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Author Topic: Sawing Hickory for the first time  (Read 1683 times)

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Offline Mlanier

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Sawing Hickory for the first time
« on: September 07, 2021, 08:01:46 PM »
Hello everyone,

Iíll be sawing a few hickory logs for the first time next week. Iíve heard and read that sawing hickory can be a little tricky.

Any tips, doís, donít, and advice yíall can give will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks everyone!

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2021, 08:26:20 PM »
I just a wondering,
what kind of mill you got?
What's the hickory for.
Been sawing long? 
;D   :)
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2021, 08:41:04 PM »
Well the devil (wood) is in the details here. You need to provide details if you are looking for useful advice. If you are running a WM LT50 as a mill, it should be no big deal at all. If you are running a manual push mill with a 10HP engine, you will be in for some challenges, if you are running a CSM, it will be a long day indeed. ;D Then there are the logs: how big, how dry, how long? What kind of lumber are you looking to get out of them?
 It's all about the details.
 Either way, the best of luck to you and welcome to the forum.
P.S. Filling in some of your details in the profile section will be helpful, it lets us know where you are and perhaps what gear you are running. Also useful for getting good responses.
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Offline Larry

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2021, 09:36:03 PM »
Sometimes (most of the time) it saws fine with a sharp 4 or 7 degree band.  Than their are the days.....

If the logs have been laying around for a while the ends dry and it becomes a lot harder to saw.  That hard end will take the sharp off a band in a few seconds.  If that is the case, you can chainsaw off a few inches from each end and they will be easier to get through.

I'm mostly using 1-1/2" .050 bands and they make life much easier.
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

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Offline Mlanier

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2021, 10:01:07 PM »
I run a WM LT40 wide with the 38hp engine.
Saw mostly pine down here in Florida with the occasional oak, cherry, or pecan.

Offline cutterboy

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2021, 07:46:59 AM »
Hi Mlanier. I have a manual mill with a 13hp Honda engine and I have sawed a fair amount of hickory as there is a lot of it on my farm. I use 1.25" 10 degree blades and my logs have been sawed fresh cut. Hickory wood is just simply really hard. It saws slow and dulls the blades faster than most other wood. Other than that I've haven't had any real problems with it. Well, if it's shagbark, the bark can give you fits.
BTW, the lumber is beautiful.


 

 

 
Good luck with your sawing.....Cutter

Offline kelLOGg

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2021, 10:02:36 AM »
The first hickory I sawed was from a dead tree and it sawed well  with a 10 deg blade. The lumber is now my office floor.
The latest hickory I sawed was from a live tree with bark still on and even though I used a 4 deg blade my engine could not drive the blade fast enough and the engine conked out. Comments from the FF were that the bark is a killer.  I removed the bark on the next log and sawing was nearly perfect. Part of my problem was a dying engine which is now replaced. My next hickory will be sawn with 4 deg blades and I will keep an eye on the bark and be ready to remove it if I see fit.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2021, 01:25:11 PM »
I'm sawing hickory and pecan this week.  No problems but....besides having the right band and an aligned mill, it is of utmost importance to use whatever blade lube you choose, but it must keep the band shiny.  If pitch builds up sawing hickory, you are done.
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Offline Mlanier

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2021, 01:42:45 PM »
Yellowhammer,

Thatís interesting you mention pitch in hickory. Hickory being a hardwood I was thinking it would be similar to sawing oak, with the exception of the bark, so I didnít think about a lot of pitch.

We saw a ton of the pitchy-est pine on the planet down here in Florida and it can definitely be annoying to say the least.

These are customers logs that heís bringing to the mill on Monday when he picks up his latest order of pine so I havenít seen them yet.

Thanks everyone for the replies! Tons of great info here. Wish I had known about Forestry Forum sooner!


Offline Magicman

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2021, 01:47:41 PM »
Ash will also gum up your blade.  :-X
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2021, 02:12:26 PM »
 

 

Hickory paneling in my office.  It does make some beautiful rustic paneling.  This office was built by the sawmill's previous owner.  He had it paneled in white oak, poplar, hickory, cherry and red oak all on different walls as samples of the products available from the mill.  This wall is what he called "rustic hickory" and as you can see the defects were used to create the rustic effect.  The paneling was kiln dried here then milled into paneling by a local cabinet maker.  

Saw the greenest hickory you can then be very careful about stacking, stickering and drying the lumber.  My experience is hickory has a mind of its own when it comes to drying.  My experience tells me hickory has as much or more drying loss as white oak.  
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Offline Beavertooth

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2021, 04:29:33 PM »
The worst trees I have sawn for gumming up the blade is those big ole Bubble Gum trees. The sap is real pink and gooey. I have had the sap get wrapped around the blade guide rollers and start creating a bubble as it spins and then pop real loud after they get so big. The sap has just so much stretch tolerance and will get real tight at about a 4 inch circle.  Usually scares the customers pretty bad when that happens. Haven't really found a good lube to cut it yet.  
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Offline caveman

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2021, 04:48:37 PM »
MLanier, you have gotten good advice.  I will add that if you have sawn live oak, saw it the same way (blade choice, blade lube, speed, careful alignment, etc). 

Offline KenMac

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2021, 05:04:44 PM »
MLanier, you have gotten good advice.  I will add that if you have sawn live oak, saw it the same way (blade choice, blade lube, speed, careful alignment, etc).
You beat me to this suggestion. Live oak is by far the hardest wood I've sawn, but did not have any issues with blade diving or wandering at all. Actually was easier and flatter than knotty pine. Just have to slow down cutting speed to match engine capabilities, Good luck!
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Offline Mlanier

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2021, 07:47:39 PM »
Any thoughts on the best way to saw Hickory? Qtr saw, flat saw?

From what Iíve read thereís not a lot of fleck in Hickory so not sure if qtr sawing it would be worth the extra effort/waste.

As luck would have it my lake house has Hickory cabinets (they were there when I bought it). I went and looked at the drawer fronts and corner stiles (the only places I could see end grain) and there is flat sawn, rift sawn, and only one piece that was qtr sawn that was part of a wide face drawer front glue up.

I honestly couldnít tell much difference between them

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2021, 01:27:40 AM »
As has been mentioned, important to have a sharp band.  So I hope you have a de-barker, if not debark by hand.  Also, feed slow.  You don't want to push your band too fast.  If you are not clearing the sawdust, it can cause waves.  Waves are what  you are trying to avoid with Hickory.  One reason I like my manual mill, I can feel it and read it as I feed(I've never run a mill with powered feed).  Same goes for Osage.  Do you know how to check and set your drive belt tension?  Do it before starting.  And did I mention to keep a sharp band on?  Don't get greedy and try to get more out of your band, better to change it early to make sure you have a sharp one.  Hopefully these logs are green?  A lot easier to mill a green log than a dry one.  I've milled a 100+ year old hickory barn beam and it was the Devil!  
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
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Offline Mlanier

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2021, 05:56:16 PM »
Hello everyone,

Hereís a quick update on the hickory I sawed a couple of weeks ago.

The logs sawed great. They were the hardbark hickory and still pretty green.
I used 7/47 doublehard and ended up with 1184 bdft of 4/4x4, 4/4x6, and 4/4x8 from one blade.

It did take me a little over two days to saw all the logs as I work by myself and donít have an edger or roller tables yet.

Speaking of edging I edge up against the cant, and every cant moved when I released the clamp to put the flitches in there to edge them. From what I understand thatís just the nature of the beast with hickory, so after edging Iíd do a quick skim cut on the cant before finishing it up. That did increase my waste slightly as the last piece on the cant was bowed on one side.

Probably shouldíve turned the cant over a few times to combat this. You live and learn tho right?

Offline WDH

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2021, 09:17:37 AM »
What is hard bark hickory.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2021, 09:22:25 AM »
Tom Lindtveit, Woodsman Forest Products
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OK, maybe I am the woodcutter now.
I can work with wood, but I am NOT a Woodworker, yet.

Offline Southside

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Re: Sawing Hickory for the first time
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2021, 10:04:58 AM »
The variety that drops those spiky ball nuts.  ;D
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