posted 04-22-2009 12:48 AM

In his book “Woodworking Wisdom”, Nick Engler shows the plans for a simple jig, and describes operating proceedures with which to resaw logs on a typical shop type bandsaw. I can see how this would work for smaller diameter and shorter length logs.

However, this might only be suitable for small quantities of logs at a time. A woodmizer has a water tank that continually bathes the blade with water for cooling and lubrication, which is not practical to do on our shop bandsaws..

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Catspaw's profile


236 posts in 4050 days

#5 posted 04-22-2009 01:38 AM

A regular band saw probably won’t handle a blade necessary for resawing. Re-doing the shop band saw probably won’t serve your purposes. It would be nothing more than resawing it on the table it already has. Personally I wouldn’t waste time re-doing the shop saw.

You can buy the wheel rig and put your own power to it. About $900 for a kit.

But ultimately, it’s far cheaper to hire it out unless you plan to do it all the time. I know it would be fun to weld up your own, but, at $0.50/ft or possibly less for even 8 or 10 trees…..

Also figure 1 year/1 inch….cut them right after you fell them. I would probably have the sawyer show up right where you cut them, the same day or the next. Easier to transport.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

View CedarFreakCarl's profile


594 posts in 4289 days

#6 posted 04-22-2009 03:00 AM

Down in these parts, there’s some guys w/ bandsaw mills that’ll saw it on halves. Half for you and half for them. If you’ve got plenty of timber, that may be an option. Other than that, the going rate is a little over $0.40 a bf down here in SC.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2842 posts in 3673 days

#7 posted 04-22-2009 03:29 AM

Thanks guys. I certainly have a lot to think about, from having someone do it to doing it by hand. I found Engler’s book on Amazon for a couple bucks used. Even if I don’t go with this it will be an interesting read I’m sure. If anything comes of this I’ll let you know, even if I end up with toothpicks! My wife says that spring always brings out the weird in me.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View BTKS's profile


1989 posts in 3699 days

#8 posted 05-07-2009 06:37 AM

I occasionally log some local timber and have had great luck using local sawmills. I’m fortunate and a local Amish sawyer that works for about .25 to .30 cents per bdf of finished lumber. You can usually get it cheaper if you can leave the logs for their slow times or short days when the mill can fill gaps between bigger jobs. Sounds like you have the patients for this. The bandsaw mills have given me beautiful, consistent results regardless of wood species. Another advantage to a local mill, they already have the stickers gang cut and cheap. You don’t have to cut up your good wood or buy commercial wood to make them. They usually use off cuts and cheap species to make them.
An old woodworker and sawyer advised me if you have an old barn loft or grain bin to hang each board verticle from a small eye hook. Gravity only works along the grain and all surfaces are exposed to the air. Said he had his best wood this way. Not many have access like that but it’s something to think about if you get the opportunity.
The guys above had good points about cost vs quanity of wood if this is a one time chance for lumber.
Don’t forget, a 16 in diameter log is going to have substantial bark and sapwood all the way around leaving fairly small hardwood. Don’t get me wrong, if it’s there it’s worth going after but small dia = small yield. Be lucky to get three 4/4 flat sawn boards from each log.
There are some great sites for wood harvest and drying from university extension offices. I googled several a few months ago to estimate number of stickers needed and minimum dry time for various species. Thought I favorited a couple but I can’t find them right now. Best of luck, I’ve had great success logging my own, wish you the same. Very satisfying feeling taking a project from tree to finished product. Later,

-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)

View rustfever's profile


762 posts in 3545 days

#9 posted 05-08-2009 06:07 AM

I would like to suggest you promptly coat the end of the logs with Anchorseal. This must be done within a couple of hours of the felling of the trees. Anchorseal will reduce [or eliminate] the splitting caused by rapid drying from the end grain. Once the logs are sealed, the timing of the sawing can be stretched significantly. Once the lumber has been sawn however, you need to again treat the ends of the boards with another coat of Anchorseal. But you must promptly stack the newly sawn boards with stickers. This should be done the same days as the sawing.

The time to dry the lumber will differ depending upon several factors. type of lumber, thickness of boards and your location. If you are in one of the warm/dry areas, such as Central California, you may find 4/4 lumber curining down to 10 or 11% moisture by the end of the first summer. In some of the more moist climets, you will need to use a ‘Kiln’ to get below about 18 or 19% moisture. 9 to 11% Moisture content is probably required for and furniture or indoor wood workign projects

To learn more about drying lumber and/or building and operating a solar kiln, check into

-- Rustfever, Central California

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 3988 days

#10 posted 05-08-2009 06:34 AM

Cinder blocks on top of the stacks also help in keeping the top few layers flat.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View RalphB's profile


25 posts in 3600 days

#11 posted 05-09-2009 04:51 PM

I think that sealing the ends of the rough planks is extremely important as many have already said. Also, don’t foget that when you stack the rough planks, use plenty of stickers and put them all in vertical columns – i.e. make sure the stickers are lined up as you go up the stack – otherwise you can end up with wavy boards. I also think it’s important to rough cut the boards generously thick. There is a good chance of some bowing, cupping, etc and that gives you some wood you can waste and still end up with usable thickness. I don’t think anyone mentioned it previously – don’t foget to think about what type of grain patter you want your finished product to have. Do you want quarter sawn or plain sawn?

View RalphB's profile


25 posts in 3600 days

#12 posted 05-09-2009 04:54 PM

Oops, I forgot to mention: Maybe you don’t want to saw the logs at all. Maybe you want to split them and then run the splits thru a bandsaw or do some hand tool (adze, axe, etc.) refining first. If you look at some of the videos on turning trees into lumber this is certainly one way to start.

View Gpops's profile


248 posts in 3679 days

#13 posted 05-10-2009 01:08 AM

Did some sawing up in Wisconsin when the county widen the road. People in area were given a certain amount of time to take the logs or they were to be hauled off. Local Sawyer in the area did it for some of the wood. We supplied the labor. Could ask for any kind of cut,plain or Quartersawn but with the size of the trees we were doing the largest quartersawn is about 5 1/2 ”. It was done right in the woods loading the newly sawn wet heavy oak onto trucks and transporting back to a friends farm for stacking and stickering. With the rig he used we just had to roll the logs onto the unit and the bandsaw cut them up slick as you please. Interesting, tiring hard work for a city boy. I have made many oak projects from that lumber, good memories, and still have a large stickered pile taking up half my garage. One year per inch works fine. Have fun

View stefang's profile


16209 posts in 3569 days

#14 posted 05-14-2009 10:42 PM

If you are thinking of using a bandsaw I saw a jig that looked smart to me on American Woodwoker’s website. Instead of a special carriage with pipe clamps etc. to hold the piece it just requires a piece of plywood. you can find it at the following address.


I also mention in case you are interested that another option might be log splitting. It is a lot easier than it sounds if you don’t mind wielding a sledgehammer and might help you to reduce the logs down to a more workable size and shape. I have done this quite a bit. I learned from a book “Green Woodwork” by Mike Abbott. Even if you don’t split logs it is a very good read and has a lot of tips about harvesting seasoning and working with fresh cut wood. You can probably find it on Amazon in the U.S or U.K.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3820 days

#15 posted 05-14-2009 11:11 PM

I have a basic fear of chainsaws but then I have never used one.Please get somone with knowledge of this procedure to show you first or hire a woodmizer guy for half a day I am concerned for your health really serious take it easy my friend and play safe

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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