Ancient Submerged Sycamore Bog Log Slab Cut on Home built Monster bandsaw log mill table top sized

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Project by Mark A. DeCou posted 08-09-2013 01:10 PM 15503 views 10 times favorited 38 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m Back with More Log Milling Photos…..

Since my last entry about the home built Log Mill, we’ve (I should say my project buddy) made some important improvements to the machine. We (he….you get the point) fixed the fuel and oil tank leaks (twice), added motorized moving blade guides on both sides, added a high rpm motor remote switch, and added an additional log clamping spike on a threaded rod. And we bought some more blades, tightened the air pressure in the tires, added some oil pressure gauges, added a pressure relief valve for slowing the wheels more gently, changed some gearing, and a few more little details. It’s running beautifully now, actually better than I dreamed it would run when I first started dreaming about this machine. We were able to cut long thick slabs that are real flat and consistent in thickness. We found that some of the problems we were having with the “blade guides” really were attributed to the dull blade we were trying to use. A new blade fixed a lot of problems and required much less messing with to adjust the blade guides….we have a lot to learn yet about milling our lumber and running our own home built machine, but today was a huge success and a huge milestone on this journey.

Running a big new machine like this on ancient logs caused quite a “buzz”, so we had a lot of people watching and stopping by to see the new machine work. The shop and yard are not mine, it belongs to my friend and partner on the log mill build, and so his employees and family were also around after work time to help with the effort. I still work alone when I go back to my shop.



Shown in the photos is a great big log, an ancient Sycamore Bog Log. This log came from a sand pit, where it has been submerged under water and sand in an ancient river bed for long time….a very long time. My buddy and I don’t own the Bog Logs, but if you send me a note I can pass onto the owner any questions you have.

The diameter of this particular log is 37”, with it cut to 15’-0” in length. Our log mill can handle a wider log by quite a little bit, but this is about as long as we can handle on the length, maybe one more foot if we had to.

I am hoping to get more information on the ancient submerged logs, but I’m waiting on the owner of the logs to report the details, so that I can make sure to get the details correct. This wood is for sale, either in log, or slab cut, or custom cut, so if you are interested in the wood, send me an email and I’ll pass your note onto the right person for more information.

However, I’m pretty sure the wood won’t be cheap, and actually it may be quite expensive. But, with the unique age of the fallen tree, years it’s been submerged, remote location of the log, the unique size, dark coloring, the large slab pieces it can be cut into, along with the cost of the major equipment and labor to tackle it all, the pricing on it should be representative of all of the required investment…just warning you ahead of time.

Without a doubt though, there will be very few people in the world that can sit guests around a dinner table or conference room, who will have a story to tell about their table wood like this story will be.

I also included some photos of a log cut from a limb of a huge burr oak tree. I have more of this wood also, but didn’t have time to cut more of it up. I also have a huge pile of big osage orange trees (hedge wood) that I’ll be cutting up in the near future.

email: [email protected]

The Log Mill is powered by a diesel engine (green painted version), which runs a hydraulic pump, which powers all of the hydraulic motors which are controlled by dials and levers. We have so many levers on the control panel that I need to make up a list of what lever and switch does what. The machine is surprisingly so quiet we can talk and work around it without much trouble, and I don’t think it even requires hearing protection.

The blade guide arms are powered by separate electric motors. At this time, the log clamping spikes are powered by a cordless drill. It’s been fun to design on the fly and help a little to build such a complicated machine. But, don’t praise me, I could not do any of this without my buddy on the build, he gets all of the credit for the execution of what I only dreamed about building, and actually the machine exceeds my ability to dream.

More Photos:

















If you like “Gold Rush” on TV, I’m the Todd Hoffman, and my buddy Warren here is the Dave Turrin, Freddy Dodge, and Jack Hofman all rolled up into one guy, here is a rare photo of the Brains behind this adventure. I’m the dreamer, but without the brains, nothing would have happened, nor been built, Warren gets all the credit on this log mill build:



Ok, I must admit that there are only a few things in this World that I’m good at, and electronics, computers, videos, cameras and such are not on that list. By choice I don’t carry a cell phone, and actually wouldn’t mind getting rid of the land line and the internet, but it’s the source of our income stream now. I know video is the future right now, I’ve just been dragging my feet.

I remember back in the first days of Lumberjocks when a handful of us were members, how exciting it was to finally figure out how to post a project and upload photos. From what I read, photos just aren’t enough anymore…...

In this electronic age, I realize people now have to view videos. For my tastes, a lot of it on the web I can’t really see the use for, someone’s cat playing a piano, a teenager rolled up in bubble-wrap jumping off his dad’s garage, some teenager reviewing a movie he saw on DVD, or a new video game his dad bought him…...but some of it is actually useful like skinning a squirrel, building a log mill, or even building a survival bow out of PVC pipe (another recent project I’ve not posted yet). So, I think for the time being, videos are here to stay, and it’s something I’m going to have to figure out how to do.

I don’t have a great camera for doing that, slow satellite internet with a small limit to how much I can use it each month, and so this is the best I can get at this time, but hope it fills some need.

I must admit…..that following me around with a camera crew wouldn’t be as exciting to watch as “Shelby the Swamp Man”, would be less inspiring than “Gold Rush”, a whole lot less cussing and screaming than the rest of the “Ax Men, and I’m not as coooool as Barry on “Storage Wars”.....








thanks for looking, keep your fingers back, we’re all pulling for you…
Mark DeCou
Visit my Etsy Online Store

(Notice: all photos, story, and project are protected by copyright 2013, by the author, M.A. DeCou, all rights reserved, no unauthorized use in whole or part is authorized without expressed written consent.)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

38 comments so far

View sheetzy's profile


182 posts in 3657 days

#1 posted 08-09-2013 01:27 PM

quite impressed. keep on slabb’en. sheetzy

-- What this world needs is a little more sawdust on the floor.

View MadeinMT's profile


299 posts in 3659 days

#2 posted 08-09-2013 01:28 PM

Suddenly my little woodshop feels puny and insignificant…..

Fantastic story, machine, and operation. I’d buy a hunk of cypress but I have two sons just starting college.

Thanks for the story. Keep us updated.

-- Ron, Montana

View mmh's profile


3703 posts in 5221 days

#3 posted 08-09-2013 01:46 PM

I feel puny and insignificant just watching you guys! Good Show!

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

View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4341 days

#4 posted 08-09-2013 01:47 PM


I’m envious! Wondered what you are doing. Thanks for posting.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View BillyD3152's profile


112 posts in 3377 days

#5 posted 08-09-2013 02:16 PM

that is some beautiful wood

-- Billy Long Island, NY

View Bluepine38's profile


3393 posts in 4584 days

#6 posted 08-09-2013 02:29 PM

We have quite a few logs that showed up when the opened the dams at the old Anaconda Co. saw mill and
the Montana Power Dam on the Clark Fork & Blackfoot, but they have so much grit embedded in them that
they are harder on saw blades than cottonwood ever thought of being. Do you clean the logs off in anyway,
or has the grit not gotten into them? Montana is just a couple of miles too far from Kansas, or I would stop
by and take a look at that old wood. They are pulling some logs from Flathead Lake that are that wonderful
wide tight grained wood, that the cold lake waters have preserved wonderfully. Thank you for sharing, and
I hope you have lots of fun and get lots of good wood with that wonder saw.

-- As ever, Gus-the 83 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Arthouse's profile


250 posts in 4149 days

#7 posted 08-09-2013 02:39 PM

Great machine. Love the tires that hold the blade. I ve seen them used that way before. Question is the wood dark colored because of all the sediment from the mud bottom it picked up and how far does it go in the log?

-- "The hand is the cutting edge of the mind but the wind and sun are the healing factors of the heart

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5904 days

#8 posted 08-09-2013 02:42 PM

so far, we haven’t noticed any grit in the wood.

Darkness is through the whole log, but we are unsure what it will look like when it dries out.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View scrollingmom's profile


1212 posts in 3962 days

#9 posted 08-09-2013 02:45 PM

Wonderful, I’m so glad that you are running like you want to be. Are the videos taken at Harshman’s or your place?

-- Kelly, Allen,KS

View shipwright's profile


8822 posts in 4296 days

#10 posted 08-09-2013 03:11 PM

Congratulations Mark.
You have worked long and hard to build your creation and at last you get the supreme satisfaction of seeing it performing the tasks you envisioned. That’s a great feather in your hat and I salute you.
There are two kinds of people generally, dreamers and doers, and then there are a few that are both. ...... Like you.

Oh yes that’s great looking wood.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View cathyb's profile


860 posts in 4742 days

#11 posted 08-09-2013 03:38 PM

This brings back some great memories for me. I used to spend quite a bit of time at my local sawyer’s yard. I am certain most people have know idea of how difficult it is to cut a log that likely weighs thousands of pounds when it’s wet. Your machine is SWEET! Nice job and the wood is just beautiful. Oh the fun you will have now…..

-- cathyb, Hawaii

View PurpLev's profile


8654 posts in 5147 days

#12 posted 08-09-2013 03:46 PM

too bad about those cracks, looks very rich in color/grain otherwise.

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

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

27834 posts in 4604 days

#13 posted 08-09-2013 03:56 PM

Very good looking wood!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 3505 days

#14 posted 08-09-2013 07:23 PM

WOW! just … WOW!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Karson's profile


35301 posts in 5899 days

#15 posted 08-09-2013 07:35 PM

Mark: Some great looking wood. Your going to get a lot of pens out of them

-- 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]

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