Wow, it has been a busy month. I haven’t had a new post in a week and a half. This month has been filled with graduations, confirmations, birthdays, and lots of other things. Today, for instance, I was at my in-law’s for several hours cutting and hauling away some trees. Not the most fun chore on a humid 90 degree day, but you use the time you have. Three of the trees I cut down today were holly trees. My mother-in-law was not happy to see them go, but they were right next to the house and they are having someone replace the siding on that side. While I was getting ready to cut down the first tree, it occurred to me that I might be able to cut a few boards from the larger two tree trunks. When they are dried, I can build something from them, for my mother-in-law, so she will have something from her holly trees.
I cut them into lengths of about 3 feet long. I intend to attempt turning some bowls or vessels with the smaller diameter pieces as well as the knottier sections.
The rest I cut into boards.
I have only done this once before, so I am sure there are better ways of re-sawing these logs. I started with the straightest side I could find and ran it along the fence of my bandsaw, cutting off about a 3/4″ slice. This gave me a relatively flat side for the bottom. I rotated the log onto the newly cut side and ran it through again to get another flat side. Without a specific jig for doing this, I am running the first pass through by eye, trying to keep it as straight as possible.
I continue slicing off 3/4″ pieces until I am out of log. The cuts got a lot straighter after the second slab was cut.
I proceeded to cut two more logs into boards using the same method. Something that I had not planned on was the amount of mess that was getting into my bandsaw from the soaking wet wood. My saw stopped working halfway through because wet sawdust had collected in the grooves of the drive belt and pulleys. I spent 20 minutes cleaning them out and finished my cuts. Then I had to repeat the cleaning process again. I also had to take off the blade so I could clean the tires and the blade as well. If I had left the dust to dry behind the blade, I would have had an uneven surface and the blade would probably come off the next time I used it. The wet dust would have also started some things rusting, I am sure.
When I finished cleaning, I took a moment to look at the boards that I had cut. Some of them had a very nice subtle grain that will be very pretty on the right project.
Phase two of this process is the stickering and stacking. The stickers are spacer blocks that go between each board to allow space for air to flow around the boards. I grabbed an old 2×4 and cut it down into 3/4″X3/4″ strips then chopped them down to 3″-4″ long. I found a remote corner of my shop and stacked the boards on top of each other with three spacers each. As the boards dry, I am sure my spacers will get a bit moldy, but it shouldn’t stain the wood so much that I can’t plane it away. It will take about a year for this wood to air dry, so I tucked it under my work bench behind a shelf that my tools sit on. I left lots of room for the air to circulate around, and the stack shouldn’t be bothered back there.
On the other end of my shop, under my wood rack, I have a pile of cherry boards that I cut and started drying over a year ago. I had cut the boards from some logs that were going to be pieces of fire wood. I sat aside a couple pieces to re-saw and dry. One of the logs was a piece of crotch wood that had a lot of swirling grain and the other one had a straighter grain, but some pretty color variations. I recently cut into a piece to see how well it dried. I think it is ready to use. I cut the piece into a few 1/4″ pieces to show you what it looks like. I don’t have a project for it yet, but I will.