Slabbing the Smaller Maple Crotch (Big Logs #1)

Last spring, I saw a firewood posting on craigslist for some really large logs.  The trees were removed as part of a street widening project.  I was able to get 5 of them starting from the smallest.  The biggest logs I was unable to get due to their size.  The crotch section was just one part of a much larger tree.

1 - the log pile

As you can probably imagine, these logs were the main driving force behind building the sawmill.  In fact, I built it big enough to handle the log in the background.  At the time, I didn’t have a way to transport it or mill it.  At least now, only one of those barriers remain which is the easiest one to resolve.

2 - winch mount

Last summer I started having issues with the winch that I had on my trailer.  It would not feed out under power.  It would pull line in but when the motor would reverse it would lock up.  I didn’t realize how often I needed to let line out when there was a load attached.  It was super annoying.  I took the entire winch apart, not knowing where the issue would reside.  I went through the gearbox, drum, and motor.  When I removed the motor, I tried running it directly from the battery (not using the control box) and it would lock out when the motor was supposed to run in reverse.  I took the motor apart, couldn’t see any issue, and put it back together.  After that, it started working again but it started locking up again the next time I used it.  I wanted to add a decent size winch to the mill so I can pull logs onto the mill and roll them (I just have my small atv winch on there right now) so instead of buying another winch of the same size to put on the trailer, I decided to upgrade to a 18000lb model.  The larger model has more power so it should have a longer duty cycle for the stuff I’m doing.  A nice plus is the bigger winch has a 12000lb capacity when the drum is loaded with cable compared to 6000lbs on the old one I was using.

3 - moving the log

Last summer I moved this log over here so I could build the mill where it used to be so this is the 3rd time I’ve picked this log up.  Feels lighter with the new winch.

4 - onto the mill

I can just drive the log over to the mill and pull it off by running the winch line to the far end of the mill and back.  This is one of the operations that having a decent size winch on the mill would help with.  I also plan to add a roller system to the bed to make this process easier but a couple scraps of sheet goods make good skates.

5 - first cut alignment

I spent some time leveling the log and used the clamps coming from both sides to hold it in place.  I’m taking off a large amount of material for this first cut.  This offcut will become the roof for the slab stack and I’d like it to run the full length of the log.

6 - roof slab

In the future after the stack is dry, I can cut the roof slab into boards.

7 - cutting first slab

Cutting the first slab

8 - sizing them up

I pulled the first slab out of the way to check out the second one.  This one came in at 53″ wide at the crotch.

9 - lifing a slab off

To move the slabs, I can use the arch on the trailer to pick them up off of the mill and drive them over to the stack.

10 - water 1

A little water on the surface of slab number 3

11 - water 2

Some water on slab number 2

12 - slab coffee table

Cutting slab 3

13 - batch 2

I cut a few slabs at a time so I could unitask a bit instead of bouncing between moving and cutting.  I inserted wedges as I went so I would be able to get a chain between the slabs to lift them out.

14 - chaining a slab

I could rock the corners a bit to get some square tube under the corners which gave me enough room to tread the chain around the slab.

15 - moving the slabs to the pile

Moving slab number 3 to the pile

16 - shot from the truck

Lifting slab 4

17 - lower slab onto the pile

Stacking slab 5

18 - last 12 4

Once I got down far enough, the slab became unstable so I flipped the remainder and started cutting off of the bed.

19 - last 12 4 figure

The last 12/4 slab is my favorite.  It had tons of quilting and curling.

20 - switching to 8 4

This left me with a tapered piece so I cut what was left at 8/4

21 - last cut

The last cut.

22 - full stack

In total, that log yielded 7 12/4 slabs and 3 8/4 slabs.

4 big logs to go:

32″ Ash

36″ White Oak

42″ Ash

60″ Maple Crotch

Products Used

Triton T20 Drill:
Center Punch:
Cobalt Drill Bit Set:
Metal Circ saw:
Triton Super Jaws:
Triton Engineers Jaws:
Super Jaws Side Support:
[Amazon links are affiliate links]

Home Addition & Renovation

Upper Cabinets and Range Hood Surround

Welcome back to our home renovation.  Today I am going to be working on this wall. It needs some upper cabinets and the surround for

10 Responses

  1. You might have answered this question on a previous post – if so, apologies!

    Are your neighbors pretty understanding about running a sawmill in a suburban neighborhood? I’m impressed with your work… and if the neighborhood is supportive, that’s awesome!

    Your work is inspiring! Maybe I’ll catch you at a MWG event.

  2. Love your work and thank you for sharing. Do you ever get photos of finished pieces from slabs like these? I have not seen any around in people’s homes or in corporate settings – wondering where they go.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.