Becoming a Galoot #1: Testing the waters

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Blog entry by scruboak51 posted 01-23-2014 04:04 AM 1236 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Becoming a Galoot series Part 2: Jumping in the deep end »

I was fortunate enough to stumble across a sizable piece of redwood root system at my local thrift store. The owner buys storage lockers and he got in a huge haul of redwood. After buying a gem of a slab of Buckeye Burl, I had my eye on this piece and hoped it was the right combination of big, dirty and in the way that would necessitate a price drop.

As luck would have it, a month or two of waiting allowed me snag this for $50

It’s heavy; probably 250 pounds (113 kilos) and unwieldy, for reference that crosscut saw is 4’ (1.2 meters) from tip to handle.

The challenge now was how on earth can I start processing this down to a manageable size. While I have a chainsaw, I hate using it; It’s loud, It spews oil and the bar just isn’t big enough to cut this in two with one pass. Plus, this was already in the garage and moving it back outside (then back in) really wasn’t an option as I am only a few months recovered from back surgery. Finally, running the chainsaw in the garage, even with the doors open, mean’s I’d stink up the house and, at the behest of the wife, would be sleeping in the garage.

Getting this to the local lumber mill was also a crap shoot; I didn’t want to drive an hour out there and shell out the $120hr to find that this was full of rot.

I do however, have a old Disston crosscut saw, also snagged at a thrift shop for ~$30. While, inarguably, not the right tool for the job, I figured I’d give it a go.

Take the path of least resistance I decided to separate the two ‘Forks’

There was a bit of rot where the forks met so the work went fairly quickly. Once I had a nice deep channel cut, I placed the log on it’s side, started over from the bottom end and attempted to have two two cuts meet in an area of rot.

The cut’s tracked off by about a half inch and instead of rot, most of it was nice solid wood; which was a very nice surprise.

A couple hours of cutting (plus some prying, cursing, chiseling, etc) and I was able to separate the beast.

I fee like my efforts paid off; the grain is nice and tight and a deep reddish brown.

Now the question is; To the saw-mill, or do I continue down the path of the poorly equipped galoot?

2 comments so far

View bobasaurus's profile


3605 posts in 3721 days

#1 posted 01-23-2014 05:20 AM

That’s a nice-looking piece of redwood. Be careful of embedded rocks when cutting it up. Should have some nice grain in there.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View realcowtown_eric's profile


618 posts in 2474 days

#2 posted 01-23-2014 05:37 AM

Look for someone with a woodmizer mill, generally a part time occupation for the farmer, so fairly reasonable.

Local rural development office may have lists of rural folks with portable sawmills.

Cut it a tad thicker than you think you need, as oftentimes huge slabs will warpitate, and in order to flattenitate them, you will end up thinner than you wanted if you don’t plan ahead.

Nice score. Live edge pieces are quite the item these days…


-- Real_cowtown_eric

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