Red Oak Lumber #1: Quartersawn red oak - splitting a big log

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Blog entry by HalDougherty posted 08-08-2011 03:13 AM 10904 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Red Oak Lumber series Part 2: Quartersawn red oak - The Lumber »

It’s Been a while since I’ve split logs. When I was growing up, I lived in a farmhouse that was heated by a furnace and a fireplace. I cut, split, and stacked a lot of wood. I got 3 big red oak logs and one big sycamore log this week. All 4 are big enough to quartersaw and one is so big, that it has to be split to make it small enough to fit on my sawmill. It got easier after I made some big hard maple wedges.

My neighbor across the road lives in a log home that was built in the eary 1800’s. The original kitchen was a fireplace in the center of the house. It was an open walkway between two big rooms. Later they built a kitchen in a separate building behind the main house.

After it was spread open enough with the maple wedge. I put a scissors jack in the split and forced the log into two big slices. It’s a small log, only a little over 4’, but it should make a good supply of quarter sawn flat boards. You can see the sycamore log laying in the background.

The split is 36” long and each half is 24” wide. I should get 3 or 4 quartersawn boards at least 20” wide. I’ll know tomorrow when I saw again.

Here’s the other two red oak logs that will be quartersawn. They are just over 30” wide, so they’ll saw without splitting them first.

It was almost 100 degrees here today. The only way I could stay cool was to freeze bottles of water and take frequent water breaks in the shade. It was hot work, swinging a sledge hammer and splitting this log. I sure hope the wood is worth the effort.

-- Hal, Tennessee

6 comments so far

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4315 days

#1 posted 08-08-2011 03:51 AM

oh it will be worth it…cant wait to see some boards on this one…nothing like swingin a sledge hammer…hitting wedges…hearing the wood crack…not comes the fun part…listening to the saw cut that wood…have fun…..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View STL's profile


68 posts in 3844 days

#2 posted 08-08-2011 11:41 AM

Hal, It will be worth it when you see the rays in those Q-sawn boards! Great job!

-- Dan Siggers, Alabama,

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

25937 posts in 4117 days

#3 posted 08-08-2011 12:51 PM

Very ingenious, Hal, Thanks for sharing the experience. Someone else may have to do that .
That is one big log. It should yield some real nice wood!!..........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4249 days

#4 posted 08-08-2011 01:14 PM

My Father always told me, “Work Smarter, Not Harder!” Splitting this log was a lot of work in the heat yesterday. I have a red oak log down in my woods that I still can’t get home, so I’m going to split it this week. Only this time I’m using something different. A chainsaw to make a plunge cut in the middle of the log, some black powder (about 2 to 3 oz charge) and that log should open right up. Anybody got any extra cannon fuse? I’ll make a video when the time comes.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Roman - THE BOOTMAN's profile


1065 posts in 3698 days

#5 posted 08-08-2011 05:56 PM

The powder will work! Look forward to seeing the video. KaPow!!!!!!!!!

-- Author of POWER CARVING BOOTS & SHOES - Schiffer Publishing. Available online or your favourite bookstore.

View spunwood's profile


1202 posts in 3848 days

#6 posted 08-09-2011 03:03 AM

Wow, can’t wait to see the video and what you do with these logs. Hard work for sure. I work at UPS in a warehouse and in the trucks loading them, it really saps your strength and you have to pace yourself.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

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