Milling Norway Spruce

      Ways to avoid known problems when sawing Norway spruce, a difficult wood to saw. December 31, 2012

My friends with band saw mills tell me they have trouble sawing Norway spruce. I have recently purchased an older Bell saw mill and plan on sawing spruce with it. Any suggestions on sawing spruce with circle saws?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor P:
I have sawed quite a bit of Norway spruce, logs from 12" to 20". It is a challenge. The band blade wanders a lot. I even tried .055 blades from Wood-Mizer in 10 degree and 7 degree configurations. Makes good lumber, but with a lot of high and low spots. Circle mill shouldn't be a problem.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
The problem with spruce is the fine sawdust. It spills out of the gullet and heats the saw, causing the blade to wander. Does your blade have replaceable teeth? If so, go with a Standal tooth. A tooth designed for frozen wood will also work better. Faster feeding to avoid fine sawdust is helpful... Often, using a saw with half as many teeth is great, as the chip size is doubled, but feed speed and power requirement is the same. I have seen saws with every other tooth ground down to effectively reduce the number of teeth.

From the original questioner:
That all makes sense to me. I have a 44" blade in the saw shop now having the bits and shanks replaced. It is also being pounded. I intended on using bits for frozen wood, seeing as I own a tree business and most of my sawing will be done in winter, so that may work out okay. I'm also planning on sawing lumber to build a horse barn, post and beam. Should I use spruce for beams, or cut some hemlock instead and use the spruce for 2x's?

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
Eastern hemlock and Norway spruce are close enough in strength and stiffness that it does not matter. Other factors, such as knot size and frequency, slope of grain, compression wood and so on will make more of a difference. So, I think your spruce will be best for heavy timbers.

From the original questioner:
Thanks Doc. I think I will go with the spruce for timbers and use the hemlock for siding. Can't wait to get started.

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