Sunday, November 7, 2010

Miller Time!

It has finally started to get cold here in Atlanta and at our house that means it's time for fires. At one point I had a firewood collection that I thought would last us through 2013 at least. That does not appear to be the case. At this point I'm not sure it will last us through this winter. With this weighing on my mind I went out to split some wood yesterday. I'm a bit of a neighborhood scavenger: whenever I'm out walking the dogs and see that someone has felled a hardwood and left the logs for the county to pick up I'm instantly on them.

This summer some yellow jackets took up residence in my splitting area which prevented me from getting at a couple of nice truck pieces during the warm seasons--I'm rather allergic to stings. Besides who wants to split wood when it's hot out? The yellow jackets have now left (or are hibernating, or have died...whatever they do during the winter) so the splitting can commence.

This trunk log had been sitting on the ground for at least 6 months, so I wasn't surprised that there was some spalting. What did surprise me was how much there was. Hmmm, warm the house or have some interesting wood to work? There will always be firewood out there...I decided to slice it up. 

Here's what I started with:
It's big and chucky and won't really fit on my bandsaw.

By slicing off some of the more extreme areas I can make it fit into the mouth of the saw.. Take care in doing this, it's a good way to break a blade.

If you are going to all of the trouble to mill your own wood, you might as well quarter-saw it, right? My first cut on the sled is a cut parallel to the tangent of the arc of the outside of the tree (arc of the bark, if you will). This will serve as the base of the log and all cuts afterwards will be normal to this. Here's the resulting first cut:

Pretty dramatic, isn't it? The picture is a little misleading because it looks like this cut is radiating out from the middle of the tree. It isn't...that log just split funny. My sled is a copy of Matthias Wandel's...I wish I had a bandsaw as big as his.

Then I planed the surface with my jointer to flatten it:

Next I put the log flat face down on the sled and ran it through again:

Now I had two faces normal to each other. At this point I just set the fence on the bandsaw and sliced away:

Of note: this was a funky piece of wood with wavy grain:

Wood like this is much easier to plane when it is still moist.

Now I'll just let it sit in the shop for a while and dry out. I'm not sure what to do with it just yet but it never hurts to have some decorative wood on hand. I wonder how much Carlton's pays for stuff like this.

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