Sawing Logs From Around my New Neighborhood

Welcome to my backyard! 

It’s a beautiful October day here in Minnesota, so I think we should spend some time outside today and start working through some of these logs. This pile just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and I’m not doing enough to keep it in check. So today, we’ll cut up some of the smaller stuff. 

I have these logs over here that I picked up last week. These are all from my new neighbors. In this pile here, I have three pieces of white oak and two sections of ash. All this came from less than an 1/8 of a mile from here, which is fun. Both of these trees came down in a windstorm we had about a month ago, and they’re still pretty fresh, so I want to get them out of the way so I can get back to some of the bigger stuff. 

We’ll do these chunks of white oak first because they’re small. This first one is a crotch section. It’s about six and a half feet long and about 16 inches in diameter. Down at the crotch, we have a pretty good splay, and we also have a crotch coming upwards, and then our actual crotch. I’m going to cut with the crotch, as always. Other than the crotch though, I don’t see anything too crazy. 

There’s nothing super crazy going on with this other piece of the white oak either. I’m planning to cut these two pieces of the tree at the same time. This log has an old crotch that was healed up, so that should have some figure. It should be a straight grain crotchy log.

Oh yeah, there’s wood in there. There’s some cool stuff going on here above where the old limb used to be. There’s a bark inclusion and a little bit of rot staining through here from that limb being open. 

On the crotch log, we’re now into the meat. This is some actually pretty clear grain stuff. We are getting some crotch figure going on over on the right side now, which is fun, but everything else is fairly clear. 

Got some crotch going on here, that’s for sure. And on that crotch log, it’s got some fun swirly grain patterns here. 

Some gorgeous stuff here! There’s a little bit of a rot stain up top, and you can see where a limb was pruned and the tree grew around it. That’s a cool feature as well.

This next slab has more crotch coming through. 

On the next slabs, we are through a lot of the actual crotch figure, and now we have some just fun grain. Some fun swirly patterns. 

On the other one, we have just a little bit of rot stain left, and then it’s clear all the way down here. 

Now we’re back into a flat sawn, plane sawn orientation, so we will start seeing some more sapwood poking through along the edges. This slab has a cool sapwood circle here in the middle. We’re through most of the crotch figure, and we have the remnants of the crazy grain. 

Now let’s see what the heck’s inside of here. I’ll pull the nails and tag out, because they’re on the outside. 

I’m curious what this big stain is. The smaller stains are from the nails that I just pulled.  We’ll see what it is! 

I clipped the nail on that pass, but that’s enough of a flattening area that I can roll this thing over. I pulled a couple of 4/4 boards off the top, and I’m seeing some pretty fun grain. 

Cutting this log was a little less eventful than I had figured it would be. I thought there was something a bit bigger in there that would’ve complicated things a little bit, but it doesn’t seem like it. If there was, the saw didn’t notice it. 

Doesn’t look like there’s a lot going on with this first one. Some straight grain white oak with some rot stain up top. Nothing super crazy. Where’s all the nails? 

We’re starting to get some compression figure from the limb here. Looks pretty cool mixed with that rot stain throughout here. A really cool color palette. 

This one has some nice blue staining down there in the end. 

All right, we found some nails! Some small nails, nothing crazy, but it’s very crazy how much staining something so small can cause. 

This slab has the two nails that we cut through already, plus another one towards the edge. So we’ve got some pretty cool blue stain here, with a little more rot stain through the middle of the slab. 

Okay, check out what I just noticed. I found the cause of all the staining way up here. Look at what has revealed itself in the bark. There are four nail heads in this one little spot here. So this was probably a treehouse or something at some point. 

Now onto the ash logs. I prepped these separately, and then put them both together on the saw and cut them at the same time. I’m going to cut these at 10/4 cause I have no idea what I’m going to do with these, and that gives me a bit of flexibility. This is very similar to the setup that I did with the wood that became the dressing vanity and the serpentine chest. I had a top section that was slabs and turned the bottom section to boards. 

I think a lot of this stuff is going to be the same, especially the base of the tree. Probably going to be very clear. All the interesting stuff is probably going to happen in the crotch log up. 

We got something for everybody here! We got clear and straight for the traditionalist and wild and crazy for people that like wild and crazy. So we’re starting to get into a little bit of a crotch figure here with this guy. 

This is what I expect most of this log to be like. Fairly straight grained. 

Actually, the bigger log looks like it has a little more going on than I was anticipating. We got some really fun crotch figure through here with some other knots with figure around them. What’s most interesting is that there is some blue stain. 

Getting some more crotch figure on this guy. Beautiful stuff. 

These actually look a lot bigger as slabs than they did as logs. I’m actually surprised at how big these things are. The base log is at 25 inches on one end, and then tapes down to 19 at the other end. On the crotch log, it starts at 19 inches on end, and 36 inches on the other end. Pretty good size slabs in all reality. It’s crazy how much perception of size changes, because these looked a lot smaller on the ground. I haven’t cut ash in years. It’s a beautiful, this is beautiful. I forgot how much figure this stuff gets around limbs and knots and stuff. 

That is a lot of crotch figure. Look how wide it is, it’s big! 

Since we’re on the outside of things now, there’s not really a whole lot going on. There’s some bullseye things going on down here, otherwise just simple, straight grain. So that is it for these two! 

I’m pretty sure every time I cut things that I think are small, they end up being quite a bit bigger than I anticipated. I guess that will be a constant theme around here: Matt underestimating the size of things. They get bigger once they’re cut up and off the saw, I guess. One thing I love about this stuff is the fact that this hasn’t traveled that far to this point. So it’s this cool locally sourced wood. I literally drove down the road and picked these things up, and now they’re here and someday they’ll get used for something here too. So thank you to my neighbors who saved this stuff from being hauled away! 

That’s going to do it for this one. Thank you as always for joining me. I greatly appreciate it. If you have any questions or comments on the sawmill or anything back in the shop, please feel free to leave me a comment. As always I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have. And until next time, happy woodworking!

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