Thckness for rough cutting/drying logs to lumber - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 01-16-2010, 08:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thckness for rough cutting/drying logs to lumber

I know the first answer to this question is always "it depends", but here goes.

I've been playing with taking small logs and rough cutting them into lumber for undecided future use. So the question is what's a good initial thickness to rough cut the lumber to so that indoor basement drying doesn't take half a decade, but keeping as much flexibility as possible in what you're going to do with it someday. Of course the thicker the more flexibility you have later.

So I had a log of ceder today and I milled it into 1 inch thick boards. Would you have gone thicker, thinner, or did I get it about right?
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post #2 of 12 Old 01-16-2010, 08:37 PM
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I want to preface my answer to your questions by stating that I do not have a mill. Other viewers will have more expertise in that arena. I have had a tree milled, years ago, and we had most done at one inch thick. This has provided us with enough material to do numerous projects, including a table I am going to post in the project area. We did have three slabs cut at 3 inches so we could have fireplace mantles later on.

It sounds like you are doing smaller logs or maybe just one log at a time. You are probably allright with one inch thick, as this will allow you to plane or sand it down to a final thickness. Depending on what you are making, keep in mind that bookmatching boards can really make a piece standout.

How are you cutting the wood? Bandsaw? Table Saw? Mill? Please post pics.
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post #3 of 12 Old 01-16-2010, 09:17 PM
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Cedar will air dry in just a few weeks. I like to mill most of my wood at 1 1/8- 1/1/4, and then just a few boards up to 2 1/2 thick of the same log. This gives me the opportunity to make one piece legs for furniture and tops at a full 7/8"-1" thick.
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post #4 of 12 Old 01-16-2010, 09:17 PM Thread Starter
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Will post pics a little later. The logs are small enough that I'm running the log through my jointer to create a flat face, then holding that edge against the jointer fence to create a perpendicular face. Then I take that over to the band saw and resaw using those two faces, then rip off most of the remaining live edge. Paying attention to a tip I got elsewhere on this board I coated the ends with old Elmers glue to even out the drying. If this actually works I'll do more of the log later.
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post #5 of 12 Old 01-16-2010, 09:22 PM
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Depending on how many BF I will have, I cut logs I'm going to use for myself into three different thicknesses.

13/4 (for furniture legs etc.)
9/4 (for table tops or any number of things, even for resaw into 4/4 if need be)
5/4 (for 4/4 or 3/4 if some of the boards twisted/cupped etc. a lot)

That's also species dependent because I don't cut Mesquite, ERC, or other more stable woods like them very much over what I want to end up with. My 13/4 & 9/4 thickness isn't something you'll see other sawyers do, but I march to a different drummer.
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post #6 of 12 Old 01-17-2010, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Some pictures. Pictured is the rest of the log after I cut off the thinnest part to make the 4 boards shown. The first part wasn't too big to handle in my 14" band saw (no riser block yet). I thought the purple sawdust was cool and the purple in the middle of the cut off log reminded me of when I've seen seared tuna on a plate.

Haven't figured what to make with those 4 boards (or the rest of it). Previous attempts at making my own lumber resulted in lots of cracks and distortion, but this time I sealed the ends with glue. If that works out with the section I already did I'll work on the rest of the log.
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post #7 of 12 Old 01-17-2010, 02:09 PM
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I don't imaging you will have any trouble drying those pieces, cedar is about the easiest wood to dry. I don't even endseal mine. "How thick ?" depends on what you normally/or plan on building. I mill most of mine 1" for general woodworking projects, but some large logs I mill 2" or even 3". 3" make a nice mantle (not that you could get a mantle from your log, just saying) I even keep a little 1/2" around for lining chests and the like.
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post #8 of 12 Old 01-17-2010, 02:22 PM Thread Starter
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I chose the 1" thick figuring it'll give me flexibility in case I change my mind, but I could easily see resawing the boards much thinner to maybe line a box with them. Since my band saw is quite new I still haven't done the obligatory band saw box project.
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post #9 of 12 Old 01-18-2010, 09:48 AM
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I didn't know it was ERC and such a small amount. Just about any thickness you cut it into will work out.
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post #10 of 12 Old 01-18-2010, 10:10 AM
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The better you stack it coming off the saw, the less waste. If your fresh lumber has all the stickers lined up and it lays flat with good air flow around the pile, when you plane it, much less waste from cupping.
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post #11 of 12 Old 03-14-2011, 04:52 PM
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drying wood

I have dried quite a bit of wood in my time and use latex paint on the ends to slow it down and prevent plitting. Preventing cupping or twisting is done by inline stacking of stickers and putting a nice thick layer on the bottom and then the thinner pieces in the middle followed by more heavy pieces on top. I routinely dry very wide stock with very little trouble. If you are drying small amounts use cinder blocks on the top and turn the stock over every few days or weeks as it dries to prevent cupping. I have also made cradles from 2x4's that I then use wedges under to keep pressure on stacks so they dry straight. Most basements don't have anywhere near enough air movement to create problems. In fact if you start drying more you could actually bring too much moisture into the house (as well as uninvited guests of the insect variety). I know one guy who built some really nice cabinets from some local takedowns and 2 years later started noticing dust on his counter. After several months he found to his horror that some kind of worm had woken up and a large colony was eating away at the side panels and had moved into the wall behind. Since they stopped about counter level it was obvious where they came from. Amusing enough was the fact that he bragged about the "nice wormy character " of the wood he chose to make these cabinets from. Kiln drying a few weeks would have eliminated this.
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post #12 of 12 Old 03-14-2011, 08:18 PM
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oh, god, that story made me itch.

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