resawing #6: slabbing a huge Eucalyptus log

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 08-18-2009 04:29 PM 9076 reads 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Utility pole crossbar resawing, and another small tragedy Part 6 of resawing series no next part

While looking through old Flickr sets, I realized I never made public one in which I slabbed one of the huge Eucalyptus logs I wrestled home from a craigslist ad. The largest of them is over 230lbs. I chose the smallest – probably around 80-100lbs, because I was desperate to see what lurked inside. I have at least a dozen of these things, so I could sacrifice one enormous beast to curiosity, though that said, I did immediately seal up the ends with a few inches worth of Anchorseal, and the slabs are drying on stickers now. This was mid July, about a month and a week ago. I haven’t noticed any new or deepened checks, though these logs are filled with checks from having been left out in the sun for 2 years before I claimed them.

First up, I spent an hour and 15 minutes manually resawing my smallest huge euc log one night after work, and gave up in a puddle of sweat when a show I wanted to see came on at 9PM. The next morning, Saturday, I sawed the rest of the cut, which took a full 30 minutes more. One cut, 1 hour and 45 minutes. This particular euc (possibly most/all eucs?) was incredibly hard, maybe even moreso than oak. It was like sawing through a hard aluminum alloy. My coarse cut saws, which normally power through logs, ejected small amounts of powder with each stroke, instead of the nice, small shavings I normally get. My arm was worn, my clothing drenched in sweat, but worst of all, my hand felt like a truck had driven over it. I have some ideas about the lack of comfortable grips in saws that I could share :)

I needed a tall fence for pushing my resawn log, so I slapped together this thing out of scraps of baltic birch ply:

baltic birch ply resawing fence

baltic birch ply resawing fence

baltic birch ply resawing fence

Note in the above shots that the half-log still needed a shave on the top edge to fit under my 12” max height blade guard. This is by far the smallest log, too. You can see it in this old shot taken just after I moved the logs into the back yard from my truck (originally blogged here). It’s the tiny one on the opposite side of the picture from me:

me and some huge Eucalyptus logs

While slabbing, I ended up cutting through not only some tunnels left by Eucalyptus boring bugs, but also through about 3 of the bugs themselves:

Eucalyptus boring bug tunnels and bugs cut through accidentally

These are the same bugs that left trails all through the other Eucalyptus I found. The larvae have a fat head with a little beak on it, tapering down to a tiny, pointy tail. I could tell I sawed through something when goo began to pile up at the top of the log, on the cut line.

Euclayptus boring bug tunnels and guts, both resawn through

They are some nasty looking boards, but I think there’s a beauty hidden within, which I hope to bring out one day, when they’re dry and ready.

Eucalyptus boards resawn

Here’s an example front/back view of one messy slab:

messy Eucalyptus slab front

messy Eucalyptus slab back

And another:

Eucalyptus slab front

Euclayptus slab back

The checks are not my fault this time :)

Here’s a nice set of thick, 12” wide, book-matched slabs. Of course, everything you resaw is by nature book-matched…

bookmatched Euclayptus slabs

Burnable scrap, and a few pen blanks:

Eucalyptus resawing scraps

And here’s a very exhausted me with freshly Anchorsealed slabs, still wet and white:

me and a stack of slabbed Eucalyptus logs

This effort involved a few hours of fighting. My 2TPI Timberwolf blade was dulling (and it actually snapped later this day while resawing a utility pole crossbar – still need to order a replacement), and this wood is a bit green, and hard as rock, and also very dense and heavy, and some of these cuts were 12”.

Here’s a little video showing how slowly the difficult resawing went.

I’m used to much smaller, softer, wetter things that fly through the blade. This was a real chore. Still, I was glad I had the capacity in my shop to do it at all, so I won’t complain to loudly :)

And here’s the stack. I think some are close to 2”, but most are about 1” or a bit over 1”. Note the Anchorseal dries mostly clear:

slabs of Eucalyptus, freshly resawn and sealed

Here are some end closeups, showing through the wax that these might be pretty when dry, cleaned up, milled, and finished:

sealed Eucalyptus slab ends

sealed Eucalyptus slab ends

sealed Eucalyptus slab ends

I moved them over to my miter saw wing table on July 12th, and I’d like to say that I’ve found a good home for them since. Alas, they’re still right there. There really isn’t room on the log racks for much more, and the shelves are short enough that I’d have to make probably 3 stacks side-by-side just of these few slabs. I do have another crazy idea up my sleeves, though, but it will be awhile before anything happens on that front.

sealed Eucalyptus slabs on my miter saw wing table

sealed Eucalyptus slabs on my miter saw wing table

Anyway, this is just a filler post. I wanted it on record for the future when I attempt to make some things out of these slabs. I’m actually a bit keen to try cutting a couple of round blanks out of some of these for turning into shallow bowls or dishes, but that could simply be my turner’s-lust kicking in.

And now I have to figure out where to put this new thing, too:

baltic birch resaw fence standing on floor

I’ve just been standing it in the corner by my dust collector. I did just take it out this past weekend for some new, unexpected work that I’ll post about very soon.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

14 comments so far

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 4875 days

#1 posted 08-18-2009 04:35 PM

Gary another great photo – blog. The pictures are great, thanks for sharing.

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View lew's profile


13534 posts in 5217 days

#2 posted 08-18-2009 04:38 PM


You sure are getting your monies worth out of that band saw!!

I envy you- my max re-saw is 6”.


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

View PurpLev's profile


8654 posts in 5110 days

#3 posted 08-18-2009 05:16 PM

NICE! those bugs should have known better than to stick around the battlezone… serves them right.

those are some real nice slabs. what are your plans for them except for turning or is that about it?

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4803 days

#4 posted 08-18-2009 05:16 PM

great gary ,
i never really looked at timber that way before ,
now i catch myself looking at trees and wondering !

thanks to you and other LJs that do this .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27248 posts in 5284 days

#5 posted 08-18-2009 05:54 PM

Thanks for the photos, Gary. This looks like a lot of work but well worth the effort. I have a cherry log that I have been meaning to slab out but simply have never made the time. This post certainly is an inspiration to get started.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4732 days

#6 posted 08-18-2009 08:50 PM

Nice work…I went through 3 small hunks with burls on them called Higuerilla…dulled the heck out of my woodslicer…..not to mention near the end it was excruciatingly slow going….

you are probably lucky that the Eucalyptus is a bit green…it gets even harder once it starts to dry…take it from someone that used to try and split those rounds…

Funny that those bugs didn’t get the heck out after all that vibration and noise…I hate running into open bug holes as they will leave voids….usually a bird gets em…and the wood forms around the hole….

What bandsaw do you have? Is it over 1.5hp?

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View a1Jim's profile


118321 posts in 5039 days

#7 posted 08-18-2009 09:22 PM

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 4948 days

#8 posted 08-19-2009 06:04 AM

i lived in orange county for many years and the smell of eucalyptus, orange blossoms, and jasmine were just intoxicating. i do miss it.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View mmh's profile


3701 posts in 5184 days

#9 posted 08-20-2009 07:33 AM

I think you are a prime candidate for the “Ant Carrying The Grasshopper Leg Home Award”.

Nice blog. From what I can see, there is some interesting grain there. It will make a sturdy project, what ever it becomes.

I have a piece of Blue Gum Eucalyptus that is quite dry and I initially thought of using it to cut for cane shafts, but the texture of the live edge is so beautiful that I’m not sure I want to cut it. After reading how hard this wood gets, I doubt I could cut the darn thing!

(Hey, I like the beardless chin! Looks cool!)

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4843 days

#10 posted 08-20-2009 11:07 AM

Thanks all!

Lev – Good question! I’m hoping inspiration hits me one of these days. I also think I need to see how they look when I mill them up after they dry next year sometime. Man, I hate waiting.

reggie – I have this saw Yo&cName=Fucking Big Ass Saws&sName=Fuck Yeah&sid=I0084400010000100600&aff=Y. It’s 18-inch and 2HP. The body isn’t all that strong, and the table bends under the weight of the heavier logs, and even a bit under my resaw jig. All-in-all, not super sturdy, often quite rattly (this might smooth out with lots of adjusting of things), and I’ve several times had it slow to a stop, tripping its own reset switch, so not all that powerful either. It’s great for rough resawing of things in the 8” and under range, and it can fight its way eventually through 10”-12” hardwood, but it doesn’t like it.

mmh – the beard comes off a few times a year, but within a week you can’t see my skin, and in a month I have a very full beard again. It’s like a mutant or super power. I think I’ve shaved 2x since that pic on July 11th, and I have a full, ball-shaped beard again now.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4843 days

#11 posted 08-20-2009 01:08 PM

reggie – Ha! What a time for the edit feature to disappear on me. The spaces in the URL in my above comment broke it up, leaving the vulgarities behind. I didn’t realize they were in there, but that was from when I noticed you could screw with the categories listed above the items at Sears’ page. I sent the link to my friends to let them know what saw I was going to get earlier this year. The properly-formed URL would be this. Click that and read the categories above the saw. My friends got a good laugh. Firefox has a great feature these days that lets you type almost any relevant thing into the address bar, and it finds the link you were looking for. I just typed “craftsman saw” and my old link popped up. I forgot it had the swears in it, though ;)

Sorry for any confusion, or offense!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5862 days

#12 posted 08-20-2009 03:01 PM

Gary Some great looking wood. I’ve run into some tough cutting also. A small Camphor log went from a sharp blade to a dull blade in about 3 ft of cutting. And that was in a 5” log.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4843 days

#13 posted 08-21-2009 09:51 AM

Hey Karson, how much of your huge stockpile comes from naturally-found stuff, and of that, how much is felled, and how much was found fallen, say by wind, fire, bugs, or rot?

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View palaswood's profile


1061 posts in 3213 days

#14 posted 09-20-2013 06:34 PM

I really appreciate your efforts. Great work

-- Joseph, Irvine CA, @palas_woodcraft on Instagram

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