Milling Spalted Maple Logs


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A few weeks ago I was at my cabin in PA and I found several logs of spalted maple.  I quickly saved it from the burn barrel and brought it home.  My first thought was I could square it and mill it into small slabs on my bandsaw.......  Well I was wrong.  I have a Delta 14" band saw but the re-saw capability is only 6".  I've trying to figure out, research my options so so Can cut these logs into slabs.  

All the logs are anywhere from 10-14" round.  I thought about cutting them with a chain saw or a hand saw - which could require a huge amount of planing.  I am honestly fresh out of ideas since I have never brought back logs to mill.  Oh and I looked into a portable mill - yhea.....way to pricey for just a few logs.  

 

Any ideas? 

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Build a jig and run them through the tablesaw to get a kerf in each side the log then finish the cut with a handsaw or a Sawzall. Joint or hand plane that face then back to the jig to rip a edge 90 degrees to the face. Now you have a section small enough to resaw. 

Jig just needs to hold the log from the ends so it won't roll when on the saw. 

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10 minutes ago, bleedinblue said:

That seems like a very small capacity for a 14" saw, doesn't it?

Used to be that most 14" saws were 6" capacity. Like all the cast iron clone saws. They came as 6" & you could put a 6" riser block in them.

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I don't know if a grizzly riser would work on your saw, wouldn't hurt to call them.  The saw generally has a break in the column between the top and bottom wheel near the table.  You will need to get longer blade, and you may need to replace other parts.  I did this to my saw and was really quite easy.

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There are usually several parts in the height riser kit. Longer bolt and spacer block for the collum. Longer guard for the blade at the collum. Longer shaft for the blade guides and a longer blade guard for that side as well.

Maybe a Jet height kit might fit ?

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1 hour ago, drzaius said:

Good excuse to upgrade to a bigger band saw.

Or add a riser.

1 hour ago, JeepDad said:

Interesting drzaius - where would the riser block go?  So then the capacity would go to roughly 12".....?

 

Thanks wdwerker - I'll try that approach a try on one of the smaller ones.  

 

Yup, the resaw capacity becomes 12" and your new blade size becomes 105".

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Even with a 6" riser, you won't quite have enough capacity to cut the larger log, and even the smaller log could be a stretch when you factor in a sled or jig to keep the log oriented. So you still need some way to trim the log down to fit. Or pick up a real big new bandsaw.

Assuming you have a chainsaw, you could always buy an Alaskan mill setup for <$200. If you expect to do this again, that might be a worthwhile upgrade.

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1 hour ago, BonPacific said:

Even with a 6" riser, you won't quite have enough capacity to cut the larger log, and even the smaller log could be a stretch when you factor in a sled or jig to keep the log oriented. So you still need some way to trim the log down to fit. Or pick up a real big new bandsaw.

Assuming you have a chainsaw, you could always buy an Alaskan mill setup for <$200. If you expect to do this again, that might be a worthwhile upgrade.

if he has 14" rounds, as he turns it into a cant i bet he will be under 12", so i think the riser would be the most economical way. However, how long are these logs? I dont know how comfortable i would be wielding a 8' long log through a 14" saw. 

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Make sure to be extremely careful working around spalted wood. The spalted effect is from fungus, which like moist environment, like the inside of your lungs.  Make sure to wear appropriate mask.

How long are the logs ? Are they really dried ?

What I do is to split/cut them in half, then remove the bark (criters love the bark).   You can use the chainsaw to cut them in half. Anyway, you do not want the pith, as it is too unstable and it will crack.  I left them in an outside building, that we store the firewood in, it is protected, but well vented. It will dry itself and stop the rotting process (splating + bugs in it).

If it is spalted, it was kept in a moist environment, and it has fungus (the splated) and very likely bugs in it.

Wait until it is dry, to do anymore cutting, most likely a year, or at the end of next summer.

 

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I wouldn't try resawing anything longer than about 3 or 4 ft long. Even at that length you will need some sort of outfeed table to support the log and jig as you finish the cut. A tall and square fence is needed too. Some saws will tend to skew left or right to get uniform cuts. A good fence will be set parallel to this line. 

Maybe you should read up on tracking and tuning your saw then try resawing something that will fit under your saw as it is. It ain't always as easy as you might think ! 

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I can't find the bandsaw mill plans or remember where I got them. Anyway let's go ahead and say it's a lot of work to mill lumber this way. It makes a ton of sawdust and a big mess. In my old shop I could roll the saw outside. I was sawing green logs and that gums up everything. You will have a lot of cleanup if you go this route. 

Now the good part is it's pretty cool to cut a tree, mill and dry the lumber, and make a finished project. Now you can say I made this out of a tree! You can also get some very unique pieces like the quartersawn sycamore shown in my pictures. Also a lot of firewood comes out of the process. 

Here is a link to an album with the pictures.

https://goo.gl/photos/JEi6eqsjkhyd4Hbw6 

The plans I used allow me to cut about anything I can lift up on the saw. I put a stand under the outboard end of the auxiliary table to brace it. I have cut 4 ft logs that are 12" diameter but I wouldn't recommend it on a saw this size. 

This plan is two parts. You use a couple of lags to screw the log to the sled on the outboard side. Cut some flats. I'll batch this with 5 or 6 logs. Then move the fence part to the inboard side and use it to slice boards turning the log as desired. Remember to cut out the pith in the center board. It sucks to cut that wide board in half but trust me it will give you two usable boards instead of a piece of firewood. 

I've since seen some plans that look easier to use but I'll use this one as long as it and the saw holds up.

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