Saw Milling advise

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Forum topic by RJS posted 02-22-2013 11:29 PM 1228 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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89 posts in 3446 days

02-22-2013 11:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: alaska mill sawmill lumber milling oak tree milling lumber

I recently cut down a white oak tree that is 34inches in diameter and about 20 foot long close to that diameter. I have purchased a Granberg 36 inch Alaskan mill, and am going to purchase a Stink 660 chain saw. Does anybody have any advise on the best cuts to make the maximum use out of the tree? I do not know what length or thickness to cut to maximize my lumber and quality. I plan to make furniture from the old tree. Any advise would be helpful, this will be my first project of this size and type.

-- RJ

5 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30505 posts in 2939 days

#1 posted 02-23-2013 12:42 AM

Table tops usually 2”. General furniture q”. Arts and crafts I cut at 3/4”. Mantles are 4-6 inches.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19419 posts in 3168 days

#2 posted 02-23-2013 01:10 AM

Cut them a little thicker than needed so you wind up with the thickness you need.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View RJS's profile


89 posts in 3446 days

#3 posted 02-23-2013 01:40 AM

Don and Monte,
You both have excellent blogs about the Alaskan mill. I have read them both and they helped me make my decision to buy one. I can’t wait to get started, I am just intimidated about buying the wrong tools and being frustrated about it. Thanks for your advise and anything else you can think of to increase my knowledge please let me know.


-- RJ

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30505 posts in 2939 days

#4 posted 02-23-2013 01:59 AM

Don is right, better to cut thick. You will need a way to plane them as well.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Scsmith42's profile


125 posts in 3277 days

#5 posted 02-27-2013 04:24 AM

RJ, your best use for that log will be to quartersaw it. From a 34” log you should be able to get some finished quartersawn planks that are around 12” – 14” wide, with no pith or sap wood in them.

You need to take into account the amount of shrinkage that your boards will experience as they dry. Typically flatsawn oak shrinks around 6% from green down to 8%, and quartersawn shrinks around 12%.

The most common finished thicknesses for white oak are 3/4” and 1”. To net these thicknesses in quartersawn boards after drying and planing, mill at least 1-1/4” thick (or 5/4 as we call it in the industry). This will dry down to 1-1/8”, which will allow you 5/16” for clean up to arrive at a 3/4” finished thickness.

For 1” thick finished quartersawn boards, I would suggest that you mill at 1-7/16”. It will dry down to 5/4 and allow you to joint/plane about 1/8” off of each side of the boards.

I would suggest that you trim your log down below 20’, as 20’ green boards will weigh a lot. Look for defects in the log (limbs, etc), and try to trim the 20 footer into a couple of shorter logs w/o any defects in them. You will net out much higher quality lumber by doing this, not to mention the time saving from having to try to chainsaw mill through the included end grain inside the log.

Definitely quartersaw that bad boy – you’ll be glad that you did down the road.

-- Scott, North Carolina,

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