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Author Topic: approach to large oak log, medium mill, and cat 277c that appears to have shrunk  (Read 1288 times)

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Offline doc henderson

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Ok so I got a call from a tree service friend.  he always saves the big ones for me.  he called while I was at work with a nice oak log.  the last one I picked up was a 4 foot diam elm that was 14 feet long, and had to trim 6 feet off to pick it up.  This oak is big for here at 42 on the flare and 37 inches at the small end.  and just over 13 feet long.  he was able to slide it onto his tilt trailer but could not lift it.  He was sure my MTL would.  I originally estimated it at 5 k pounds, but with onsite measurement It is approaching 7 K.  I was able to lift the back end with my grapple and slide it off the tilt trailer from behind.  my mill will fit a 36 inch diameter straight log up to 21 feet and rated for 5k.  not sure what this will be used for but prob. 4/4 lumber, and some thicker slabs 8/4.  
so  shall I split it down the pith, or bibby the sides?  could cut some length to get slabs, but not full width.  



 

 

 

 

 

nice solid log.  most trees here grow in the open, so limby, but a nice clear "ish" butt log.  is it a red or whit oak?  can you tell from the bark.  no leaves.  what is the best way to tell.  "I think we're goin to need a bigger boat"!
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Offline firefighter ontheside

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I'm about to deal with great big butternut of similar size.  I calculated an 8' log 36" diameter at 3000lbs.  Twice what I can lift and way too big to fit thru the mill.  I will probably trim off the sides to fit it.  To know whether it is white oak, look real close at the end grain if you can make a nice clean cut with a knife.  White oak will have closed pores, while red oak will have open pores that look like straws.  I would guess something like pin oak, just looking at bark.  You could get some great quarter sawn stuff out of there if so inclined.  I like using the modified method that I learned from Woodmizer site.  Danny has eluded to it in a post.
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Offline richhiway

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the pores in the growth rings on red oak are open.

Now that is a Log!
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Offline KenMac

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Looks like water oak to me. That's the most common oak around here- especially in yards. They make really good shade then at about 50 years old they start shedding limbs at an ever increasing rate and become a nuisance. It's a good looking log though. Water oak is in the red oak family I'm pretty sure even though I've heard differently.
Might be a good candidate for QSing. Good luck with it!
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Offline mike_belben

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Park the log and rig up an alaskan mill. Break it down to a manageable cant with 4 fat slabs that youll finish on the mill.  Be pretty easy to pull some quarter or rift saw out of it in the process. 
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Offline Nebraska

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I would dig out my "beam machine" and a 2x6 and split it on the pith so I could handle it.  7k is an awful lot to handle in one piece.

Offline lazyflee

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I'm jealous of your problem!

Offline doc henderson

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yes, I was thinking quarter-sawing, so should i split down the center, or slight offset, like we did in Georgia @customsawyer .  about a 1/3, 2/3rds split?.  
@YellowHammer , @Southside , @WDH .  I will get a pic of some end grain, and plan to post pics when sawn.
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Offline firefighter ontheside

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For the modified/easy quarter saw method is roughly thirds.  You get q sawn and rift sawn boards.
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Offline Brad_bb

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I had a heavy white oak logs that my machine would not lift, so I dragged it into my pole barn and let it sit for two years so water can evaporate. It was then light enough that I could pick it up.

Is that log is clear and straight pretty much, Id want to split it down the pith with a chainsaw, and  RRQS The pieces.

To get boards and slabs Id want the slabs out of the middle. So for practicality I would bibby the flared end to 36.  Then lay it on the mill in your slab orientation pith leveled end to end, and then take boards off the top, then your slabs out of the middle capturing the pith in one, and then flip whats left to take boards off that bottom.  I want my slabs out of the middle because I want my live edge preferably perpendicular to my slab faces, And capturing the pith in one slab potentially does not waste that material. 

Id prefer the white oak material to be quartersawn or a beam. A white oak slab can be nice, but walnut slabs are much nicer.  If I wanted a white oak slab, I prefer to then use a log with a lot of branch knots.  There would be more character, and a better use of a lower grade log.
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Offline SawyerTed

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I agree that it looks like water oak. Leaves would help. The bark doesnt look like any white oaks Ive ever seen but Ive not seen everything.  White oaks that big often have a shaggy very light gray bark on the upper part of the stem (at least here).  The lower section of white oak has more furrowed bark than what the photos show. 

I would split the pith in two directions (quarter the log) and quarter saw for 4/4 and 5/4. For 8/4 live edge I think I would do book matched live edge on one side.  I would be tempted to cut the length of the log to 7 and 6 but I dont have many customers wanting 4/4 and 5/4 in lengths more than 7 or 8.  Your market might be different. 
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Offline farmfromkansas

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If that was not a yard tree, bought at a nursery, probably is burr oak.  Burr oak is native to Kansas.  I have sawn a few, they have a nice tan color, but are a white oak variety. Be interesting to see how you cut it down to fit through your mill.
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Looks like post oak. Nice log. Looks like a chore to break down but worth it.
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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Sure looks like a pin oak from the photos, very common in Kansas.  At 37"x13.5' should scale at 8100 pounds, 919 Doyle.
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Offline doc henderson

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thanks Tom.  I scaled it as red oak.
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Offline stavebuyer

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Its is pin oak and will likely have knots in the middle you won't see until you open it up. I mention this not to down grade your log but to help you evaluate how to dice it up for possible intended uses.


Offline doc henderson

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thanks!  Stave and all!
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Offline scsmith42

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I concur that it's a red oak - most likely pin oak.

Typically with large oak logs I prefer to quartersaw them.  Sometimes we will put 3 full width slabs out of the middle and then RRQS the remaining sections.  I'll almost always try to mill the widest possible QS boards.

Doc, your challenge is log handling and manipulation.  If you trim it down to 12'6" and end seal, you'll save a few hundred pounds.  Using Bibby's method to turn it into an octagon will also shave some more weight, but you're still looking at a 6000 lb cant, give or take.  Turning it will be a major pain and you will lose some yield going this route.

For that reason, you may want to consider a more traditional QS method of cutting into quarters and then using Robert's RRQS method on the quarters.

Usually when you have a long log with a lot of taper, if you cut it into two shorter logs your QS yield will increase by around 15%.  But that would leave you with 6' long boards - give or take. If you plan on making furniture 6' isn't necessarily a bad things, and it will make the log sections much more manageable.  Plus you will have maximum yield.

You probably already know this, but QS shrinks around 12% in thickness as it dries, so if you want a 4/4 board you'll need to mill green at at least 1-1/8" (and I use 1-3/16" green thickness).  

Personally I recommend QS milling any boards wider than 8" to make 5/4 lumber.  That way if you get any wood movement in the drying process you can still net a 3/4" S2S board (if it doesn't make 1" S2S)(and with pin oak you typically get more distortion around the knots than with other species that have more clear lumber).  We mill our QS 5/4 at 1-7/16" green.

The problem with cutting the log down the center is that most of us lack the skill to make a straight cut like Jake can, and you end up losing some of the prettiest QS yield due to the need to trim the chainsaw marks off of the half cants.  But, considering the size of the log and your equipment limitations you gotta do what you gotta do.



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Offline Larry

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I think pin oak also.  How many rings to the inch?

Most of the pin oak yard trees I have sawn made very poor lumber.  I think the combination of lots of water and fertilizer.  Look very closely for signs of shake as it is common in pin oak yard trees.  Sometimes I don't see any shake but when I start sawing I can smell rotten eggs which is another positive sign of shake.  As the lumber dries you will see ring separation.

With a log that size, I chainsaw the excess on two opposite sides than bibby it down the rest of the way on the mill.  I don't much care for sapwood with quarter sawed, so it works out ok.
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Offline YellowHammer

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It's a red oak form what I can see, and I would quarter saw the absolute poop out of it.

Use your chainsaw and halve it and see if you can handle it on the mill.  A red oak will saw pretty easy with a chainsaw.  Freehand it and enjoy the experience. 

That's were the RRQS really shines, on half logs.  If you can't get the half to the mill then quarter it with the chainsaw, and hammer it out.

Logs like this was the main reason to use the RRQS technique.
   
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Offline doc henderson

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I can do half, but the whole log changes the sound of my 277c, but does it not move.  I can lift one end, so I think half will be ok.  I know we did a 2/3 cut at Jake's, so was checking in.  I will post pics, but not sure when I will do it.  thanks "ol-yeller-hammer"!   :)
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I've got to go to Baker and get a edger in a month or so. Do I need to bring my saw and show you again how to do it? Actually this is a great one to learn on. Nothing major to work around and being a fresh red oak it will cut rather easy. Split her in half and start the RRQS. When I get one like this I put the chainsaw through at the narrowest direction if there is any egg shape to the log. First it is less cutting with the chainsaw. Second it will keep your widest boards in your best quarter sawed faces. Seal the log then wait a couple of weeks to see if any cracks appear. They will let you know if there is any stress.
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I am solidly in the pin oak camp.  Be careful not to tear up anything.  Logs like this tend to tear up stuff, and it can tear you up to, so be smart and cautious. 
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Offline T A Derrickson

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Logs like this are why you have a swing blade mill.  With my Lucas, I can QS and rift saw 90% of the log and never have to move the log!!  Just put it on the ground, scotch it real good, and let the sawdust fly!  Weight is never an issue.
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Offline mike_belben

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I just noticed the log tongs, were they able to lift that log?  Did the guys have a crane on the job?
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Offline doc henderson

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no.  the initial thought was to drag it with a chain and tongs, but those were at the limit of their size.  so i got under it with my bucket, and held it with the grapple jaw and lifted the tail end, and slid it off the tilt bed trailer.
My tentative plan will be to set it up on end, and work with my 5 foot bar on the 880 and a skip tooth chain.  i can work on a platform on my MTL, and cut till it is in two halves.
may try to get a reference line with paint or something on the bark.
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Offline customsawyer

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Don't bother to stand it up. It's very dangerous if it falls. Figure out where you want the cut to be and at what angle. Turn the log to where you are sawing from the higher up angle and just cut it with the bar horizontal. I like to have the tip a little lower so my old back doesn't have to bend over so far. Pick your spot on the other end where you want the saw to come out, even mark it with a stick or sqrench stuck in the log. When you are moving the saw head with your hands concentrate on the mark at the far end. Just like when you are driving, you don't look at the white or yellow line in the road. You look at the horizon. Move the power head a few inches and then use your knee or thigh to push the tip through the log. It's a piece of cake. 10 times easier and a hundred times safer. I'm going to go digging to see if I can find some pictures. I think Robert has some of him doing it, or maybe someone has some from the log I did at the project a few years back. 
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Offline customsawyer

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I found a couple of pictures. Nothing to it. Just stick the saw and start cutting.







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Offline doc henderson

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i was thinking it would be nice to use the weight of the saw?  i.e. stand it up and go top to bottom?    also does the hat help keep it straight, and if so is Stetson ok?.  and if you get to twisting, what is the best way to get back on track?  back up, or is their a counter intuitive way to put pressure on the bar to get back in line.  a 5 foot bar has a bit of flex held out sideways.
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Offline doc henderson

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just read you prev. post that addressed that.  thanks!  still learning from the FF get together from a few years ago.
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Offline YellowHammer

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As Jake says, this is a great log to learn the technique.

Hold the tip down at an angle and hold the powerhead up at an angle where it will ride on your hip.  It should be at a comfortable, non back ache angle.  If you are hunched over, get more angle, just keep the tip out of the dirt.  You don't do much with your hands except steer, the major force is given by your hip pressing against the powerhead and the bar pivoting on the saw dogs.  It's a basic see saw motion, and it's very controlled.

The more the bar and cut is perpindicular to the log, the easier it is to steer.  The longer the angle, the harder to steer but the more straight the cut.  So adjust the angle of the bar in the cut while sawing to either get back on line, or stay straight if you are already on the line.

A good sharp chain is a must. 

Wedges are used to keep the kerf open.

It's kind of fun, well for the first few dozen logs, anyway.  Once you get the hang of it, its no big deal, as Jake said "Put the saw in the wood and start cutting."

Here's me ripping a decent sized oak that was just a little too big for the mill.  I put it on the mill and then rolled it back off, split it in half on the spot, and then loaded the top half back on the mill and RRQS'd it.  No big deal.  The bar is 52" for scale.  Notice how I'm not slouching or bending over and my right hip is push against the bottom of the handle, letting the saw dogs pivot the saw forward, doing all the work.  Thats where all the force comes from, not my arms, which are just used to steer.  Actually, I look pretty relaxed, and I missed the center on this log about an inch.  Also notice I chocked the bottom of the log with a little block of wood to keep it from rolling.  This also shows that although a cowboy hat would be helpful, its not required.  I've split some pretty decent sized logs using Jake's technique.   




 



 

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getting the caps for my log bunk uprights done (cut out and welded on) so my son can get things painted.  he enjoys it.
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Offline Walnut Beast

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Sounds like you better dust off your big Stihl Doc

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here is pics of the annular rings to scale.



 

 



last pic not good focus.  I will do a better one.  the rings are almost square, so after I split it, I will hopefully get several boards of quarter-sawn at a time.  that is a six inch rule.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline Larry

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    • Copas Sawmill
First thing I look at when deciding to quarter saw is the rays.  If they are big, fat, and juicy its a prime log.  I don't see rays in your log, but it may be the picture or my tube.
Larry, making useful and beautiful things out of the most environmental friendly material on the planet.

We need to insure our customers understand the importance of our craft.

Offline alan gage

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  • Location: NW Iowa
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My mill is smaller than yours and so is my skidloader. I'd probably turn that into a pair of 6' 6" logs and then quarter at least the butt log with a chainsaw and maybe the top log too depending on diameter.

I've tried ripping big logs like Jake and Robert showed but I still need some more practice. But on a short (6'6" log) I can lay the log flat and cut down from both ends (the log bar lets the cuts meet in the middle) which helps me keep a straighter cut and lets gravity do much of the work. My saw seems to cut a lot faster in that orientation as well.

I place the log on bunks before cutting so the through cut doesn't end up in the dirt.

Alan
Timberking B-16, a few chainsaws from small to large, and a Bobcat 873 Skidloader.


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