Milling Large Honeylocust and Oak Logs

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Forum topic by CrashDavis posted 01-04-2012 05:39 AM 4905 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View CrashDavis's profile


9 posts in 3461 days

01-04-2012 05:39 AM

Topic tags/keywords: oak large honeylocust milling blades lt40 quartersawn

I have some large (30 inch and larger diameter) logs I am trying to mill up. Some I am quartersawing and others I am slabbing out. The problem I am having is my blades are getting dull and wondering VERY quickly. The logs have been sitting in the forest for a few years so are a little hader than green would be. My question is, what would be the best blade for sawing these logs? I have an LT40 Woodmizer with a 51 hp deisel. I have plenty of power and am looking to get blades that I don’t have to change half way thru each log.

Also, the attached picture is of a Honeylocust tree. It is the biggest of the Honeylocust I have but there are three or four of similar size. My question is weather to quartersaw or plain saw them. What are the advantages if any? Also, in one of the pics you can see the end of the log where five branches came out of it. I am sure this some great lumber in there but an inexperience sawyer like myself could screw it up. I am hoping someone has some advice on how to attack this monster. It is my favorite log so I want to do it justice and make some great lumber from it.

Thanks everyone,


10 replies so far

View Jayrod's profile


2 posts in 3417 days

#1 posted 01-04-2012 02:28 PM

As far as the multiple crotches on the end of your honeylocust, if you are trying to get regular lumber out of it you might cut that part off and work with the straight part of the log and do something different with the branch union. I have seen a number of large branch unions cut through the pith that show alot of charactor in the grain, best to cut thick slabs (2”) where the piths meet in the union you will see alot of curling grain. for a small area with five major branches, you will have a tough time making a decision on where to make the first cut. The current trend is book-matching highly figured wood, I would choose to cut as close to as many piths in the log as possible, start on the branch union side and work to the base of the log. The wood will be hardest near the branch unions as that is where the tree was adding tissue to compensate for loads on the branches. I don’t have much comment for the blades, but the best one I have used so far is a lenox bi-metal blade, there are also carbide tipped blades that can be found, but cost $$$. Good Luck!

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4318 days

#2 posted 01-04-2012 03:41 PM

I agree with Jayrod, if the log is long enough to get the crotch and enough extra wood to make 4’ slabs and leave enough log to get at least an 8’ saw log. Or slab the entire log and see what you get. 2” slabs take fewer cuts through that tough wood than 1” cuts to square a cant and then cutting 1” boards.

Woodmizer also has great customer support, give them a call and ask about the hook angle, set and anything else that would get you more lumber per blade. But anything you get over 400 bft on hard woods like locust, mesquite, white oak, etc is more than I would expect.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 4039 days

#3 posted 01-04-2012 06:18 PM

You are working with two of the most difficult woods out there. Both are hard on blades, the locust more so due to it’s being prone to high levels of silica. You will only want to mill this wood once, so as you do make the wood what you will want to work with; 4” slabs are terrible to try to dry without splitting, and they are even more difficult to resaw later so if you want something as thick as that then you will need to study drying woods. 2” wood is a standard a lot of sawyers use, as that is generally as thick as most table tops are. The limb union, or crotch, will be high figure, and will be way difficult to save as boards; better to use as turning stock, around 8” cubes if you can do that. I have had my best luck with Timberking “double hard” blades, but I saw mostly maple and black walnut; I’ve sawn some oak, but refuse to waste my time trying to get anything more than firewood out of locust. It is beautiful wood, but really hard on blades and tools. Quarter sawing is generally better for more stable wood, and flat sawing is generally better for cosmetic wood; slabbing top to bottom will give you both. Best of luck.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Richard 's profile


394 posts in 4202 days

#4 posted 01-04-2012 10:44 PM

I want to see how this log turns out. I bet you will have some beutiful lumber. Too bad I don’t live close to you.

-- Richard Boise, Idaho

View CrashDavis's profile


9 posts in 3461 days

#5 posted 01-05-2012 02:06 AM

Thanks everyone, I havn’t gotten the log on the mill yet but I did learn a lot today about my mill. I have only had it for a short time and have a lot to learn about it. My learning lesson today came from me calling woodmizer about getting blades more suited for what I was doing. I learned the belt taking the torgue from the engine to the blade wheels must be properly tensioned…since I have put a hundred hours on my mill now it should have been checked three times. The more amazing part is if not properly adjusted it will cause the blade to “hump” when it cuts.

I plan to cut the log to ten feet to get standard lumber from most of the log and then deal with the crotch. I have been throwing the log on the mill with the crotch still on to square the crotch enough so my mill can handle it and then cutting the crotch area off to mill later. Is there a better way. The LT40 only has a 24” opening and I have found it is easier to size up a large crotch while still attached to the log. Are there any hints on this? Maybe cutting it in half with a chainsaw and dealing with each side individually?

Can’t wait til tomorrow when I can fix my belt and throw a large log on and get some straight lumber. Man there is a lot to learn about milling/drying/ everything dealing with wood.

I will try to remember to get some pics of the slabs and crotch.
Also, Nomad, If I cut the crotch into 8” cubes…then what? Put them in sawdust? Dark corner of a shed? and why 8” cube? Is that the best size.

Thanks again everyone and I will probobly put pics of this log on here since it is my favorite and I want to show it off.

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3557 days

#6 posted 01-05-2012 05:33 AM


I would wash the logs with a water hose and nozzle to remove all dirt unless your mill has a debarker. I bet Wood-mizer recommended the 4 degree hook blade. That one is better for very hard or frozen wood. I don’t see how you can mess up with the crotches since there are limbs sticking out everywhere! Any way that you cut it, I bet it will be good. You can dry 2” thick slabs without a bunch of splits and checks, but once you go over 2”, it is practically impossible to get a 4” thick plank to dry without splitting because of the differential in drying rates from the outer shell to the inner core. This creates stress, and this stress is relieved via cracks and splits.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View elkhunter's profile


16 posts in 5158 days

#7 posted 01-05-2012 07:44 AM

As a sawyer myself I agree that all these are good ideas. The learning curve is long with a saw mill. I would start by power washing, as any dirt or gravel will will dull your bands as guick as any thing. Then I would peal the bark, (if you have a debarker ajust it) I would set the band tenstion at the high end as the hard dry log will heat the band and cause it to expand. I also lube my band with about 10 to 12 oz. of dish soap, about the same amount of rubbing ahcohol, in about 3.5 to 4.5 gallons of water. I run this mixture at a steady flow just enough to keep the band cool an not enough to soak the cant. The next thing is feed speed. The feed rate must be fast enough that the heat that builds in the wood isn’t transfered into the band. Also not so fast the the pressure causes the band to heat up. I can tell on my mill by the load on the engine, but that is my expereance, you will have experement to see what works for you. Hope this helps, and I wish I could find some of those logs for my mill.

-- John of Idaho

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 4039 days

#8 posted 01-05-2012 06:32 PM

I recommend 8’ cubes simply because that is a great size to turn a wonderful bowl out of. A person can, of course, use any size they want; but an 8” block can be cut down into small box panels as well should turning be less desired. It is simply what I do, not a requirement by any means. If you can squeeze a bigger block from between the limb arms, all the better; you can always cut them smaller! Do your best to keep the pith from any limb from being in a block or it will cause cracks. Paint the end grain and set them in a shaded area where they will stay cool if you are not going to use them right away. It is best to rough cut a turning (or sell/give the block so someone else can) as soon as possible, then let it set and dry up before final machining. Everyone has a good idea on what to do to store pieces like this, fortunately locust is very forgiving and can handle stress well. And you are right, there are a million things to learn; when you stop learning that just means you have stopped cutting. I love slicing up logs!

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View StumpyNubs's profile


7851 posts in 3882 days

#9 posted 01-06-2012 01:19 AM

I’de strap that baby right onto the lathe and turn me a giant pepper mill!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View richey's profile


4 posts in 2344 days

#10 posted 12-11-2014 09:00 PM

Does anyone know where or who I can call to purchase honey locust that has been milled into flooring.

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