Sawing a Cedar Log for Benches

You can wait to saw the log as long as you keep it dry. July 30, 2007

During a recent storm, a very large cedar tree was uprooted and fell. I would like to take the trunk of this tree and make two benches. The trunk is large enough to cut into lumber for two benches. How do I properly dry the trunk so that it does not split or warp?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor K:
Just to the right of your message is a link in blue that says "find a sawyer." If you click on that, you will find a column listed by state. After you get it cut, go to the home page and type "how to dry wood" into the little search window. You will find more than you ever wanted to know. Fortunately cedar is pretty easy to dry, especially for a bench, but I am assuming it will be outside.

From contributor J:
You'll want to have it cut sooner rather than later. I'm not sure of the specifics of cedar, but the nature of wood's cellular structure generally causes logs to degrade badly if dried when whole.

From contributor C:
If it is ERC, you can cut it any time you like. It will be good several years from now if you keep the log off the ground. When sawn, keep the wood out of the sun. On stickers in a shed is the best place. Do not put it in a heated room. If sawn now, the wood will be dry enough by mid-summer for outdoor benches. ERC shrinks the least of any of our Midwest species when it changes moisture content.

From contributor D:
Try to get it cut sooner rather than later, as I have found that some of these aromatic softwoods can develop radial cracks if left in log form that may render the wood useless as slabs.

From contributor A:
Having it sawn on a band mill will make it easier to sand smooth later. Eastern red cedar will wait for years to be sawn if kept off the ground.