What is the safest way to plank a small log?

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Agent_zed

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Hi,

I've got a small log around 15cm in diameter and about 3ft long. I want to cut this into a couple of 'planks' around 15mm thick (not sure if that's the right term at this size - strips maybe).

Can this be safely done on a tablesaw? If so, how?

I have access to a chainsaw as well. My bandsaw would be too small though.

I don't wish to lose any digits so safety is paramount.

is there a proven safe way?
 
Hi,

I've got a small log around 15cm in diameter and about 3ft long. I want to cut this into a couple of 'planks' around 15mm thick (not sure if that's the right term at this size - strips maybe).

Can this be safely done on a tablesaw? If so, how?

I have access to a chainsaw as well. My bandsaw would be too small though.

I don't wish to lose any digits so safety is paramount.

is there a proven safe way?
You're table saw will handle a 150mm cut? It must be a big one...
Even my little Inca bandsaw will just about manage a log that size, but I'd have to cut from both sides on the table saw, and I'd don't think I'd ever attempt such a thing.
 
I would have thought that a chainsaw would be too rough and too big a kerf - you will find it hard to do precision cutting of that nature with it...
A table saw sounds risky
A band saw would be my instinctive thought - can you find someone with a bigger capacity bandsaw? 15cm is not huge for a bandsaw my RP Sabre 250 does about 125mm - the next one up - Sabre 300 does 254mm - substantially more - that is a bandsaw capacity lots of folks might have
 
Hi,

I've got a small log around 15cm in diameter and about 3ft long. I want to cut this into a couple of 'planks' around 15mm thick (not sure if that's the right term at this size - strips maybe).

Can this be safely done on a tablesaw? If so, how?

I have access to a chainsaw as well. My bandsaw would be too small though.

I don't wish to lose any digits so safety is paramount.

is there a proven safe way?
Would a freshly sharpened low tooth count rip saw be the answer?
 
I could be preaching to the choir but 15mm thick boards will bend, cup, bow, twist and move an incredible amount whilst drying. I cut up a similar sized cherry tree with 25mm boards and once dry the largest flat and square piece I could get was about 40cm long, 10cm wide, and 15mm thick.

I cut mine up on my bandsaw. I would not take a log near my table saw as I think it would be too hard to control safely.

Fitz.
 
A sled for the bandsaw, at the most basic this could be a stout board screwed to the log opposite the first cut. Use that to get a flat surface on one side, flip the log on to that face, remove the board and start cutting slices
 
As long as your bandsaw has the capacity a sled is the safest method. I made a sled once which clamped the log front to back and ran in the miter slot . It worked fine but was a bit heavy. As I had a lot of garden trees to convert I ordered the ' Little Ripper ' from www.stockroomsupply.com in Canada. It worked very well . Make sure to add about 10 mm to the final desired width as you will get shrinkage and warping. Some species are worse than others. !
 
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If you're not worried about wastage and effort, then splitting with a froe (or wedges) and then flattening with a plane (a power one will speed things up) is safer than chainsaw / table saw.

I've planked logs on a bandsaw. They have a tendency to roll so you need either two flat sides (at approx 90 degrees) or a sled that it can be fixed to.

As Fitzroy said, plan for wastage. They will dry in all sorts of shapes, so you need surplus to plane them back to flat once dried
 
If using your bandsaw, don't forget to have at least something to support the outfeed.
A lower TPI blade with a heavier set on the teeth will help when working green wood, otherwise you find it slow going and gets bound up too easily
 
Thanks for all the replies. I should clarify that the log in question is very dry/seasoned as I've had it kicking around for years so I'm hoping it won't do too much warping when cut.

I only need 1 or 2 pieces as I was thinking of seeing if it would be any good for a fretboard. So I could cut it thicker. It's apple wood which has a Janka rating of about 1730 which is more than Maple at 1450. Thought it might be interesting.

What I could do is split the log (maybe off center) with the chainsaw or handsaw, then plane it flat on my jointer/planer. I should then be able to take an edge off on my bandsaw to create a square edge. I should then be able to run that through the table saw as it would be flat on the deck.

Which I think incorporates most of the above advice? Does that sound safe enough?

I'm assuming similar principles to wood turning - no unsupported edge (although that would be the tool rather than the workpiece)
 
Have noticed a distinct spiral in Apple trunks I've cut for turning in the past. I'd be tempted to cut it down the middle with the chainsaw then wait a bit to see what it does.
 
Have noticed a distinct spiral in Apple trunks I've cut for turning in the past. I'd be tempted to cut it down the middle with the chainsaw then wait a bit to see what it does.
yeah I have seen this myself. The log I have I 'think' is relatively straight grain. I have a dead apple tree though that is still standing and that has some clear spiralling going on.

I love the colours you get out of fruit woods.
 
The joys of converting your own timber 😄
Colours can be fantastic, especially the stone fruits/prunus
 
Have you a friend ?
Saw_pit.jpg
 
@Agent_zed where in the southwest are you? If not too far from Aldershot/Farnborough you are more than welcome to come run in through my bandsaw
thanks for the offer. I'm gloucestershire way, so too far to go for what will probably turn out to be firewood.

I am probably just being lazy thinking about it and I should just use a handsaw to start with and get some flat sides.
 
If you're planning fretboards then you want vertical grain. So splitting into wedges would be the easiest way to achieve that - you want to lose the pith in the middle anyway.

I've read that apple can be quite unstable, so it would be worth observing how much each board moves before glueing it on. If it works it should look great.
 

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