Urban Logging #1: Tree removal and Slabbing

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Jerome posted 07-04-2019 05:13 AM 785 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Urban Logging series no next part

Hello All!

When we moved into our house 8 years ago the stood a decent size Water Oak / Red Oak tree. A Crape Myrtle was also there. Eight years later the Oak was covering the entire front of the house. To make matters worse, it was hard for grass to grow under the tree. Lastly, I have to rake all the leaves every year! I raised the canopy a few times to let more sunlight hit the yard, but something had to be done! I was wasting money getting grass to grow, only to see it fade away in a few years. I called an Arborist out to give options. Option #1. was to cut it down. Option #2. Trim the tree back 20%. Option #3. Trim and use a product that would slow the growth. All the while the height of the tree would get taller and continue my grass problems. I chose option #1. The other options would cost money every 3-5 years. Option #1 only cost me once.

I plan on planting a Tulip Poplar in its place. I had a epiphany! The trunk was in such good shape, I thought why not see if i could get it cut into slabs. On the Oak’s fateful day the workers were kind enough to load the trunk into my truck bed. To my suprise, I was unable to load it with my bare hands. I mean, you look at a small log and you think, ” i can lift that enough to sit on my truck bed”. Silly me to think that I could just wield the log around like a 4/4 board. It wasn’t happening. I mentioned this idea to the foreman and he paused without saying anything…but managed to come up with a nifty idea of having his crew load it for me. What a genius! The calm to not only reserve the questioning of my bruit strength, but to alternatively offer a feasible solution!

One mistake that i made was not having them make a clean cut at the base. However, one positive was that they cut a chainsaw gash a inch or so deep at the top of the tree. Of course they did not plan this, but it enabled me to insert my ratchet straps in the groove, hence providing some holding force. So with one strap on the tail end of the truck i was off and trucking about 35 miles to the sawmill that i found on CL. The quote was $75. One guy further away wanted $175. I did a rough calculation of the board feet of a log 8ft long, and a diameter of 18 inches. Getting the log slabbed definitely outweighed the cost to buy what the log would yield by about 8 times. Of course you have to take in consideration the space needed, time, etc. But i have perfectly good lumber that has been sitting in my shop for longer than what it would take for 8/4 slabs to dry.

Along the way the log rolled from side to side with ease. I thought it was over a ton, but i eventually weighed all the slabs- keep reading. I found some pallets along the way and layed a narrow pallet on the truck bed and put a full sized pallet on the top of the log at an angle. I used a second ratchet strap to press the angled pallet against the log and it not longer budged along the way.

I pull up and KC (my sawmill guy) in Cartersville, GA rolls up in a golf cart with his daughter. Its moments like this that makes woodworkers cool. I mean, woodworking is such and enjoyable thing to do until you have to start sanding. By now Iv’e already seen countless tube videos of MC and others. I kind of know the lingo. But im at the sawmills and there are hundreds of logs. Instantly you think, “what kind of wood is it? I’m there to get the log cut, but I am also there to learn and life at a sawmill and try to identify wood. So the log is on the truck bed. All the way on! It was at this time that i realized that I should have given the exact situation the log was in before i left home. I say this because you never know what type of equipment the sawmill has. The arborist had a gripper thingy bobber and KC had a freakin gripper/scooper.

So many lessons learned here! Like putting your emergency break on AND pressing your brake when the log is being pushed in your truck bed. I took a minute to conjure up a scheme to get the log off. Luckily the groove cut by the chainsaw was deep enough for the strap to fit snug. the strap was then tied to the bobcat clamp and lifted up and out enough to grip the log by the machine. So the log is now on the sawmill. I will say that even tough KC sawmill is not the “red frozen tundra beast” that MC has, it is a pretty badass sawmill. The hydraulics and computerized controls were nice. KC asks, ” how do you want it cut?” and I’m like 8/4. then he says, ” I mean the log dumbass” JK. I did think about that whilst it was on my truck bed and that was exactly how i wanted it cut. Somewhere in this process KC asks, ” What do you plan on making?” Sawdust would have been a funny answer. But I really do not know. Later in the visit i came to the conclusion that I let the wood speak to me.

He gives me tips for handling the slabs once I get home. Apparently, Water Oak takes alot of care and attention, something I only give to football. He put that armor seal on for me AND gives me some to take home when I give the ends some clean-up work. KC also gave me some sticker stock, which i cut to size at home. What more could a guy want? I got a good crash course on how to handle the wood when I get home so I can actually make something with it without milling it down to 2/4! Spray off all the sawdust, true up the ends and coat with armor seal. Use cinder blocks to stack the slabs. space the stickers 12” apart. Date and number the slabs. Weigh the slabs periodically. Use ratchet straps to keep the slabs from twisting. Use a box fan in the garage for a few weeks before moving them to the basement. Once moved to the basement, place a dehumidifier next to the slabs. I planned on stacking them European style so I had that in my pocket. All the info helped.

I thought about making my own slabs years ago via chainsaw mill. I decided to skip the sawyer life and just go to a hardwood dealer. Tube videos show the fun parts, but alot has to be taken into consideration . If i had land with a big shed I would think about it. Then you need a truck to load the logs, a big dump truck or something, or a trailer with a wench. A bobcat with attachments. Chainsaws, etc. etc. Another freaking money pit! The weight from slabs 1 to 8 were 33.2, 88.5, 108.8, 127.5, 125.8, 119.4, 103.4, and 44.8. pounds! I loaded them all from the mill to the truck, then the truck to the driveway. then stood them to sort, then stacked them. I cleaned them off by laying the slabs on a ladder. You can make cut from there and also cut the stickers to length.

I am considering a waterfall table, workbench, who knows? Alot of this post was free writing. Thanks for reading!


We have a lovely view from our living room to and an untouched area of land for use. Five of the trees are 100ft or higher and pose some potential damage. A two-trunk Water Oak, a Maple and some Poplar. Many more trees behind them. I plan on walking through to see what they are. I have no rush to cut them down, as it is upwards of $2500 each to to so. Plus, they are nice to have.

-- Jerome, Marietta, GA

6 comments so far

View Sylvain's profile


1317 posts in 3665 days

#1 posted 07-04-2019 08:09 AM

wrongly oriented pictures
Here is how I correct this problem:
- I upload a picture in my LJ post;
- I click on “preview”;
- I look how it is oriented;
- I click “close preview”
- If wrongly oriented, I erase the insertion code;
- On my Windows computer, I right click on the picture file/thumbnail and I choose “Edit with Photo”;
- The picture might appear correctly oriented on the PC screen; don’t believe it will be OK;
- Irrespective of the orientation shown, I rotate the picture in one direction and then I rotate it back until it has the correct orientation;
- I click on “save a copy”; it will save a copy with the same name but with ” (2)” added to it;
- I upload the copy version of the picture on LJ;
- I verify with “preview” that it is now OK.

have a look at those post:

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26476 posts in 4271 days

#2 posted 07-04-2019 11:47 AM

Nice story, Jerome! Now when you make something out of the slabs, they will have special meaning.
You will probably make some thing with the live edge on it. After those 2” slabs dry for about 2 years, the bark will be loose. I like to take off the bark and leave the live edge of the sap woo. they the keep bark on a log in almost a losing proposition and it rough on the user.

Did you put any Anchor Seal on the ends to reduce the checking?

cheers, Jim

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

View tyvekboy's profile


2118 posts in 4179 days

#3 posted 07-04-2019 12:36 PM

Nice write up Jerome.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Sylvain's profile


1317 posts in 3665 days

#4 posted 07-04-2019 01:39 PM

Nice and informative story;
Unfortunately, now that the pictures have been correctly oriented, I can not (?) suppress my first comment.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

View Matt Cremona's profile

Matt Cremona

131 posts in 2455 days

#5 posted 07-04-2019 02:17 PM

Nice work, Jerome!

-- Matt Cremona | Minneapolis, MN |

View leafherder's profile


1985 posts in 3118 days

#6 posted 07-04-2019 03:07 PM

A great blog, very informative, I look forward to seeing what you create from the wood, thank you for sharing your experiences. Now if I may share one of mine I had a tulip poplar for many years, they can be lovely trees and grow fast which means the wood can be weak with branches breaking in even moderate windstorms (I had to remove mine after the trunk split and half the tree fell during a hail storm) and they are prone to insect damage, not necessarily something you want close to the house. Good luck with whatever you decide to plant.

-- Leafherder

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics