Slab Photo Essay

      A tour through the nice slab collection of an urban tree salvage aficionado. April 30, 2009

I cut this log with my homemade Alaska mill. It has a 36" bar on an old Husky 2100. This is the 100th log I have cut up over the past couple of years. This log is catalpa, it was a local city tree. I took five slabs from 1/4 of the log. They are 6' long 2" thick and 30" wide. You can see four of them in the picture.

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These are some red oak slabs I cut up a couple weeks ago. They are a bit smaller than the catalpa, but I cut 3" thick. Wow, was it heavy!

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Me and a friend with Port Orford cedar.

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This (on the right) is the left over bit of an elm log I cut up last week. It had a crotch at the end that was too wide for my saw. So I just slabbed up the other end. Sorry, no pics of the slabs, just the leftovers!

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These are some western red cedar slabs that I split out of a short log.

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Last one, this shows an elm, a thin QS western red cedar, and an oak slab. These were cut up last spring, air dried for one year, then put in a DH kiln for a couple weeks and finally run through a planer to clean them up.

I find it very satisfying to build projects out of wood I have harvested myself. In fact, I think I spend more time on wood harvesting now than I do on building projects! I give a lot of the wood away to other woodworkers and woodworking schools.

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Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor A:
Where are you cutting these logs?

From the original questioner:
Ok, I found one more. These are Norway maple that I cut in September of 2007. They were then air dried for a year and then put in a DH kiln to take it down to about 9% MC. These slabs were originally over 30" wide when I cut them. After drying they were down to 29". I think I had four slabs in total, three of them split in half, so the ones in this pic are only half as wide as they were originally.

This tree was in a park close to where I live. My wife alerted me to it being taken down by a city crew. They told me that I wasn't supposed to cut in the city parks, but that I could do whatever I wanted once they were gone!

Most of the logs I cut up are city trees or trees on private property that are taken down because they are diseased and in danger of falling, or on private property making way for new developments, or blown down in a storm. I get the occasional cedar log that floats onto the beach.

This 'disease' started when I found a small piece of Kiwai on the beach in Hawaii. It's a mesquite-like wood. I mailed it back to myself, then re-sawed it on my bandsaw. I was stunned at how beautiful it was, and started cutting up firewood sized local logs on the bandsaw. I noticed a lot of big logs around town that were just going to waste, so I built myself the Alaska mill to be able to cut them up. Now that I have it, I won't touch the smaller stuff unless it is something really special.

I have never cut down a tree myself, I only slab up logs that would otherwise be garbage or firewood. I have made a number of Krenov inspired small wall cabinets with the wood I have salvaged. My woodworking friends tell me I need to start working on some bigger projects to use up all the wood I have!

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From contributor S:
Thanks for the pictures. Don't overlook those crotch logs for slabbing. Use your chainsaw mill to slab off the sides of the crotch so you can then cut slabs on the wide part of the "V". You might get some really nice figured wood. It looks like you are doing your sawing on the beach? Are these driftwood logs?

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