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Cutting blanks from logs/wood prep.

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Colin Nelson, Dec 15, 2017.

  1. Colin Nelson

    Colin Nelson

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    I didn't see this topic in the forums, and thought this would be the best spot for it.

    I find myself with a lot of large/med green logs, 18-30" long, 8-20" diameter, and I struggle to cut blanks out of them safely. Ideally, I try to cut them to leave the pith/heart out, but really have been struggling to do so in a stable and safe manner. I find myself with one hand chainsawing and one hand and foot holding a log in some insanely stupid manner, that by some miracle hasn't cost me anything more than scrapes so far.

    Please, share your wisdom...how can I do this in a better way?

    I don't have a permanent work space, no place to season/dry wood for long term, so I work almost exclusively with garbage, termite/beetle eaten, green, or firewood. I envy the nice wood that some people get to turn, one day...
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
  2. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Colin,

    When I started harvesting wood logs I would locate a good sized "stump" that was flat on both ends
    and cut a sawbuck notch on the top side so a round log would cradle in the V-notch. You want the
    sawbuck tall enough to get your logs off the ground so you are not bent over running the chain saw.
    The V-notch does not need to be very wide or deep, just large enough to keep the log from rolling off
    the top of your stump. A decent bandsaw helps in processing your 1/2 logs and 1/4 logs into bowl
    blanks and spindle blanks. If you don't have a bandsaw and are using your chain saw to cut the corners
    off your bowl blanks it does help to have a 3rd hand to steady the log while cutting. I have used your
    foot on log method to cut the corners off of the 1/2 logs to round them into bowl blanks. You could rig a
    clamp on your sawbuck that would hold the log down and keep it from moving while cutting it with your
    chain saw. Or strap a piece of steel over your shoe to keep from cutting it off. :)
     
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  3. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Chuck Lobaito and Colin Nelson like this.
  4. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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  5. Curtis Fuller

    Curtis Fuller

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    Like Gerald I use two large old pine logs with the log I'm cutting cradled between them. I have a stake driven at the sides of the two pine logs that keeps them from rolling apart. I like to cut the outside edges of a log first, making a flat surface on each side. Then I make two cuts to cut the pith out. Around here I never get logs big enough to get more than one blank from each side. Keep the piece that has the pith, it makes great spindle wood. Also, don't make your cuts all the way through the log. Leave an inch or so so that the log stays together. It's much easier to handle that way rather than trying to keep a half log upright. Then after you've made all your cuts, just turn it over and cut that last inch in all the cuts. And if you're cutting on the ground that really helps to keep your chain sharp because you don't slip and dig into the dirt.
     
  6. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Ditto on the notched log section
    In field I use two log sections close together to make a cradle like above.
    The notch is a tiny bit more stable for round logs and way more stable for crotches

    Here are some photos of cutting a crotch
    notched oak round.
    DF4646FD-BC11-45F0-95D5-D0D42E3E62DE.jpeg

    Crotch lining up the pith vertically
    145D2AF1-44D8-4347-86ED-66065C3CD41C.jpeg

    Making the cut
    AA4B3056-3BF8-46F7-ACCF-01DCC4F99457.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
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  7. Colin Nelson

    Colin Nelson

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    This is great, thanks! I learned a new term too.
     
  8. Clifton C

    Clifton C

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    I'm with Gerald and Curtis, I've used a notched log but didn't feel it was as stable as when using two logs side by side. Six to eight inch branch wood is usable altho it will put you a little closer to the ground. I watched a chainsaw artist at one of our festivals place a 12x12 piece of acrylic mirror behind a piece he was cutting so he could see front and back to make sure he stayed on his line. Yes, I went out the next day and bought a plastic mirror. We had a good talk, but now I'm wanting to "port" my chainsaw...o_O
    c
     
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  9. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    After using a gas chainsaw for several years for processing logs into bowl blanks and billets,
    my shoulders got tired of pulling a rope to start the chainsaw all day long. I started using an
    electric chainsaw in my wood processing area which cut down on the noise level, gas fumes
    and eliminated the pulling the rope to start the chain saw all day long. Starting a chainsaw with
    one index finger is so nice!
     
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  10. Colin - Checkout Minnesota Woodturners Association Log Processing Center plans attached. I built one. Works great. - John

    PS - Photos of Log Processing Center in action attached. - J
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
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  11. Colin Nelson

    Colin Nelson

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    I think I'm going to make this, looks good!
     
  12. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    With a chainsaw and large wood stump you can make a similar sawbuck in about two minutes.
    You can also drill a hole vertically into one side of the stump and insert a steel holdfast clamp that will
    quickly clamp the 1/2 log down to the sawbuck so you can cut the corners.
    A Fry-Daddy oil cooker works really well to melt canning wax, this can be used to seal the end grain
    on your wood blanks so they do not check and crack. You can dip the blanks or use a chip brush to
    paint the hot liquid wax onto the end grain of your wood blanks.

    holdfast.jpg
     
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  13. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Since this thread seems to primarily be about how to make a sawbuck rather than a discussion of safety I have moved it to the Woodturning Discussion Forum.
     
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  14. Fadi Zeidan

    Fadi Zeidan

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  15. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval

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    Take a look at mine, since I'm also a hack welder, I did it myself with things I had laying around... More info at: http://mauiturners.com/tips/ Screen Shot 2017-12-16 at 20.00.26.png
     
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  16. Breck Whitworth

    Breck Whitworth

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    Regardless of how you deal with a round be sure to split the round length wise and never try to take a round and set it up on one end and try to split it that way. All you get is fine saw dust and a much longer time cutting. When to are cutting a round in half lengthwise the main thing to remember is keep your chainsaw pointing up or down if you try to cut with the blade level with the round all you will do is clog up your chainsaw. keep the blade moving up and down some and you will not clog up so much. Here is a cutting stand I made from treated 4x4's and used it for years it really works well, and easy to build. View attachment 24060 View attachment 24060
     

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  17. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Timely thread as I have some logs that need trimming for turning. I'll be going to Lowe's i n a couple of days. I think I'll get treated deck lumber as I'll have to leave it outside.
    May be a bit off topic but Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine, Winter 2017/2018, had an article on an electric chainsaw. This was not an endorsement of one particular electric chainsaw but an evaluation of what you can expect. The author, Steve Bartylla, tested a Husqvarna 120i Li-ion chainsaw. It is interesting that Husqvarna also offers a professional model. BTW, voltage was not mentioned but the saw got a real workout and had good reviews.
     
  18. RichColvin

    RichColvin

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    John,

    What did they conclude on gas vs. battery ?

    Rich
     
  19. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    I use a 120V electric chainsaw when I process logs just outside my shop where I have access
    to an electrical outlet. A battery operated tool is in the long term a disposable tool where the
    charger and battery will fail over time and no longer be available as a spare part. If you plan on
    using a cordless tool for any length of time you will want 2 or 3 batteries and will need to keep them
    charged up when you want to cut wood. If you plan on putting a lot of hours on the cordless tool they
    are a good investment and will save you time. If you have a bad rotator cuff a cordless chainsaw would
    be perfect solution for someone wanting to cut logs and bring them home without yanking on a pull start.
     
  20. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Having had two rotator cuff surgeries, I feel qualified to address the chainsaw weight issue. :D I use an electric Stihl chainsaw and feel like it is the easiest one to handle as far as weight is concerned. I have a gas Stihl saw that is at least twice as heavy so I don't use it as much now. I looked at some of the battery powered ones, but the batteries are pretty heavy so other than less noise, I don't see an advantage over a small gas power saw.

    The electric and battery powered saws lack the power of the gas powered saws.
     
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