Rescued Wood #11: Internal Stresses in Wood

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Blog entry by PG_Zac posted 01-18-2010 11:28 PM 2267 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: This Stuff is Seriously HARD Part 11 of Rescued Wood series Part 12: New Zealand Kauri Pine »

We all (should) know that wood naturally has some internal stresses that on occasion cause the wood to warp in various ways. These stresses NORMALLY tend to surface during moisture changes or sometimes during removal of sections of a board or plank.

Well yesterday wood stress nearly made me [email protected] myself.

So there I was, happily slabbing away at some beautiful Eucalyptus (see previous 2 posts). Relief was coursing through me as I neared the end of a cut knowing I could take a few minutes rest and take the pressure off my hands and knees. The end of a slabbing cut is always a little nerve wracking for me as the resistance to the forward pressure is suddenly removed and the hungry, flesh consuming saw chain exits the wood. In a split second I have to change my balance and release the chainsaw trigger. This Euc is seriously hard, so I have to push quite hard to get the Alaskan mill through it, and the pressure release is quite dramatic.

So the chain exited the wood and I started catching my balance when something next to my hip kind-of exploded. I heard a loud bang and felt a small kick against my hip. Well, with the chainsaw shooting out the end of the log, and my balance still only half caught I couldn’t take time to evaluate whet had happened. I regained my balance while stopping the machine, switched it off, and placed it on the ground in front of me.

I tried to identify the problem. I wasn’t in pain so I thought I was ok, the chainsaw had sounded ok before I switched it off, nothing had fallen out of the tree above me – What was it?

I stood up to get a better view point and there it was – the 50mm thick (2”) board had split along 2 thirds of its length.


There must have been HUGE stresses in the log to rip apart such hard wood as soon as the board separated from the log.

My shaking soon subsided, and I slabbed the rest of the sucker before heading home to a well earned rest.

-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

2 comments so far

View hornhunter's profile


21 posts in 4511 days

#1 posted 01-18-2010 11:46 PM

Wow! Always have to be on Guard! How do you like the alaskan? What size is it and how big is your saw? I have been looking at these and have read mixed reviews. Some say they are ok for softwoods but tiringly slow in harder woods like oak. Glad you’re OK.

-- Dean, Kinderhook, New York

View PG_Zac's profile


373 posts in 4847 days

#2 posted 01-19-2010 09:27 AM

Hi Dean,
I made my own Alaskan Mill (see the details here)
I use a Stihl MS 460 chainsaw with a 75cm bar. The Alaskan on the bar gives me 60cm cutting width.

This is the first seriously hard wood I have cut with my rig, and I have to agree that it is tiring and slow. On softer woods it is a pleasure, but can still be a tiring job.

I think it is really worth it, as it is extremely portable and gives a very good quality of cut considering that a chainsaw is a very coarse tool.

-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

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