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Resawing Lumber - general questions

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  • Resawing Lumber - general questions

    Over the weekend my neighbor took down an oak tree which I can take whatever I want. Most of it will be firewood but I am saving a few pieces for future woodworking projects. The pieces I am saving are about 3 feet long and roughly 10 inches in diameter. I would have loved to take some of the bigger pieces but size and weight are make them impossible to move (the massive trunk would have yielded some nice long wide planks).

    My questions are this:

    1) How long should I let it dry out, at least a year or two? I have a great place to store it indoors thats dry and not moist. I will get a moisture meter eventually, just would like an idea of how long.

    2) Should I resaw it first or after it has time to dry out?

    3) Does it make a difference if I leave the bark on?

    4) Should I treat the wood (or ends) in anyway?


  • #2
    Re: Resawing Lumber - general questions

    IMO, you should get it in plank form as soon as possible. This will make it dry a bit faster, and avoid some of the cracking and splitting problems down the road. Make sure to cut the planks a bit oversized as drying will lead to shrinkage. In other words, for a 6/4 (six quarter, or 1.5") finish board, you need to have a plank about 2" thick.

    Since you have a nice inside place to dry the wood, that'll help a lot. Make sure to sticker in between all the planks to insure there's air movement around each board. A 2" thick board can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to dry. It all depends on your environment. You don't want the air too dry or you'll get a lot of crack and warp. You have to treat the ends with some paint so the water doesn't all migrate to the end grain and cause the planks to warp. Any kind of paint will work, as far as I know. Check the stack often to insure it's drying evenly. A moisture meeter will help you keep track of where the water is, not just how much is in the wood.
    I put it all back together better than before. There\'s lots of leftover parts.


    • #3
      Re: Resawing Lumber - general questions

      Anything but the trunk is fire wood. Any boards cut from branches will warp. There is internal tension in branches and in leaner trees. The side of the branch or trunk (leaner) that is facing the sun has more tension than the underside. You want to resaw before drying and the general rule for dry time is 1 year per inch of resaw thickness when stored outside. If you plan on bringing the wood into your house you want to be certain that there are no bugs in the wood and consider the huge moisture load you are introducing to your A/C. You want to paint the ends of the lumber with a sealer to prevent checking. There are special wax end sealers but I have heard that people get ok results with latex paint (better than nothing). Stacking is very important, you want to space the lumber and support it with identical thickness (~1") stickers, weight the top of the stack, a fan blowing through the pile will speed drying.


      • #4
        Re: Resawing Lumber - general questions

        basically agree with what has been said, some times one can get some lumber from the large limbs but they my be stress wood like said,

        cut it up as soon as possible, in to rough boards

        latex paint will seal the ends up reasonable well, it may reduce end cracking, (I normally did not worry about it, when I sawed as there were usually 6 inch's on many of the boards would need to be trimmed up any way as the way they were cut.
        Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
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        • #5
          Re: Resawing Lumber - general questions

          If you want to invest a little (okay, a lot of) elbow grease, you could split and quarter the larger log to make it more manageable. You will get better cuts of wood that way also.


          • #6
            Re: Resawing Lumber - general questions

            Originally posted by Pez View Post
            I would have loved to take some of the bigger pieces but size and weight are make them impossible to move (the massive trunk would have yielded some nice long wide planks).
            Agree with wbrooks except there is value to turners in some of the crotch and branch pieces.

            Also agree with krdomingue about halving or quartering the trunk with some wedges.
            That was my first thought after reading your post...
            Maybe buck into shorter pieces first (6' ?) then half or quarter them...

            Whatever you do make sure you seal the ends right away, Anchorseal works great if you can get it...
            Last edited by jbergstrom; 05-11-2009, 04:48 PM.
            Cheers! - Jim
            All truth passes through three stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. - Schopenhauer


            • #7
              Re: Resawing Lumber - general questions

              Everything that has been said so far is all good advice and on the mark I think. DON'T let that trunk get away from you!!! That's the most valuable piece of the tree. Find a local sawyer, someone with a portable sawmill, to come and cut it up where it lays.

              I did this but because the wood was so green I stacked and stickered the wood outdoors for the first couple months to let it give off most of its moisture before bringing it inside the garage to finish drying. I covered the stack with a couple sheets of cheap plywood and 30# felt paper, allowing an air space between the top of the stack and the plywood for air circulation. I let the paper drape down the sides loosely to keep the rain off but not block air movement.

              Lumber Sawing and Drying (from my bookmarks page)

              Video Gallery of Peterson Portable Sawmills - Index
              Vacutherm The Leader in Vacuum Lumber Drying PC Specialties - Building process controllers and vacuum kilns for the forest products industry.
              The Little Ripper™ bandsaw mill accessory
              Mister Sawmill
              Timber Drying Harvesting Urban Timber
              Menco's Bora-Care Page
              Menco's Powder Post Beetle Page
              powderpost beetles, POWDER POST BEETLE CONTROL, wood destroying insects,
              powderpost beetles powder post beetles powderpost beetle damage
              Wood Equilibrium Moisture Content Table And Calculator
              Last edited by Bob D.; 05-11-2009, 10:34 PM. Reason: Added some links
              "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



              • #8
                Re: Resawing Lumber - general questions

                Thanks for the tips everyone. I saw a video on someone splitting a trunk using an axe so I am going to try that. The bulk of the trunk was already cut into firewood size sections and a long piece thats left is in a low lying area that would be impossibe for a sawyer to get to. I have another oak tree thats coming down soon which I plan to have a sawyer come and cut.

                One more question, the peices that I plan to keep are slightly larger than what my bandsaw can handle. If I cut off the bark first than I will have enough clearance. However one website I read said to leave it on, how critical is that?


                • #9
                  Re: Resawing Lumber - general questions

                  The advantage of splitting as opposed to sawing is that the wood splits along the grain, where sawing does not follow the grain.
                  "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006