Hints and Tips #15: Another Way to Break Down a Log

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Blog entry by Dave Rutan posted 10-28-2015 05:21 PM 3444 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 14: KISS System Dust Collector Part 15 of Hints and Tips series Part 16: Flattening a Box »

[Above] This was my last log of elm in which I hoped to find some more spalted wood. The first thing I did was to grab my Australian Bowie knife and strip off the bark. It came off very easily as the log (2 feet long, 4 inch diameter ) had been sitting on the ground under leaves for several years.

[Above] Then I put the log in its most stable position on its side and attached a 1×4 to each flank, making sure it was fairly stable and trying to have the boards parallel to the bottom surface. If you’re lucky, about an inch will be above the boards.

[Above] Now I set my table saw fence so that the blade will cut off about 1 inch or so on one side of the log. I run the board along my rip fence. This may need to be done in several passes, raising the blade higher with each pass.

[Above] At it’s highest, my 10 inch blade did not quite cut all the way through the log, so I use a coarse tooth ‘toolbox’ saw to finish the cut.

[Above] I used my block plane (!) to take the roughness off of the cut I made with my handsaw. I could get to like hand planes!

[Above] Now using the board still attached to the log and the freshly cut edge, I squared up the log with a last flank cut.

[Above] Here I squared up the log before starting to slice it up. I treated it like any other piece of wood after this, slicing it up in approximately 1/2 inch thick slices.

Epilogue: After I got it all slices, I discovered that this particular log was too far gone. The half inch slices snapped in my hands more easily than toothpicks. The wood also wasn’t very figured, just colored dark gray. At least the one I processed just before was Okay. This also smelled up my basement very badly. I wore a dusk mask during the work and vacuumed things up afterward, but the smell persisted for a while.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

3 comments so far

View splintergroup's profile


4635 posts in 2227 days

#1 posted 10-28-2015 07:01 PM

About 3 month ago I went through the same process cutting up some Russian Olive logs.
The shop still smells funky…..

View Garret D., Rock Run's profile

Garret D., Rock Run

72 posts in 2801 days

#2 posted 10-28-2015 08:29 PM

Very nice. I love the use of the bowie knife in a wood working project.

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

2008 posts in 3193 days

#3 posted 10-28-2015 10:14 PM

Very nice. I love the use of the bowie knife in a wood working project.

- Garret D. Level Timber Co.

I figured I should use it for something. Usually I just cut down the corn stalks in the garden with it.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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