View Full Version : My tiny little "sawmill"

dave g
11-18-2017, 01:16 PM
I don't know if I've shown you all this thing or not (?). It's a jig for squaring up split chunks of firewood so they can then be resawn in a more conventional manner :-)




The bar clamp can be moved in and out on the steel angle rails. You make the first cut, then rotate the piece so the cut surface is flat on the carriage and make the second cut. Then you have two square flat surfaces to work from.

dave g
11-18-2017, 02:06 PM
Just struck me that that last picture might be misleading - the table saw has nothing to do with it.

11-18-2017, 06:12 PM
Interesting. That is one gnarly looking piece of wood. What the heck is it? I'm always eyeing my firewood before I throw it in the stove and thinking: Ya know that might make some good uke wood. Then I shrug and throw it in the stove.... Also I think if you rotated the chunk 45 degrees you would get quarter sawn instead of flat sawn which might be better. Please send pictures of the resultant plates!

11-18-2017, 11:00 PM
I have done similar things a couple of times with firewood. Some of my nicest fretboards came from a bag labelled 'Firewood $11'. I am still not sure what it really was apart from probably some sort of eucalypt of reddish in colour.

dave g
11-19-2017, 05:49 AM
That is a chunk of elm from a giant tree that used to be in my back yard. I'm afraid I left it sitting to spalt a year or so too long, as it's gotten pithy in places. But I still think I can get some good banjo uke necks out of it. I promised my daughter I'd make a uke for her out of the tree, but I don't think I can get anything wide enough (out of this piece anyway). I've got several more pieces I haven't split yet. Elm is an absolute bitch to split...

Pete Howlett
11-19-2017, 08:33 AM
Used by the Romans for water pipes....

dave g
11-19-2017, 10:53 AM
Used by the Romans for water pipes....

Yes - seems like I read about 600 year old buried elm pipes still in use somewhere or another. The grain isn't straight, but rather takes a woven sort of form which makes it darn near impossible to split. You have to drive the wedge almost all the way through before the halves finally let go of each other.

Assuming they remain reasonably straight while they dry, I got 5 neck blanks:


Unfortunately the pretty spalted stuff is just too pithy for an instrument - I'll try to think of some other use for it.

Pete Howlett
11-19-2017, 12:47 PM
I watched Matthew Cremona on YouTube use a very watery epoxy to stabalize some spalted wood Dave. You'd get it in the US but not sure I'd find a similar product here in the UK...

I think the term is 'interlocked grain' when it comest describing what you have...

dave g
11-19-2017, 01:22 PM
...very watery epoxy to stabalize some spalted wood...

That sounds promising - I know epoxy can be thinned with alcohol. I've done that on model airplane projects where you need just a little bit of fiberglass reinforcing - not enough to warrant buying a quart of the real stuff (fiberglass resin). It takes a long time to cure, but cure it does (eventually). I've thought about washing pithy wood in thin CA glue, but I'd be worried about the toxic dust sanding that stuff...

Some experimenting is in order!

11-20-2017, 05:10 PM
Pen turners are the real masters of impregnation reinforcement. Vacuum impregnation and other techniques abound. Thinning epoxy to get better penetration is frowned upon in the boat building world as it leaves big molecular holes that get filled by water and followed by rot. In any case you need to kill the organism doing the spalting or it may continue feeding on your wood.
I have been occasionally surprised by superglue reactions to punky wood. Not quite fire but definitely smoking. Google starting fires with cotton wool and superglue for a bit of fun.

11-21-2017, 12:21 PM
I use thin CA glue to harden up bits of soft stuff in things like some dogwood root burl a neighbor gave me. Works great. Never found sanding dust to be a problem, pretty odorless once it is hard. I use medium CA glue as a pore filler over the entire body too.