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Maple Log to board

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  • Maple Log to board

    I've got some Silver Maple Trees that really took a toll from the heatwave last summer. They are over half dead. I saved a few straight branch sections when I was trimming on them last month and finally got around to milling some Sunday.

    I sure wish I had a decent bandsaw. The Delta 9" POS I have could barely rip anything. I ripped everything on the tablesaw. I started with a handsaw, but it didn't take all that long for it to be deemed a stupid idea.

    Some of them has some nice spalting. Should end up with some nice box material.
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  • #2
    Looks like some nice stuff


    • #3
      They sure look nice, even at this early point. But you raise a question, for me; can you really use "branch" sections?

      I can't remember where it was, but I know that I've read that you can't (or maybe that was "shouldn't") use branch wood as there are too many stresses in it, and thus may end up with all kinds of twist, warp, etc.

      I live up here in NY's southern tier where maple and birch are quite common place, especially in the hills that I used to roam when I was a kid. I've often wondered if instead avoiding these woods today, because of thier expense, if it might be worth my time just to do some more exploring of the wooded areas that I used to roam, as there's lots of deadfall.

      Think it Through Before You Do!


      • #4
        How did you get the first straight side cut? Build a jig?? I've dinked around with some wild cherry logs from our yard--but didn't get a straight enough first line to really work with. Have done some thinking on jigs, but haven't searched for any plans. Got to be a way to use 2x6 or 2x8 and threaded rod to get a 30 to 36" log flat. Carter's jig looks sweet--but scrap is better on the budget!!



        • #5
          The spalting was the first thing that caught my eye. Should make some beautiful boxes. I was given a couple of pens turned from spalted Hackberry. Makes for some nice patterns in the turnings.
          Don, aka Pappy,

          Wise men talk because they have something to say,
          Fools because they have to say something.


          • #6
            did you seal the ends while it dried after being cut into logs but before milling?
            If you didn't, you risk the ends splitting after milling
            Loring in Katy, TX USA
            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
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            • #7
              Looks good for some bookmatching.



              • #8
                Branch wood can warp more but I've bought it from commercial dealers before. It is common for walnut because the trunk gets sold for veneer. At least I assume it was branch wood becaue of the width of the pieces and the short distance from the pith to the sapwood. Seems like something to watch out for but not a reason to not try. Trees that lean are also known for wood more prone to warping. So regardless of branch or trunk, you can get wood that doesn't want to stay straight.

                I've used my chainsaw before to get a roughly straight side and to split a log down the center so I could rip it on the table saw. It wastes wood but can work. I have some oak from a tree that died and I had to cut down sitting in the shop. It is probably dry now, it has been gathering dust for a few years.



                • #9
                  Once I got some of the limbs off the tree and saw some black lines through the cross section I had to try to save some. I didn't seal the ends of the log sections. There was a little checking on a few, but the wood was pretty dry. Most of the stuff I cut off has been dead since last summer. Most of the material I'm working with ranges from 5" diameter to 8" diameter. All the smaller stuff is getting used to fire the grill on the back porch.

                  I was kind of leery using the limb sections. Hopefully I won't end up with a bunch of boomerang shaped boards. I've kept them fairly short 16" to 26". This was to produce the greatest yield out of the logs.

                  Originally posted by greenacres2 View Post
                  How did you get the first straight side cut? Build a jig??
                  I used a drawknife to roughly flatten the straightest side, then I'd take a few passes with an old Stanley Bailey No 6 with a cambered blade. I'd take off enough bark and sapwood to give a big and flat enough surface to run on my 6" jointer. If the log was small enough I'd turn it 90 degrees and make a few more passes on the jointer to give me a starting point for a square face. I might have to take it back to the bench and rough the other side with the drawknife and plane, then back to the jointer.

                  Once I had two square faces I started on the other faces on the table saw. If the blade wasn't tall enough I'd finish the cut with a handsaw and smooth it with the plane. I started with the smaller limb sections, but once I started on the bigger ones I ended up establishing the reference surfaces by hand, flattening one side then turning it 90 in my bench vice. I also started using my thickness planer to give a parallel face so I could flip the thicker sections on the table saw.

                  I really, really want a bandsaw with a riser block and a decent HP motor. I don't know where I'd put it, but I do want one. I'm still contemplating on how I am going to mill the 34" diameter trunk sections once they finally come down.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for the info. I hadn't thought of using a draw knife, and indeed have one that i picked up in a box lot of stuff a few months back. My bandsaw (Ridgid 14" with a riser) is getting used more now that i set it up based on Alex Snodgrass' video. It's on a mobile base, alongside the planer, jointer and drill press. They get rolled out as needed, i don't think i'll ever have the space to permanently station anything!!

                    I know i have seen a few bandsaw jigs for log squaring--just have to dig up the threads. It's crazy how a log that looks perfectly straight when standing can have such huge bows when you bring them into the shop!!

                    We'v got a 36" + by 12' wild cherry trunk at the end of the property that has been laying for about 5 years--almost impossible to cut now. But we have enough that falls on occaision that i'll be able to harvest something sometime.


                    • #11
                      Flattening / squaring up the first two sides is always the toughest part... One thing I have found that works well for me, but then again I may be screwing this up, is a splitting maul and sledge. Just slab the thing in half down the middle, then get after the semi flat area with a #6 hand plane. You should fairly quickly have one flat side. Take your tool of choice to roughly square up the second, or if close to straight enough to follow the fence, feed it through the saw, then rotate 180 deg and start sawing away...

                      Now the process is out there... I must say that is some nice looking wood considering how rare Maple is in Texas... You are one lucky guy...
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                      • #12
                        I've read a little bit on splitting and riving. I think I'll have to research it a lot more. I've been looking around for a good froe for small stuff. I'd also like to get a good hatchet and a different timber axe.

                        There's always black powder for the really big logs. Not sure how well it would go over in the city.


                        • #13
                          That is some great looking box stock Erik! For what it is worth most gunstock wood is branch wood, and once cured must not warp, twist, cant, or otherwise behave badly although it is not exactly cut up like lumber once the drying process is started either.
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                          • #14
                            You might try looking for a sawmill or bandsaw mill in your area. For relatively small pieces, you would undoubtedly save money taking your wood to their saw. I've found them on a google search. I've also purchased wood from a guy that has both a bandsaw mill and a HUGE chainsaw mill he uses to make slab table tops. He has a kiln.

                            A risk to a mill owner is that there is metal in your tree. So if you go this route, expect some pricing considerations if your tree messes up his blade.