Milling Logs For Usable Wood

White Oak Milled LogRecently I had a white oak tree taken down in my yard.  It was my favorite tree and I hated to see it go, but it was dying at the top.  The tree was about 2′ in diameter, and straight as a die.  The bottom 30’was flawless and could have been used as a veneer log.

Once the tree was taken down, I had the bottom 30′ section cut into three pieces, and had them hauled away to the mill. I met up with the sawyer at the mill to oversee the cutting of the logs. I wanted to make sure they were cut just the way I wanted. Once the wood was milled it was taken to a kiln to dry. The wood would then be ready to use in as little as three months.

Milling Your Wood for Optimal Use

There is an optimal way to mill wood in order for you to get the right cuts and graphics for your projects. Your logs should be flitch cut from top to bottom.  Each flitch should be at least two inches thick.  I typically have all my flitches cut to 2-1/2 to 3″ of thickness.  This way I can get the desired graphics and the desired cut for any project I’m attempting.

Below is the video showing the milling of the logs:

Milling Wood for Guitar Building

The same guidelines apply for milling wood for guitar building. If you’re milling wood for backs and sides you should only be using quarter sawn pieces.  These cuts can be found in the center flitches.  Depending upon the diameter of the log, you may be able to get 3 flitches that contain quarter sawn wood, the center cut, and the pieces directly above and below the center.  If the log is relatively small in diameter only the center flitch will contain perfectly quarter sawn wood.

When cutting your own wood for backs and sides,  it’s best to have at least a 2″ thick piece.  Cutting your own wood for this purpose can provide you with optimal graphics in that all your pieces will match in grain and color.

Check back in to see the logs when they come out of the kiln.

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