Sawing and Drying Diagonal Slices from Logs

Here's some advice on equipment and technique for creating oval-shaped slices through large logs, marketable for various decorative uses. September 6, 2010

I need our slice of trees cut at a 60 degree angle to create oval slabs. To engrave pictures on with bark showing on the edges. I'm working on a print to build a sawmill with the capability to vary the angle from 0 to 90 and still cut regular logs. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor T:
I cut diagonal slices all the time. Just buy a WoodMizer. I have a 2004 LT40 hydraulic sawmill. I just lift one end of the log at the angle I want and then clamp the other end tight. I can only do about a six foot long log most of the time but I have done a nine foot long pine log and 20" diameter before. I only was able to get three full length slices and the rest are varying length square ended on one end. I get $125.00 each for the full length pieces. All three have sold. One is being used for an eight foot taxidermy multiple deer mount board for use on a wall. The other two are going to be used for head and foot boards for a large bed.

From contributor J:
You could build a mill that would do that pretty easy without spending thousands or even tens of thousands buying a big name mill. My chainsaw mill with the saw and all the accessories that I had to buy cost me less than two thousand to build.

From contributor A:
I do it all the time on my WoodMizer. I dry and sell hundreds every year. The cut is smooth and the machine makes wonderful boards of all sizes. Better yet just get the logs and find a WM owner to saw them out for you.

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From contributor H:
To contributor A: how do you dry those pieces and do they crack or split much? Also, what does something like that go for in your area? I am in Western Kentucky, and I wouldn't know what to sell something like that for.

From contributor D:
I sell a diagonal slice like the one in Contributor A's picture for about 7 to $8.00. This is a good time of the year to dry this kind of cut more successfully, although I cut them any time of the year. Here's a picture of a curly maple one that is finished. It measures 18" by 23". The unfinished planed ones go for $12.00. I just sold two recently.

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From the original questioner:
I see that it can be done with a WM but I can't justify the price. I'm using a lathe for the bed. It's 20 foot long and rigid to .001. Iím making the blade move vertical and tilt left and right 90 deg. That should let me cut disk and oval and still cut dim lumber. I have three phase power so the carriage and mill can be run electric. I can use a VFD to change the speed of the carriage and height control.

From contributor A:
Drying is the trick and I have about a 90% success rate. Some woods like basswood and butternut are very easy. ERC, walnut, black gum and cherry are not so bad. Oaks are pretty tough. There is some log waste but often they are cut from crooked logs or ones with defects that do not make good lumber. Small cedars run about $2.50 to $5.00 an oval and walnut is about $3.00 to $8.00. Most are 6" to 10" wide and 12" to 24" and sawn about 1" thick. Sometimes I do them where you get one out of a log that is 8' long and two to three inches thick and 18" wide. I bill it as what the logs would have made in lumber.

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From the original questioner:
Those are beautiful boards but I have to have pure white as when I carve a relief and fill them with black paint. They wonít show. Also I need to have a least 13/4 thick and plane down to 1 1/2. When my machine carves the wood it has to be perfectly flat. I do chiseled fonts and some go as deep as 1/2 and they want two side carved.

From contributor U:
Here are a couple of slices of a pecan crouch area that had a large limb removed - end tables anybody?

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