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Author Topic: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs  (Read 3454 times)

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Offline WoodenHead

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Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« on: May 20, 2014, 06:29:58 AM »
I'm chopping up some red oak that I acquired some time ago.  I need some 4/4 red oak for a cabinet project (and the wife wants me to clean up the yard a bit  ;) ).  Usually I run about 1500 bdft at a time through the kiln when it comes to oak, so I'll be cutting far more than I need.

Now some of the logs are 14" to 20" in diameter.  I know that most of you don't bother to quarter saw logs when they are below 20-22".  If I don't quarter saw, the boards and flitches can become quite wide as I try to saw the best face.  Do you then just run it through the edger to rip these wide boards down to 6" or so?  Or are you following a different sawing pattern and don't care about cutting the best face?  Wide flat sawn boards tend to cup, so I would like to avoid that.

Or does everyone avoid cutting 14" to 20" diameter logs?   :D
     

Offline dboyt

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2014, 07:27:27 AM »
I cut a lot of 14" to 20" diameter logs.  If I'm not concerned about quarter sawing, I cut the cant to the desired board width, centered on the pith, then slice down the boards.  If I turn the log, it is 180 degrees to relieve stress.  Then I go back and edge the slabs.  To me, it is more important to center the pith and reduce warping than it is to saw for grade.  That will give you a couple of QS boards.  I put these aside to sell separately (at a premium).  If I need to maximize QS lumber, i quarter the log, then mill each quarter individually, turning it to get the most vertical grain possible.  Pain in the neck, and I only do it when I specifically need it or when I'm being paid by the hour.

Do a forum search for "quarter saw pattern", and you'll get links to posts about quartersawing.
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2014, 07:29:01 AM »
It seems like years ago 20" was the norm target for harvesting oak. now it has dropped to 14 even 12",  I would do as you have been doing, sawing for the grade you are looking for and go to the next log.  I feel there is nothing wrong with a narrow qswn board, many folks like to glue anyway, matching as they go. I say get creative, you might stumble on a trick or two that proves helpful in the future,
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline WDH

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2014, 07:37:23 AM »
I find that my customers prefer wide boards.  Seems counter intuitive unless you have the machines to handle the width when woodworking.  Wide boards sell.  So, I cut for grade/width.  Any oak board with the pith in the center will crack, and customers will not buy them even though there is good wood on either side of the cracked pith.  Many times I will saw around the log and finish with a 4x4 from the center that can be used as utility wood, stack supports, blocking, etc.

The worst pith crackers are all the oaks and cherry from my experience.  Cherry is terrible for it.  On bigger oak logs that you quartersaw, the boards cut from the center will be the widest, but now I edge out the juvenile wood at the pith because otherwise they will crack and split at the pith.  Better to get rid of it now than have to put the board back on the mill later to edge out the cracked pith. 
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Online Magicman

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2014, 07:48:45 AM »
For whatever reason, the great majority of the customers that I saw Oak for request 8" width.  Occasionally when one sees those 16"-18" cants they have to have a few slices before I take the side boards off and reduce the cant down to 8".  I very rarely have request for QS.
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Offline warren46

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2014, 08:02:28 AM »
I have a related question that may get to the OP's issue.  I have an order for 42 oak 2X6 8' feet long.  I have a stock of oak logs that are 24" plus diameter.  When sawing my 6" wide cant I will obviously get side boards that are considerably wider than 6".  Do I just save these wide boards for other uses or can I can I edge these boards to 6" wide?  If I edge to 6" wide the side boards will be flat sawn.  In the case where the side board is 12" wide can I saw the board in half to get two 6" wide boards?  Will the uneven stress in the boards cause the boards to bow excessively?

Of course I could save the larger logs for quartersawn but I am not certain that it is worth the extra effort since the logs are not really high quality.


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Offline Den-Den

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2014, 09:05:45 AM »
For my own use, I would go for max width if the log was too small for quarter sawing.  Many of the wide boards will cup but they can easily be ripped and jointed into narrow straight boards.  A few will not warp and those are great for door panels, table tops etc.
You may think that you can or may think you can't; either way, you are right.

Online PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 09:52:28 AM »
I have a related question that may get to the OP's issue.  I have an order for 42 oak 2X6 8' feet long.  I have a stock of oak logs that are 24" plus diameter.  When sawing my 6" wide cant I will obviously get side boards that are considerably wider than 6".  Do I just save these wide boards for other uses or can I can I edge these boards to 6" wide?  If I edge to 6" wide the side boards will be flat sawn.  In the case where the side board is 12" wide can I saw the board in half to get two 6" wide boards?  Will the uneven stress in the boards cause the boards to bow excessively?

Of course I could save the larger logs for quartersawn but I am not certain that it is worth the extra effort since the logs are not really high quality.

I think you'll find that your customers will prefer the looks of the flatsawn cathedral grain pattern centered on the face of the board. 

Offline warren46

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2014, 12:23:12 PM »


I think you'll find that your customers will prefer the looks of the flatsawn cathedral grain pattern centered on the face of the board.
[/quote]

That would be the case if appearance mattered but these boards will be used for trailer decking.  I don't think the look is as important as straight.

Warren
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Offline Delawhere Jack

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2014, 06:08:51 PM »
If the wood is intended for furniture / cabinetry, I will often turn the cant to stay on the best face. This often means more edging to do later, but yields the most high quality wide boards.

For utility / farm use material I take some side boards off until I get the cant size required and then flat saw the cant.

Either way, when I start to get near the pith (2-3 inches away), I start looking at the bottom side of the cant for any daylight between the bunks and the cant. When it appears, I roll the cant 180 degrees. I've recently started rolling the cant at this point even if there is no signs of tension. It seems to have reduced the number of thick-thin boards coming off the mill.

Offline Delawhere Jack

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2014, 06:13:02 PM »
Here's something I've wondered about, but never stuck around long enough to get the answer. (Like MM, I saw em and leave em  ;) ). It seems to me if your taking wide boards, the farther from the pith the board comes from, the more gentle the cup it would develop. Whereas, if you take a wide board one or two boards above the pith, it would develop more of a V shaped cup closer to the center. Is this correct?

Offline WoodenHead

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2014, 07:08:48 PM »
Thanks for the responses guys.  It is interesting to see the variety of techniques used for different circumstances.  In terms of customer preference, I've sold both QS and flatsawn (about 50/50).  QS oak makes fantastic looking flooring too.

I love quarter sawn oak in terms of ray flecking.  My wife prefers the flat sawn look.  So I've decided that I'm sawing a bit of both.   :D  If the log is reasonably cylindrical and 16" or larger I'm quarter sawing.  If the log is less or has a bit more sweep than I'd like, I'm flat sawing. 

I had one sizeable log this morning with an off-centre pith.  This gave me a few 10" wide QS boards.  That made my day.  :)

Offline beenthere

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2014, 07:11:22 PM »
Quote
For utility / farm use material I take some side boards off until I get the cant size required and then flat saw the cant.

Saying "flat saw the cant" probably is a slight misnomer, and saying "live saw the cant" (sawing without turning 90) would be more descriptive. Flat sawn boards come from the four sides of a cant, but if sawing through-and-through a cant, then some of the center boards will actually be quarter sawn.

Really a minor point, but think live-sawing better describes through-and-through sawing.

Apologies to Del Jack for picking on him. ;)
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Offline Larry

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2014, 07:18:02 PM »
I've found in northern red oak lumber sawn from big logs and close to the bark doesn't have a lot of cup.  Small logs and close to the pith there can be a problem with cupping but your boards won't be very wide.  Another factor that may be even more crucial is how the log is sawn.  I've seen some saw deep on one side than rotate 90 degrees.  The resulting board can show a mix of quarter, rift, and flat sawn plus juvenile wood along one edge.  Those are the boards that really cup, plus other bad behavior.

Of course the proof is...I made cabinets for our new house about two years ago.  33 raised panel cabinet doors.  Raised panel width from 8 to 14 with most in the 10 to 12 range.  All were one solid board and no problems to date.  Most of my jacket boards from the log were 12 to 15 wide.  When dry, I ripped material off each edge to keep the pattern centered in the raised panel.  Just by coincidence this also wastes the sapwood. ;D

The boss requested one more cabinet in the utility room.  I'm pre-finishing the raised panels today...they are typical of the ones completed two years ago.

 




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Offline drobertson

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2014, 10:07:36 PM »
I have found bigger logs that are to  be sawn to a 6" are a challenge. I saw the cant to 6" parallel to the sweep. the outside board side I take to + 1" of the desired cant which will give two boards of 6"  the remainder will produce whatever has been discussed before sawing.  there can and will be plenty of 1x4's, maybe 2x4's.
6" is a hard one because of the size in my opinion. there will be waste unless arrangements are made for the excess that will come from it.  some folks don't care, others don't know, the bottom line is, once the tree is down, I see no need in wasting the resource.  Proper sawing is at  its premium when doing 6" stock from big logs,  It can be time consuming, but I see no need in wasting the resource.  The outside lumber, especially with oak  can be premium.
only have a few chain saws I'm not suppose to use, but will at times, one dog Dolly, pretty good dog, just not sure what for yet,  working on getting the gardening back in order, and kinda thinking on maybe a small bbq bizz,  thinking about it,

Offline WDH

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2014, 10:49:34 PM »
I have not had trouble with wide oak boards cupping.  I have found cupping worse in cherry if a board had sapwood on one side and heartwood on the other.

Larry, beautiful oak panels. 
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Offline WoodenHead

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Re: Sawing pattern for 14" to 20" diameter hardwood logs
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2014, 05:45:46 AM »
I've found in northern red oak lumber sawn from big logs and close to the bark doesn't have a lot of cup.  Small logs and close to the pith there can be a problem with cupping but your boards won't be very wide.  Another factor that may be even more crucial is how the log is sawn.  I've seen some saw deep on one side than rotate 90 degrees.  The resulting board can show a mix of quarter, rift, and flat sawn plus juvenile wood along one edge.  Those are the boards that really cup, plus other bad behavior.


I've often wondered about sawing deep on one side.  And admittedly I have sawn boards with a mix of quarter, rift and flat sawn because of that.  (Some call that bastard grain I think.)  I try to balance where possible, but sawing the best widest face leads to interesting situations sometimes (particularly when the logs are not perfect).  I suppose ripping wider boards with an edger can cause the same problem.  That's where my question originally comes from.

On the other side of things though, I have sawn red oak wide before, and had cupped wide boards after coming out of the kiln.  I've had some come out flat as well.  Most of the time the planner can take care of the cupping (but I'm limited to 12" and less).

I have found cupping worse in cherry if a board had sapwood on one side and heartwood on the other.

+1! 

Larry, beautiful oak panels. 

Very nice panels.  My wife would definitely be happy with those.   :D 


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