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Author Topic: How to cut poplar logs into beams?  (Read 9386 times)

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Offline 01frick

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How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« on: July 05, 2010, 08:16:26 PM »
As you can see I am new at this. Will the beams bow if after squaring the poplar log I cut it into quarters? 








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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2010, 08:25:23 PM »
Chances are, it will open up like a banana peel.  And, welcome back home.   :)
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Offline 01frick

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2010, 09:06:55 PM »
That is what I am worring about. If I make a beam out of the heart and cut as many beams as I can from the rest of the log should this help to prevent bowing?

Offline Slingshot

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2010, 09:16:57 PM »
I recently cut several 6X6 beams 9to13 feet long from poplar and found that a 12X12 quarterd did bow
 quite a bit, just like Magicman said. But by cutting them oversize and re-sawing after drying a bit I was
 able to make usable beams. I also cut some smaller logs and boxed the heart and they were more stable.
  Boxed heart from a larger log will be more stable also.
    (but anything over a 2X likes to split as they dry   sling_shot )





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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2010, 09:40:37 PM »
I failed to ask how long.  The longer that they are, the worse it can be.  I once split a 20' Poplar 12X12 cant into 6X6's.  The results were not pretty, or usable.

sling_shot  method will work on shorter cants.
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Offline Qweaver

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2010, 12:11:54 AM »
I cut all of the beams for my cabin by boxing the heart of smaller logs...usually in the 12 to 16" range.  They have stayed remarkably straight.  I have not tried quartering a log for beams so I have no real experience with that but what others have said makes sense to me.  Most of the beams have minor or no cracking but a few have really big splits and I have no idea why some split while others did not.  It seems like I cut and treated them all the same.
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Offline captain_crunch

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2010, 01:13:55 AM »
Would not know what a poplar log is even with one fell on my head :-\ :-\ But with Doug Fir beams have to come out of heart any sap wood left and you just built a boomerang
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Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2010, 07:32:44 AM »
Sometimes having Customer standing behind me when I am cutting out beams sometimes just pushes things to the limit.  Have had situations where customer clearly sees two or three or even four beams in a log when I see only one. Even if I tell him, Customer doesn't seem to know I have made up my mind even before I get there, that I am not going to saw his logs into bowed beams, or waste a nice log which will surely give a nice beam out of the center but might give no beams if I try to get two or more out of it.    Customer sometimes thinks all the trim cuts and 1x or 2x lumber were unnecessary.  Mostly my work is hourly and I like it that way for beams and most everything else (and everyone agrees to it, and it works fine with almost everyone).  But Customer seems to think sometimes beam means 4 cuts.  What to do? Offer to demonstrate what happens cutting it his way?  Offer to let him tell me how to make every cut on a log?
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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2010, 09:22:34 AM »
Ditto, terrifictimberllc.  That 20' Poplar that I split was my first.  I really didn't know what was going to happen.  He asked if I "could" do it, and of course I "could".  I still can, but I won't.

The customer is paying me for being a professional and now I know better.  Sometimes good judgment is a learned skill also.    ;)
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Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2010, 10:40:48 AM »
But Customer seems to think sometimes beam means 4 cuts.  What to do?
If he is standing there and wants you to only make four cuts and waste wood that could be usable you could ask him if he wants to waste the wood. If he says yes, then waste it, if he says no, then cut the boards off the sides and save them for him.

Quote
Offer to demonstrate what happens cutting it his way?
Often times you need to educate the customer as to what may happen if his logs are cut his way. That may mean you demonstrate it to him. Sometimes if you use words like "in the past, when I did this, this happened......" And "usually to prevent bowing of the timbers, we do this....." also, "when I did that for the last customer who asked me to do it, he wasn't happy at all with this lumber/timbers".....

Put a question in their mind, and get them to think......

Telling them that you're right and he's wrong is not the best words to use.

Phrases like: "it's been my experience that doing it this way doesn't work best"....."I've been told that the best way to do this, and have found from my experiences that it is correct, to do it this way....." "don't you feel it's better to learn from other people's mistakes, then from learning from your own?".....

Quote
  Offer to let him tell me how to make every cut on a log?

If he is hard headed and won't listen then, yes, let him tell you so he'll be satisfied that he got his stuff cut the way he wanted it cut. It maybe wrong, but it's his way, and he can't fault you for doing what he told you to do.

But you could ask him to "keep and open mind" and to "try it my way first", and "if you're not satisfied then we can do it your way...."

Dealing with a customer who is used to always getting his way, right or wrong, is always a challenge.

Good luck.
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Offline OneWithWood

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2010, 12:42:57 PM »
My limited experience with making beams from poplar (Liriodendron tulipfera) has convinced me that you get one good beam per log.  Box the heart and make a lot of nice siding or trim 4/4 stuff in the process. 
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Offline Jim_Wahl

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2010, 01:06:06 PM »
I was thinking, one of these days, I might try quartering through the center vertically and horizontally,
then strapping them back together (and stickered both ways) in the same configuration that they came out of the log,
and keeping them strapped tight. Wouldn't this keep the stresses balanced enough to keep them straight?
Has anyone tried this?

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2010, 03:01:36 PM »
Wouldn't this keep the stresses balanced enough to keep them straight?  

No.
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Offline beenthere

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2010, 04:20:13 PM »
I was thinking, one of these days, I might try quartering through the center vertically and horizontally,
then strapping them back together (and stickered both ways) in the same configuration that they came out of the log,
and keeping them strapped tight. Wouldn't this keep the stresses balanced enough to keep them straight?
Has anyone tried this?

Pauls' Bunion
You may want to try it just to satisfy your curiosity.   :)
Those who have tried, have a pretty good idea what the results will be. Might be good to satisfy a customer too...or have one lying around that shows the results after drying out.
Trees lay down layers of wood that are in tension (maybe natures way of adding strength to a standing tree). When the wood is sawn from the log and is free to move, the tension releases causing the curve.

Yellow poplar is one tree species that is prolly worse than others (in the States). There are others around the world that have similar stresses grown into the tree.
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Offline 01frick

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2010, 06:08:43 PM »
Thanks guys, I can tell there is a lot of experience out there.

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2010, 06:24:34 PM »
According to the date stamp on the thread, I wrote this years ago, but it still maybe of some value to new readers about cutting timbers.

https://forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,4247.0.html
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Offline ljmathias

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2010, 05:36:51 AM »
Magic- would you stop wasting space and time with those long and involved answers?   :D :D

I've always been a Missourian at heart so I tried quartering to get four beams out of one beautiful red oak log I'd acquired- still haven't figured out what to do with the nice bow-beams I ended up with.  Must be some use for a 4X6 beam that length... maybe we should have a brainstorming session on that- come up with some new uses for such demonstration pieces, than we won't look so foolish when we do it- "Oh, yeah, I meant to do that..."

Lj
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Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2010, 07:37:32 AM »



 :D :D :D Maybe the idea for this started with one of those quartered beams :D :D :D
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Offline paul case

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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2010, 10:10:06 AM »
lj
i resemble that remark
missourians say sho me but in oklahoma we dont believe anything we hear and only half of what we see!   

i had to try this for myself when cutting ties out of red and post oak. almost every time i wound up with no good pieces instead of 2 or 4. bow wasnt the problem on my oaks it was if you get close enough to the center it would have a defect that wouldnt have been seen if the heart was centered. you know the kind of defect, the kind you wish you were still blissfully ignorant of.    pc
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Re: How to cut poplar logs into beams?
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2010, 11:42:20 AM »
I cut some elm 2x2 that looked like a rocker when dry.  My daughter and I used one to make an arch to hold decorations outside her house
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