Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Woodslabbing Timeout

Squeezed in a couple days of slabbing up logs recently.

First one was a Manitoba Maple (AKA Box Elder). It poured rain on me for the first hour or so, but I carried on and was rewarded with a Subaru full of wood! Ten slabs about 2" thick, maybe 4' long, and ranging up to 30" wide. A really nice haul and probably some of the most colourful wood I have found. I was awestruck after I finished the first cut and flipped the top waney piece off to expose the colours!

We'll see how it fares after two years drying. It does have some cracks in it so several of the boards will split, but it should still be amazing. Manitoba Maple does lose its vibrancy when exposed to light, so it is a good wood to put inside a cabinet where it is dark 99.999% of the time.

A week later I found myself staring at a 3' long section of an oak tree trunk. A short piece yes, but it was wider than my mill could handle, ie wider than 31". Got nine slabs out of it, each about 2" thick and almost totally clear, barely a knot to be seen. The grain is not really tight, and there is some splitting at the pith, but nice straight grained stuff, the QS pieces have nice ray flakes. I spent quite a bit of time peeling the bark off the log, I learned that oak bark is pretty tenacious!

The first photo above of the oak shows it fresh cut, the second photo was taken about five days later. The colour fading is quite dramatic. This is typical of many woods.

Two of my three chainsaws died that day (the Oak day) and they were off to the shop to be repaired. Meanwhile I made up a mill from the 60" chainbar I purchased last spring. It'll give me a 54" cutting capacity. Not that I find a ton of logs that wide, but I do regularly find logs wider than my 31" mill can handle, and I figure the extra width will come in handy for crotch pieces.

Photo below shows the cutting area with my cutting paraphernalia scattered around. I use Husqvarna 2100 saws for the slabbing. This model was discontinued over 20 years ago so parts are getting hard to find. But they cost 1/5th price of a comparable new one, so the economics still sort of work.

The one resting on the log has the mill attached to it, including the auxillary oiler on the nose. The one in the foreground had just died after giving me a bunch of grief, and the smaller saw on the lower left died later when the pull cord snapped.

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