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  • Cutting very hard old-growth cherry - suggestions?

    I have some cherry stock which (I suspect) is actually old-growth. I have about 2 dozen pieces which are still rough-cut and are all between 9/4 and 10/4 stock, ranging in width from 11" to about 19", in lengths from 7 to 11 feet, all with very few knots - no serious cupping or warping either, thank goodness. These things are _OLD_. They had been sitting (surprisingly undisturbed) in an abandoned barn for at least 130-150 years, and I really think since some time in the 1850's. (There's also about half as much maple - same age, and same sizes - just a bit longer.)

    When I first got them their mosture content was about 3-4% now it's about 6%.

    OK here's the problem. They are EXTREMELY HARD. Carefully trying a test cut on one piece, without forcing anything, it snapped a tooth right off a ww2 blade. So I tried a 24-tooth rough-cutting blade and it made only a slight dent in my test piece (cutting rate of about 30 seconds per inch - any faster and the saw started slowing down).

    A 24-tooth/indh hacksaw blade does work but dulls a lot faster then I would expect with wood. I suspect that a metal cutting blade on a bandsaw might work, but that is not currently an option for me. And I'm a little bit worried about planing them and haven't tried that yet.

    Does anybody have any tips for trying to work with something this hard? I have a couple of projects I'd like to build with them, but I'm stymied for the moment.

    If I get this one figured out, I'll try the maple which (I think) is even harder.

  • #2
    Re: Cutting very hard old-growth cherry - suggestions?

    Maybe roughing out the pieces with a bandsaw with a resaw-type blade?

    Michael

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    • #3
      Re: Cutting very hard old-growth cherry - suggestions?

      You may want to visit your local lumber yard and see if they can offer help or know of someone that can cut per your requests.

      Terry

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      • #4
        Re: Cutting very hard old-growth cherry - suggestions?

        Is it cherry or locust wood, locust is very very hard and a light pink reddish wood, in color.

        as cherry is not that hard of a wood, as far as cutting it, once dry it is very hard on chain saws, and normal high speed steel, I would suggest a carbide tipped blade, and get a clean as you can, (dirt dulls). and it may be so dang hard that it many not be really usable I have a stump of it setting out on our back step that was once used to try to keep the screen door from getting blow off the hinges, (it did not work but it was so handy to set things on I never moved it, I have made small items out of locust (with the thorns and the pods), but not any large. as it is very difficult to work with as it is so hard.
        Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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        • #5
          Re: Cutting very hard old-growth cherry - suggestions?

          BHD is right. I hauled some locust to a mill for a friend years ago for use in the bed of his vintage Power Wagon and we were turned away flat. They wouldn't touch locust unless it was green. Also, I lived next to a 75 year old neighbor who had a mound begin to rise at the end of his driveway next to the road. It got big enough that we dug up the culrit; it was the remains of a locust post. The old fellow said that there hadn't been a fence along that road since he was a boy!! No wonder you're losing teeth.
          Later,
          Chiz

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          • #6
            Re: Cutting very hard old-growth cherry - suggestions?

            BHD and orhers. Have you ever heard the term "Hard Hack" where old timers tried to chop away at locust to get rid of it? That stuff is hell on Brush Hog mowers.

            Question: What thickness are the pieces you need to cut? If it's under 2-1/2" thick, try a good carbide tooth crosscut blade on a good cabinet type table saw and feed it slow at first. If that won't saw it, then it's time to give up.

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            • #7
              Re: Cutting very hard old-growth cherry - suggestions?

              Answers. Yes it was cherry. But it wouldn't cut with a nearly new WW2 blade with a very slow feed on my TS3650. The (large 3hp motor) bandsaw trick with a blade that was very fine-toothed (sorry don't know the tpi) actually worked for a test piece (3" long cut in a little under 3 minutes) but I'd hate to try it that way.

              To make a long story short, a local cabinet maker (who helped identify it in the first place) offered me a fairly good price (good for me since I got it for hauling away from the old family farm).

              (He thinks he can cut it on a 3hp cabinet saw, but to be honest, this I gotta see.)
              Last edited by airedad; 04-23-2008, 12:30 AM. Reason: left out something

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              • #8
                Re: Cutting very hard old-growth cherry - suggestions?

                I say, 'More power to 'em', if he can get it cut. You get $$ and you save your tools. He gets a nice hardwood that his machines can handle - 3 HP is a huge difference in performance. I would begrudge losing the looks of this lot of cherry but it comes at too high a cost. JMHO.
                Later,
                Chiz

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                • #9
                  Re: Cutting very hard old-growth cherry - suggestions?

                  Stainless steel is a simular problem. Basically, use a cutting device, band or circular saw intended for stainless. Low speed, Fine tooth, relative low pressure. Cut, don't wear through. That's why people have trouble drilling in stainless!" Hi! RiR Norway.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Cutting very hard old-growth cherry - suggestions?

                    You might try a vocational school.If it is well equipped they would have industrial equipment that should be up to the task.Besides,those kids have never seen lumber that old. Its worth a try.All they can say is no.
                    Ed

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