HUGE Burl, Huge Problem - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 02-20-2013, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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HUGE Burl, Huge Problem

Today I cut down the largest burl I have ever seen in real life. The picture attached will show you how huge it is. The board in the pic is 4.5'X6" just to give you a reference. an inch or two of the outside is rotten but the inside is very solid. But I wasn't thinking and I brought it down into my basement where my wood shop is and now I just realized that I cant cut it. The only saw that I have that comes close is a bow saw that is just barely long enough to reach the other side. I figure that my best bet would be to buy a two man saw and have my younger brother on the other end. But it weighs at least 300-400 lbs. Soooooo I was wondering if anybody else has some suggestions on how to cut this that might be a little easier.

Thanks~
Hunter Schade
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post #2 of 13 Old 02-20-2013, 11:36 PM
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Cut it in quarters with a chainsaw, once you get it into a more manageble shape you can trim with the bow saw or something else.
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post #3 of 13 Old 02-21-2013, 10:55 AM
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I guess that depends on how your gonna cut it. Length wise or cross grain? Advertise on craigslist to see if anyone local to you has a chainsaw mill. They could help you. Doesn't look like a very big burl. Ive seen pine burls that would take 3 or 4 guys to reach around.
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post #4 of 13 Old 02-21-2013, 05:58 PM
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Might try to find a nice long wire saw, loop it around where you want it cut and start pulling it back and forth till your arms drop off or it's cut in two whichever comes first.
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post #5 of 13 Old 02-21-2013, 09:27 PM
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The big question here is what species wood do you have and what does the figure look like at the center? It would be a shame to halve or quarter it if the figure breathtaking. Imagine it as a table with amazing figure! But it could be trash too. All burls are not created equal.

I would find any way I could to slice it dead center, where it's the widest. And I'd find someone to do it if I couldn't. But ONLY if it was a higher quality species. If it's oak or elm or some other common species, then it's a DIY. If it's walnut, maple or cherry, I would pay someone to make that first cut if there was no way I could. A 20" cut chainsaw can reach a 40" center. If you have a forest of ebony... Call me.

There's all kinds of things that could be going on here. The rot you mentioned could have infiltrated where you can't see it. Spalted maple relies on a fungus to get its figure. And that's highly prized. Rot is another thing. No one wants that.

The stump looks like this has been dead forever. Now we're talking decay. Bugs, worms and all kinds of little creatures start feeding. And the wood becomes worthless.

So before you invest any money, know what you have. Do a small rip on the trunk with a sawzall or handsaw and find out what wood it is. If it's "pricey", then become a surgeon. If not, hack away.
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post #6 of 13 Old 02-21-2013, 10:04 PM
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Since it's in the basement, I would use an electric chainsaw.
If you don't have one, most rental places do.

Learning more about tools everyday
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post #7 of 13 Old 02-21-2013, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie Mor View Post
The big question here is what species wood do you have and what does the figure look like at the center? It would be a shame to halve or quarter it if the figure breathtaking. Imagine it as a table with amazing figure! But it could be trash too. All burls are not created equal.

I would find any way I could to slice it dead center, where it's the widest. And I'd find someone to do it if I couldn't. But ONLY if it was a higher quality species. If it's oak or elm or some other common species, then it's a DIY. If it's walnut, maple or cherry, I would pay someone to make that first cut if there was no way I could. A 20" cut chainsaw can reach a 40" center. If you have a forest of ebony... Call me.

There's all kinds of things that could be going on here. The rot you mentioned could have infiltrated where you can't see it. Spalted maple relies on a fungus to get its figure. And that's highly prized. Rot is another thing. No one wants that.

The stump looks like this has been dead forever. Now we're talking decay. Bugs, worms and all kinds of little creatures start feeding. And the wood becomes worthless.

So before you invest any money, know what you have. Do a small rip on the trunk with a sawzall or handsaw and find out what wood it is. If it's "pricey", then become a surgeon. If not, hack away.
I like the way you think!
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post #8 of 13 Old 02-22-2013, 01:38 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Julie Mor View Post
The big question here is what species wood do you have and what does the figure look like at the center? It would be a shame to halve or quarter it if the figure breathtaking. Imagine it as a table with amazing figure! But it could be trash too. All burls are not created equal.

I would find any way I could to slice it dead center, where it's the widest. And I'd find someone to do it if I couldn't. But ONLY if it was a higher quality species. If it's oak or elm or some other common species, then it's a DIY. If it's walnut, maple or cherry, I would pay someone to make that first cut if there was no way I could. A 20" cut chainsaw can reach a 40" center. If you have a forest of ebony... Call me.

There's all kinds of things that could be going on here. The rot you mentioned could have infiltrated where you can't see it. Spalted maple relies on a fungus to get its figure. And that's highly prized. Rot is another thing. No one wants that.

The stump looks like this has been dead forever. Now we're talking decay. Bugs, worms and all kinds of little creatures start feeding. And the wood becomes worthless.

So before you invest any money, know what you have. Do a small rip on the trunk with a sawzall or handsaw and find out what wood it is. If it's "pricey", then become a surgeon. If not, hack away.
I am pretty sure that its either cherry or apple (not sure if apple can have burls) because I have 3 other which I am sure are cherry and one more which is unknown. And I think I will just attempt to cut it with a chainsaw myself because it does look like the bugs might have gotten to it. I can tell you that the lower part of the trunk was still very solid when cutting it with the chainsaw. but it has been dead standing for about 5 years. I took a hand saw and just started to cut into it to test how solid it is and it seems to be solid on the inside. I'm probably going to cut a chunk out of the side so that I don't hurt the center but I can see the extent of the damage. And actually the reason that I posted this on this site was to see if any body could recommend a way to cut it so I could get a coffee table blank out of it with out using the chainsaw (I foolishly already brought it into my basement) but it looks like I will just have to either wait for a warm day and open the doors and windows up and use the chainsaw inside or haul it outside cut it up then drag it back into the basement. I think option one looks like the better of those two. But now I do have one more question, how would I prevent a piece of that size from splitting and cracking? I was thinking about wrapping it in news paper and letting it sit for many years. Any advice on a better way assuming it is worth it?
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post #9 of 13 Old 02-22-2013, 04:56 AM
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Get it out of the house or get it chemically treated to kill the bugs (if any) before they get into your house framing.

Burl moves even after supposedly dried.
Cut the slabs over thick (2"+) and count on getting it sanded/flattened down later. A planer will rip the crap out of the grain, so that's a non starter.
Immediately after cutting get the slabs stickered and bar clamped together to keep them as straight as possible. You can count on warping/checking/cracking. Burl will do exactly what it wants. It's a fight to the finish.

Yeah, I would slab it. They make a chainsaw attachment that bolts on the saw, that you can make relatively straight slab cuts with.
We did it with a mess of oak burls and got 3 bookmatched slabs out of 7 slabs. I've got 2 coffee tables from them. 1 in process and 1 finished.

Good luck.
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post #10 of 13 Old 02-22-2013, 08:13 AM
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Get it out of the house or get it chemically treated to kill the bugs (if any) before they get into your house framing.
That was my first thought too.

Mike
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post #11 of 13 Old 02-22-2013, 11:23 AM
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Found this on ebay. Current bid is $19.50.


And there's more there like this.

After you debug it, use a wire brush and remove all the dirt and loose stuff. Once it's sliced (I wouldn't exceed 2.5" in thickness) use a liquid wax sealer around the perimeter and maybe even in a couple of inches on the top and bottom, before you sticker it. You want the moisture to leach out as slowly as possible to minimize splitting so wrap or cover it in a clear plastic. The clear will allow you to see how much moisture is escaping and remind you to let it escape occasionally. You don't want mold either.

Good luck!
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post #12 of 13 Old 02-22-2013, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Da Aardvark View Post
Get it out of the house or get it chemically treated to kill the bugs (if any) before they get into your house framing.

Burl moves even after supposedly dried.
Cut the slabs over thick (2"+) and count on getting it sanded/flattened down later. A planer will rip the crap out of the grain, so that's a non starter.
Immediately after cutting get the slabs stickered and bar clamped together to keep them as straight as possible. You can count on warping/checking/cracking. Burl will do exactly what it wants. It's a fight to the finish.

Yeah, I would slab it. They make a chainsaw attachment that bolts on the saw, that you can make relatively straight slab cuts with.
We did it with a mess of oak burls and got 3 bookmatched slabs out of 7 slabs. I've got 2 coffee tables from them. 1 in process and 1 finished.

Good luck.
Yeah I actually treated it with a pesticide right after I took this photo (and don't worry, its designed for household use) I was actually thinking of cutting the slabs probably 4+ inches just to be on the safe side. You said a plainer will destroy it, what about an electric plainer? It has a wheel inside of it that spins and it has a section cut out and sharpened so it has a similar system as a router, but it is handheld and goes on its side to level off sections of wood.
After doing a little research, I have made the decision to probably gather more burls so that I can give them plenty of time to dry and get them before the creepy crawlies do.
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post #13 of 13 Old 02-23-2013, 03:17 PM
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Just as if you planed against the grain, (big machine or small) you can get chunks literally ripping out.
I had my friend Dom use a router sled over mine. Other option is sanding.
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