Milling old dry logs - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 10-07-2019, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Milling old dry logs

Any advice on milling logs that have been down for a long time and stacked dry not just lying on the wet ground. For backstory: I've got a bunch of mesquite logs that were cut down in the 70s or 80s and have been stacked in a barn in central Texas since. I've cut a couple of pieces just to see whats up, I toasted a blade on the first log (1st pic) by not paying attention so my fault, but on the second one (2nd pic) I noticed it looked like I was running too dry and upped my lube flow on the second pass. Everything seemed fine but only made 2 cuts and the next log I loaded (cedar) the blade was already dull. So my question is, is it just a matter of running a high flow of lubrication and feeding slow or are there any other tricks out there? (also 2nd log had some great spalting but makes me suspect it may not be mesquite, I did have one person say they've seen spalted mesquite look like that so any thoughts on that would be appreciated as well)
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post #2 of 3 Old 10-07-2019, 01:20 PM
where's my table saw?
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I have no first hand experience .....

I was curious about the hardness of Mesquite, so I did a search. It's one of the hardest woods out there, number 8 down from the top of the list:

Then I wondered if it was abrasive, like Teak. I don't know what "high extractive content" means:

For a free, soft-cover directory of mesquite suppliers (some selling by mail order) and users, send a request to Mesquite Industry Directory, Texas Forest Products Laboratory, P.O. Box 310, Lufkin, TX 75901. Or telephone 409/639-8180. Also use this address to contact the two active promotional groups for this cabinet-class woodworking stock, Los Amigos del the Mesquite (Friends of the Mesquite) and the Texas Mesquite Association. Mesquite seasons exceptionally well, with little checking, shrinkage, or warp. However, the hard wood has a high extractive content which tends to overheat cutting blades. Use carbide-tipped blades and cutters for your power tools, and follow these tips to work mesquite.

They do recommend carbide cutters. Initially I wondered about the condition of the saw blades you used. That would give a better indication of issues than photos of the wood.

A call to these folks may give you some first hand advice:

I do remember that an improper rate of drying can increase the hardness of woods, case hardening, I think is the term.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 10-07-2019 at 01:28 PM.
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post #3 of 3 Old 10-08-2019, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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That's interesting, I didn't realize mesquite was such a hard wood, even harder than the pecan I have milled before. I've always heard that (dry) wood gets harder with age, and the stuff I have was cut 30+ years ago, so I would imagine its quite a bit harder than green mesquite. I know running the mill at too low of a feed rate causes its own set of problems, I guess I'll just have to take it easy. Fortunately none of the logs are very big, 3 or 4 feet at the most, maybe 12" dia max with 1 or 2 short pieces 15" dia or so.

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