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Author Topic: Recommendations on how thick to cut this  (Read 2356 times)

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Offline Jemclimber

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Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« on: June 18, 2015, 01:04:36 PM »
I have 2 red oak logs that need to be split to put on my mill, 36+" won't clear.  I'm going to quartersaw them, but don't have an immediate need. I should get a few 12" to 16" wide boards after cleaning up the edges but how thick should I go? They are both a heavy 12' long.

 

 
lt15

Offline LittleJohn

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2015, 01:10:35 PM »
If it was me, I saw all OAK at 5/4; as that is the most desored thickness for me when making cabinets.  Just remember you can always plane down, its kind of hard to glue the sawdust back together and make it thicker  ;D

But if you are thinking bar top/mantel/other big slab application, I would saw it thick enough that if you dont sell it as is, you can resaw it back into multiple 5/4, PLUS saw kirf

Offline POSTON WIDEHEAD

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2015, 02:29:06 PM »
I agree with Little John, 5/4 is usually the happy medium.  :)
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2015, 03:50:59 PM »
that one is a bruiser for sure, nice looking log, and it's hard to tell anyone what thickness to saw, I run into the same quandary from time to time.  It's nice to have a plan but not always the case.  If there is only one log then it really is a crap shoot.  Saw out as the others have mentioned and get all you can, or make some 8/4 live edge slabs, either way its a win, just a hard call. If your target is quarter sawn, this could change a few things, as to how thick you would want. 
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 SawyerBrown

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2015, 04:00:55 PM »
I personally like to use rift-sawn oak for table legs and the like, simply because it looks nice and all 4 sides have the same sawing, without any further messing around gluing on quarter-sawn "veneer" on 2 sides.  Depending on how you plan to attack this thing quarter-sawing, I'd try to get some 2x2's and/or 3x3's out in that rift area.  Just a thought ...
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Offline bkaimwood

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2015, 05:29:29 PM »
Oak is always a dilemma for me, but sawyerbrown just helped a bit...now I have a good idea for the "dead" area that gets to small to get worth size quartersawn boards out of. Thanks SB!! I also cut most oak 5/4. Maybe I'll get some more help in this thread to help me maximize my oak logs and time spent. I already assume the center will make a rustic 4x4, or 6x6 due to pith cracking. Quartersawn boards where applicable from there out. Slabs never work for me, they always crack silly, and end up firewood, no matter what I do. The most I go is 6/4. Quartersawn takes forever...like I said, hoping to learn more here from veteran quartersawyers...
bk

Offline WDH

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2015, 09:20:29 PM »
I already assume the center will make a rustic 4x4, or 6x6 due to pith cracking.

With oak from down here, it would be very rustic  :).
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Offline kensfarm

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2015, 11:08:48 PM »
Nice log.. that'll be fun to cut.  I'm always tempted to cut some wide boards when I have a big log.. I have a stack air drying that took 2 men to lift one board.  I must've thought I was super man or something.. luckily a friend dropped by around stacking time.   

What projects do you have in your future..  glad I'm not the only one w/ bent-up fendors.  :) 

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2015, 11:50:18 PM »
This question seems to come up with some regularity here.  The truth is, only you can decide what the uses will be.  If you can't figure how what you want out of it, seal the ends and set it up off the ground in the shade until you do decide.

Everybody's use is going to be different.  I am usually trying to get a timberframe member or members out of a log.  When you do get a timber, you'll also end up with some sticker boards, some 5/4 boards usually, and sometimes some thicker slabs if the log is big enough.  But again, ony you can decide on the use.  The log will dictate to some extent what it can be.  If there's a significant defect in the center, you're not going to get a good timber.  If you run into an ant nest, well then you're probably going to cut what boards you can, and maybe some shorter timberframe brace stock.  You need to read the wood as you make your first cuts.  if it's flawless clear stuff, you might want wide boards.  If it has an irregular edge, maybe you want a table slab? 
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Offline Jemclimber

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2015, 06:44:29 AM »
Thanks for the replies.  Usually with big oak I don't truly quartersaw, I split it with a chainsaw like Customsawyer, then stand it's side and slice it through flipping occasionally.  This gives me rift and quarter and doesn't take as long to saw. I haven't sold boards, but i have been hoarding lots and I'm thinking I'll never be able to use all that I've cut.  :D  I probably should offer some for sale and I was curious what would be the easiest to sell. This log and the other big log that I have are the same length and should be enough for another full stack of same length boards as I don't like to stack different lengths together.

   What projects do you have in your future..  glad I'm not the only one w/ bent-up fendors.  :) 

I have lots of projects, but I don't know what they are until my daughters tell me what is on their want list.
Fixing those fenders to heavy duty type has been on my agenda for a few years.  :D Too many other things in the queue.  They get reshaped on a regular basis.
lt15

Offline bkaimwood

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2015, 09:35:06 AM »
Easiest oak for me to sell is 5/4 quarter or riftsawn, 6/4 in the same, or 2" mostly for utility useage.
bk

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2015, 10:05:22 AM »
In oak, anything wider than 8" I typically mill to produce a 5/4 board.  Keep in mind that QS oak shrinks around 12% in the drying process, so to produce a 5/4 dry board you need to mill at 1-7/16" green.
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Offline bkaimwood

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2015, 08:02:52 PM »
Scsmith42...when you say 8" and wider oak boards, are we talking huge logs quartersawn, or boards WAY away from the pith, so they don't end up like horseshoes, stacked and weighted properly?
bk

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2015, 12:57:45 PM »
Scsmith42...when you say 8" and wider oak boards, are we talking huge logs quartersawn, or boards WAY away from the pith, so they don't end up like horseshoes, stacked and weighted properly?

99 out of 100 intermediate sized oak logs (between 24" - 40") that we mill are quartersawn.  Large logs over 40" - if they are oak or sycamore - are typically quartersawn, although we tend to slab large willow oak logs (which yours appears to be) instead of quartersawning them.  Other species such as pine and walnut are live edge slabbed if they are between 30" - 72" wide.

Typically we try to exclude pithwood from our QS boards.  If it exists, it is in a narrow strip running down one edge of the board and sometimes this edge will cup right at the edge. No big deal - we simply edge it off after drying.  If we have pith wood present usually it is from a log milled on the band mill an not the swingblade mill.

We don't have a problem with QS oak lumber cupping any significant amount (typically no more than 1/8" if the board has growth rings that intersect the face between 60 - 80 degrees).  90 degree growth ring boards rarely have any cup at all.  Rift sawn boards (30 - 60 degrees) rarely have any cup either, unless they have some FS running along one edge.  Milling at a thick 5/4 ensures that there is adequate room to clean up both sides fully if there is a 1/8" cup.

What does create a problem though is any defect in the log (such as where a branch entered the trunk).  Typically the wood near the defect will warp badly during the drying process and I have not found a way to counter it.  When the boards are S2S'd, they will typically have a low spot on one side near the defect that does not clean up.

Most furniture customers can work with a board that has a defect 36" or so away from one end, as they are usually trimming the boards down into lengths of 12", 16 - 18", 24", 30", 36", or 48".  So an 8' board with a defect 36" from one end will still have an acceptable yield for them.  Sometimes though you have a customer that is building a bookcase or long table and they need boards that will fully clear up over the entire length of the board.  In those instances, it is good to have 5/4 material in stock.

Narrow boards (less than 6") rarely have any perceived cup in them, so you don't need the extra 1/8" of surfacing room that I have found beneficial on boards wider than 7" or so.

Peterson 10" WPF with 65' of track
Smith - Gallagher dedicated slabber
Tom's 3638D Baker band mill
and a mix of log handling heavy equipment.

Offline bkaimwood

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2015, 04:49:06 PM »
Thanks scsmith42, awesome write up...willow oak? Will have to look into that, never heard...assumed so far I've sawed mostly red oak, some white oak, and a little chesnut oak. I never flat saw any oak, because of what it does..I get as much QS ad I can, some rift sawn, and the rest mostly firewood. So far for me, any more playing around has turned out to just waste time. I just cut a few small but nice stacks doing just what you mentioned...obvious significant pith end defects are edged off when milled, whatever happens after that gets edged off once dried. Seems to be the way to go. Thanks again.
bk

Offline WDH

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2015, 08:56:24 PM »
The dip/warp problem at any knots has also been a problem on the QSWO that Customsawyer and I have been milling.
Woodmizer LT40HDD35, John Deere 2155, Kubota M5640SU, Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln, and a passion for all things with leafs, twigs, and bark.  hamsleyhardwood.com

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2015, 11:14:08 AM »
Thanks scsmith42, awesome write up...willow oak? Will have to look into that, never heard...assumed so far I've sawed mostly red oak, some white oak, and a little chesnut oak. I never flat saw any oak, because of what it does..I get as much QS ad I can, some rift sawn, and the rest mostly firewood. So far for me, any more playing around has turned out to just waste time. I just cut a few small but nice stacks doing just what you mentioned...obvious significant pith end defects are edged off when milled, whatever happens after that gets edged off once dried. Seems to be the way to go. Thanks again.

You're welcome.

FYI Will Oak is a member of the red oak family.  It has leaves that are about 2" - 3" long and about 1/2" - 3/4" wide.  In the south it will typically grow very rapidly if it has good access to moisture and nutrients.  I have sawn many willow oak logs that were less than 80 years old yet 54" in diameter on the small end.

Chestnut oak is an open pored member of the white oak family.  It is one of my personal favorites to quartersaw.
Peterson 10" WPF with 65' of track
Smith - Gallagher dedicated slabber
Tom's 3638D Baker band mill
and a mix of log handling heavy equipment.

Offline Jemclimber

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2015, 12:09:55 PM »
The log in the photo and the other large to me oak log, (but not large by scsmith42 standards  ;D) is definitely northern red oak that I removed from a yard.  It has large growth rings because its a yard tree and no tell tale signs of metal so on the sawmill it's going to go. I don't usually get such nice logs from a yard, they usually branch out much lower and make firewood.
lt15

Offline scsmith42

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Re: Recommendations on how thick to cut this
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2015, 05:16:24 PM »
The log in the photo and the other large to me oak log, (but not large by scsmith42 standards  ;D) is definitely northern red oak that I removed from a yard.  It has large growth rings because its a yard tree and no tell tale signs of metal so on the sawmill it's going to go. I don't usually get such nice logs from a yard, they usually branch out much lower and make firewood.

It ought to make some really pretty QSRO!
Peterson 10" WPF with 65' of track
Smith - Gallagher dedicated slabber
Tom's 3638D Baker band mill
and a mix of log handling heavy equipment.


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