45-Degree Rotation Sawing

A sawyer reports getting nice-looking, if narrow, flat-grain boards by turning the log 45 degrees before each successive cut. July 26, 2010

Does anyone out there rotate logs 45 degrees in best face bandsawing? Today I did this on a 38" elm log where I wanted to keep the board widths 12-16" and at the same time have the grain patterns centered. The extra width of what would have been the outside edges of 16-22" wide boards was then turned into 5-8" wide boards resulting from sawing 45 degrees at the corner of the cant, which is basically an octagon. So these also had the grain patterns centered. I don't recall seeing this mentioned anywhere and wonder how often others do it. It would seem to work well for strong grain patterns like the white/brown of elm, and where one doesn't want to end up with super wide boards.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor S:
Seems to me there would be a lot of waste and hassle.

From Professor Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
I have seen 45 rotation for large logs that are too large to fit on the mill (that is, the opening of the saw is too small for the size of the log). Once the log is sawn and bit and made smaller, then regular 90 degree turning is done. I am not saying that what you did is wrong, just that I have not seen it done as a regular practice. You are correct that it will develop more flat grain on large logs.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. That's how it started - the log was way too big, and on the way down, I was getting nice boards off of all of the 8 faces. There seemed to be no best face - they all were great. There was only one small knot in the whole bottom log. The customer liked the figure better than really wide boards. It wasn't that much of a hassle since the cant rolled quickly to the next face, and I was cutting narrower boards, which I could do faster and still keep good uniform thickness. I guess any waste was the 45 degree edges which were trimmed. But getting all the boards to have symmetrical grain was a plus.