How to cut tree trunk into slabs

How to cut a tree trunk into slabs - Woodshop



I have acquired a 2.5 foot diameter by 10 feet long pecan tree trunk. Two questions:

  1. How long should I let this age and under what conditions before I cut it?
  2. Any ideas on how to cut this into 2 inch thick planks? Is there a place around with a big enough saw?




Logs don’t season so the best thing you can do is cut it into planks now and properly stack it to dry. This is a bigger task than most seem to understand so do some research. If you contact woodmizer they can usually refer you to someone who can cut it. If you can move the log to the saw it will be cheaper than them coming to you.

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These woodmizers?






Yep, that’s what you need. I have cut lots of logs on those, have a few buddies in MO that own them. I also have an Alaskan Mill I cut really big logs with but you need a big chainsaw.

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These folks will mill it for you. They are just north of Dallas on I35. They have a rustic saw mill and do this kind of milling all the time.




The ideal is to cut it and then let it air dry in the atmosphere it will " live " in from 8 months to a year depending largely upon the quality of the air conditioning.

“Harvest Your Own Lumber” - John English - recommendations in it are to cut the wood and then let it air dry a year under cover or under plastic stored level with rails in-between slabs.

Option 2 is to find a timber yard and kiln dry it but this will give you additional splits in the timber and different moisture content in the core than at the edges.

As for cutting - find someone with a portable sawmill and oversize all your cuts to allow for 7 to 9% shrinkage in width cross-grain.

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Thanks all for advice. Tree is at a sawmill and I’ll age at home




Stickering is the most important thing. Paint the ends with cheap latex paint. Do two coats. You can coat after about a half hour. Make sure you have some kind of weight on top and that all the stickers are parallel with one another through the whole group.
You should keep the sides as open as possible for air to flow. In Texas it should only take about 6 months for it to dry. I have been cutting my own lumber for 8 years.
Feel free to reach out if you need any advice.


How To Cut Live Edge Slabs With A Chainsaw Mill

Cutting live edge slabs is an art to many woodworkers. There is nothing more satisfying than building a customer or yourself a live edge dining room table that will last them for years to come. However, DIY live edge slab milling is growing in popularity among skilled woodworkers and DIYers.

To do this, one will need a chainsaw sawmill. These can range from around $30 for a DIY mill, up to thousands for a professional slab mill.

At Lancaster Live Edge, we cut our live edge slabs using a Lucas Mill, as pictured below!

Using a slabber mill is simple. The Lucas Mill we use was purchased with rails and a framework. Because of this, the process to mill slabs is simple. To do so, we:

  1. Place the log inside the frame and level it

    Logs can be place parallel to the frame so they cut straight. They should be leveled prior to cutting so the logs are the same width the on each end.

  2. Lower the blade to your desired height

    We typically saw our slabs 12/4, which means they’re 3″ thick before they’re dried.

  3. Start the sawmill

    After your mill is started, it’s ready to use.

  4. Push the blade through the log

    The chainsaw mill blade will cut through the log, creating your first slab.

  5. Repeat steps throughout the log

    Repeat the steps above as your work your way through the log. A forklift may be needed to move the slabs after each one is cut, as they are heavy.

Cutting With A Portable Chainsaw Mill

If you have a portable chainsaw mill, your process will be a hair different. For these sawmills, the rails mount directly to the log and a chainsaw will slide along these. You’ll want to be sure to use ripping blades on your chainsaw.

This alternative method, though cheaper, is not as efficient as a larger stationary chainsaw mill. For this method, you’re limited to smaller slabs based on the size of the chainsaw bar you have, and you also will spend more time setting up the mill. This is the route most DIYers go for slabbing. We recommend researching your specific chainsaw mill to determine the best instructions for slabbing your logs.

What Type of Cut Is It?

When cutting live edge slabs, the log is “livesawn”. Livesawn refers to logs that are cut from the outside diameter, through the heartwood. It incorporates the full range of characteristics such as color variances, grain pattern changes, and more. This cut is the widest cut available on a log as it goes from one side to the other.

How Long Does It Take To Turn A Log To Slabs?

Turning an entire log to slabs takes anywhere from 1-3 hours, depending on the size of the log, how thick you cut the slabs, and how experienced you are. For beginners, it may take longer.

That time, however, is just for the cutting. To properly dry your slab so that it can be used for a woodworking project, you’ll have a few years in the process. We stack our slabs on flat wood sticks so they air dry for about 2 years, then we put them in a kiln. This ensures they’re properly dried when we go to use them for our projects. A general rule of thumb is to dry your slab for 1 year for every inch thick it is.

Flattening After Cutting

Flattening your slab should be done before you finish your piece. At Lancaster Live Edge, we use a woodmizer slab flattener that uses a router head to remove small amounts of the slab until it’s equally flat across the entire piece.

For smaller slabs, you can buy a flattener that attaches to a regular router, which will allow you to flatten the slabs. There are numerous manufacturers of these.

In both cases, a router will slide along a track system removing the high spots on your slab.

Buy Pre-Cut Live Edge Slabs

Cutting live edge slabs isn’t cheap. Typically this requires equipment that many woodworkers won’t have in their shop, such as a chainsaw mill, flattener, and more. If you’d rather buy live edge slabs then invest in the equipment needed, we can help. Simply shop our inventory online or send us a message to see the slabs we have in stock. We have hundreds of slabs that are kiln dried and ready to use!

Nolan Barger

Nolan is one of the original members of the team at Lancaster Live Edge.  Formerly, Nolan was the Marketing and Sales Manager at our company, and he also spent several hours a day building tables and custom furniture in our shop.  Now, Nolan helps with our marketing initiatives.  Prior to his time at Lancaster Live Edge, Nolan worked for years for his family’s custom home building company and has built everything from custom furniture to cabins to home additions.

Sawing a log into boards - methods and methods, step-by-step instructions

Wood, like natural stone, is one of the most ancient building materials. Despite the huge selection of various artificially created materials that exists today on the construction market, timber products are still very popular. In order to obtain high-quality lumber, a log must be sawn into boards. In this article we will talk about how to cut a log into boards.

Types of sawing logs

There are two main ways of sawing a log into boards:

  • radial
  • tangential.

Additional methods are also possible:

  • mixed
  • semi-radial (rustic)
  • central.

Radial sawing is a type of sawing, during which the axis of the cut runs through the core of the log and, as a result, the annual rings in the section of the board form an angle of 76 - 900. The lumber obtained by such a cut has a uniform color and texture. Timber almost does not undergo deformation during shrinkage and does not swell when moistened, because the dimensions of the wood change mainly along the line of the rings (across the fibers). In radial sawn lumber, annual rings are arranged in thickness. Such materials have the highest performance in comparison with other types of lumber.

Tangential sawing is carried out tangentially to the lines of annual rings at a small distance from its core. The surfaces of the resulting boards are distinguished by a pronounced texture and a bright wavy pattern of annual rings. Such lumber is characterized by higher coefficients of shrinkage and swelling from moisture, compared to radial sawn boards. As a result, they are strongly deformed under the action of moisture. Such boards are in demand for use in dry conditions.

Rustic (semi-radial) and mixed types of sawing have signs of two main types of sawing at the same time: radial and tangential. Therefore, they show average shrinkage and swelling ratios. Rustic sawn boards are distinguished by straight lines of annual rings, which are located at angles of 46 - 75 degrees. to the layers. Mixed sawn lumber is distinguished by the fact that the lines change from straight at the edges (in width) of the board, to arched towards the middle.

The center cut is made right in the center of the trunk and contains the core of the trunk. Taking into account the fact that the core of the trunk is the wood with the lowest strength values, center cut sawn timber is characterized by a structure that is not uniform in strength.

Wood balance when sawing

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Tools for cutting logs

Tools and cutting methods depend on the total volume of logs, such as length, thickness. In addition, the quality of the future lumber must be taken into account. Sawing logs involves working with different tools and specialized equipment. In order to get a small amount of lumber at home, a manual method of processing logs with a chainsaw or traditional hand saw-hacksaws with teeth for a longitudinal cut type is suitable.

The sawmill is perhaps the most famous type of sawmill equipment. This is a woodworking machine in which there are frame saws. At the sawmill, longitudinal sawn lumber is obtained, for example, edged boards or timber. Sawmills allow processing logs with a diameter of 15 to 80 cm and a length of up to 7 m. Such equipment can be single-saw (single-disk) and multi-saw (multi-disk). Devices containing a single disk are suitable for working with small-sized and low-quality raw materials. With the help of multi-disc machines, it is possible to cut round workpieces of large diameter.

Band sawmills are the most popular today. They are of two types: vertical and horizontal. The cutting tool in such equipment is a tape that is put on the pulleys. Work on band machines guarantees the production of quality longitudinal and mixed lumber, such as boards and timber. This generates the least amount of waste.

Large industrial enterprises use lines for sawing wood. They allow to achieve very high surface quality and precise geometry of the final products. Such lines are characterized by the highest productivity.

In addition to all of the above equipment, such types of highly specialized sawmill equipment are used, such as debarking, edge trimming, band-cutting and other types of machines.

Cutting a log into boards with a chainsaw

Very often there are situations when you need to make a very small amount of boards or beams for your own needs. Of course, buying machines in this case is absolutely not an option. Having certain knowledge and skills, it is much more profitable to cut logs with your own hands, using an electric or gasoline chain saw. Despite the fact that this work is quite laborious, the result is quite justified.

Most experts agree that a chainsaw is the best choice for this purpose. Such equipment has high power and can operate without interruption for a long time. In addition, the operation of the chainsaw does not require electricity, so you can work far from the power supply, for example, right on the plot.

In order to cut a log into boards with a chainsaw, you will also need special tools, such as a mechanism for fixing the log, a frame attachment for a chainsaw, and a guide for cutting. The attachment frame must be attached to the chainsaw bar so that it is possible for them to adjust the gap between it and the chain. This will make it possible to create boards having different thicknesses. The chain should be purchased special, for longitudinal sawing. It has a special sharpening angle of the teeth. A guide ruler can be made from a metal profile of the required length or a flat rigid board.

Before starting work, you need to remove all the bark and remaining branches from the blanks, as well as carefully examine the log for various flaws. In this way, you will be able to choose the most suitable cutting pattern and, consequently, reduce the amount of possible waste.

If you are ripping trunks, care must be taken to ensure that the resulting lumber is of the same density across the entire width. Since the density of wood from the northern part of the log is much higher than from the south, the cut is carried out in a plane directed from east to west (or vice versa).

The first step is to remove the slabs from the two opposite ends of the log. As a result, a two-edged beam will be obtained, which is then cut into boards or other lumber of equal thickness, according to the planned sawing pattern. The end product is an unedged board, from which the edges are necessarily removed.

How to cut the trunk into boards?

How to cut logs? Current cutting methods

Construction is rarely complete without wood, one of the oldest materials in the world. It is versatile, durable, relatively affordable. The trunk of a tree, cleared of branches, is called a log. It is subject to sawing - a necessary condition for obtaining boards. How to competently saw logs on your own, will be discussed in the article.

Types of cutting

Cutting of logs is performed by radial and tangential methods. These are the main cutting methods, but there are additional ones. Sawing can be semi-radial, central, mixed. Consider these types of sawing wood in detail.


The cut goes through the core of the workpiece. An angle from 76 to 90 degrees is formed in the section. Finished lumber is characterized by the same texture. Even after drying, they do not deform, and at high humidity they do not swell. And all because the tree changes its dimensions across the fibers, that is, along the line of rings. During radial processing, all annual rings run parallel to each other, that is, in thickness. Wooden blanks have the highest performance characteristics.


Carried out along the tangential line of the rings. Finished boards have a wave-like pattern. The shrinkage coefficient is quite high, the wood can swell from moisture. The wood obtained as a result of tangential cutting is recommended for use in conditions of complete absence of moisture.

Semi-radial, mixed

Both types have the characteristics of the cuts listed above. Characterized by average swelling, shrinkage. With a semi-radial type, the lines are straight, the angle is 46 - 75 degrees. When mixed, they are straight in width and arcuate closer to the middle of the workpiece.


The name speaks for itself. Optimization of cutting of a log is carried out directly on the center. Since the boards obtained as a result of the central cut have a heterogeneous structure, the core strength indicators are among the lowest.

Sawing at home

When you need to harvest a relatively small amount, it makes no sense to buy a sawmill, take the workpieces to the sawmill. With a minimum amount of knowledge, you can cut logs into boards with improvised means. The process is quite laborious, but justified. You will need a gas or electric chain saw.

Most experts agree that the first option is preferable. A gasoline saw is more powerful, able to work without interruption for hours. It does not depend on power sources, so sawing roundwood is possible even in a forest belt. Before sawing a log, it is advisable to stock up on tools that simplify the work. This is a fastener, nozzle, guide along which the incision is made. To ensure that the longitudinal cut of the log is perfectly even, use a rigid board as a guide. However, a long iron profile is also suitable. By the way, sawing a log into boards is almost always carried out with a chain that has a different sharpening angle.


Sawing logs begins with the fact that you free the logs from the bark, branches that could remain. Then inspect the lumber for various defects, determine the appropriate cutting pattern. The possible amount of waste will depend on this.

Of course, sawing with a band saw is much easier, but with a gas saw, you can do it if you get used to it. When radial sawing of wood is performed, they try to get boards that have the same density in width. A common pattern for sawing logs is from east to west. On the north side, the density is greater. Cutting in the opposite direction is allowed.

The first operation is the removal of the slab (upper part), like on boards. You will receive a timber sawn into boards of the same thickness. As a result of the sawn work, an unedged board will be obtained. In the future, the edge is removed from it.

Sometimes sawing roundwood ends up with a false core and other defects in the log. The problem is solved by rotating the workpiece by 90, 180 degrees, as in a circular cut.

Why do I need a rounder?

There are many different attachments available for fine woodworking. One of them is a drum debarker. Using a simple V-belt tool, it is easy to remove the top layer. Fastening is carried out by means of pulleys. Depending on their size, the speed of rotation of the shaft is regulated. The technology is not easy and very responsible. Therefore, many specialists when processing logs using a drum debarker do the work together. And they are taking extra precautions.


Log - a processed trunk, which is used as a building material for the construction of piles, pillars. It also produces boards of various lengths. Sawing is carried out on a sawmill, on a woodworking machine, manually. We looked at the main types of wood processing and found out how you can get finished boards yourself.

Chain saw board saw

Homemade fixture for sawing logs into boards with a chainsaw, a detailed description of the manufacture of the fixture with dimensions and photos.

Hello everyone! I want to show a homemade device for sawing boards, which is installed on a chainsaw or electric saw. I made this homemade product for my electric saw, and with the help of it I sawed boards, I was satisfied, the method is really working, but of course everything will need to be adjusted for yourself.

I will describe how I made it, and if you are interested, you can familiarize yourself with and improve this design.

Materials used:

  • Profile pipes - 20 x 40 mm and 20 x 20 mm.
  • 32 mm and 25 mm tubes.
  • Strip 40 x 20 x 4 mm, for bar clamp, 2 pieces.
  • Rods and handle with rubber.
  • Bolts with nuts, washers and locknuts.

The dimensions of the parts are shown below.

I leveled all the elements and welded them by welding, I took the dimensions arbitrarily at my discretion, and was guided by my saw. Be sure to make a handle to guide sawing and pushing.

All saws are different in size and bar length, and therefore improvements can be made to the design for your particular saw, which will need to be taken into account.

I was forced to cut the boards myself, why?
When you live in the countryside, you need boards for your needs, the thing is very much in demand. There is always something to nail, make, replace, put together.
Where can I get boards for my needs? Say you can just buy. Yes, you can, but it is not always profitable, and you will have to pay more for shipping. And if you need a little, let's say just a few boards, 2-3 pieces in total, nail a little small thing. After all, a few pieces of boards, no one will sell you if you do not live in the city.

Now, I'll tell you how I sawed. To begin with, I fixed the log on a simple workbench using clamps.

The upper part of the log was leveled with an ax, then additionally processed with an electric planer so that the surface was even.
I did it by eye, but I used a ruler for a more or less even surface.

And then, just put a saw with a nozzle from the end of the log, with a pre-set size of the board thickness and sawed. That's all!

Some people make special guides for straight sawing, along which the saw with a nozzle moves, but I sawed right along the log and it seems to work. Although special guides simplify the sawing process, you will also have to make a lot of them.

And in such a simple way, I sawed about 50 boards for myself, from 1.4 to 1.8 meters long. I chose logs of this length, for reasons of ease of carrying and transporting alone, by hand.

A little clarification! Chainsaw chain sharpened for rip sawing at an angle of approximately 10 degrees. Saws of course not quickly, but you can cut. The speed of sawing depends on the power of the saw, and the sharpness of the sharpened chain. The more powerful the saw, the faster the sawing process. If the chain becomes blunt, it will slowly saw, and fine dust will fly out.
Also, I removed the tooth limiter from the chain a bit so that it bites into the wood better. I did it by eye, took off about a millimeter.

Homemade author: Vadim Vasiliev.

Cutting logs into boards at home. Main types and methods of wood cutting

The construction market is replete with a huge amount of modern materials, which, unfortunately, are not distinguished by naturalness. That is why wood is still the most popular - due to its versatility and availability, it is used in various construction industries. Any lumber, whether it be timber or boards, is made from logs, so our task today is to understand how to make the necessary building material out of it.

How to cut logs into boards at home

Instead of a preface

  1. Logs can be sawn with hand tools or with various professional equipment used on an industrial scale.
  2. A direct impact on the cost of finished lumber is its characteristics, namely the thickness of the materials and the amount of waste left as a result of the production process.

Industrial machine for sawing logs into boards

  1. To reduce the amount of waste, sawing logs on an industrial scale is carried out according to special schemes.

What kind of equipment is used

In production conditions, various professional tools and special equipment are used for sawing logs, selected depending on:

  • material length;
  • its thickness;
  • product quality.

It is usually not available at home, but is successfully replaced by a conventional chainsaw, a woodworking machine with a circular saw, or a hand saw for wood.

Lumber companies use sawmilling lines. This equipment is highly productive and allows you to get a quality product.

Sawmill - a machine for cutting logs into boards

One of the types of sawmill equipment is a sawmill - a woodworking machine on which frame saws are installed. After processing, a timber and an edged board are obtained as a result.

Only certain sizes of logs may be used as raw materials:

  • length must not exceed 7 m;
  • diameter size range is much wider and ranges from 150mm to 800mm.

A plank from the side of a log is called a slab

Round timber is also sawn on circular saws called circular saws or circular saws. These machines are divided into:

Single saw Used for small size and poor quality material.
Multiblade Designed to work with large material.

Most often, logs are processed on band sawmills, which allow cutting round timber both horizontally and vertically. Due to the high quality of sawing logs, very little waste remains after obtaining the final material.

But this is not the whole list of equipment used for large-scale production of lumber. There are also highly specialized machines that are used only in certain branches of woodworking.

Block house lining - board under the log

Main types and methods of cutting wood

The method of sawing logs is selected depending on the type of wood and what kind of workpiece should be obtained as a result.

  • sizing parameters;
  • form;
  • surface quality;
  • requirements.

Logs can be sawn according to the location of the growth rings.

There are three types of sawing:

  1. Radial - along the radius of growth rings, while the work is carried out with particular clarity.
  2. Tangential - the log is sawn to the growth rings tangentially, parallel to one of the radii.
  3. Parallel-forming - cutting occurs parallel to the direction of the fibers.

How to cut a log into boards with a chainsaw yourself

Depending on the direction in which the logs are sawn, the methods of sawing them are also divided: At the same time, they should be parallel to each other. This is the easiest processing method, which ultimately allows you to get a pair of slabs and an unedged board.

  • With slats allows you to first obtain side boards and timber, which, if necessary, is sawn into identical edged boards. This method allows you to cut a little more than half of all raw materials. The disadvantage is that the processing of round timber requires the use of two sawmills.
  • Segmented - a beam will be sawn from the center of the log. This name is due to the fact that two segments remain on the sides of the log, which are subsequently cut into tangential boards.
  • Sector - in this case, the round timber is sawn into sectors. At the same time, their number depends on the diameter of the log and varies from 4 to 8. Further, the resulting fragments are sawn into radial or tangential boards.
  • Circular - designed for individual cutting of logs. In this case, healthy wood is separated from the affected one.
  • Tip: when sawing off the next board, the trunk must be rotated 90˚ around the longitudinal axis.

    It should be noted that the last three methods, unlike the previous two - the main ones, are used quite rarely.

    Sawing at home

    Purchasing sawmills for home use is unprofitable both from an economic point of view, the price is quite high, and from a practical point of view. For these purposes, a conventional chainsaw is quite suitable.

    However, you can also use electric, but gasoline is much more powerful and does not require electricity, which is very useful when working far from civilization. Despite the complexity of this process, with certain skills, labor costs can justify themselves.

    Do-it-yourself frame for cutting logs

    All work related to cutting requires special tools:

    • device that fixes the log in a stationary state;
    • nozzle frame designed for a chainsaw - if you want to get boards of different thicknesses, they are fixed on the tool tire, but in such a way as to be able to adjust the distance remaining between the nozzle and the chain;
    • ruler-guide. It can be successfully replaced with a metal profile or an ordinary board of the required length, as long as it is even and rigid.

    Tip: for a chainsaw, you need to purchase a special chain that allows you to make longitudinal cuts. Its distinctive feature is a special angle of sharpening of the teeth.


    The operation instructions will be:

    1. Free the logs from bark and branches. The less waste you get, the more finished material will be.
    2. Determine the cutting pattern that will be the most optimal. Why inspect the log for possible defects.

    On the photo - cutting logs

    1. Sawing in the direction from east to west or vice versa. This is due to the fact that obtaining high-quality material is possible only if the density of the boards is the same across the entire width. Please note that the density of the tree trunk on the north side is much higher than on the south.

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