Sawing Old Down Logs

A sawmiller gets advice on whether to saw storm-downed trees that have been on the ground for several years. December 12, 2008

I recently purchased a new saw blade for my circle mill. The blade is a 48 inch 2 1/2 pattern. Should I mill some cedar that has been down since Rita (9-05)? I don't want to damage my saw. These logs are 20-24 inches in diameter.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor S:
I would cut them as long as they are clean. I just cut 3000 bf of WRC logs that were down 3 years ago. Customer was happy and I beat my time by four hours; a nice bonus for me.

From contributor H:
Go for it. Two weeks ago I milled a cherry tree out of the woods that was down the day of Katrina. (I'm in the New Orleans area.) It was on its side but not touching the ground. That's why I believe it was in such great shape. It's in my solar kiln drying as we speak!

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From contributor J:
I recently turned some Eastern red cedar that had been in ground contact for 5 years. It was harder than usual, but the heartwood was sound, and the bowls are beautiful.

From the original questioner:
I appreciate the replies. My real concern is, am I going to damage the tension in the circle saw blade?

From contributor B:
Dry logs won't bother the saw tension. Getting the saw hot by letting it rub near the collars will. If the lead is right, bits sharpened and swaged right, and you have enough power to keep the saw rpm up in the cut, you won't have to worry. Where are you located?

From the original questioner:
I'm in Nederland, TX just south of Beaumont. HP should not be a problem. I have a 360 Ford engine set as power. The Good Dr. recommended a 48 inch blade, is the reason I went with this size. I really enjoy sawing my own lumber, but it is still new to me.

From contributor A:
This log was on the ground for more than a year. The saw cut just fine. Came out with some 27" wide fitches. My homemade saw cuts pretty smooth until I hit a 1/2" lag bolt.

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From the original questioner:
Tough break! The lag bolt, that is. I'm looking at purchasing a metal detector, not wand style, but the type you use to find stuff in the ground. Any opinions?

From contributor E:
I have been using the Fisher 1212-X for years and it works great. Very easy to use.

From contributor I:
I also have that Fisher and it works well. Prior to that I bought one of the wands kind of like they use at the airports. It works well too, especially on reclaimed boards like old barn wood. Its major problem is it beeps when it bumps bark or something, so I have to back up a lot.