Making Lumber from Logs

Making Lumber from Logs

Last week, Rob shared his enjoyment of sawing log chunks into lumber and wondered if you do this as well. Several of you have thoughts to share. – Editor

“Great timing. I just came in from my shop where I was band-sawing wood from a tree that I cut down in my back yard. This was a special tree with a lot of memories. My grandmother had brought back a twig from down south about 60 years ago. She put it in an old jelly jar to root. We planted it after the roots had started. She is now gone and the tree is gone, but it lives on in the projects I make from it. The tree was a catalpa. I’ve made keepsake boxes for all her grandchildren and a presentation box for an autoharp that was my mothers. I am currently working on some wildlife-themed clocks.” – Lyle Foringer

“I do not take down trees and cut them into slices, but I do go to my local lumber/hardware store and get cedar siding. These are 12″ wide by various lengths; I think it’s 8′, 12′ and 16′. The boards are all a fat 1″ thick. I take these home, cut them into 18″ long pieces and slice them into thirds, so about 1/4″ to 5/16″ thick. Then, when we have salmon for dinner, I soak them for about an hour, place the salmon square on them, shake on a bit of rub, and about 15 to 20 minutes later, we sit down for a fantastic dinner. And at the end of dinner, I can toss the ‘cooking appliances.’ Here is the stack from my last ‘cooking appliance manufacturing operation!’ (Preppin’ weapon added for size comparison.) And EVERYONE loves it!” – Gary Coyne

“I have taken tree logs and have had them milled into rough cut lumber, live-edge and remnant cuts. I resaw a lot of it. I just use my Laguna 14″, because I don’t have any special jig. So definitely interested in seeing what you come up with for your band saw jig. I recently took down a large black walnut tree that was huge when I was young; when the house was torn down, I took the tree down. It was starting to crack in the center so we got it before major rot or breakage issues started. I will be building my urn out of it…I’m only 56 but I want it ready. No one is promised tomorrow, after all.” – Lorne Sievers

“My son had a cherry and a black walnut tree blow down, so there was my itch. I bought a Stihl chainsaw and a Granberg chainsaw mill. The walnut was small and he turned it into firewood, but the cherry was cut onto four sections, and we milled it out in one long day along with my son-in-law. Then he had 30 white ash that had to come down. We got seven good logs and three winter’s worth of firewood. My other son had a giant white ash taken down by the county, and we got eight large limbs off of that; the trunk was 5 ft. in diameter, and my saw couldn’t handle that. Lastly, I just had a large white pine and a larger Norway maple taken down at my house. The pine is milled, but we haven’t gotten to the maple yet…And I now have a mountain of wood that’s seasoning.” – Peter Klebaur

“I have enjoyed cutting small logs into short lumber pieces since I bought my Laguna 14″ saw. A couple of favorites are a number of mamosa boards from a tree my sister cut down and some holly logs from a tree cut in my yard. Both make pretty boxes. I also have had the pleasure of having some trees from my yard cut into lumber by a guy with a Wood Miser. I had a couple black walnut trees cut down, and they made very pretty wood. I have made a couple of tables from this wood so far and have a good bit left.” – David Hall

“I do the same occasionally. The fun is experimenting on the lathe with different local trees or pieces of something strange when we travel. I did have a large oak cut by a local portable mill and built some furniture. Best piece was a cradle that has held two grandsons so far and waiting in the upper barn for great grandkids and more, hopefully. Air drying took a long time but seems to have worked. When I harvested the tree, an uncle of the grandkids had the mill, another had a big planer and the father helped build the cradle, so it was a family affair.” – John van Veen

“You betcha I cut my own wood! I call it ‘Free to Me’ (FTM) wood. I’ve got a 17″ bandsaw and an Alaskan chainsaw mill. I’m currently making something from a madrone log I got from a buddy in Grants Pass, Oregon, two years ago. Of course, with FTM wood, you get what you get: worm tracks, knots, the whole thing. I’ve also cut a cedar log from which I made a set of Adirondack furniture for our patio. I’ve used FTM white oak a lot. I just made a folding ladder from white oak that also came from Oregon. So to summarize, go for it! Free to YOU is always interesting! Plus, it’s a great skill builder.” – Steve Kendall

“I harvested as much wood as I can from downed, dead or trimmed trees. I use a chainsaw to cut slabs about 3″ thick, then after allowing to dry, use a melamine sled to run them through my planer to get one or two sides square and then use a straight 2×4 to square up one side on the table saw. I have ash, elm, red and white oak, black walnut, mulberry, cherry and catalpa now drying or in use. I’ve even cut up some pin cherry and lilac for thwarts on my boats.” – Bill G

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