Sawing Hollow Logs

      Practical and metaphysical tips on getting useful value out of logs that include some emptiness. October 14, 2006

How do you guys tackle a hollow log? The one I have is white oak, about thirty feet long, three feet in diameter and (at the thick end) has a ring of useful wood about ten inches thick. I have my own ideas but would appreciate hearing yours.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor A:
I just cut the outside boards off and throw away the hollow cant. I guess if it was too big, I'd take a chainsaw and cut it in half and the cut those two halves in half and then cut the outside boards off with the sawmill.

From contributor B:
Id quarter-saw it.

From contributor C:
I may get stoned by the board lovers here but I had a big Bur Oak that was hollow and so I cut 30" lengths and stood them up in the yard, filled them with dirt and my wife planted flowers and ivy in them.

Click here for full size image

From contributor D:
What diameter can your mill handle? If the log is too big, quarter it with a chain saw (not too hard, since there's no wood in the middle), then, as Arkansawyer suggests, quarter saw it. On my mill, I saw off the bottom, rotate 90, then repeat. Hopefully the hollow doesn't run all the way up the tree. If you do much chain saw ripping, consider a ripping blade.

From contributor C:
Speaking of quartering with a chainsaw, my mill is a Logosol and it is perfect for that. The upper section of a log - from 16' to 24' up - was not hollow and I inverted my mill on top of the log and cut four 2" slabs from the middle. After removing them I set the two halves together and then ripped them. (Picture posted shows the slabs on the trailer in the background). I ended up with about 300bf of nice boards. The crotch was right above this log and I slabbed ten 2" slabs from it. I will post a picture of the crotch - unfortunately I did not take any pictures s of the sawn slabs.

Click here for full size image

From contributor C:
Here is the crotch - about 42" across. It was slabbed with the Logosol and a Stihl 084 w/ 52" bar.

Click here for full size image

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