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Thread: I got free logs. Now what?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Columbus Ohio
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    328

    I got free logs. Now what?

    I just got several pieces of maple from a friend that had to cut it down due to power line issues.

    The pieces are 4-6 feet long and 10-14" in diameter. They were cut down a week ago.

    My question is what to do now? I have an 18" bandsaw, I would like to use to cut theese in to boards. Should I allow them to dry some first? It would be easier as they would be much lighter. Should I stand them on end and let the excess water run out? Should I place them inside the cold shop or outside? I am in central Ohio.
    Last edited by Matthew Curtis; 12-07-2018 at 6:43 PM. Reason: Title change

  2. #2
    Immediately, you need to paint the ends to prevent checking from uneven drying. There are products made specifically for this or you can use latex paint. Without seeing the logs, I can't really do anything but advise generally, but you can go look at some of Matt Cremona's videos on YouTube, he does a lot of slabbing with a custom-made mill, but he has a lot of good advice for people who are interested in the process.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    LA & SC neither one is Cali
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    9,447
    Become a turner...

    Now with the semi-serious joke out of the way note there is a whole sub-forum devoted to this general activity. Sawmills and drying.
    Of all the laws Brandolini's may be the most universally true.

    Deep thought for the day:

    Your bandsaw weighs more when you leave the spring compressed instead of relieving the tension.

  4. #4
    Personally, I would split it up for firewood, then go buy dried maple boards because the work ahead of you might kill your present joy. If there is good figure like heavy curly grain, then it might be worth the effort, but I am afraid your bandsaw might be too small. It is best to cut the lumber wet, as it is now, full 1/4" thicker than you need so when drying it can warp, then when dry, you plane the warp out - SOP for all lumber. Then after slabbed wet, you paint or hot wax the ends so it doesn't dry through the end grain quickly, which splits it. Then there is the potential of hardware inside since you mention it was near powerlines. You need a metal detector to find out. All sawmill guys use metal detectors first - saves blades. If you want to try to cut it on your bandsaw, you should split the logs in half with a chainsaw so you have a flat surface to go down on the bandsaw - this also releives some internal stress, so no matter how straight you cut with the chainsaw, you may (or may not) get curved surface, so may have to plane it flat after splitting. Assuming you cut it all into 4/4 or whatever thickness you want, you need to sticker the slabs, then band the bundle tight with steel strapping to hold it all straight, or sticker stack then add weight on top. and don't let it get rained on. Air dry outside for 1-1/2 years or more preferably, then its only equilibrium moisture content (18 - 21%) with 1" sticker gaps between each board. Then air dry inside house or shop for another year to 10%, or send out for kiln drying. Its been years since I learned all this, but others may chime in with their experiences.
    Mfr of Dichrolam® - The gemstone Opal in sheet form, used by PRS, Fender, Martin etc, and Chatoyant Carbon Fiber™ - molded CF with higher 3D flash than Koa, seen in supercars to 1911 grips - Quilted, Wild Ribbon Flame, etc. in solid and veneer stock. Latest is always on IG: john.blazy_dichrolam_llc
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Flower mound, Tx
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    411
    I would cut up the log into turning blanks and turn them on a lathe.
    Making boards from a log is equipment intensive and requires a long time to dry.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    weaverville, ca
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    288
    i have a mm16 and from my experience these are pretty big logs to wrestle through a shop bandsaw - i know you can build xtension tables and there are resaw guides - but still a lot of work and can be pretty risky for the blade. but if it looks like good wood and pretty figure, i would look around for a sawyer that has a bandsaw mill - like a woodmizer or randolph (?) and have them resawed.
    and yes paint the ends to hold of as much checking as you can and dry them slow.
    jerry
    jerry

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    47,314
    Best option for those particular logs is to get a local sawyer to mill them into boards for you. A bandsaw like you have really isn't the right tool and the material handling alone could hurt or even kill you. Even dry, those logs are going to weigh a lot. I've always used a local sawyer for this kind of thing...I already have the next portion of logs to be cut started and once some additional tree work is done, I'll be bringing someone in to do the deed. From there, the material needs to be stacked stickered outside to dry in the normal air flow with just a cover on top to keep rain/snow from sitting on the pile.

    BTW, Van is correct...there is a great sub-forum here at the 'Creek for this kind of topic with a lot of great information already in place.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
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    7,054
    What, hard sugar maple? Soft (red/silver) maple?

    There is no reason to let them dry before sawing. It might take a decade to dry enough to make them much lighter and by then they would probably be firewood anyway from the cracks and bugs. It does help to stand on end until some water runs out but it really doesn't matter if sawing. I'd keep them outside since it's not summer, get them up off the ground a bit, and keep the sun and rain off. This time of year is good for minimal fungus and insect damage.

    I would certainly seal the ends; I use Anchorseal, an emulsified wax available from WoodCraft and elsewhere. I've known people to use paint with varying success. Apparently several coats of oil-based paint is better than nothing but I've been told by several that latex is not as good - water will go right through it. (The idea is to slow down the water evaporating from the end grain to minimize localized shrinking which will get checks and cracks started.)

    I process a lot of green wood from logs on my 18" shop bandsaw, up to 12" diameter or height after sliced down the middle. I stick to pieces no longer than about 24" since otherwise they are too hard for one person to handle even with a lot of experience. 4' is probably even too much for two people with experience without extended tables or some kind of sawing jig. For longer pieces I have the Woodmizer sawmill behind the barn. I think most 18" bandsaws will handle up to 12" so the 14" diameters would have to be ripped in half first or trimmed with a chainsaw.

    If you want longer boards look for a local sawmill. Woodfinder.com might locate one near you. It wouldn't take long to saw short pieces like that but the problem might be finding someone willing to mess with such small pieces. If they saw for money they might charge extra for the trouble which might make the whole thing expensive. Someone with a small sawmill for personal use might be more likely to do it to help or just for fun. I'd do it here but I'm a bit of a drive from your place.

    If you want the experience, the fun of cutting them up, and the joy of using boards and you cut and dried yourself AND you could use short boards 3-6" across then I'd say go for it. If you decide to do this I can give you some tips if you want. Just remember you won't get much lumber out of a 10" log.

    Any way you saw them, you then have to properly sticker and weight them and wait until dry. Do that wrong or have bad luck and you end up with nothing. Unfortunately, the idea to turn them into firewood and buy some usable boards does make some sense.

    Most of what I cut green is for blanks and squares for woodturning. (I use 1/2" blades with 3 teeth per inch.) I process wood for my own use, for friends, and for our woodturning club auctions. When dry (which may take years), nice blanks with no obvious defects are valuable to woodturners, far more so if spectacular, for example highly figured, burled, birdseye, etc. The logs themselves have essentially no value, partly because it's impossible to know what the wood is like inside, but especially since we are in a part of the country where green wood is free. People bring short logs and pieces to the club meetings every month to raffle for $1 each.

    JKJ


    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Curtis View Post
    I just got several pieces of maple from a friend that had to cut it down due to power line issues.

    The pieces are 4-6 feet long and 10-14" in diameter. They were cut down a week ago.

    My question is what to do now? I have an 18" bandsaw, I would like to use to cut theese in to boards. Should I allow them to dry some first? It would be easier as they would be much lighter. Should I stand them on end and let the excess water run out? Should I place them inside the cold shop or outside? I am in central Ohio.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    cleveland,tn.
    Posts
    290
    yeah if you can find someone with a mill have them cut for you . If you can be there while cutting would be best as then you can look at a few cuts and determine if it is worth having it all done, A good sawyer can help you out with making a choice on quality. and 4 ft. lengths might be to small to fool with, I like cutting over 8 ft. on my mill.

  10. #10
    Run to your computer and search the crageslist for a band saw mill...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    E TN, near Knoxville
    Posts
    7,054
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Beitz View Post
    Run to your computer and search the crageslist for a band saw mill...
    A new LT-15 from WoodMizer is less than you might imagine. Mine came by FedEx.

    Of course you need a spot in the yard for it...

    JKJ

  12. #12
    If you can find a mill that operates on their site, haul the logs to them. Mills that come to you charge extra to come to your site, have to have insurance for working on your property, much more expensive than someone who saws on their own property.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    1,346
    I have went down this path. And still do sometimes. All the advice here is spot on... (yet I still do occasionally take it on. My latest is a split logs with a chainsaw (with guide and ripping chain) and square the edges. You need to get rid of bark cause it will eat the blades. And yes it is definitely tricky to get a nice straight cut.

    Someday I will plop a mill in the backyard. But then I need bigger tractors, wagons, etc etc. Green logs are NOT lightweight!

    For now I have resigned myself to purchasing lumber others have done this work on. CL regularly has fresh cut boards listed in my area, and if I sticker them outside a few years I have useable lumber at a cost below what I could do myself.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Toronto Ontario
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    9,004
    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....r+on+a+bandsaw

    Hi, I sawed some larger logs on a 17” saw.

    Please see the above link....Rod

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Eudora, Kansas
    Posts
    42
    A few comments from mobile sawyer. By all means, if you can haul the logs it will be cheaper to do so. Problem is, there are a lot of people who would like to obtain lumber from their log(s), yet do not have the means to move, lift/load, or haul logs. The mill business should be insured, no matter where they do the job. Unfortunately, there are some that omit the insurance - a potential problem for them, and for you.

    'Much more expensive', is a relative term. My milling fees are the same, whether at your home or mine. I do charge a travel fee based upon the distance, and a setup fee which is pro-rated for larger quantities of lumber. Some of my mobile clients have all the necessary equipment to haul their logs and prefer the convenience and time savings of having me mill at their location. Most of my mobile appointments do not have the ability to move or load logs, or don't have a trailer to carry the logs, or even a vehicle that could pull the trailer. When the tree service leaves a 3000 pound log in your yard, and you have no idea which of your friends will help you muscle it on to a borrowed or rented trailer - the opportunity to have someone come to your home and take care of it becomes quite attractive.

    If someone lives 50 miles from my home and has one, nice sized (200 bf) log to mill, that would add $1 per board foot to their costs, and I explain that to them. If they have 10 of those logs, that drops to about .08 p/bf. Even with the ability to haul logs, if they have to make more than one trip, it may be more reasonable to have them done on-site. Although there are many more stationary mills than there are active, mobile mills, some of those won't accept small orders, residential/urban logs, certain species, or are mobile-only.

    The point is, talk to the sawyers in your area about your particular needs. We are an independent group and generalizing about services and costs will almost always be incorrect.
    Last edited by Tom Hogard; Today at 12:52 AM.

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