resawing #5: Utility pole crossbar resawing, and another small tragedy

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 07-22-2009 02:02 PM 6468 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: European olive (Olea europaea) turning blanks Part 5 of resawing series Part 6: slabbing a huge Eucalyptus log »

Because time is flying, it’s already 3 months ago that a car ran into a telephone pole (and street light) outside my office building, knocking it (them) down.

car wrapped around light post

car accident

worker cleaning up mess around downed utility pole

city worker looking at downed utility pole

I ran out and got some streetside safety gear, and my little electric chainsaw. Here I am, making all of that look too tiny:

me in killer's garb

With no accessible outlet anywhere nearby (and no truck yet with bed-outlet), I had to settle for my Irwin carpenter saw. The pole was all hollow inside from rot and bugs when I snuck back later to have at it.

messy utility pole cuttings

messy utility pole innards

messy utility pole innards

messy utility pole innards

I cleaned up my mess and left. I still have this stuff. I was thinking it would be interesting to try to stabilize some of it for turning, but I think so much less now :)

cleanup of messy utility pole innards

As a consolation prize, a few weeks later, I snagged the crossbar that goes across the top. The city workers detached it from the pole in their light cleanup effort. The pole itself stayed pushed up against the wall for at least a month more, before it just suddenly wasn’t there one day.

downed utility pole

utility pole crossbar at home

It has “RAINIER CH 68” stamped into it, but I couldn’t find any info online relating to that in any way. No idea what kind of wood it is. I researched that, too, but there are many species listed as possibilities.


I just finally got around to sticking it on the band saw 10 days ago:

resawing the utility pole crossbar

Here’s a little movie of that:

I’m still learning about the quirks of my rickety band saw. It’s a Craftsman 12” wood/metal, and it just loves to vibrate and shake all over. While shaking all about, the blade guard came loose, so after the cut, the blade clanged against it for quite awhile while it slowed down. You can hear this in the above video. This means, however, that after my next cut or two, the blade snapped on me. What a sad moment. I didn’t realize that it was the teeth hitting. I thought it was banging left and right against the side supports (still not good, but not nearly as bad):

snapped band saw blade

snapped band saw blade

Here’s what I got before the blade broke:

resawn utility pole planks

resawn utility pole planks

So I lost my 2TPI Suffolk Machinery “Timberwolf” blade, but I still had a 3TPI version. It turned out to be thinner, so it’s not as stable through hard, and/or thick stuff. It wanders, and I can’t really tighten any more. Setting for blade drift helps quite a bit, but it’s still not perfect. Looks like I’m going to need another 2TPI in the thicker steel.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

5 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5431 days

#1 posted 07-22-2009 02:49 PM

I have had my hands on many of the cross-arms and they have all been vertical grain doug fir so far.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View a1Jim's profile


118308 posts in 4909 days

#2 posted 07-22-2009 03:54 PM

Wow Gary you find wood every were


View lew's profile


13486 posts in 5087 days

#3 posted 07-22-2009 04:22 PM


Too bad about the blade. I just broke one the other day, also. I wonder if you made a taller resaw fence whether it would prevent the stock from twisting, causing the blade to bind.

I made a resaw fence that is a “single post” design. It allows me to compensate for drift during the cut. It is made to the maximum height of the bandsaw guard/bearing assembly. This way it supports the widest possible stock to be resawed. Just a thought.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4713 days

#4 posted 07-24-2009 01:37 PM

Todd – no idea. I have a ton of DF 2×4s I’ve worked with lately. They all smell like either lemon or pumpkin when cut, though DF I’ve used in the past has not. The green stuff especially has these smells, or a mixture of them. It’s actually kind of appetizing. The crossbar doesn’t look or smell like those, but then, there are several species that count as DF, and this thing is old and dry, baked in the sun probably for a few decades at least.

Jim – I know! I wish more of it was quality hardwoods, or beautiful, colorful burls.

Lew – I did actually make a taller resaw fence. It’s about 6” tall, maybe a bit more. This was a somewhat squatter piece, and already fairly square on the bottom. It broke when the blade was spinning by itself, not when it was cutting, because the teeth were clanging against the guard, which had slipped forward, moving the bottom into the cut line. When you use your resaw post, do you first draw a straight line down the stock, or do you eyeball the cut you’ve made, and make course-corrections based on that?

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4713 days

#5 posted 08-23-2009 11:14 PM

Skarp – You give me hope that perhaps I will be able to adjust the vibrations out of that thing.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

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